On November 5, the Associated Press put out a story on how the so-called Bradley Effect theory is now finished. You’ll remember the Bradley Effect as the effect that was sure to defeat Barack Obama because all whites are secretly racists and, therefore, wouldn’t have voted for the man when it came time. You’ll also remember that just about every wire service and every paper was filled with discussion about all those hick, racist whites and every TV tongue was wagging about it. But, now that this mythic theory has been proven a bust, will the Old Media say much to correct the record?
So, what about it? Are all whites secret racists with the Bradley Effect having proven they won’t vote for a black man, or is it a great humbug now proven faulty? The AP, for its part, comes down on the side of the later. The Bradley Effect is kaput. Several other sources, including NPR and The New York Times, also celebrate the end of the soundness of the Bradley Effect. In fact, quite a few Old Media sources seem happy to kill the Bradley Effect as a sound theory. How could they not? After all, Barack Obama got more votes than the “first black president,” Bill Clinton. It all seems like sunny days are here again. But…
As I researched how the press is reporting the obvious end of the Bradley Effect, I turned to Google News to see the index of the latest stories. I typed it in and hit the search button. What I found was interesting. It isn’t as “scientific” as a Lexis/Nexis search, but it is still a small measure of the media’s interest.
Now, while it is true that most of the Old Media sources have a story about the demise of the theory, when comparing the enthusiasm with which they covered it on and before November 4 to how often it has been covered from later in the day on November 4 to the 5, 6, and 7, I noticed a steep drop off from the days before the election to the days afterward.
So, it looks like the Media’s interest in those racist whites was not so intense after the election — when it was proven that whites weren’t racist — than it was before when the speculation was thick that Obama might lose the election because of the fear that those darn whites were all so obviously secret KKK members.
In fact, between November 4 and 7, Google News shows but one and one half pages of stories talking about the demise of the Bradley Effect. Yet, during the morning of and the three days before the election, Google News shows three and one half pages of stories talking about the Bradley Effect.
I find it quite interesting how intensely the media talked about how it was sure to prove to be that whites were too racist to vote for The One before the election, but less interesting to them to correct the record afterward.
Still, that is a quibble compared to the fact that there has indeed been many stories happily proclaiming the death of the Bradley Effect. Mark this one up as a good NB report. The Old Media actually covered the end of something that has for years given losing candidates an excuse for losing instead of having to face the fact that they were simply just horrible candidates. Even as the Old Media was a tad less enthusiastic to cover the end of the assumption that all whites were racists — apparently it was more fun for them to call every white a racist — they still reported it. So, giving credit where credit is due, the Old Media gets a silver star for this one.
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