Perhaps providing a window into the mind of journalists, MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Friday appeared shocked that a Democrat might lose in next week’s Massachusetts Senate election. "This is bad," fretted the Daily Rundown co-host. [Audio available here.]
She prefaced that comment by ominously observing, "With just four days to go in the race for Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat, a new poll is terrible news for Democrats." Discussing the numbers with co-host Chuck Todd and NBC political director Mark Murray, Guthrie marveled, "Chuck, I'm interested now. NBCs deputy political director, Mark Murray, joins us now. This is bad." [UPDATE: Guthrie responds. See below.]
Todd described Republican Scott Brown’s four point lead over Martha Coakley in more neutral terms: "It is big. This is big." So, were Guthrie’s words meant to indicate that things are "bad" for the Democrats? Or is this another Freudian slip by a liberal journalist?
It should also be pointed out that Guthrie used the preferred liberal term for the race, “Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat.” The MSNBC also graphic screamed, “Poll Shocker: Special Election for Kennedy Seat.”
UPDATE: 2010-01-15 12:38:39
The MRC’s Ken Shepherd Tweeted Guthrie for comment. She replied, “yes, I meant bad for democrats. Thought that was obvious; I should have been clearer. Thanks."
A transcript of the January 15 segment, which aired at 9:10am EST, follows:
MSNBC GRAPHIC: Poll Shocker: Special Election for Kennedy Seat
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Moving now to campaign politics. It is a nail biter in Massachusetts. With just four days to go in the race for Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat, a new poll is terrible news for Democrats. The 60th vote in the Senate, maybe health care, hanging in the balance. Chuck, I'm interested now. NBCs deputy political director, Mark Murray joins us now. This is bad.
CHUCK TODD: It is big. This is big. What's going on?
MARK MURRAY: It is humongous. Right. Savannah mentioned there’s a brand-new poll from Suffolk University that shows the Republican in the race, Scott Brown, ahead by four points. There was another poll that was out for a Democrat-leaning group showing the Democrat in the race, Martha Coakley, up by eight. But no matter what, this race is a toss-up. The two big political handicappers in Washington, Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg have the race as a toss-up. There's a flurry of activity and there really is the perception that the Republican could end up winning this race, which is a humongous turn of events from last month after the Democratic primary when everyone thought the Democrat was going to win.
TODD: Very quickly, turnout is why some of these poll numbers- everybody's got a different model. High turnout, does it benefit the Democrat in this case, or maybe not?
MURRAY: Well, the conventional wisdom, as we pointed out in First Read today, says that a nationalized election, more people turning out benefits the Democrat in this Democratic-leaning state. But, if you really think about independents and independents are really breaking towards Scott Brown, the Republican in this race, the more independents, the bigger turnout might turn that conventional wisdom on its head and actually end up benefitting Brown.