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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Thursday, November 08, 2007 ::
    The media are easily led

    I haven't picked a new presidential candidate since my man, Sam Brownback, dropped out (I'm not likely to follow his advice and choose McCain: 1st Amendment, you know). I have had doubts all along about Giuliani on judicial nominations, and until this piece appeared on NRO this morning, there was little to allay those doubts. (See esp. p. 2.)

    But what I do have a strong view on is what's driving media attention on which evangelical leader is endorsing whom. This is something that cashes out differently depending on whether you are in an MSM newsroom or in real life.

    In an MSM newsroom, evangelical Christians look to their "leaders" to tell them how to vote, because they're "poor, uneducated, and easily led." In real life, as I have gotten to know them over the years, they make up their own minds about candidates, have upper-middle-class jobs and advanced degrees in fields with objective criteria of merit, attend the church of their choice, and throw away mailings from a wide variety of parachurch ministries.

    This disparity of perception explains, I think, why the MSM can produce op-eds between elections explaining how Dr. X or Rev. Y is a spent force, no longer influential, but then, during election season, race to the front page with stories about whom Dr. X or Rev. Y has endorsed.

    In real life, such endorsements are important but not determinative. Evangelical voters will make up their own minds anyway; endorsements provide more information to do that with. There has always been more diversity among American evangelicals than the MSM have been interested in believing (and when that diversity becomes impossible to ignore, the MSM report it as evangelicals "changing").

    Now that diversity -- a diversity of prudential judgment, more than of basic beliefs -- is manifesting itself at the leadership level. Surprised? You were expecting, maybe, 1980? (True, we do have a divorced ex-actor in the mix, but he's not as sound as Reagan was.)

    :: David M. Wagner 10:40 AM [+] ::

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