Media performance on Super Tuesday

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Politico.com’s Michael Calderone wrote about what many of us were talking about last night – the performance of the media in covering the results from all of the Super Tuesday contests.   Calling the media “restrained” Caledrone writes:

Even as state vote tallies and countless polls breaking down the electorate among narrow race and gender lines were presented on-air, the media generally held back rash predictions. 

Which was true.  There was nothing they wanted more than to be able to end last night by calling someone, anyone, a winner.  Huckabee’s Shermanesque march through the South kept them from bestowing that mantle on John McCain and they probably didn’t expect to be able to call Clinton-Obama.  In fact, more often than not, they had to settle for trying to figure out who did the worst (since they had to declare somebody something).  So somehow, McCain, who won the most delegates came out a loser because he couldn’t win his party’s base and Romney, who won more states than Huckabee,  was declared dead in the water by one CNN analyst as Calderone points out:

Just after 11 p.m., CNN’s Lou Dobb’s said that hour’s headline was just that. “The Republican race is now a three-man race.”

Not so, according to CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, who followed up with, “I think it’s over.”

“The math isn’t there for these other candidates,” Toobin added. “There’s just no other way for them to catch up.”

Toobin said this just seconds before Minnesota came in for Romney.  But he stuck to his guns.  In fact, as I pointed out last night, CNN seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time compared to other networks in declaring winners.

So all in all, the media was restrained and for the most part, pretty error free.  It’s tough to talk for 8 hours while numbers are coming in from 24 different states and exit poll data breaking down voting preferences so many different details that it seemed like they polled people on what they had for dinner on Monday (those who thought the Giants would win the Super Bowl went for Romney by 37% to 32% over McCain).  In fact, the biggest error of the night came from the Associated Press, who called Missouri for Clinton about an hour before Obama surged ahead.

Anyone else care to weigh in?  Especially anyone who watched the Fox News Channel.  I only had so many televisions so I couldn’t watch them all.  I figured Karl Rove would do a good job holding down the fort anyway.

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