Everyone, perhaps intimidated by the vision of another Michael Moore documentary accusing them of calling victory prematurely, put the science aside and waited for the politicians to make a move. When John Kerry called the White House to concede, suddenly the anchors mysteriously found the secret math in the trashcan that would allow them to call Ohio and/or Nevada. This is the very definition of pack journalism: the TV news elite huddled in a mob, politically calculating, wanting less to get the call right than to avoid the wrath of angry liberals stuck on the losing end of the results again.
In an interview with David Letterman, Tom Brokaw admitted, "The White House was very eager for us to call one of those states. As long as John Kerry and company were contesting Ohio, I was determined not to do that. We were confident in our judgment about Ohio, but we don't declare presidential winners."
That's ridiculous. Tom Brokaw is concluding a long career doing precisely that. Can you imagine Brokaw struggling to call Reagan's victory in 1984? He certainly didn't shrink from declaring Bill Clinton the victor twice. But since 2000, the media elite have been sensitized to the idea that victory declarations foreclose options for Democrats and their band of barristers.
Brokaw added that he understood the Kerry people "were going to go back and contest the provisional ballots, thinking that they could put together a combination in the upper Midwest and maybe find a winning formula there." Declaring victory would have made the Democrat lawyering look desperate, so the liberal media put the race in suspended animation until Kerry threw in the towel.
On some level, it's poetically appropriate that the presidential campaign would end where it began, with the big network stars betraying their great sensitivity to the needs of the candidate now back at Beacon Hill, wondering why his perception of victory had no relation to reality.