"WE REPORT, YOU FORGET" | 2004-03-13

On Tuesday, March 2, 2004 a number of states held their primaries to select the Democratic presidential nominee. That day there was enormous competition among the media to report every scrap of information that came along.

The problem is that as a primary vote is going on, everything is pretty predictable. That makes the news reports boring. Anything that is not routine is pure gold for the media. One unusual thing did happen: There was private telephone conversation between the two top contenders, Kerry and Edwards.

So the media reported that that talk took place.

Everything else was routine. Everybody knew that Kerry would win all the primaries with lopsided majorities. He did. Edwards was hanging in there despite the fact that he had lost all but one primary.

Then came a real shocker. Edwards suddenly withdrew his candidacy.

That night, the commentators said something like this

Liberal: "That was a surprise! Edwards was hanging in there and suddenly he just quit. How could that have happened?"

Conservative Commentator: "Gee whiz, I don't know! It's just one of those things you can't explain, I guess."

Nobody I heard mentioned the unusual private talk Kerry had had with Edwards.

John Kerry is a Massachusetts liberal. He has an enormous immunity to press criticism.

But what if a Republican front-runner in the primaries had an unusual private talk with his only remaining rival as the primary results came in? And what if his opponent then suddenly dropped out?

Would anybody forget that that little talk took place? And would anybody have any doubt about what that little talk was about?

By the way, one successful presidential nominee was reported to have promised the vice-presidential slot to twenty-four different people.