Let’s Try That Scene Again

Thanks to an alert reader, Campaign Desk pulled up the transcripts from National Public Radio’s Wednesday morning coverage of the New Hampshire primary. There we found two bloopers.

Bob Edwards, the host of Morning Edition, asked Juan Williams, a regular NPR political correspondent, what he thinks Dean’s prospects are after losing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Williams responded, “There’s just no history of anyone losing both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary and then going on to win the nomination.”

Well, actually there is, Juan. A politician named Bill Clinton lost both Iowa and New Hampshire just 12 years ago, roared back to take the Democratic nomination and, thence, the White House.

Earlier in the day, Williams had gotten his facts right when he cited polling data that showed Howard Dean winning the vote among young voters between the ages of 18-29. Unfortunately, later that same morning, NPR’s Mara Liasson contradicted Williams when she reported that John Kerry “won among young voters.” He didn’t. He finished a close second to Dean with that particular demographic, losing by just one percentage point.

We don’t ask for a lot here at CampaignDesk. But we do expect our national news outlets to know their way around a few facts — like who won what, and when.

— T.L.

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.