Sunday, October 03, 2004

Scalded cats

One striking detail emerged unnoticed from the postmortems following Thursday's debate: none of the major media (ie, "Big 3" networks, New York Times, Washington Post) dared to assert the obvious--ie, that Sen. Kerry badly outpointed Pres. Bush. They hemmed; they hawed; they equivocated; they quibbled. None displayed overt symptoms of dementia praecox, yet none was willing to say that Kerry had won and Bush had lost. At least they were unwilling to do so until the first poll results were released.

Conclusion: they are terrified that the charges of leftward media bias are finally gaining public traction. They watched closely as CBS News' ratings plummeted and appear to have drawn sobering lessons from Rathergate. They are desperate not to be seen to favor Kerry. It seems likely that the effects will linger through the rest of the campaign, although things will probably return to something approaching normal as the shock passes.

A French proverb (those who sneer at the Global Test can quote French proverbs with impunity):

"Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide."

The scalded cat fears cold water.