I write this at 4:00AM in the morning of election night, November
3, 2004. My evening started with CNN and before the evening is over,
I will have clicked back and forth between ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC,
MSNBC, & CNN more than a couple hundred times.
And friends, the evening was intriguing indeed.
When I turned on the TV at 6:00PM, I saw sparkles in the eyes of
Tom Brokaw and other liberal news casters. They were downright
giddy. And friends, when liberal news people are giddy, something is
At one point, Chris Matthews said (referring to the President's
campaign) "What could they have done to pull it off tonight?"
(notice that usage of past tense?). They were beginning to spell the
end of the Bush Administration even before the polls in the
battleground States began to close.
Even though they were not saying anything outright, I knew something
was up and I was concerned.
So, armed with my computer and high speed access to the internet,
I began to collect exit poll data. The data was stunning ... clearly
showing a Kerry victory in the making.
Ah, ha! Now I had my answer ... no wonder the liberal media was
But, after reviewing the exit data, a few things didn't make
sense to me. A lot of it didn't match the polls that I had examined
over the past few weeks ... especially in the last few days. Even
more telling was data that I knew had to be false ... showing Kerry
getting broad support from males in some key Midwestern states.
I was skeptical.
But yet, the liberal media was a buzz with giddy news casters
trying to keep their emotions in check while on the air. I settled
in to watch the developments.
At one point a little before 7:00PM, Dan Rather raised his hand
to try and stop another colleague from flapping his gums too much
and going to far with his assessment of the election and the end of
the Bush Administration. After all, the polls were still open ...
and, Rather didn't want to call the election ... and they were, um,
Then, Pennsylvania went to the Democratic column and one could
almost see the liberal media jumping out of their skin with
A little later, things began to turn. We first witnessed Florida
stats coming in very strong for the President. That fact sent the
newscasters into a quizzical mode ... puzzlement was all over their
faces. After all, exit polls showed Kerry winning Florida.
Then, more real numbers began to roll in for other States sending
the newscasters into virtual depression. Tom Brokaw (NBC) looked
white as a ghost. Chris Matthews (CNN) actually got mad and starting
being snippy to his guest. At one point, the camera caught Dan
Rather (CBS) shaking his head in disgust. Judy Woodruff's (CNN) eyes
literally started to well up with tears. The camera had to break
away from her fast.
Just prior to 3:00AM, the group at CNN finally admitted that the
data gleamed from exit polls was off and proceeded to have a 15
minute conversation about why the data was so inaccurate. One
newscaster in their group said that the media had egg on their face,
again (referring to the debacle in the 2000 election), and was going
to have hell to pay for conveying their thought that Bush was doomed
earlier in the evening. Wolf Blitzer snapped back, "We didn't
verbally project any winner based on exit polls". The newscaster
responded, "Yes, but we sure did infer a lot of things".
Wolf Blitzer almost came unglued!
You could see the anger in his eyes as the panel of three other
CNN newsmen agreed that Ohio seemed to be firmly Bush's and they
should move it to the Bush column. After all, other networks, like
NBC, had scored it for Bush earlier in the evening. One of the panel
members, Larry King, even started shaking his head and muttered
..."seems clear to me". But, Wolf refused. Why? Resolutely he
proclaimed, "We will not move Ohio if Kerry is refuting the
Amazing! So, the actions of the Kerry campaign defines their
coverage and assessments of when a State should be moved to a