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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Big Hype

Now that Barney Frank has easily defeated Sean Bielat, the question on every journalist's tongue should be "how were we so gullible to believe the hype?"

I can accept the tweets of GOP partisans -- that's what they do, just as I offer encouragement to liberals (although I like to think I have some facts and not undisclosed internal polls to work with.)

But I have real issues with the performance of a so-called major metropolitan newspaper that threw facts to the wind to lead cheers based on little more than non-existent lawn signs.

Even more troubling than the performance of the Mad Hatters of Herald Square may be that of the national media who bought the long-distance hype. That is even more troubling than the debacle in January when they missed the real Scott Brown wave and then piled on Martha Coakley for sins real and imagined.

The cardinal rule I followed as a reporter was get it first -- but get it right. The second half of the adage doesn't appear to hold true anymore as reporters now can succumb to the sweet siren calls
of the tweet.

Next time a brash candidate offers claims that his internal polls show him 10 points down to a powerful incumbent, reporters should recognize that internal polls are always going to be slanted in favor of the person who commissioned it. But at a bare minimum, they have an obligation to say "prove it," something they certainly failed to do this time around.

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