But the press has continued to obsess over momentum, even though there hasn't been much on display. Four years ago, for example, the press rushed to declare Howard Dean dead and John Kerry the electable Democrat, and the Democratic voters went along with the storyline. So, how'd that work out for them? This year, voters haven't played along, but the press keeps trying to end the nomination process ASAP.
Partly, this momentum infatuation is due to the media's love of a narrative. But it also is driven by journalists' incentive structures. They get rewarded for making predictions, but aren't penalized for making wrong predictions.
I just have the wrong personality for this profession. I don't make many predictions (at least not the kind of predictions that people want to hear — but I do make plenty of predictions that people find depressing and boring) because I hate being wrong about anything. For example, it was recently proven that one section of an article I wrote seven years ago was wrong. I wrote in 2000: "So, at this point, allegations [of steroid use] against [sprinter] Marion Jones remain mostly guilt-by-association." Ever since she confessed, it's eaten away at me that I was wrong about that.