Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Tea Party vs. the news

Jerry Stratton, August 25, 2010

Talk about ignoring the elephant in the election results. Google News compiles what newspapers are talking about: John McCain, incumbent, wins1. (You should be able to make your browser window wider to make the images wider, or just click on them to see them semi-full-size.)

Even the newspaper that did mention Alaska on Google News had to make sure we also heard about McCain in the same awkward headline. “Murkowski lags behind in Alaska as McCain cruises to victory in Arizona”. (Miller? Miller who?)

From what I’ve been able to glance through this morning, those journalists that are covering Joe Miller’s possible upset are, like Bloomberg, always making sure to contrast McCain’s win with Miller’s possible win as paradoxical: incumbents vs. challengers. Who knows what the people want in this chaotic year? But there is one thing McCain and Miller had in common that might also have influenced their wins in this chaotic year: an endorsement.

Update, Wednesday afternoon

It looks as though the newspapers had stories all ready to go trumpeting “incumbents win, tea parties lose”. The hoped-for meme across the news-sphere was primed in this pre-results Washington Post headline: “Primaries test establishment vs. outsiders in Florida, Arizona and Alaska”. The hoped-for answer was “Washington Veterans Take Senate Primaries”. That was the New York Times headline, up on their web site on August 24—and a version of it, according to the web site, in the paper edition of August 25!

In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski also faced an insurgent candidate, the Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, but after outspending him significantly she appeared to have a comfortable lead heading into the primary.

But the establishment candidate didn’t take in Florida, and there’s a good chance the establishment will also lose in Alaska.2

So it’s not surprising that a lot of national publications are focusing on the one-out-of-three race in Arizona, as you can see in the Google News image above.

MSNBC broke the gates and also showed how much they were pulling for the establishment with their own headline, “First thoughts: Anger trumps accomplishments”.

Not principle or policy, just anger. Well, at least they’re talking about it. But it seems to me that beating an party incumbent in a party primary is itself a major accomplishment.

  1. And, of course, Lindsey Lohan and Tiger Woods.

  2. I really need to finish my review of Fit to Print. It seems the Times is always doing their readers the disservice of misrepresenting the news to the point that they end up having to surprise their readers when the true state of affairs becomes impossible to ignore.

  1. <- The coming crisis
  2. Stop, look, and listen ->