One of my favorite mathematicians is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as “Alice in Wonderland” author Lewis Carroll. Dodgson was renowned for his quirky sense of humor and inventive imagination.

A tutor at Oxford, he once “proved,” no doubt to the amusement of his students and fellow professors, that two times two equals five.

Dodgson, of course, didn’t expect anyone to take him seriously.

By way of contrast, we have the mainstream media, which include some of the most mathematically challenged folks around but are deadly serious about being believed.

Consider the present case of Mitt Romney.

If you listen to the MSM, then you have been told that ol’ Mitt is not just the frontrunner of the week but the ultimate GOP nominee, inheritor of the crown, founder of the feast, holder of the cards and Good Humor Man all in one.

According to their math, Romney’s a done deal and all the others are running for second place. At least some of the GOP candidates are buying into the story: Don Huntsman dropped out of the race Monday, and Rick Perry dropped out Thursday.

For anyone who believes in a lively public discourse, it’s discouraging to see because the media’s numbers don’t add up. Just earlier this week, according to ABC’s running toll, Romney had 22 delegates going into South Carolina, Rick Santorum 12 and Ron Paul three.

On Thursday, the GOP announced that Santorum, not Romney, actually won Iowa, bringing the two virtually neck and neck. Also, with Perry dropping out the same day, Newt Gingrich picked up Perry’s four delegates. Romney scooped up his cousin Huntsman’s support. The actual delegate totals were still up in the air, however, because not all of Iowa’s precincts had reported by the deadline.

But altogether, that’s still less than 1 percent of the national total that will be voting at the convention. To win the nomination, a GOP candidate needs 1,144 delegates of the total 2,286. As Thursday proved, the presidential race can change on a dime.

But hey, everyone not named Romney better give up, right?

The massaged math is just a means to an end. It’s really all about the media manipulating the election outcome again. Just compare the kid-gloves handling of Romney in the press with the take-no-prisoners slaughter of previous conservative favorites like Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and Perry.

Gingrich, the inheritor of the conservative mantle, was the next target. As of Thursday, an interview with his second wife in which she claimed he had asked her to have an “open marriage” was being touted by the MSM as the “explosive” news that could end Gingrich’s career. Although ABC had the interview in the can for some time, it waited until days before the South Carolina primary and passed around sound bites before the interview ever aired.

That the MSM are in President Obama’s back pocket is no secret, of course, but it’s still fascinating that they get away with the most blatant behavior and a substantial portion of Americans continue to be clueless.

Donna Brazile let the cat out of the bag at the Jan. 7 GOP debate when she said, “Mitt Romney won tonight because no one touched him — and for Democrats, you know what? It was good news for us. … Because we believe that the weakest candidate is the candidate that the Republicans are not attackin’, and that’s Mitt Romney.”

Moderator and fellow Democratic hack George Stephanopoulos couldn’t shut Brazile up fast enough.

When it comes to the media and the presidential race, the old school rule still holds: Always check the math.

Tad Cronn is editor in chief of The Patriots Almanac, a nonprofit educational quarterly magazine.