Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Mr. Perspective Crushes It

A common theme in today's reports on yesterday's primaries is that Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in Michigan. Media outlets love extreme verbs like "crushed" -- even to describe comedy. Barely a week goes by without a headline like "John Oliver obliterates this" or "Samantha Bee destroys that."

But once again, some perspective needs to be injected. While Sanders' win in Michigan might be considered an upset, it happened in a state that does not allot its delegates on a winner-take-all basis. So, while Sanders did pick up 69 delegates in Michigan, Clinton picked up 61 -- that doesn't qualify as "crushing" to me -- and Nate Silver says she still has an overall lead of 770-551 pledged delegates.

Of course, news media love the horse-race aspects of this election almost as much as they love Donald Trump randomly calling in for a live-by-phone softball interview. If either the Republican or Democrat races were a runaway, it wouldn't be nearly as good a story -- which is why they keep playing up the prospect of a brokered GOP convention. The longer the question of who each party's candidate will be goes unanswered, the more they can keep viewers interested.

So if it means exaggerating the impact of any event, or hyping it with extreme verbs, or turning Wolf Blitzer's intensity up to DefCon 1 every afternoon, well, no problem, because they're "crushing" it in the ratings.

Previously on Harris Online...