Fewer than 1% of homeowners put political signs in their yards because it’s no one else’s business as to how they vote. That’s why media reports about election “polls” are so whacked. The sample size of willing participants is tiny. And usually wrong.
Do pollsters get paid or are they producing these elaborate pranks for free? Modern polling is terribly flawed and only advances lazy journalism.
A media outlet will only post or broadcast poll results if (a) they have space to fill, (b) there is a shocking change from previous polling, or (c) a media person with the authority to choose whether a “story” merits publication is happily amplifying their own bias.
With Kentucky’s election just a few weeks away, it is telling as to which “stories” are advanced on the electorate.
— Lexington Herald-Leader (@heraldleader) October 16, 2019
A few months ago on the radio, I asked Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin for his response to a new “poll” that listed him as the least popular governor in America.
“I love it,” said Bevin. “What does that say about (Kentucky) Democrats who can’t beat a guy like that.”
The most recent Morning Consult poll now lists Bevin as the second least popular governor. So, yeah, the Bevin-hating Herald Leader was all over it “as Election Day draws near.”
Do you think it would have been a story if Matt Bevin had been listed as one of the most popular governors? Of course not. That would not advance the narrative of the editor or publisher who determines what information is worthy of becoming a story. Further decisions are made as to the story’s placement and repetition over several days.
Polls are just polls and humans compile polling data with little input from a shy electorate. Those same humans have their own biases that may skew the math.
Online and print media also message through photo selection. A lot of editorializing is packed into side-by-side photos of political opponents. Think there’s any bias in this salon.com photo pairing?
On election day 2014, The Courier Journal sold the front page overlay ad to Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in her supposed “dead heat” contest against Senator Mitch McConnell. The CJ’s management created a pseudo fantasy front page instructing readers to vote for Grimes.
The next morning, the “dead heat” polling was ridiculously wrong. The Courier was forced to publish a thundering “IT’S MITCH” headline, fully illustrating the newspaper’s detachment from its customer base’s reality.
Breathless pre-election reports of “dead heat” drama from most Kentucky media evaporated. A newspaper photo caption reported that McConnell “handily” defeated Grimes. Politico accurately reported that McConnell trounced Grimes.
So much for dead heats. There is no way that the 2019 gubernatorial election is in a dead heat headlock. I pick Bevin by at least 6 percentage points, and newcomer Daniel Cameron to win by more than 4%.
I voted for John Yarmuth and Mitch McConnell. I am a hybrid voter who chooses my candidates according to what they can do to help Kentucky and my hometown Louisville.
Yarmuth is the Budget Committee chairman and McConnell is Senate Majority Leader. His wife is on President Trump’s cabinet. Governor Matt Bevin is close with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
It is unlikely that our little state will ever have this much federal power again. All 50 states are in play for federal money and muscle and having Kentuckians sitting at the big table makes a huge difference.
I get caustic mail from more Liberals than Conservatives, but nutballs from both the left and right clapback at me over things I say or write. They even get upset when I’m being sarcastic.
Here’s a New York Times opinion writer expressing the truth about liberal media bias. He then goes on to say that he prefers self-correcting liberal bias over right wing radio and Fox News, or the superiority of his bias over someone else’s.
What’s to complain about when your groupthink is 93% of the total media universe? To discern any media person’s personal bias, just check their Twitter feed. The combination of tweets and replies to other tweets paints the full picture.
Remember President Barack Obama’s hilariously true zinger at the 2009 White House Correspondents Dinner? “Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me.”
Media favoritism for Democrats is on full display leading up to every election. Most people who work in the business are Liberals. POLITICO chronicled the “media bubble” crisis in 2017, illustrating the longstanding majority of liberal groupthink centered on the east and west coasts.
Even The Washington Post acknowledged that only 7% of journalists identify as Republicans. That number is even lower in management enclaves that wield the power to advance stories, edit the tenor of each story, and decide which stories to ignore.
Prior to the Trump era, do you recall any Lexington Herald Leader or Louisville Courier Journal headline bemoaning the cost of a visit by Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth, or any other world leader?
The lack of neutral reporting is harmful to society because consumer trust is all but gone. This crushes all media industries because journalists use political favoritism to stoke divisiveness.
Look at these overtly biased Lexington Herald Leader side-by-side headlines about the candidates for attorney general. The Democrat hopeful just wants to help. The young Republican is clearly a pawn of evil GOP elders. Yeah, that’s fair and impartial news reporting.
This chart illustrates journalists’ political allegiances through 2013. Granted, it’s a “poll” so it has to be taken with a grain of salt. That aside, it mirrors my experiences over a 43 year broadcast career of working with journalists. I don’t need to see this poll because I have lived it.
The Louisville and Lexington newsrooms where I’ve worked are heavily tilted toward Democrats who broadcast/publish/post exaggerated fawning of progressive stances. Mind you, these newsrooms are in conservative Kentucky! Imagine the slant in newsrooms cocooned in Blue States.
Kentucky political writer Al Cross recently addressed the issue of impartiality in journalism, citing the driving mission of seeking truth without political bias. Cross has a naive belief that people can check their personalities at the door and do impartial news reporting.
Yes, @GovMattBevin can be charming and persuasive, but he tries to rewrite history and likes to give lectures, especially to people who are trained and paid to ask tough questions of politicians. https://t.co/eK5zam7W3U | https://t.co/eK5zam7W3U https://t.co/DXDBNSoZoY
— Al Cross (@ruralj) October 18, 2019
from the Al Cross piece:
The Lexington Herald Leader and Louisville Courier Journal are not shy about their favoritism for Democrats. Year after year, both newspapers tout Liberals and criticize Conservatives. Al Cross wants to believe that journalists don’t let their emotions and biases skew their work, but that’s just not possible. Every human being applies their own biases into everything they do.
Mid-October launches a parade of endorsements for Liberals by both major newspapers, a decades-old template where they fill in the name of the current Democrat and use the same list of accolades from past published coronations.
Editorial: The Lexington Herald-Leader endorses Greg Stumbo for Kentucky Attorney General https://t.co/XT3Fog5fZ8
— Lexington Herald-Leader (@heraldleader) October 18, 2019
Neither The Courier-Journal or Lexington Herald Leader mentioned Greg Stumbo’s embarrassing issues with denial of paternity, nonpayment of child support, or his court motion to avoid buying a Christmas gift for his child.
The Herald Leader did mention Stumbo’s “personal peccadilloes” but did not elaborate.
I agree that these issues are private life matters and should not be part of an editorial endorsement for a candidate’s worthiness. Nonetheless, there is a 100% chance that these issues would be published as important background info if the candidate were a Republican.
You’ll be shocked to know that just two weeks before the 2019 election, The Courier-Journal posted a story comparing use of the state plane by Republican Governor Matt Bevin vs. his Democrat predecessor Governor Steve Beshear. The Courier doggedly reports how Bevin is bad and Beshear was good! Wow! That’s impartial journalism at its best!!!
How Kentucky governors use state aircraft to raise money for their reelection campaigns https://t.co/C95UtLIckc
— Courier Journal (@courierjournal) October 21, 2019
Governor Matt Bevin did make a major gaffe in an October 26 debate where he denied saying that a gambler commits suicide in a casino every night in America. Well, he DID say it on July 31st in an interview with a Cadiz radio station.
Yes, it’s true that heavy gamblers do have high rates of suicide, but there is no evidence that a troubled gambler commits suicide EVERY NIGHT in an American casino.
In last night's debate, Matt Bevin tried to say with absolute certainty that he never made his false and erratic claim that someone commits suicide in a casino every night.@MattBevin, you asked for the tape, so we found it for you. pic.twitter.com/SUqHmL9uWW
— Andy Beshear (@AndyBeshearKY) October 27, 2019
This is a valid news story because Bevin absolutely denied making the statement and demanded that his opponent Andy Beshear produce the tape, which he did the next day.
Now THAT’S a pre-election story it illustrates the incumbent’s intentional misdirection, failed memory, over dramatization, or inability to accurately reflect statistical knowledge.
When any person with media power is presented some tidbit that they don’t agree with, they have the option to ignore the story. Others may consider it newsworthy, but person(s) in charge are overriding editors. If it’s something they don’t agree with, they don’t give it further magnification and hope it withers away. Why pick at a scab when it will go away if you just leave it alone?
Just as photo selection can illustrate an editor’s bias, so does story placement in print versions of newspapers. The Courier’s ongoing series examining a Republican governor’s flight schedule with that of his Democrat predecessor is irrelevant. It’s a comparison of unconnected events from each governor’s work schedule. Apples and oranges.
For an empowered media manager, it’s a manufactured slapdown posted on Page One days before the newspaper’s nemesis is up for re-election.
Google the Courier Journal front pages from the weeks leading up to Governor Steve Beshear’s 2011 re-election campaign. Not a problem to be found. Just stories about a solid Democrat trying to do the right thing.
Hmm. Journalism is not just facts, it is personal for media people with editorial authority.
Here’s the Lexington Herald Leader’s fresh endorsement of Democrat Andy Beshear.
The opening paragraphs illustrate the paper’s track record of choosing Democrats because, well, that’s what they do.
Here’s the side-by-side photo pairing used after the 4th debate. The Democrat is bathed in stage light and looking up toward the Heavens. The Republican is looking defensive, eyes darting away, in a poorly lit photo not connected to the debate.
Surely the photographer at the debate snapped pics of both candidates. Editorial partisanship was put into play and a person with power skewed the view once again.
American media is under massive financial downsizing for a variety of reasons. Torching half of the customer base with constant electioneering for one political party only deepens the erosion. Angry opponents turn away and Democrat fans don’t need further validation. Media love for Democrats is tap water. It’s free and its everywhere. No one needs to pay for it.
Media “polls” completely missed the ascendancy of Donald Trump. Here’s a piece from the Politico examination of clueless “media bubbles” that completely ignore middle America.
In other words. Stop reporting your own feelings. Go out into the neighborhood and the next county and the county beyond that to find out what people not like you are thinking.
Coffee is for closers. Forget the polls. Vote and be counted.