MSM Masochism, And The Final October Surprise
As I wrote in my marathon "Election Reflections" post last night, the past week and a half has been a series of almost daily October surprises from the left:
By the time Halloween rolled around, it felt like daily October surprises: NYTrogate last Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday and...); Al Jazeera pulling Osama out of a hat on Friday, 60 Minutes' oldie-but-a-goodie body armor story on Sunday, and I think the Times had some sort of other anti-Bush story on Monday. (The bogus early returns Tuesday afternoon was the final October surprise. But that's a whole other post, as this one is going into extra innings.)
The American Spectator confirms the obvious:
The early polling numbers are some of the most eagerly anticipated, if highly inaccurate, data on election day, and are widely distributed. Perhaps that was what the Kerry campaign was banking on.
According to at least three sources, one inside the Kerry campaign, and two outside of it, but with ties to senior Kerry advisers, some of the "early polling numbers" were in fact direct reports from Kerry campaign or Democratic Party operatives on the ground in such critical states as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to a Washington lobbyist with knowledge of the numbers, the numbers were packaged together so as to appear to be exit poll results. They were then scrubbed through several sources to land in the lap of sympathetic bloggers who these operatives believed would put the numbers up with little question.
Some of the numbers claimed to be exit polling data that showed Kerry with a 8-1 voter ratio. As soon as the numbers hit the Internet, panic set in.
"It was awful," says a Republican House staffer. "You just felt sick when you saw the numbers."
Within an hour, the real exit poll numbers began to leak out, and while they were considerably better for Bush, they continued to show him lagging three to four percentage points behind the Democrats across the major electoral map, with a two-point disadvantage in the national, popular vote.
"Actually when the real numbers came out, they made us feel a bit better," says the House staffer, who was on the road in Nevada working for the Bush campaign. "Compared to what we had seen earlier, it made us think we had a clear shot, since we knew the early numbers tended to be bad for Republicans in the past."
Still, the disinformation campaign spread a pall over Republicans in Washington for several hours. By 3 p.m., senior Bush campaign operatives were putting out word that things were looking considerably better for Bush in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida. By 6 p.m., some Washington insiders were already hearing that Florida and Ohio were winners for Bush, based on campaign internals. From there, the road to victory was much smoother.
We've frequently quoted Evan Thomas of Newsweek's admission that the media's in the tank for Kerry, as well as the memo by Mark Halperin of ABC. We've noted Kerry's connections with the New York Times, which publishes one of Kerry's main hometown papers, the Boston Globe.
Kerry has been shown to have lied to the media numerous times--besides the head fake on who his veep nominee would be to embarrass the conservative New York Post, Kerry's "Magic Hat" story was delivered courtesy of The Washington Post. He never came clean with the media over his radical post-Vietnam past. And it all ends with bogus exit polls which were put out by his campaign and gobbled up by the networks and numerous Internet sites on both sides of the aisle like free crack to an addict.
While all of this is going on, you have to wonder about the legacy media and their almost masochistic pleasure in knowing that they're being used by a guy in their party who has a shot at the White House--and one that they don't really like. They knew full well that Kerry wasn't the second coming of JFK or FDR, but that didn't stop them for going to bat for him.
Someone should link to a series of articles by the press (and by somebody like Andrew Sullivan who jumped onboard once Kerry got the nomination) and compare their mostly sober assessments of the guy early in the primary season, to the media's rock groupie-like worship and their hagiographic articles once he got the nomination. The change in tone would be pretty staggering to see.