SLOWEST CHILDREN OF THE PRESS CORPS:
The facts!

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2012

Interlude—As we were saying last Friday: When last we looked in on Rachel Maddow, she was praising the poll (or the daily tracking poll) which “most accurately reflected what was really going on in the race.”

She was praising the poll (or the tracking poll) which “we know in retrospect was totally right.” See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/9/12.

As everyone knows, no poll is ever totally right. Unless you’re watching The One True Liberal Channel:
MADDOW (11/8/12): So the polls were right; we can all agree. Out of all the polls, let’s look at the one we know now mathematically was the most accurate daily tracking poll. The one that was most accurately reflected what was really going on in the race. That would be the Ipsos-Reuters poll.

[...]

Remember, this is the poll that we know in retrospect was totally right. So if we believe the polls, which we all do now in America, and the Ipsos-Reuters poll was the most accurate one of all the polls in this presidential election, then really, provably, there was no Romney momentum going into Hurricane Sandy that was ruined by the storm. It just didn’t happen and it’s checkable.
In fairness, Maddow inserted a few weasel words, perhaps trying to keep herself technically accurate. In her formulations, she jumped around between two rival claims.

Was Ipsos-Reuters the most accurate poll? Or was it just the most accurate daily tracking poll? Whatever! Eventually, Our Own Rhodes Scholar just couldn’t help it:

Ipsos-Reuters “was the most accurate one of all the polls in this presidential election,” she enthused. Ipsos-Reuters “was totally right.”

Last Friday, we noted that Maddow provided no source for these shifting claims. We also noted that Our Own Rhodes Scholar routinely embellishes—overstates bone-simple facts.

As we we’ve told you for several years now, you have to fact-check every claim you hear on Maddow’s program. And sure enough! In this morning’s New York Times, Nate Silver tells us which of this season’s polls came closest to being right.

In our view, Silver plays Gallant to Maddow’s Goofus. Though your results may differ.

In the hard-copy Times, Silver’s edited report only lists Ipsos-Reuters among the polls which “also fared well.” But even if you read his full, unedited on-line post, it doesn’t seem that, in Silver’s assessment, Ipsos-Reuters was the most accurate daily tracking poll, let alone the most accurate poll of them all.

How well did Ipsos-Reuters do in the last three weeks of the campaign? According to Silver, its assessments of the gap between the two candidates missed on average by 1.4 points—and this average error favored Candidate Romney. If you look at Silver’s list, you’ll see quite a few polls which came closer than that, including “TIPP, which conducted a national tracking poll for Investors’ Business Daily.”

Silver doesn’t seem to be aware of the transcendence of Ipsos-Reuters. His fullest statement is this:

“Ipsos, which conducted online polls for Reuters, came close to the actual results in most places that it surveyed, as did the Canadian online polling firm Angus Reid. Another online polling firm, YouGov, got reasonably good results.”

Whatever! As we told you, Maddow’s claims about Ipsos-Reuters didn’t matter much. It may even be that there is some way to call it the most accurate daily tracker—though no poll is ever “totally right,” as everyone but a TV Rhodes Scholar will surely understand.

We were making a different point—a point about the way The One True Channel is chasing after Fox. In many ways, MSNBC now provides the same services Fox has performed for lo, these many bad years.

(Liberals are trained to yell “false equivalence” at this point. This only shows how much we liberals now behave like viewers of Fox.)

In this morning’s New York Times, the growing similarity between these two channels is being aggressively glossed. Potemkin media writer David Carr treats himself to the latest script, the script in which Karl Rove went crazy on election night. More significantly, Brian Stelter offers this flattering piece about the wit and wisdom—and the growing market share—of The One True Liberal Channel.

For the record, Stelter is one of the biggest kissers of keister in the whole guild. We say that in case you don’t read him.

In Stelter’s flattering piece, the Times begins to make up for the strange attack on MSNBC it published last week. That piece was written by Jeremy Peters, one of the newspaper’s slowest children from Michigan.

In this morning's headline, MSNBC is billed as “The Anti-Fox.” Stelter moves on to soothe bad feelings resulting from Peters’ piss-pitiful effort.

Brian Stelter knows script! At one point, he presents a Maddow Standard, in which she “was so new [during Campaign 2008] that she was still getting lost in the labyrinth of Rockefeller Center.” (Maddow spills with such self-effacing self-portraits, which help us learn to adore her more fully.) And good lord! Listing a few “reporters” who have successfully moved back and forth between NBC News and its cable arm, he even includes Willie Geist!

But as Stelter plays “Hail to the Victors” and kisses the keister of The True Channel, he pens one passage which made us laugh. Eventually, he gives Maddow her say.

Needless to say, she says this:
STELTER (11/12/12): Fears among some MSNBC viewers that [new corporate owner] Comcast would water down the channel’s liberal streak have not come to pass. Of MSNBC, former President Bill Clinton remarked last winter, “Boy, it really has become our version of Fox.”

Two studies this fall, one by Pew and another by European election observers, concluded that MSNBC’s coverage of Mitt Romney was even more critical than Fox’s coverage of Mr. Obama. Any comparison of the two channels is colored by charges of false equivalencies—“I think that we are more information-based,” Ms. Maddow has said—and reminders that Fox is far more popular.
Doggone it! President Clinton wandered off message when he made that comment to Esquire. That said, is Maddow’s statement accurate?

She has set a very low bar. Does her channel get over?

Such things are hard to measure. For ourselves, we’ll only say that her channel is gaining ground on Fox—and we don’t mean in number of younger viewers, the ones advertisers lust for. (Read Stelter for news about that.)

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the recent segment by Maddow which we mentioned last Friday. In the meantime, check out the pieces by Stelter and Carr, who play Potemkin in today’s Times.

Carr is typing a pleasing script, a script you’re seeing all over the press. Stelter is kissing major-league keister, as he frequently does.

This is the way your “press corps” works. Does your lizard let you see that it’s run by some rather slow children? That this may not be the way an actual “press corps” would work?

Tomorrow: The facts which emerged in that segment

10 comments:

  1. A bit of anecdotal evidence about young viewers and MSNBC. I have learned a lot lately watching MSNBC about catheters that lubricate right in the package(!), and lots of other things about healthcare products for older (mostly) men. I'm guessing that they haven't gotten a big up-tick in young viewers.

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