Don’t bet on them

It’s amazing that reporters love horse-race coverage since they’re so damned lousy at it. Hillary Clinton has the nomination locked up. Rudy Giuliani is the sure nominee. Mike Huckabee is surging for the long haul. John McCain’s campaign is dead. Mitt Romney’s the one to beat. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is dead. Everything’s over last night.

Any idiot can bet on a horse and lose. And there’s a word for them. Losers.

  • Steve

    The media love drama, but the reality is that Obama has a near-unassailable lead in the pledged delegates. I guess we’ll hear even more about superdelegates, legal challenges, momentum etc., before the curtain finally falls on the Clintons.

    On the bright side, Bush will be gone soon, and the new administration gets the chance to clean up his mess on foreign policy, the budget deficit, the current account deficit, the housing slump etc.

    Where’s Martin Sheen when you need him?

  • Bill K.

    I bet since the beginning of time, the person who made predictions was held in high esteem, the only difference now is that there are no consequences to being wrong, especially if the forecast is supported by the MSM en masse.

    More reason to be skeptical of the pundits. (Wiki says, “The term originates from the Hindi term pandit, which in turn is derived from Sanskrit pandita, learned, and is first found in English in 1672. It refers to someone who is erudite in various subjects and who conducts religious ceremonies and offers counsel to the king or mayor.”)

    I think the next step is for Dr Dean to orchestrate a do-over of the Michigan and Florida primaries.

  • Amen, Jeff. Another one that’s tired every time I read it: “Are we in a recession already? Is this a recession? How do you define ‘recession’? Let’s ask Warren Buffett if he thinks we’re in a recession!” Blah-blah-blah.

    Okay, yeah, it’s somewhat interesting to note when an official, formal, word-from-on-high recession starts and ends BUT meanwhile (a) in the tough times that inspire these kinds of stories, there’s ALWAYS something better to be reporting in terms of what’s going on at the ground level in the marketplace (and not just the financial markets!) and (b) an official, formal recession is always — by definition — definable only in hindsight anyway. Oh, yeah, and declaring a formal recession is also fraught with political agendas.

    In sum: with horse-race stories and “Are we in a recession?” stories, I always find myself saying, “Come ON, people — REPORT something!”

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  • Crawford

    You can’t have wagering if you don’t stage a race.

  • Matthew

    This is yet another reason why the internet is great, it is very easy to compare coverage side by side by side by side of a single event (e.g., recession, election) and note the differences. Sometimes the comparisons give you a great sense of what’s happening (or could be happening) and sometimes you’re just left scratching your head.

    News consumers have more autonomy, and also additional responsibility. If source A publishes something that appears to come from East Outer Space, why not check source B, source C, source D? If we read something that seems like a hack job and don’t explore further we’re no better off than than the prisoners of Plato’s cave.

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  • Cooler Heads

    Jeff, you think the media is biased against Hillary? No. It’s biased against “no story.” If Hillary sails into the nomination, that’s no story. So of course the media latched onto the “other candidate.” And now that Obama has been put on a pedestal, they’ll knock him down in order to continue the story. Now it’s Hillary’s turn. Look at the sudden shift in coverage.

    For a couple of weeks, they had both parties going. But the GOP settled on McCain, and now can sit back and watch the Media destroy the Democrats.

    It’s not that one candidate is good and the other bad. It’s the continuation of the story, the perpetual motion machine that the media needs to have a horse race.

  • joefroh

    Good post. I am sick and tired of the media’s inability or desire to tackle and put things into right perspective without blowing up the picture and trying to force someone into an easy sports analogy of winner and loser. There is too much emphasis on momentum instead of trying to increase the dialogue on matters of national importance. We would rather see a picture shown repeatedly of someone falling on their face or the President doing a soft shoe shuffle which is moronic than spending the time trying to educate a nation of people who seemingly don’t want to know the real issues.

  • B. Nelson


    I would be interested in your comments on:

    “The Machinery of Hope”
    “…transforming the way political campaigns are run”

    In reading this article, it appears to me to that the Obama campaign is incorporating internet innovations you point out in your recent blogs.

    Such as-

    A challenge from the Times:

    ask the public to help…
    Establish communities of experts to help…
    use the networking and linking power of the internet to help harness…
    …collaboration to create real value is the next generation of interactivity

    The Times better change:

    radical restructuring…
    online collaborative…
    Let the people… have a much larger role

    Google U:

    Like media and every industry and institution before it,
    [_________] is waiting to be exploded by the internet.
    social network that enables…

    New business models for news:

    Innovation: We’re going to get nowhere if we don’t start inventing new products, networks, means of work, means of distribution, technologies, and business models for…

    As this is my first comment, I will also thank you for the thought provoking bolg.

    B. Nelson

  • In Barbados we have been following thie Democratic race very closely because we are a 95% Black country. Obama as a minority win loose or draw that a minority can dot it, so too is Clinton to a lesser extent. We think that the system is against him ultimately though.

  • I am always amazed by the people that are so sure that certain nominees “don’t have a chance.” You would think past election surprises would keep people from making blanket statements….