And the millions they just disinformed: For our money, Conor Friedersdorf’s post at Atlantic is the most significant post of the day.
Friedersdorf isn’t a lefty or a liberal. He’s a person with a strong message for the many disinformed people of the conservative world:
FRIEDERSDORF (11/7/12): Before rank-and-file conservatives ask, "What went wrong?", they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: "Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?"Friedersdorf uses the word “misinformed.” We will go with the stronger term, the one which begins with a d. A bit later, he poses a very good question to the conservative rank-and-file:
Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday's result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout—Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.
Those audiences were misinformed.
FRIEDERSDORF: If you're a rank-and-file conservative, you're probably ready to acknowledge that ideologically friendly media didn't accurately inform you about Election 2012. Some pundits engaged in wishful thing; others feigned confidence in hopes that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy; still others decided it was smart to keep telling right-leaning audiences what they wanted to hear.The absurd predictions which emerged from Fox have created a potential crisis in the conservative world. Near the end of his piece, Friedersdorf makes a punishing observation, then says what ought to happen:
But guess what?
You haven't just been misinformed about the horse race. Since the very beginning of the election cycle, conservative media has been failing you. With a few exceptions, they haven't tried to rigorously tell you the truth, or even to bring you intellectually honest opinion. What they've done instead helps to explain why the right failed to triumph in a very winnable election.
Why do you keep putting up with it?
FRIEDERSDORF: On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find.According to Friredersdorf, conservatives’ eyes should pop wide open about operations like Fox. But Friedersdorf says he thinks this moment will pass:
It ought to be an eye-opening moment.
“I expect that it'll be quickly forgotten,” he writes. “...that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage.”
That’s certainly possible, but this is a valuable teachable moment. What Fox kept saying was clownishly wrong—and the whole shebang just isn’t complex or confusing.
Conservative viewers got disinformed in a highly transparent way. In our view, smart progressives would look for ways to help conservatives and moderates see this.
Your lizard brain will tell you this can't be done. We urge you to rein in your lizard.
Update: For Kevin Drum's take on the very same post, just click here.
Our capsule: Kevin predicts. We prescribe.