Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Low Expectations Game

Kagliostro, on Blogs 4 Cdl, is right to complain about the way many people - within the center-right coalition - underestimated the potential outcome of so-called center-left's primaries. Indeed, in cases like this one the trick is always the same: lower as much as possible the level of expectations among the public opinion, and then shout "miracle!" when you reach a barely normal result. Before Bush-Kerry television debates in 2004, democrat spin-doctors (in trouble with polls) did the same thing. And a substantial draw between the two candidates was magically transformed in a 3-0 win for Kerry. To complete the operation, of course, US Democrats and Italian lefties needed the media echo chamber, to pander the low expectations game and amplify the enthusiastic statements after the event. There is no need to imagine an obscure conspiration to realize that, in both cases, mainstream media were accomplices to a partisan strategy. But we can't hide the fact that in the United States the Republican Party was able, after few hours, to organize an effective counteroffensive (on talk radios, the Internet and alternative media), while in Italy the center-right coalition doesn't have the necessary tools to counter the leftist hegemony on the media. Nevertheless, this time, the stuff to work with was excellent and ample - Berlusconi's immediate reaction ("the only way they can win is when only their voters are allowed to vote"), the Mastella's detailed charges of fraud, Prodi's psychedelic statements about American primaries. It's absolutely necessary to learn from this experience, to be less unprepared next time. (italian version)

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