It’s been refreshing to see how the media has admitted it called things wrong over New Hampshire. Most have made the valid point that it was the pollsters that got it wrong and that even Hillary’s team thought they had done badly. Something obviously did happen to change minds and voting intentions in the last 24 hours that the polls and journalists couldn’t or didn’t spot.
Everyone from Jon Snow at Channel 4 News to Martin Kettle at the Guardian to the US media itself has been saying ‘oops’ about their coverage of Obama’s ‘victory’ which turned into Clinton’s ‘comeback’.
Kettle is right to say that journalism does get carried away at times, but he is also correct to say that it should be more careful not to:
It is in the nature of journalism that it surfs the wave. As the wave builds we ride it. As it dissolves we hop off and wait for the next one. But Hillary Clinton’s win in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary has so completely confounded press predictions that it would be scandalous if we simply hopped on to the next wave without saying anything about how wrong we all were.
As Martin Kettle points out, journalists are under more pressure than ever before with more deadlines and more platforms to service. But it is also an attitude of mind:
It might be a start if we stopped pretending that we are as knowledgeable as we affect to be. Too much modern journalism is little better than informed – and sometimes uninformed – guesswork.