CNN: Contrived News Now
Posted September 7, 2016on:
It’s after Labor Day and the media is almost giddy with the election vapors. Try as they might, the invention of this election horse race meme is about as legitimate as the Yam’s skin tone occurring in nature.
Before we begin the deconstruction, let’s engage in a little narrative psychodrama therapy. Imagine your worst boyfriend or girlfriend ever. I mean your absolute worst.
Let’s say that worst boyfriend or girlfriend decided to become a race car driver. Wouldn’t you watch them on teevee? Not necessarily wishing them ill will, but not exactly wishing them a milk bath at the checkered flag either.
That little psychodrama is the clamoring Yam’s candidacy. We know he has no redeeming qualities, but his every breath just brings him closer to the next car wreck in which he will undoubtedly be involved. The only question is: Will he walk away this time?
Our good sense was assaulted yesterday morning when we awoke and heard the ballyhoo from CNN about the Yam taking the lead in their latest poll. How could the orange Orangutan have taken the lead?
Two words: He hasn’t.
First, a word about polling – a poll only counts those who are being counted. To explain, if you took a poll of herpetologists asking them to rate snakes as pets, you would have a much different result than if you asked the entire country. Your herpetology poll would not be wrong since the universe of measurement were reptile lovers.
That’s the story behind the CNN/ORC poll. You won’t hear that explanation as Wolf Blitzer breathlessly drools into his beard. In fact, you wouldn’t know that unless you go to page 21 of the innards of the poll and find this paragraph under Methodology:
A total of 1,001 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide by live interviewers calling both landline and cell phones. Among the entire sample, 28% described themselves as Democrats, 32% described themselves as Republicans, and 40% described themselves as independents or members of another party.
In polling that is known as a +4 Republican sample. No big deal unless you also know these things:
- 42% of Americans identify as independents, 29% as Democrats, 26% as Republicans
- Democrats maintain edge over GOP in party identification and leaning
It also helps to know that the 26% identifying as Republicans is just one-percent above the record low of 25%. Further, it helps to know the CNN/ORC poll was in the field September 1 through the 4th.
Few pollsters will put a poll in the field over a long holiday weekend because it skews the finishing sample. What does that mean?
It means people with the wherewithal to be at the beach or in the mountains over a long weekend will not be answering a survey. That fact alone skews this poll toward the Yam’s primary demographic – blue collar males.
Your first question is this: Why didn’t CNN know this? The answer is: They did and it didn’t stop them. They can say their poll is accurate because just like the herpetology poll, it is measuring those that were to be measured. It holds no downside for them. Two months out from the election, it is a horse race question with no consequences other than being sexy click bait for the Fox demographic CNN and MSNBC so desperately covet.
This poll also benefits from the media’s double standard in reporting this campaign. Just like a former bad paramour, the expectations for Trump are so low that his continued forbearance from peeling bananas with his feet makes him presidential. Hillary on the other hand is held to some superhuman Athena-like standard never before attained by a mere mortal.
This double standard is being noticed. Thoughtful observers are catching on and speaking up. Professor Krugman talks about the “Goring of Hillary” in the vein of what happened to Al Gore.
Paul Waldman talks about the double standard by saying:
The big difference is that there are an enormous number of reporters who get assigned to write stories about those issues regarding Clinton… always with the insistence that questions are being raised and the implication that shady things are going on, even if there isn’t any evidence at a particular moment to support that idea.
When it comes to Trump, [h]ere’s what happens: A story about some kind of corrupt dealing emerges, usually from the dogged efforts of one or a few journalists; it gets discussed for a couple of days; and then it disappears. Someone might mention it now and again, but the news organizations don’t assign a squad of reporters to look into every aspect of it, so no new facts are brought to light and no new stories get written.
The end result of this process is that because of all that repeated examination of Clinton’s affairs, people become convinced that she must be corrupt to the core. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of negative coverage of Trump, because of course there is, but it’s focused mostly on the crazy things he says on any given day.
And Jonathan Allen has updated his five media rules for covering Hillary. Read them all, but the second is illustrative of what Hillary has faced for 25 years and continues to face today:
Every allegation, no matter how ludicrous, is believable until it can be proven completely and utterly false. And even then, it keeps a life of its own in the conservative media world.
Even with all the “Contrived News Now” hoopla, it is undeniable that Hillary is in the driver’s seat in this election. Even if our worst orange-tinted nightmare continues to careen around the campaign trail, Hillary’s got this. We have known around these parts for the better part of eight years it wouldn’t be easy – we just have to believe in her since we are “Stronger Together”!
What’s on your mind?
79 Responses to "CNN: Contrived News Now"
Comments are closed.