Election Trivia

Now that the election is, for all practical purposes, over, I thought I’d throw in a useless yet amusing observation about the media reports.

Some friends and I today came around to the hypothesis that while the various news networks differed on which states they were willing to call, they all did whatever shuffling they needed to do to assure that they didn’t call enough states to give Bush the magic 270 electoral votes (at least not as of early this morning).

But, that’s not itself the amusing observation to which I refer. A little while ago, Kerry called Bush to concede defeat in the election. The first link I followed was from a weblog comment to the Fox News story. In that story, the following statement comes immediately after the statement that Kerry conceded:

News Wednesday morning of a Bush win in Nevada pushed the president over the 270 Electoral College vote threshold he needed to win re-election, giving him a total of 274 votes.

…thus (in my opinion) implying strongly that it was Nevada that convinced Kerry to concede. There’s no mention that Ohio had anything to do with the decision. Note that by this point, Fox had already long put Ohio in the Bush column.

However, take a look at these reports:

A Kerry adviser said the campaign had concluded that the too-close-to-call battleground state of Ohio was not going to come through for the Democrats.

Sen. John Kerry will publicly concede the presidential election this afternoon after a victory in the battleground state of Ohio appeared hopelessly out of reach.

After seniors advisers to Kerry met all morning, they decided that even if provisional ballots swung heavily in the Democrat’s favor, the 130,650 lead by Mr. Bush was simply too large to overcome.

What’s my point? I won’t make any accusations of intent, but I find it interesting that Fox called Ohio in Bush’s favor AND wrote that news story the way they did. You could say that CNN and ABC went the OTHER way… holding off on declaring Ohio AND writing stories attributing the concession to that state. However, CBS shows Ohio as a Bush state and still gives the race there the credit for Kerry’s final decision. In the grand scheme of things, it makes absolutely no difference. There’s no grand deception here, but my opinion is that there’s no coincidence here, either. I like catching little things like this (ask Amy what I do to claims in TV commercials).

By the way, I looked at NBC as well. Their story didn’t mention the reason why Kerry conceded (thus why they aren’t on the list).

3 replies on “Election Trivia”

You’re right, of course, that the analysts on FNC showed their colors. 🙂

As for the spectrum of calls: I surfed around 0200 between all five and saw the spectrum of calls go as follows, from least to most in favor of Bush: CBS-NBC-ABC/CNN-FNC. CBS and FNC were both about as far away from their closest neighbor in the spectrum as the others.

I think this reminds me why I watch ABC on the rare occasions that I watch a national network newscast…

Note for the sake of completeness:
The CNN story has already changed (though it still attributes the concession to Ohio), and it’s possible the others will as well. The quotes in the post above were current as of the time that I wrote this post. If Fox’s story changes, that could be interesting all by itself.

For what it’s worth, I loved what NBC did this year. They took all of their predicting people and locked them in a room with no TV, no radio, and no internet, so they couldn’t see what their competitors were up to. It was interesting to see how far NBC was out of sync with CNN when it came to certain states.

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