There’s lots of convention news, but first a few words about that other race–the race for the hearts and minds, the readership and viewer ratings of America.

Have you ever seen the press so out of control?

Here’s what one hack wrote about Dick Cheney’s interview with Claire Shipman of NBC’s Good Morning America:

“Mrs. Shipman asked the vice president ’his greatest guilty pleasure.’

“His wife quickly interjected that it was fishing. But we all know, of course, it’s global domination.

“It’s always amusing to watch Republicans try to get down.

“At convention time, they stop bilking Joe Lunchbox to act like Joe Lunchbox.”

This is not from the leftwing Nation magazine but from Maureen Dowd’s column in the leftwing New York Times.

Bilking Joe Lunchbox? It’s Cheney’s party that wants to quit bilking Joe Lunchbox to support a vast array of social programs that often turn normal people into Joe Won’t Work Because It’s Better to Get a Government Check. But I digress.

We won’t know who has won the presidential election until the evening of Nov. 2–and maybe much, much later because a cadre of lawyers is standing by–but we already know that the country is ready to elect a new media.

Here’s Lisa de Moraes of Washington Post on who’s winning the media war:

“This is the first time in its eight-year history that FNC has beaten ABC, CBS and NBC in covering a news event.”

De Moraes quotes people from other networks as they “mulled the meaning of Tuesday’s development from the comfortable shroud of anonymity”:

“’Fox News Channel doing a big number at the RNC is the least shocking thing that’s happened all week,’ said one broadcast network exec. ’The Olympics are to NBC what the RNC is to Fox News.’
“’It says that Fox News Channel is the official channel of the GOP, and if people didn’t know it before they certainly know it now,’ offered another competitor.
“Still another said FNC’s success Tuesday night suggests the cable news network is the ’in-house organ’ of the Republican Party.”

I don’t think FNC is the “in-house organ” of the Republican party, but to dismiss it that way shows that the media is not able to grasp the salient fact that most of us consider them the in-house organ of the Democratic party.

The Kerry campaign made a fatal mistake because it did not recognize the changing nature of the media–they did not answer the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth because they thought, quite correctly, that the media wouldn’t touch the story. But they didn’t reckon with the new media. By the time the Kerry campaign realized that their pals at the three major 527’s–NBC, CBS, and ABC–are no longer able to keep a lid on things for them, the damage had been done.