Andrew Cline analyzes some recent reportage about the Democratic contenders and argues that the press and spinmeisters are winnowing the list of candidates before voters get any say-so at all.

This is certainly true although I honestly am not sure how it can be any other way. There are nine announced “major” candidates for the Democratic nomination. There are several others waiting in the wings–Joe Biden, Wesley Clark, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton. I’m guessing there are also scores of novelty candidates out there who have filed to get on ballots. All of them can’t be given equal treatment.

The fact that Lieberman and Gephardt, the two candidates (other than the idiot Sharpton) with the highest pre-campaign name recognition and stature are doing so poorly in the fundraising and early polling is interesting and worthy of press commentary. And the fact that Howard Dean–of whom I’d frankly never heard despite being a fairly devoted follower of American politics–is doing so well is also news.

I agree with Cline, though, that the presss should be doing a better job of covering the platforms of the “major” candidates. One notable exception is WaPo, which is doing weekly features on them in their Sunday editions, with a piece on Gephardt in yesterday’s paper making the 8th candidate so profiled.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.