More New Hampshire Fallout
Last night, the media was on auto-pilot. As the moments until the New Hampshire polls closed crept closer, the pundits talked about the implosion of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the invincibility of Barack Obama, and the Comeback Crusty John McCain. But when it became clear that Clinton wasn’t getting trounced as expected, everybody freaked.
We still don’t know what hit us, what with last night’s beer consumption and the spin from this morning’s visit to the Romney campaign. So to start making sense of how it all went haywire, let’s sort through the coverage.
New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner should look into appearing on the Price is Right. He was remarkably accurate in predicting the record turnout for yesterday’s primaries. Which, for those of you keeping track at home, was 526,671 total voters. We didn’t even know that many people lived in New Hampshire.
There’s also the uncomfortable issue of Hillary Clinton’s show of emotion on Monday. Salon.com’s Rebecca Traister describes her delight at watching talking heads like Chris Matthews squirm after proclaiming Clinton dead.
I have not been a Hillary Clinton supporter. But the torrent of ill-disguised hatred and resentment unleashed toward a briefly weakened Clinton this week shook that breezy naiveté right out of me, and made me feel something that all the hectoring from feminist elders could not: guilt for not having stood up for Hillary. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but had I been a New Hampshire voter on Tuesday, I would have pulled a lever for the former first lady with a song in my heart and a bird flipped at MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, a man whose interest in bringing Clinton down hovers on the pathological. . .
On the other side of the feminist coin, the Obama-leaning site Jezebel didn’t want to hear about anyone being swayed by Clinton’s tears.
Maybe it reminded them of the time they stuck it out in an emotionally abusive situation and only got through it because somehow, somewhere, they still held out hope that karma would make it all right in the end. Well, that is not an audacious hope. That is a STUPID hope.
That wasn’t the only instance of stupidity last night. CNN reporter Paul Begala spent some of the hectic media day emailing FOX News’ Major Garrett to tell him to stop reporting that he was joining the Clinton campaign. Garrett said he’d “take it under advisement.”
Locally, Dan Kennedy is also not thrilled with the media this morning.
Will the media ever learn? Will they ever just cover this stuff instead of framing everything within the context of what they think (and hope) is going to happen next? I’m not talking about columnists, commentators or — perish the thought! — bloggers.
I’m talking about straight-news reporters who spent five days swooning over Obama as the New New Thing, only to learn that they had missed the story once again.
Ugh. Our brains still hurt. The one thing we do know is that this primary is going to be the most entertaining and hard-fought that we’ve ever seen. And we can’t wait to see how it ultimately ends.