top of page

The Mouse That Roared…in Iowa (A Brief Rant)


Why do the media give one second of air time or one column-inch of print to the Iowa primary?  When only one out of seven Republicans in Iowa bothers to vote in some cockamamie system of parlor parties they call a “primary”, and the “winner” they choose hasn’t been the eventual nominee for twenty years, who cares about the result?  Almost 100% of them (well, 97%) are white, and half of them are evangelicals.  Two-thirds of them believe The Big Lie that the current President of the United States of America was not legitimately elected to the office he holds. 


Could you possibly find a less-representative sample of Americans anywhere?  Are these voters in any way a harbinger of anything? 


The only thing more ridiculous than the Republican party’s giving primacy to this circus is the mass media’s herd-like decision to treat it as news.  Whatever became of editorial discretion and judgment?


For weeks now, the media have been ablaze with breathless anticipation of the Iowa primary, and today the media are ablaze with the earthshaking results.  Every TV channel is vigorously churning out headlines and charts and analysis. Today the front page of the ostensibly sober New York Times is emblazoned with a huge picture of the victor (Spoiler alert! It's a man named Donald Trump).  But wait!  There’s more!  Don’t forget the Ginzu knives!  The NYT offers half a dozen serious-sounding articles reading the tea leaves and assaying the reconfigured bowels left behind in the frozen corn fields, as though the phenomenon really does have significance beyond the significance the paper imputes to it simply by publicizing it.


Are we really that desperate for political entertainment?  Are the media this hard-up for real news to broadcast and print?  It’s no wonder that we are unmoored these days, awash in a turbulent sea of disinformation, misinformation, Big Lies, little lies, inconsequential people and events depicted as important, and other mind-twisting depictions of reality that have some people drowning in derangement.


Okay, that’s enough of a rant for now.  I just had to vent a little bit today.  I’ll be back one of these days with a more thoughtful reflection on how the advent of mass media has made possible some of the most vexing dysfunctionality of modern society.


But if in the meantime you want a nice fact-based profile of why the attention Iowa draws is so wildly disproportionate and irrational, you might want to check out this piece today from Robert Hubbell’s fine Substack newsletter:


Enjoy your day!







167 views3 comments


Sorry for the typos--guess I need to do more proofing before sending!


Eliot, I just re-subscribed today. I hope this works-my comments have been rejected up to today and now, for reasons unfathomable, they are getting through! Your "rant" actually was comforting in a strange way because I am all to -influenced by the mainstream media, while being more and more in doubt its wisdom. Yet I don't want to fall into the "fake news" camp of the Trumpers either. Sigh.


bottom of page