Some years ago, back in 1984, Ronald Reagan won reelection over Walter Mondale, carrying 49 states. Afterwards, the most prestigious columnist at the most prestigious newspaper–James Reston of the New York Times–permitted himself a confession:
Among the losers in this Presidential election campaign you will have to include the nosy scribblers of the press. Not since the days of H. L. Mencken have so many reporters written so much or so well about the shortcomings of the President and influenced so few voters. Mr. Reagan beat the newspapers by ignoring them. From his nomination in Dallas to election weekend he has not held a single national news conference. He gave one or two interviews to sympathetic writers and allowed a few small-time high school and college audiences to toss him some questions, but he dismissed the White House press corps with a wave and a smile.
In other words, the MSM went all-in to defeat Reagan, and were decimated by the voters. You can almost hear Reston gnashing his teeth when you read the headline: “Reagan Beats the Press.”
This little flashback set me wondering who’s today’s James Reston, and who, if anyone, would be man enough to make such a confession, if Romney wins on Tuesday. David Brooks? Nah, he’s had dozens of chances to out himself but never gets there. Matthews? Not a chance.
There’s a better chance of True Confessions from some of the pollsters. Just remember that Reagan-Carter in 1980 was “too close to call” for the pollsters, including Gallup. And if either candidate wins big in this election, there will be a target-rich environment for poll skeptics.
Reviewing the bidding: the media don’t have nearly the power that they, and many of us, think they have. And the pollsters, who get to talk to one out of every eleven people they (or their robots) call, are very afraid that they’re going to have to come up with some sort of scientific-sounding explanation for what happened.
Maybe they should take a poll on which explanation sounds most convincing, huh?