Another Tuesday, another primary. We’re not hearing so much about today’s voting in West Virginia, maybe because it’s not a “Super Tuesday” per se, maybe because Hillary is expected to win it (maybe because of catastrophic events elsewhere). Not that this primary matters so much since, as you may recall, the press already declared Obama the winner sometime last week in the aftermath of Super Tuesday IV.
According to Roger Simon on this week’s Reliable Sources “Russert declaring that it was over was like Cronkite turning against the Vietnam War. You know, it made it official.”
One supposes the rest is just noise. It’s not like the press have a questionable track record where these things are concerned. Anyway, who are we to argue?
Nonetheless, a number of people have taken issue with this assumption, including, one has to assume, all the people currently voting in WV. Perhaps they are also wondering over the fairness of the press’s ability to just swoop in, willy nilly, and decide things as they see fit when everyone else had to stand in really long lines to accomplish the same thing.
Over at Slate Jack Shafer says that last Tuesday was just an excuse for the press to jump in: “they’ve wanted to say that Obama has cinched the nomination since his March victory in the Mississippi primary or before.” Howard Kurtz agrees saying last Tuesday “became sort of an artificial benchmark that enabled a lot of people in the press who thought that Hillary was going to lose anyway…to declare her candidacy to be history.”
Or maybe the press just doesn’t like Hillary (novel concept to be sure). On the same Reliable Sources, NYT’s writer Kate Zernike conceded that the reaction from the public may have been less about the media’s declaration than about Hillary’s treatment by the media: “I think what people were reacting to this week wasn’t so much the media declaring the race over, as it was this kind of “Ding dong the witch is dead” quality about that tone to the comments.”