How The Media Manufactured Pete as Viable

The state of New Hampshire will head to the polls in three days, and the race has grown tighter according to the latest Boston Globe/Suffolk poll

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg has found himself with a significant bump from Iowa that has eaten into front runner Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) lead. The previous poll showed Sanders having a commanding lead of 24% compared to Buttigieg’s 11%. But as of now, Buttigieg stands at 23% and Sanders at 24%. These numbers are within the margin of error.

It’s important to talk about how this Buttigieg surge happened, though. The uptick in the polls is not normal, rather manufactured, and it matters because what we are seeing is a coronation that is tainted with media bias, corruption, and ignorance.

The Spiked Poll

It all started with a poll. Not just any poll, but one that is considered the gold standard that led to Iowa Caucus. The Des Moine Register Poll, that, with CNN, was going to announce the results in primetime. Those results never came, as the poll was abruptly scrapped in its entirety.

The reasoning behind the canceling of what many consider a prestigious poll fell to one campaign. It was Pete Buttigieg’s camp. What was the issue that the campaign had? An isolated incident, where an interviewer enlarged some font that ended up cutting off Buttigieg’s name from the questionnaire.

Why does it matter?

Historically, the winners of these polls have usually experienced a bump in subsequent polls. If you look back at how close the Iowa Caucus has played out with Buttigieg and Sanders almost tied, then it is easy to see why a bump would have been so important if Sanders had won that poll.

The problem may have been there, but the fact that Pete’s campaign had that much sway to cancel an entire poll over an isolated mistake is unheard of. The Des Moines Register Poll may not have been perfect, but it is doubtful that this is the first time a pollster has done something incorrectly. This leads many to the conclusion that the poll was spiked because it showed Senator Sanders with the advantage.

The Iowa Shit Show

It was supposed to be business as usual as Iowans packed into their caucus stations, and those at home would wait for a projected winner followed by a primetime victory speech. However, something strange was happening as that primetime slot came with no results. It left pundits confused and viewers hanging to see if their candidates were viable in the eyes of Iowans. Time continued to drag into the night as we started to get word that there were problems.

A new app that was being used to report the results was malfunctioning, which is what was causing the holdup in results. An app developed by Shadow, Inc., which the Buttigieg campaign had paid $42,500 to last year for various services, had failed. It was later revealed that the company that had developed the app had former Clinton and Obama staffers employed. 

It did not matter if it was gross incompetence or angry employees who were still bitter from the Iowa contest before. The app had done something that had not been done before. It sent a tradition that dates back to 1972 into chaos.

False Narratives

Something happened during that chaos, though. A candidate approached the stage to his supporters and declared himself the winner without any validation of that victory because not one result had been reported. It was Pete himself who proudly said,

“We don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation. Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”

The problem that these indications were internal to the Buttigieg campaign remained. That did not stop mainstream media from forming the narrative that ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the winner. The word “historic” started to be thrown around casually as each network vied to interview the self-declared victor.

Each network got its turn, too, while we slowly waited for the Iowa results to trickle in. However, the narrative had already taken off. Pete had “won.”

He made routine victory laps while we, the people, waited patiently for the actual results which showed he was slightly ahead of Sanders, even when the Senator was leading the popular vote.

While the contest has not been settled with DNC Chairman Tom Perez now asking for a ‘recanvass’ of results, the media has moved onto New Hampshire. The talk on all the networks is how Pete Buttigieg is surging in New Hampshire and how he may have a shot of winning the presidency. 

The problem is the average primary voter relies on major media outlets to get their news. 

They do not know that Pete Buttigieg has previously tried for state-wide office and failed, nor that the app he contributed money employs former Clinton staffers, or that he is even losing the popular vote. They only see one thing: that a fresh face won in the first contest to decide the next Democratic nominee. They may not ever know that his victory might come with asterisk one day.

That’s why this manufactured narrative, and others like it, are so dangerous.

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