January 10, 2008

Kurtz on the media blowfest Tuesday


The series of blown calls amount to the shakiest campaign performance yet by a profession seemingly addicted to snap judgments and crystal-ball pronouncements. Not since the networks awarded Florida to Al Gore on Election Night 2000 has the collective media establishment so blatantly missed the boat.

The reasons are legion: News outlets are serving up more analysis and blogs to remain relevant in a wired world. Many cash-strapped organizations are spending less on field reporting, and television tries to winnow a crowded field for the sake of a better narrative. Cable shows and Web sites provide a gaping maw to be filled with fresh speculation. Tracking polls fuel a conventional wisdom that feeds on itself. The length of today's campaigns provides more twists and turns long before most voters tune in. And there is a natural journalistic tendency to try to peer around the next corner.

What was interesting to me was that the political futures markets were just as off too. They caught the shift earlier in the late afternoon, but they were just as snowed. Someone could make a killing if they could take a Warren Buffett style approach to value picking in politics.

So, the media blew it because it was arrogant and hubristic. Or, they had it right, and the New Hampsterite Democrats are just a bunch of crackers. Take your pick.

UPDATE: John Harris, who was shovelling on the Clinton's grave just days ago, responds.

Posted by Steve-O at January 10, 2008 10:16 AM | TrackBack