The Washington Post

Understanding Iowa

Jon Bernstein worked up a 10-point viewer’s guide to interpreting the results of the Iowa Caucus. Among his warnings:

3. Remember that what matters out of Iowa is the spin.

4. Remember that the spin will be influenced by two main things: press biases, and party actors.

5. I count three big releveant press biases. One is that “news” trumps “not news,” which means that surprises get more coverage than whatever is expected to happen — which is where the expectations game really does matter. The second is that the press has limited capacity, and can only really handle one big and one minor story line. The third is that there’s a press bias in favor of portraying the nomination contest as close and uncertain.

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