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Quiet media night explodes suddenly, Rove protests
But it was a far different media world anyway. 2012 was notable for the vast array of outlets that an interested consumer could command to create their own media experience on multiple screens. Web sites offered deep drill-downs in data and social media hosted raucous conversations.
"If you started a drinking game with the words 'exit poll' in it, please stop now. You will die!" tweeted TV critic Tim Goodman.
Obama's Twitter account tweeted a picture of the president hugging first lady Michelle Obama, and it was retweeted more than 400,000 times. Twitter said it was its most retweeted message ever.
Earlier in the evening, journalists took special care not to rely too heavily on exit polls. Perhaps they remembered how misleading exit polls in 2004 led TV networks astray then or perhaps, in CBS' Bob Schieffer's words, its results this year were too contradictory.
News outlets carefully parsed information and sometimes used the same facts for contradictory conclusions.
Fox News analyst Brit Hume noted an exit poll finding that 42 percent of voters said Superstorm Sandy was an important factor in their vote, suggesting that was a positive for Obama since he was widely considered to have been effective in his response. With the same information, the web site Politico headlined: "Exit Survey: Sandy Not a Factor."
There was a certain amount of vamping time, too. Glenn Beck's online network, The Blaze, had a blackboard straight out of the 1960s as a tote board. Beck killed time on the air by asking for cookie dough ice cream from the on-set food bar.
"Waffle cone, please," Beck said.
When Sawyer asked David Muir for the latest news from the Romney campaign, he reported the family had pasta for dinner and the candidate indulged in his favorite peanut butter and honey sandwich.
The media personality with perhaps the most on the line was Nate Silver of The New York Times, whose FiveThirtyEight blog was sought out by 20 percent of the people who visited the newspaper's website on Monday. He has used statistical data throughout the campaign to predict an Obama victory and by Tuesday, had forecast a 90.9 percent chance that Obama would win.
After Obama's victory became clear, Gavin Purcell, producer of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," tweeted that "Nate Silver is the only white male winning tonight." CNN's Piers Morgan tweeted Silver an invitation to appear on his show Wednesday.
Television Writers Frazier Moore in New York and Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.