I just picked up office copies of today’s New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, with an eye to comparing their coverage of a historic night. The Post and Times were falling all over themselves to broadcast the Iowa results–in both papers, some 60 percent of page A1 (above the fold) is devoted to full-color announcement of the Huckabee/Obama wins. Barack and Michelle smile and wave; Huckabee signs things for tots; the feeling on these pages is one of confetti-tossing joy.
Not so in the Journal. The major headline reads: “PCs Take a Stylish Turn in Bid to Rival Apple.” A thin right-hand column about the importance of independents in New Hampshire bears the burden of election coverage, with a lede that only hints at the Iowa result while breezily discounting its importance. The inside coverage, on A8, is a dour rehash of pre-caucus informatics, featuring half-hearted charts and now-dated poll averages.
Murdoch and company’s sin of omission is well-noted. Non-conspiracy theorists may submit that the WSJ went to press before editors could cobble together a story on the caucuses (called by networks c. 8:55 and 9:25pm). But to me this reads as unsubtle protectionism–shielding establishment candidates (and WSJ darlings) Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton from their own poor showings, and making Iowa into a Non-Story for their readers. This also happens to be horrific journalism. Earth to Murdoch: Get someone on deadline to write up the biggest story of this short year, or get out of the business.
P.S. The website got it together by morning, but grudgingly.
via//New Republic, The