November 2, 2008

EXPLAINING?:

In the ’08 Horse Race, the Cart Pulls Ahead (CLARK HOYT, 11/02/08, NY Times)

The Times and other news media got burned once before this year, in the New Hampshire primary. The coverage, reflecting respected polls and what reporters thought they saw on the ground, strongly suggested that Obama, fresh from victory in the Iowa caucuses, was going to defeat Hillary Clinton. The Times published a front-page article on the day of the voting that reported on a possible shake-up in the Clinton campaign staff and quoted an unnamed supporter as saying, “We’re all resolved to the probability that she’s not going to win New Hampshire, and the mood has turned very despondent — fatalistic, probably.” Two days later, the newspaper was asking how pollsters and news organizations failed to see the Clinton victory coming.

Now, Times editors and reporters say they are well aware of the danger of getting too far in front of events. Still, I think the coverage over time has created a strong expectation of an Obama victory and a Democratic sweep in Congress. If it does not happen, The Times and many other news organizations will have a lot of explaining to do.


They'll be too busy dodging jumpers on the way to work to have time to explain anything.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2008 7:22 AM
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