There is no prize for getting it right.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004, 9:18am PT  

Judy Woodruff on CNN was at it again yesterday, only reporting selective polls that were favorable to Bush instead of the several other available polls from the same dates which show Kerry leading, tied, or show a much smaller margin for Bush. That has been CNN's pattern all week.

The possibility that such one-sided reports might serve to dispirit Democrats and keep them away from the polls is potentially true. But brings up an issue I've often wondered about.

Why is it that Americans seem to regard voting in a Presidential Election as if they are placing a bet on a sporting event or something? It's as if there is some urge to vote on who they think will be the winner. This isn't a contest! You don't win a prize for picking the right guy! It's an election! Give your opinion about who you think should win the office!

We've heard so much in previous elections about "wasting your vote" if you voted for a third party candidate like Nader or Perot. True, a vote for Nader this year is certainly a vote for Bush, but in general, it's not a "waste" to vote for anybody you damn well please! There is no prize here for "getting it right"!

So it's troubling to see bad reporting from CNN and others about who's winning the horse-race, but perhaps even more troubling that such reporting should have any effect on that horse-race at all! Sadly, though, it does. So until we can help Americans to understand what the hell voting actually means the media would be far better serving this country if they figured out how to get their shit straight.

But --- since it seems to make a difference to you sports fans voters out there --- my money's still on Kerry! Now get out there a week from Tuesday and go win a million bucks!