Some at NPR are getting a little sensitive about folks like me decrying their horse-race coverage. Diane Rehm jumped down the throat of a caller who legitimately brought up this problem on her show the other day. (Note to Diane: it’s not always about you. The caller made clear he was talking about “the media”, not your show. Also, I’m guessing we’ll be hearing some starter trumpets on your episode dedicated to Iowa results today.) In tweets, correspondents like Don Gonyea get all defensive when you wonder aloud why he spent so much energy covering the brief “surge” of the made-for-fail Bachmann campaign. He couldn’t help it! He was a prisoner of poll results!
So they seem to understand on some primitive level that listeners and media analysts alike don’t appreciate the breathless “horse race” coverage, but they just can’t seem to stop themselves.
The Iowa caucus is the most embarrassing example. “It’s A Photo Finish For Romney, Santorum” the headline at NPR.org shouts.
I am tempted to do a meta horse-race by recapping minute-by-minute the competing minute-by-minute reports filed from Santorum and Romney headquarters by Ari Shapiro and Don Gonyea, but who has the time? (I will mention one of them actually used the phrase “neck and neck and neck”. Nope, no horse race here.)
The bottom line is that Iowa doesn’t matter. Iowa never matters. It’s a stupid distraction, but it’s covered like the World Series, which also doesn’t matter.
Nobody but Rick Santorum believes he will be the nominee. If the caucus had been held during any of the other also-ran surges one of the other no-chancers would have come in second.
The only good thing about all this fail? At least we got to hear multiple references to “surging santorum”. Thank you again, Dan Savage.