Another sad example of how our election coverage works happened with the Hillary “crying” thing. She didn’t cry. She simply welled up a bit, but “the moment” has taken on a life of its own now.
There was an incredible amount of debate happening on the cable news shows about whether the tear was fake or not. (video at thinkprogress). A lot of debate over it’s authenticity, the timing, the female thing, how it will play with 19-23 year old single mothers who like romance novels demographic, but not really any talk about why on earth this type of thing should be covered and psychoanalyzed to death.
Voters who clam to deride this horserace stuff rewarded the pundits for covering this nonsense and let if affect their judgement. It seems to have played a part in how some people voted. Congratulations. You have just validated their firmly held belief that things like welling up and $400 dollar haircuts are topic worthy of lengthy discussion.
New Hampshire voters imagined themselves as bravely rejecting the pollsters and pundits “deciding it for them.” I don’t really get this since the polls were based on the candidates those same voters told them they were going to vote for a few days before. They apparently pride themselves on making up their mind at the last minute based on a whim, a tear, a pretty speech, whatever. It’s not as if any policy changes happened from any democratic candidates between Iowa and New Hampshire. The intervening time was simply a chance for the candidates to capture undecided voters who may be swayed by a calming hand gesture or making eye contact with them as you move through a crowd.
Hillary of course is the “comeback kid” now with her amazing “come from behind” story of a presumptive nominee leading in national polls losing to Obama in one state and staying down in the polls for five days, then returning to how it was previously projected in New Hampshire. A truly exhilarating story of overcoming insurmountable odds that I’m sure will inspire Americans for generations.
It also presented yet another easy news peg for lazy cartoonists who didn’t want to think that day. They do this every week though, literally wasting space in newspapers. Pat Oliphant was one of the worst offenders, exaggerating her into a whining female that our nefarious enemies will laugh at. This is typical behavior for the all-males club that is editorial cartooning. Kevin Moore dissects the comic here.