By Curtis Houck
Before many Iowa caucus sites even had attendees cast their ballots, most national news organizations projected former President Trump as the winner, leading to cries of election interference (despite most admitting that was already going to be the outcome), particularly from the campaign of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Early Tuesday, CBS Mornings and co-host Tony Dokoupil went against the grain and, unlike ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today, acknowledged the early call and conceded “there’s got to be a better way” for news organizations to make sure projections.
Dokoupil tossed from Iowa back to his co-hosts in New York in the first half-hour with that observation, saying he had “to point…out” that
“the decision last night by the AP, many news organizations, including CBS, to project a win for Donald Trump just 30 minutes into the night, while some people were still caucusing — most people were still caucusing, it did not go well – it didn’t – did not go over well inside the site where I was.”
To give the other side of the coin, Dokoupil explained what news organizations – including his own – have argued as their rationale:
“[O]ur call was because of information that we share with other news organizations that is gathered by the precinct pool reporters who go in person to caucus sites. They poll Iowans as they enter about who they’re going to vote for. We vet the information, and then we make the call, that projection.”
Dokoupil set that aside to continue with his lament that, while some had “caucused already,” others hadn’t formally cast ballots yet and such was the case at the site he covered where
“news alerts started going off on people’s phones” even though “no one had, in fact, cast a ballot”.
Not surprisingly, Dokoupil relayed, such a move “just all the energy drained out of the room.”
While a Trump blowout was a foregone conclusion, it’s no surprise that the press don’t have any remorse about possibly depressing the true intentions of voters if, say, they were contemplating a vote for one of the other candidates.
This led to Dokopuil’s main frustration and closing thought:
“I have to say, there’s got to be a better way to do it than that.”
Co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King replayed that she “was wondering that exact same thing” when watching Monday night’s coverage.
Whether it was time running out or he just didn’t care, pompous fill-in host John Dickerson pivoted away by thanking Dokoupil for being “in the room to report that”.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.