That’s conventional as in conventions, “stultifying media spectacles where no one expects anything to happen.” So says Chris Lehmann in a Q&A posted today by Harper’s. Chris is a senior editor at CQ, the nonfiction editor of Booforum, and a very sharp guy. (He’s also a good friend of mine from my Book World days, but I would flag this even if I didn’t know him.)
From “Six Questions for Chris Lehmann on ‘Moronic’ Campaign Coverage and the ‘Press Bubble’ “:
6. But don’t these narratives sometime become self-fulfilling prophecies?
Yes, and the distressing proof text of that argument is the 2000 election. It’s not a stretch to say that the media largely defeated Al Gore. They burrowed in with these idiotic memes about him being uncomfortable in his own skin and about his claiming to have invented the Internet and Naomi Wolf advising him on how to be a he-man. Most of it wasn’t even true, but that didn’t matter because the press is so invested in its own narrative that it all becomes self-fulfilling; these things are repeated like mantras. In the same way, it never seems to matter that John McCain is the wealthier candidate and represents economic interests that are in many ways aristocratic; it’s always Barack Obama who is the “elitist.”