Dems Riled Over Media's Early Projections of GOP Takeover

Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010 03:05 PM

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Democrats were grousing about some election outcomes even before the polls closed. However, many were directing their ire not at Republicans or failed campaigning among themselves but rather at the media because the talking heads were calling races before polls closed. Well, it’s not as if the Democrats hadn’t been warned even before the polls opened: Pundits and polls and even the Dems’ own pols had been predicting for weeks that the Republicans could grab control of the House, if not the Senate, and they would be setting up households in several governors mansions to boot.

Carville, election, media, calls, DemocratsSuch predictions of wipeouts and housecleanings and even the dreaded cliché of tsunamis, must have fallen on deaf ears, because Democratic operative James Carville winced as Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland whined that the media were calling races before the polls even closed in wine country, among other places, as reported in the Los Angeles Times’ Top of the Ticket political blog.

Acting as a commentator on CNN, Carville listened to his colleagues speculating about what will happen as the Republicans take the helm during the next several months and shortened the view, lamenting: “I’m kind of curious what’s going to happen the next couple of hours.”

Of course, calls for the media to withhold early calls are louder when national issues, such as electing a president, for example, when a projected landslide on the East Coast could cause Left Coasters just to stay home.

In fact, Top of the Ticket recalled that U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., wrote to TV executives in 2008 asking them not to project a winner in the presidential race “before all polls have closed nationwide.” Back then, The Associated Press ignored the plea and called the election for Barack Obama just before the polls closed in California and while voting continued in Alaska and Hawaii.

Although many West Coast races still were unsettled Tuesday night, and some still are, a day later, Easterners nodded off without knowing that Californians had rejected a proposal to allow recreational marijuana. The tally didn’t go one toke over the line enough to defeat the measure until past bedtime.

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