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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Democrats, President Obama, and the Media

At the Huffington Post, psychologist Drew Westen notes that the Democratic Party is not doing nearly as well as President Obama. (For instance, Democrats have only a very modest lead in the generic congressional ballot.) Westen attributes the gap to the silence of Democratic leaders in articulating their agenda. "Someone needs to be in the fray other than the GOP," he says, suggesting that Republicans have had the field to themselves. "The worst thing to be in politics is silent, because it allows the other side to shape public sentiment uncontested."

Nexis offers a rough and ready way to test his explanation. Look at the number of times in the past month that the four party leaders in Congress have appeared in the headline or lead paragraphs of major newspapers and wires. Here are the results:

Nancy Pelosi 424
John Boehner 106

Harry Reid 209
Mitch McConnell 73

Westen is clearly wrong: if the Democrats have a problem, it's not because they've ceded the media to their GOP counterparts.