Supplemental: The New York Times makes its strangest claim yet!


Respondents haven't heard enough about Bill Clinton yet:
On the front page of today's New York Times, we get the same old subjective campaign piddle, joined to a polling result.

This latest puddle of subjectivity concerns some recent campaign appearances by Bill Clinton. The news report by Patrick Healy appears on the front page of our hard-copy Times. It seems to have been pushed inside the paper in later editions, apparently due to late reporting on last night's array of gong-shows.

In his report, Healy offers subjective assessments of some recent speeches by Bill Clinton. The polling result is found in this passage:
HEALY (1/29/16): Still, as Mr. Clinton starts a campaign swing through Iowa leading up to Monday night’s caucuses, he remains very popular among likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 87 percent viewing him favorably in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll this month.

Nationally, however, Mr. Clinton’s favorability rating has fallen since he became more visibly active in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. Thirty-nine percent of Americans viewed him favorably in the mid-January poll, compared with 50 percent in a similar survey in early November.

Over that time, Mr. Trump has tried to make an issue out of Mr. Clinton’s sexual history and stir unease among some Americans about Mr. Clinton returning to the White House. The Clintons have mostly chosen not to respond to his attacks.
Wow! Bill Clinton's favorability rating has dropped from 50 percent to 39 just since early November? It sounds like Candidate Trump's sex attacks really have taken a toll!

As always, everything's possible! That said, it looks like the Times is perhaps being a tiny bit scammy here, perhaps in several ways.

On the bright side, Healy's statements are factually accurate. In the Times' most recent poll, Bill Clinton is indeed credited with a "favorable" rating from just 39 percent of respondents.

(Click here, scroll down to question 30.)

Also true: Back in the November poll, he was listed with a "favorable" rating from a much higher 50 percent. In that poll, 34 percent said their opinion was "unfavorable."

Here's where the problem starts:

In the Times' most recent poll, only 29 percent of respondents gave Bill Clinton an "unfavorable" rating. He's scored at 39 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable—still a fairly good overall balance.

Bill Clinton still comes out ahead in the new Times poll! Somewhat strangely, though, only 68 percent of respondents stated a view at all.

Why did so few people express a view of Bill Clinton, one way or the other? Here's the place where our puzzlement starts:

For reasons at which we can only guess, 16 percent of respondents said they "haven't heard enough about Bill Clinton yet" to rate him one way or the other. They haven't heard enough about the guy to have any opinion at all!

(Another 12 percent are listed as "undecided." Two percent "refused to respond.")

That leaves Bill Clinton ten points to the good, at 39 percent favorable, 29 unfavorable. In November, it was 50-34, back before all those respondents decided they "haven't heard enough about him yet."

In typical fashion, Healy picked and chose among those numbers and sold you a doctored impression. We also chuckled at the way he said that Trump "has tried to make an issue out of Mr. Clinton’s sexual history."

In the broader sense, so has the New York Times! We refer to the recent Amy Chozick report which focused on the way Hillary Clinton "discredited women who said they had had sexual encounters with" Bill Clinton.

Within the past year, Chozick has established herself as the nation's slipperiest new major reporter. Her January 21 report was a striking case in point.

In this previous post, we focused on the remarkable way Chozick treated a 1991 claim by a Little Rock woman named Connie Hamzy. She disappeared all information about who Hamzy is, and about the reasons why her claim wasn't believed at the time.

Amy Chozick is very slippery. She put that emerging trait on display in that report.

There are other aspects of Chozick's report we still plan to examine, just to establish the factual record. That said, the factual record plays zero role in our devolving national discourse, and we still aren't ready to make ourselves revisit the grimy old facts which lie behind the themes and claims the Times was happy to revive in the wake of Candidate Trump's exciting sex attacks.

Hamzy was never an especially credible source. In her recent report, Chozick kept you from knowing that—from knowing why Hillary Clinton almost surely didn't believe the story Hamzy told in 1991.

The same is true of Gennifer Flowers and her error-riddled if wonderfully thrilling claims. We reviewed that material not long ago. You'll never read any such facts in the New York Times.

That leaves Kathleen Willey, another accuser whose name has started going around again. We told you we'd go back over those facts. Once again, we're going to leave that for another occasion.

That said, understand this:

To judge from appearances, there is nothing the New York Times won't do to sustain its decades-old vendetta. We have no idea why they play it this way, but play it this way they do.

For today, let's agree to draw some amusement from Healy's effort. Patrick Healy was happy to tell us that Bill Clinton's "favorables" have dropped. He let us think that this has happened because of Trump's sexy-time sex attacks.

He didn't tell us that Bill Clinton's "unfavorables" have also dropped. And he didn't share the main reason behind these statistical changes: In the Times' most recent poll, 16 percent of respondents said they "haven't heard enough about Bill Clinton yet" to regard him one way or the other!

Let's be fair! As with everything else, it's always possible that this improbable polling result could somehow be true.

Still and all, Healy selected the one statistic that let him convey the most negative impression. For reasons no one has ever explained, they've played it this way for a very long time, and they're never going to stop.


  1. This afternoon: Is Slate allowed to say that? Also, more highlights from Flint

  2. For today, that said, understand this. For reasons at which we can only guess, Bob Somerby was happy to tell us what percentages of respondents had no opinion of Bill Clinton, did not know enough about him, or refused to state an opinion in the January poll, but left out those figures from the November poll, thus being as scammy as Reporter Healy.

    Still and all Somerby throws out statistics to allow him to best argue "there is nothing the New York Times won't do to sustain its decades-old vendetta."

    The Times apparently conducts vendettas against the Clintons, as opposed to the jihad over at the Washinbgton Post. We chuckle at Bob's vocabularly variations although we have no idea why he plays it this way.

    1. Bob left out these november poll numbers for Bill Clinton:
      Undecided 9
      Don't Know Enough 6

      the january jump in Don't Know Enough to 16 is large, the highest number for that category since before Clinton was president

      also the refused to respond in november was 1, but jumped to 4 in january, the highest ever

      also the november poll was with registered voters only while the january poll is registered and unregistered

      also Bill's polls numbers for approval jump around from the mid 30s to the low 50s over the last 23 years

      you can not draw any conclusions comparing the november poll to the january poll. the journalist is misleading when drawing those distinctly unflattering conclusions about this particular shift in approval numbers from november to january, which is nothing special and, like Bob, incomparable. Bob is right.

    2. Saying What We're All ThinkingJanuary 30, 2016 at 10:04 AM

      "Bob is right."

      That is the LAST thing our troll would give a shit about.

      "Healy selected the one statistic that let him convey the most negative impression. For reasons no one has ever explained, they've played it this way for a very long time."

      Very true.

      Troll's problem though is with the guy who's pointing that out.

    3. "Guy who is pointing that out" has stated his problem is with the New York Times, indicating he is trying ar hard to discredit them as he claims they are tryong to discredit Clinton.

      Or do you think he is above the level of human emotion that promotes animus?

  3. Hillary said rape accusers have a right to be believed. People who believe that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaderick are following Hillary's advice.

    1. And that would mark the very first time that "people who believe that Bill Clinto reaped Juanita Broaderick (sic)" took Hillary's advice on anything.

      How convenient!

    2. Woah, Typo city!

      Let me try again:

      And that would mark the very first time that "people who believe that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaderick (sic)" took Hillary's advice on anything.

      How convenient!

    3. Someone get the fire hose. David's got a boner again.

    4. David in Cal you are misleading again.

      Hillary actually said this:

      "I want to send a message to every SURVIVOR of sexual assualt. Don't let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard and you have a right to be believed. We're with you."

      this is a message Hillary targeted to young people attending college, who likely have not developed the maturity to stand up for themselves. Hillary was not targeting this message to slick adults who throw out false accusations.

      when prompted to respond to those who would misuse her message of support as a weapon against her, she said:

      "everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence"

      Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, etc these are not survivors of sexual assault. People who believe that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick are absolutely not following Hillary's advice.

    5. David

      Columnist Andrea Peyser made the argument that after the central park 5 were exonerated we should still think they are guilty. Her arguments are jokes that hold no validity. The one you present here is more of the same:

      she argues that Cosby would not be entitled to a good table at a Paris bistro - NO EVIDENCE, NOT TRUE

      she argues there is no reason other than politics why Polanski is revered more in hollywood - COSBY IS A COMEDIAN, POLANSKI IS A SOPHISTICATED FILM AUTEUR OF MAJOR INFLUENCE


      she argues that unfortunately these days you can claim to be a victim of sexual assault if you drink alcohol to get in the mood - NOT TRUE

      her arguments are a joke she is a clown.

      Jamilah Lemieux's comment that her side might be less vocal about Cosby's sexual assault allegations if he supported Black Lives Matter instead of respectability politics is a strange comment. She offers no support for this comment, and this comment seems to be quite false. Many liberals have defended him, many have condemned. Clearly politics has nothing to do with how you view Cosby.

    6. I don't know why anyone bothers to respond to David, a twisted little childish bitter troll. You can almost see visualize him sticking his tongue out at Hillary with the childish ignorant comment, "People who believe that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaderick are following Hillary's advice."

      David is a troll. He is a hardcore right wing conservative who comes here daily to throw his nasty little darts apparently to entertain himself.

      It is a waste of time trying to refute his nasty little posts with facts. He just ignores them and will return like clockwork to repeat the same shit tomorrow.

      David is a troll.

    7. "He is a hardcore right wing conservative..."

      They come in two flavors.
      1) Liars
      2) Stupid

      The media doesn't mention this because they are being too PC.

    8. The intensity with which David grasps at these straws is probably a good sign, and his attempts to degrade Hillary Clinton's defense of LEGITIMATE victims of sexual assault, following the lead of Morning Joe, tells us a lot about him we unfortunately already knew.
      Note to David: Hey scumbag, here's the rub: what has canned since the old days is that we can now clearly see YOU are the accusers of The Duke LaCrosse Team, YOU are Mia Farrow, YOU are the Rolling Stone rape case scribes. No evidence, all agenda.
      It's impossible to conclude YOU don't know this as well as I do. Enjoy your place in Hell.

    9. mm said:

      "I don't know why anyone bothers to respond to David, a twisted little childish bitter troll."

      mm of course doesn't know why his last five comments have been responses to David in Cal. He is in love with a twisted troll.

  4. BTW despite all the whining about how mean the New York Times is toward Hillary, they just endorsed her for President.

    Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination

    Voters have the chance to choose one of
    the most broadly and deeply qualified
    presidential candidates in modern history.

    1. David there is no whining about how mean the NY Times is to Hillary. There is ample evidence of the NY Times weird vendetta against the Clintons, presented here almost daily

    2. If you think the Times's criticisms constitute a "vendetta", you ought to see what the conservatives say about her.

    3. David, the Times is supposed to be a newspaper, not the opposition party. Its editorial endorses her, while its news pages carry on a vendetta against her. Bob Somerby had been documenting that for years.

    4. Caesar -- IMHO what you call a vendetta against the Clintons is more like the Times accurately reporting a certain number of bad things about them. Bill and Hillary Clinton have many virtues. They're smart, well-educated, and knowledgable. They're disciplined and effective workers. If you're a Democrat, they have the virtue of being Democrats. Bill Clinton did a good job as President. Hillary might also turn out to be a good President.

      However, IMHO they've gotten caught doing some bad things. They seem to believe they could get away with anything, and they were probably right. No matter what they do their supporters find an excuse. E.g., they were involved in a criminal conspiracy with Susan and Jim McDougal. Bill must have done something bad. Otherwise, Susan wouldn't have chosen to go to jail in order to avoid testifying against him. Hillary must have known that crimes were being committed. So what? Bill and Hillary weren't convicted of a crime. The rest doesn't matter.

      Bill had extramarital sex with numerous women. So what? As long as Hillary's OK with it, it's none of our business. Bill was accused of rape. So what. His accuser was surely lying.

      Bill had blow jobs in the Oval Office from a subordinate? So what? Sex is personal.

      Bill committed perjury in the Paula Jones case. So what? Everyone lies about sex.

      Hillary probably allowed Amerca's enemies to learn secrets by hacking her personal computer. So what? Other Secretaries of State have done something vaguely resembling what she did (Although, on careful analysis, they didn't at all do what she did. Furthermore, someone else's misbehavior, wouldn't expunge Hllary's misbehavior.) To her supporters, unless she's charged with a crime and convicted, no problem.

      Anyhow, there are lots of bad things about the Clintons one could point to, as well as lots of good things. The Times so-called "vendetta" consists of reporting both IMHO.

    5. IMHO - have a cookie.

    6. David you mislead as you breathe.

      The Clintons were not involved in any crime in connection with the Mcdougals or Whitewater. Susan McDougal's refusal to testify had nothing to do with protecting the Clintons. There are books you can read to catch up on this stuff.

      Your so what in reference to Bill Clinton's sex life is dead on and matches what most people think.

      Bill Clinton did not commit perjury.

      Hillary maybe should not have used an external email, however there is no evidence she did anything wrong, or that she was hacked.

      Anyhow, you do not list anything substantively bad about the Clintons and you miss the point completely about Bob's blog. The NY Times both misleads and prints false items about the Clintons, and they do so to a far greater extent than with anyone else, except for Gore.

  5. Maureen Dowd's Sunday 1/31 column has a "Des Moines" dateline. She telephoned Donald Trump and wrote a column about the call. I doubt Dowd went to Des Moines. I doubt the Times checked that out.

    It would have made much more sense for her to have come to NYC and to meet Trump in person rather than to have telephoned him from Des Moines.

    Perhaps NYT datelines are not to be trusted.

  6. Kristof's latest column Saturday 1/30 makes my blood boil. Bob needs to take this hypocrite down another notch. He didn't care about his friend's abadoned boys.

  7. Fact not noted by Somerby. In the poll, 21% of the respondents wer age 13 or less when Clinton was President.