38 Comments
founding

I noticed that the WaPo, Times, Fox and other outlets recently gave a lot of prominence to some anonymous Bernie person(s) saying that Bernie was privately wringing his hands over Biden not catering to the left. Bernie, who twice lost the Democratic nomination by huge margins is still being portrayed as speaking for the base of the Party and being used to make it look like Democrats are not unified — “Democrats in Disarray” never dies.

I believe that media really does mistake screaming crowds and crowd size for the overall strength of a candidate. Trump’s base is shrinking by the minute but those who are left are blindly enthusiastic supporters and will risk their health and that of their community to show their fanaticism. From the rallies I have been to over the years for Democratic presidential candidates Democrats don’t behave like they are teenage fans at a rock concert. Re-regulating banks or increasing Pell Grants is not something rational people start screaming at the top of their lungs about no matter how strongly they support a candidate who runs on those issues.

And many Democratic voters are working two jobs, are single parents or people who just don’t feel the need to show up at rallies even though they realizably show up to vote. The media seems to believe that the votes of those kinds of voters don’t count as much as the votes of the screamers and that belief influences the public impression about which candidates have the most support.

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author

oh yes, press has been completely obsessed w/ vocal Trump supporters.

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The media also believe that the votes of African Americans aren't important or worth considering in their "analysis". The only "real voters" are white.

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Mr. Boehlert, it's entirely possible for both campaigns to be struggling at the same time. They don't have to struggle in the same manner. For example, Republicans struggle because their Candidate can't perform outside a controlled environment. Democrats struggle because their typical in person campaigning is restricted during a pandemic.

After 2016, I'm surprised that you still have such confidence in polls. Enough polls, in enough States, were enough off, so that Donald Trump was surprised that election night. Melania Trump and the rest of us were somewhere between stunned and horrified.

Frankly, I'm happy the MSM continues to call the race competitive. The literal last thing we need is enough Democrats to decide that their vote won't count & stay home. One of my favorite political cartoons of the season shows two Wisconsin Republicans. One turns to the other & says, "I guess Democrats really will crawl over broken glass to vote". Cut away and they're driving a truck labeled "broken glass". The second Republicans then asks, "Okay, what's Plan B?"

Unless each and every one of us, Democrats, Never Trumpers, Independents, vote, in person, or by mail, TRUMP WILL WIN AGAIN.

And if I die as a result of voting, let my epitaph read, "He Died So Donald Trump Wouldn't Be President". One can do much worse.

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author

Ftr, I obviously don’t want anyone to become complacent. at same time I think the coverage should reflect reality

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founding

The polls weren’t really off as much as the media didn’t really understand them. Nate Silver has used the polling data to show the serious damage that Comey opening his big mouth without authorization did to Hillary and how that likely cost her the election. And the fact that after Comey’s letter a lot of late deciders turned against Clinton is something that polls didn’t have time to reflect. The polls weren’t the problem, Comey’s public reopening of the email controversy and the media’s hyping of that were.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-comey-letter-probably-cost-clinton-the-election/

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I also believe votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were altered.

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Ms. Theodora,

As I understand it. I said the polls were wrong. You disagree and say the polls didn’t pick up last day events.

Arguing that difference is God’s way of telling you you’ve got too much time on your hands.

FTR there were several (many?) reasons why Trump won. Black Folk didn’t turn out to vote. Liberals didn’t vote for Hillary. Complacency. Trying to sort them out and assign greater or lesser effect is another way God has to tell you to find a hobby.

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None of what you said there changes the fact that Comey coming out with that announcement swung enough votes away from Clinton to Trump.

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God’s Wounds. I tell you it’s a waste of time and you want to argue anyhow.

I have five minutes to spare.

Want to talk about the Bernie/Trump voters? Want to talk about the Obama/Trump voters?

But all of this was 4 years ago. GET OVER IT. MOVE ON.

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founding

Your statement that you are surprised that Eric still has confidence in polls suggests that you believe the polls were wrong, not that there were enough of them after Comey’s statement. That kind of time factor isn’t relevant this much in advance of the elections so there is no reason to think they aren’t reasonable accurate, especially when there is a lot of agreement in most of the polls’ results.

You are right that there were other factors but going into the final weeks Clinton had a steady lead of around 5 - 6 points in most polls. Voters had clearly factored in all those other things that had damaged her over the spring and summer and she still has a decent though not blowout lead. (Obama won against Romney with by only 3.6% of the vote.)The sharp drop in Clinton’s numbers after Comey’s statement, coupled with the media overreaction and the short time she had to recover is the only late breaking thing that accounts for the drop unless you can show that the polls were way off. Several election analyses by reputable organizations did not find that to be the case.

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/1/11/14215930/comey-email-election-clinton-campaign

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One of the least endearing qualities of the BernieBros and “Democratic Socialists” is their inability to admit an error. Ideological purity reminiscent of China’s Great Leap Forward (sic). Saint Bernie can never be wrong.

Look, that was four years ago. Democrats have forgiven the misogyny. We’ve forgiven the “Never Hillarys”. We’ve moved on. We’re even willing to discuss which of your ideas are totally whacked (eliminate meat), which don’t mean what you think (free college for all), which need more thought (eliminate private health insurance), and which are useful.

I can go back 4 years and find you plenty of cites & articles about the Bernie/Trump voters.

I won’t because it’s not worth our time. Neither of us.

There’s a Trump to beat.

There are Republicans who need to lose in two months.

There are Russians trying to divide us. Do you really want to play Putin’s game?

Work and vote for Biden and Democrats up and down your ballot.

That’s the only thing that matters.

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founding

I agree with you about Berniebros and others on the left being purists but my comment had nothing to do with them. I didn’t even bring that topic up and I was a very strong Hillary supporter.

My point was only about how accurate the pols were in 2016, that they had actually picked up the swing away from Hillary as a result of Comey’s interference. It was made in response to your questioning Eric’s trusting poll numbers because the polls were supposedly bad in 2016. We always need to be careful when interpreting polls — what is the margin of error, was the poll random, run by an organization known for bias, etc.

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One of the things I find so curious about the press horse-race coverage is that on the issue of campaign money. "Biden’s in trouble," but gee, his haul from small donors are amazing. Meanwhile, Trump may have to contribute $100M of his own money (fat chance), but boy his base is devoted.

It gives me a headache that they cannot square their own story.

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Thanks for this. I've been getting whip-lash from all the conflicting headlines to the point where I just scroll and don't read because it's all just obviously click-bait.

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The Press needs to take 'their thumbs off the scale' or we will wind up with 4 more yrs of tRump. Instead the press should be focusing on the train wreck that is the tRump administration. The constant lying would fill pages of copy from now until election day. The dangerous behavior of tRump & minions again would fill pages of copy from now until election day. Focusing on the theft of the American People into the coffers of tRump & company. Amount of deaths directly related to tRump & administration re: COVID. Unqualified judges filling seats as tRump & #MoscowMitch stuff the courts. Damage to govt operations, programs, ethics, morals, etc., well there's not enough newsprint to even begin to cover that. There are a plethora of topics the press can run on daily that would make screaming headlines. There is so much WRONG, ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, UNETHICAL committed by tRump & co. that the press would not run out of show-stopping headlines & stories from now until 2050 and beyond. That's how much damage this man & his cohorts have caused to this country. Instead they are ignoring all of that (as usual), will trot out 'both-sides'isms' from now until Nov. 3rd, and do a great disservice to the American People. If they stopped looking at the ratings, or how much money they are making and just stuck to the cold hard facts they would, in the end, provide immeasurable relief to all of us for telling the truth (now there's a bold idea - truth). Instead they will continue down this damaging path they've chosen, shirking their responsibility to provide truth & facts to all of us, and will start nit-picking every move Biden & Harris make come January, as if they were the ones who created the damage.

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author

i honestly think the press has simply become immuned/bored of covering Trump lies...and they won't even call them lies

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That's criminal, in my book.

Their influence is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, their power, by dint of ownership, is in line with that entity's leanings (I assume). Until they start playing both ends against the middle for potential future support....

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In 1964 the NYT reported a fictionalized version of the murder and rape of a young woman in Kew Gardens, Queens - they falsely claimed that 38 of her neighbors did nothing for more that 30 minutes while she was brutally attacked & crying out for help. Perhaps because their lies resulted in some positive things (including passage of the Good Samaritan Act), they felt empowered to tamper with the truth. 🤔

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author

oh gosh that was a famous case. there was great documentary on it recently, too

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Yes. Apparently they believe they're job is to create the news.

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Their... my phone defaulted to the dreaded auto-correct after a system update. 😬

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The young woman was Kitty Genovese and I remember it well when it happened. All these years I never suspected the story may not have been accurate. I'm glad the premise of the story was proved to be false. Unfortunately that story imprinted at least one generation with the false notion that people in NYC were heartless.

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The press is just plain desperate.

But, then, we all are, sort of. However, our ('common folk') desperation doesn't carry the same weight.

If only we could feel we're getting the truth, period, not just the flavor of the day.

The general public is not great at reading between the lines, so would it not be easier to state some facts and be done with it? Short attention spans abound!

We had two choices in 2016, and the popular vote was cast aside. It should have been a phucking landslide but for the butthurt & misogyny crowd. And Putin, of course.

We have two choices once again, and it should be abundantly clear which is best for each of us, and the country we've let become a world-class embarrassment, due to ignorance/downright stupidity.

This is NOT a race for which we ought to mess with our destiny. Vote for sanity and a vision, not megalomania and a trip to the 1800's.

Got a special interest not being met by either candidate? Hold that thought for AFTER the election, ffs. There'll be time to whine all you want as we *all* exhale and celebrate a Biden win.

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founding

A shout-out to Eric and Pressrun by James Fallows at the Atlantic.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/media-mistakes/616222/

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I am hoping that Eric is successful in his PressRun venture. He's an important voice.

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David Leonhardt does a marvelous daily newsletter and cited Nate Cohn of The Times's Upshot saying that the polls were excellent for Biden. But of course that isn't what's on the front page. One of the current executive editor's vastly more competent predecessors, Frederick Birchall, once said, "Let me control the headlines and I shall not care who writes the editorials." Exactly.

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author

agreed, there does seem to be disconnect between NYT polling expert and daily reporters

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Perhaps the press is diabolically positioning themselves so that when all the cheating takes hold and Trump claims to be the winner, they can say we told you it would be close. I am somewhat jesting but I have never felt so much anxiety regarding an election ever. The constant misleading headlines are not doing much to quell my fears. Or is the press, and I doubt this is the case, simply trying to scare us and not let us get too complacent. Regardless, had the press simply reported the facts and exhibit exceptional journalism over the last 30 years, had done what the Founders had envisioned, I honestly believe we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in today. Imagine an alternate reality where the press had reported undisputed facts since the Reagan administration. Maybe we would have solved climate change by now. Perhaps the disparity of the haves and have nots would not be so extreme. Maybe the police would be a completely different animal than the military style forces they’ve become. Maybe Covid would have been caught and curtained within weeks. Maybe pot would be legal and I could just chill instead of constantly feeling stress. I can dream right? The point is the press cannot run from the fact that they have been aiding and abetting a right wing agenda for decades and the state our county find’s itself if is as much their fault as Trump’s and this malignant Republican (Fascist) party.

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author

i'm sad to say, i think the playing of Dem fears/anxieties is driving so much of the coverage. it's modern day click bait

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Thank you for that. I maintain that the press supports Trump and his agenda and that accounts for its behavior. Click bait, drama, ratings, etc are side benefits for them, not the main drivers.

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Nothing has been the same since Letterman retired.

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author

right?

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Or Jon Stewart retired...

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author

playing off Dem anxieties really drives so much coverage these days

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Precisely. So if they are focused on "horse race" why is it always that the Dems are targeted? And only the Dems. They want Democrats to lose.

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I think the MSM also tries desperately to look like they can predict accurately. Given they have a 50/50 chance, the risk is not much there. Silly.

The US population has been so dumbed down that anything is believable if stated on the interwebs!

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Dems are targeted because they actually know how to read, whereas Яepublicons just listen to T卐ump, Fux Snewz, each other, their religious "leaders," and fortune cookies.

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