Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spin, Spin, Spin

John Podhoretz tweets:
My prediction for NH: Whatever number Huntsman gets, the media will pronounce him the winner.
What's funny about this is that while I strongly suspect he's correct about the "neutral" press, it's also the case that what CNN or the NYT says is a whole lot less important than how the partisan press reacts. And the fun part is that they, too, are likely a lot less influenced by whatever the specific results might turn out to be, and a lot more influenced by which candidate(s) they are trying to support and attack. It's not that the raw results are irrelevant (obviously no one tried to spin Iowa as a win for Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann!), but that there's a lot of interaction between the results, the preferences of party actors, and perhaps also some of the same biases (for the unexpected, for example) that drive the neutral press.

So the truth is that if you really want to know the effects of  what happens in New Hampshire tonight, you want to see not just the numbers, but also how Fox News and other conservative outlets play the news. Because that, and not what CNN says, is going to be what South Carolina Republican primary voters are watching.

Meanwhile, I've never tried this, but I'll declare this a discussion thread for talking about the primary results as they come in. If anyone is interested. I'll be over on the twitter machine I guess, but I'll check in, and then I'll be writing something up for Greg's place later.


  1. How would you guys define a "market moving event", to me it seems like such a non-spin phrase. I've always thought that spin should come as horserace stuff (we'll come in in the top 3!) or comparitive adjectives (we will do well.) Or baring that a terrible analogy from war or boxing.

    In terms of returns romney seems to be doing worse (mid 30) than the polling suggests and nate silver said this is coming from his areas. I'd say paul is doing pretty well right now.

  2. Does this mean Huntsman has "beaten market expectations?" He sure beat Santorum. As I type this, Huntsman has more than 150% of the votes Santorum has gotten.

    All in all though, it sure seems like the NY Times take is going to be the dominant narrative: "Romney sweeps first two critical contest of Presidential nominating race."

  3. Actually, the MSNBC panel universally jeered Huntsman's speech. Not to say the objective or Dem partisan media don't prefer him, but a bit of a hole in JPod's theory.

    This liberal thinks Huntsman is done.

  4. Actually I would say that Santorum is now in 4th is big, in that once huntsman drops out the PA wonder will have the best shot as being the conservative alternative to Mittens or Ron Paul. That if it holds. (he is above newt by like 50 votes or something right now)

  5. Did Newt change up his campaign again? Romney isn't the enemy, now it's Obama. This guy spins so fast he makes me dizzy and nauseous.

  6. A while back, I posted a comment that Paul staying in the race is kind of good for the GOP because it keeps the primary from being a contest for the angriest old people votes. I still think that's true.
    But the next big event in this 2012 presidential race is not really being discussed yet. It is President Obama's SOTU address. If he does like he usually does and delivers a soaring, optimistic, and intelligent discourse, it will really ground some people about what the general election is going to be like. I also hope it makes pundits do some soul searching as to whether it's worth writing puff pieces about the Romney campaign just so they can play ball with Team Republican.

  7. @PA Politico, Last year Obama aimed for soaring rhetoric with his "Sputnik moment" and it didn't work because it ignored reality. This fall, his jobs speech was great, but the proposals that came afterward were too large and depended on raising taxes and deficits. The jobs proposal may have boosted Obama a bit, but not much. Based on this recent past, I doubt that the SOTU can do a lot for Obama.

    Nonetheless, I find your comments very thought-provoking, so thank you.


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