Mittmentum: Reporters Thought He Might Win Because He Said So

Asked about the pre-election sense that Mitt Romney might win the election, CNN reporter Candy Crowley told viewers (11/7/12):

Candy Crowley

Candy Crowley

There was an optimism in the Romney camp. But it wasn’t based on the numbers. It was based on the feel of things. And one thing you know when you cover a campaign, the feel of things can be really deceiving.

She’s not alone–others had the same sense that the numbers couldn’t be what they were. A Politico story (10/31/12) reported that this feeling was fairly widespread among elite media:

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign says it still has momentum. President Barack Obama’s campaign says that’s all spin.

Meanwhile, there isn’t a single well-informed pundit between them who can tell you who’s right.

That was false, of course–there were people who had a good sense of how things would go. But here’s someone who didn’t know:Jonathan Karl on ABC News

“I think more than any other race I’ve covered this is one where both sides genuinely seem to believe they’re going to win. That’s different,” ABC News correspondent Jon Karl said. “Given that, it’s hard for somebody covering the race to make a call. I’m completely confused. I have no idea who’s going to win. And I usually have a sense of who’s going to win.”

There’s no reason campaign journalism should be so focused on trying to predict the outcome of the election. But these reporters seem to be telling us that it’s not that hard for a presidential campaign to convince journalists that they’re going to win: You just need to be really convincing.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.