November 5, 2004
THE MEDIA VS. THE FACTS:
They Don't Declare: The Vote-Callers Who Lost Their Voice (Howard Kurtz, November 4, 2004, Washington Post)
Americans woke up to parallel media universes yesterday, with President Bush having been reelected in the New York Post, one tantalizing vote from victory on NBC and Fox News, and still struggling to win Ohio on CBS, ABC and CNN.
From the moment that Fox broke ranks with the other networks at 12:41 a.m. and projected Bush as the winner in the all-important Buckeye State, the race seemed to slip into a state of suspended animation. Everyone knew the president would probably edge John Kerry, but no one was quite willing to say so.
In fact, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said on "Today," his network decided not to declare any more states after awarding Ohio to Bush so as not to "make a judgment about who the president-elect is."
Does anyone think they wouldn't have called those states with identical numbers earlier in the night?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2004 10:13 AM
The amusing part was that they called PA, MI and WI for Senator Kerry with a good deal narrower margin than the President had in OH.
Although we should be careful not to become too neurotic about this. On CNN, Blitzer and King, doing parodies of themselves, did an interview with Kerry's daughter just before the polls closed in most of the East. Although the admitedly pleasant young woman confessed she didn't follow politics much (but just knew America needed her Dad)it seemed to go on for ever. I became enraged at the waste of time and resentful at the certain thought we were now going to be treated to an equal dollop of pap from one of the Bush daughters. Fifteen minutes later I was apoplectic when I realized we weren't.
This morning (Fri.) CNN.com still showed New Mexico and Iowa as undecided. How stupid do they think we are, or did they just give up updating their pages once it no longer became fun?
They were refusing to call states even when the margin of Bush's lead was greater than the number of votes remaining. I couldn't believe it. I watched it till 3am in an apartment with a bunch of other math geeks and I was asking them to check my numbers. We were just stunned.