That's right, according to AP tonight, following the just released final ruling [PDF] from the 3-judge election contest court in Minnesota, Senator-elect Al Franken (D-MN) is not the "winner" of the election. Rather, he's merely the "leading vote-getter."
Are they kidding?! "Leading vote-getter"?! Apparently not.
Will that be how AP reports the results of elections on Election Nights from now on? The one with the most votes counted in the unofficial results will be the "leading vote-getter"? Somehow, we've got the feeling that AP's headline refers only to this race, and only since it's Franken, not Coleman, who actually won.
As The BRAD BLOG pointed out late last week, Franken isn't "leading" as the New York Times, MSNBC and others reported it last week after the court's final tally of all lawfully cast ballots concluded. And he certainly isn't the "leading vote-getter." Franken won. After one of the most painstaking and transparent hand counts, and then one of the longest election contests in U.S. history, it has been determined that Franken received more lawfully cast votes than anybody else in the race. Period. Furthermore, he has no legal leg to stand on in his likely appeal(s), as we detailed last week. All of that makes Franken the winner of the election, and former Sen. Norm Coleman the loser.
If Coleman wishes to try to overturn Franken's win --- and he's promised an appeal to the MN Supreme Court at the very least --- that's up to him. But Franken won the election. Got that AP? New York Times, et al?! Is that so difficult to report accurately?!
UPDATE 5:41pm PT: The rest of the media, other than AP, appear to be doing better in reporting on Franken's win tonight...
UPDATE 7:13pm PT: NY Times' headline: "In Minnesota, Another Blow to Coleman". Apparently "the paper of record" continues it's allergy to the word "win," along with AP. Downplaying the facts of the matter, Adam Nagourney writes tonight:
"Further diminishes his hopes of holding onto his seat"?! That, despite the rather clear pronouncement in the MN court's ruling today [PDF]:
Is that unclear?! In most worlds, other than the Times' and AP's in 2009, that would mean Franken has won. But the Times, like AP, just can't seem to say it. Now why would that be?
UPDATE 7:53pm PT: A commenter at DU notes wryly:
Pittsburgh Steelers Leading Touchdown-Scorer
UNC Tarheels Leading Basket-Maker