The press wants a three-way Senate race in Minnesota so badly they are starting to see messages in tea leaves, chicken entrails and smoky crystal balls. The prognostication on whether former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura would enter the race reached fever pitch this morning when NPR ran a story with this exchange: (emphasis added)
“He [Ventura] still insists he won’t announce whether he’s running until next Tuesday, the deadline in Minnesota, but when I tell him his rivals think he’s simply trying to promote his latest book, Ventura seems to reveal his true intentions. He angrily says he is running, primarily because of Coleman’s votes on the Iraq War, which Ventura vehemently opposes. “That’s the reason I run, not to sell books. I run because it angers me.” And here’s Ventura again sounding as if he’s already made up his mind. “And all you Minnesotans, take a good hard look at all three of us, and you decide if you were in a dark alley, which one of the three of us would you want with you?”
Notably, NPR did not run the story with the headline “Ventura confirms Senate run” they went with the slightly less internet breaking but more confusing “GOP Senator in Minnesota Faces Colorful Challengers”. Is Senator Coleman facing more than one (credible) challenger or not? At 9:20am ABC Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper decided he would make NPR’s mind up for them with the headline: “Jesse Ventura to Run for Senate”
At which point the foot shooting began in earnest! Both indepedent and legacy media were caught up in the misfire (see the full list below).
The UpTake, while citizen run, maintains a vigourous editorial review process and actually listened to the entire NPR audio story in full. We commented thusly:
Hedged to the brink to be certain but accurate as we could make it based on the facts. At 9:58am Ventura spoke with the AP to explain that reports of his untimely campaign confirmation had been greatly exaggerated. ABC changed their headline in response:
Subtle but key difference. That’s why all I learned about journalism comes from The X-Files. Trust no one.
This post written by The UpTake’s Senior Political Correspondent Noah Kunin