The Media Freak-Out Over Iowa

Iowa freak-outThere is no better illustration of the disconnect between the concerns of the American media and those of the voting public than today’s bizarre media freak-out about a slight delay in reporting the results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

I am not one of those people who doesn’t follow  politics. I read three or four newspapers every morning and listen regularly to numerous politics podcasts. I vote in every primary and general election. I have been following the campaigning in Iowa on a daily basis for weeks, to the point of boredom.

So when I woke up this morning, I was curious to see if the Iowa results were in. I figured it might take a couple of days to know who won, with so many candidates.

And I was greeted by one of the weirdest media overreactions I’ve ever experienced, with journalists declaring a disaster, even a catastrophe, because a glitch in an app and overtaxed phone lines had slowed down reporting of the results. They had apparently started freaking about it the night before. This is in spite of the fact that the count was backed up on paper (as all elections should be), so there was no apparent danger that any votes would go uncounted.

After listening to the reasons for this tizzy, I confess I am still kind of baffled. It seems that they are very, very upset about the delay because it will make it harder for whoever the winner was to get momentum, or raise funds, or something. And it will mean that the Iowa vote might not be decisive in choosing the nominee. As if that was a bad thing. For somebody who’s not from Iowa, and not a journalist, any dimunition in the outsized influence of Iowa sounds like a great idea.

Interestingly, among my politically engaged friends, there was no visible online interest in the news from Iowa this morning. I assume that’s because the count wasn’t finished, so there was nothing to say about it.

~ by lolarusa on February 5, 2020.

2 Responses to “The Media Freak-Out Over Iowa”

  1. Verily. I do hope the media overreaction pushes us towards a Georgia-first nomination in 2024, though. Or better yet….some kind of series of national primaries with ranked choice voting, etc etc

  2. I think some of the media’s anger is misdirected – but as a Sanders supporter, I can’t ignore nagging worries about DNC sabotage.

    In my Florida precinct in 2004 10,000 Dem votes for president disappeared from the new paperless electronic voting machines. Ballots recorded votes for other offices and measures but left votes for pres (Kerry) blank. Before submitting my ballot I only happened to notice my vote had disappeared – so I re-entered it. Curiously, UC Berkeley researchers found that Bush votes exceeded Bush voter turnout stats.

    Today, an Iowa precinct chair explains that yesterday, partial (“confirmed”) results released by the Dem Party ignored the results he gave them and awarded his precinct’s Sanders’ delegates to Duval Patrick (who had no votes in his precinct)!

    Hard to believe such an error is purely coincidental. Check out the interview on Democracy Now -https://www.democracynow.org/2020/2/6/iowa_caucuses_bernie_sanders_shadow_app

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