This is my fifth presidential campaign as a New York Times columnist, so I've watched a lot of election coverage, and I came into this cycle prepared for the worst. Or so I thought.I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
But I was wrong. So far, election commentary has been even worse than I imagined it would be. It's not just the focus on the horse race at the expense of substance; much of the horse-race coverage has been bang-your-head-on-the-desk awful, too. I know this isn't scientific, but based on conversations I've had recently, many people — smart people, who read newspapers and try to keep track of events — have been given a fundamentally wrong impression of the current state of play.
And when I say a "wrong impression," I don't mean that I disagree with other people's takes. I mean that people aren't being properly informed about the basic arithmetic of the situation.
Even people who sort of grasp that Bernie Sanders has no path to victory at this point are still getting things very wrong.
I have had to explain on numerous occasions, for example, that, no, Sanders is not in the same position Hillary Clinton was in 2008. At this point in the 2008 race, Clinton and Obama were separated by a third of the number of delegates that currently separate Clinton and Sanders, and Clinton and Obama were virtually tied in the popular vote, while Sanders is losing by about three million votes.
It's really not the same. It's really not a horserace. Not anymore.
And the media has done a very, very poor job of communicating this very basic fact. Because they are creating a reality that is more compelling and thus more profitable, without regard for the fact that hurting Clinton's chances increases the chances of her general election opponent, who is a terrifying nightmare human that actually endorses the displacement of millions of US residents, war crimes, and nuclear proliferation. Just for a start.
Why not. It's only the country's future at stake.