Blogs Gone Wild: Exit Poll Leak Becomes a Gusher

Campaign Desk is starting to feel like the indignant moralist who loudly informs everyone within earshot that there is nudity on channel 35 at 10:15 pm every other night. Nonetheless…

The early exit poll numbers from five states conducting primaries today are now all over the blogosphere: In addition to Drudge, Josh Marshall, the Daily Kos, Glenn Reynolds, and Chris Suellentrop for Slate all link to the numbers, either on National Review, or at Political Wire, which seems to have its own source, and which hasn’t yet responded to Campaign Desk’s request for comment.

Political Wire did the same thing in New Hampshire, though nobody raised a peep. Some readers have written in to suggest that since National Review’s The Corner, and Political Wire, are blogs, rather than more traditional news outlets, and since they likely did not have contracts with the poll organizers, they’re bound by different rules than, say, The Washington Post. By the standards of contract law, that may be true. But in terms of journalistic ethics, it’s a copout. Once the numbers are out there, they’re out there, and possibly influencing voters who haven’t yet made it to the polls.

And that the culprits are blogs, and not networks, doesn’t let them off the hook.

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.