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11-07-2012, 08:44 AM   #1
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How Conservative Media Failed the Rank and File

How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

A good read.

11-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #2
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Good article. I liked:

QuoteQuote:
In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood's convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama's America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense -- not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there's no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it's often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.

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.
No amount of persuasion I've been able to conjure up has allowed me to convince any of my Fox-watching friends that they are being brainwashed. I am most curious how this election will affect their methods of acquiring information. I hope it isn't as OP article concludes:

QuoteQuote:
It ought to be an eye-opening moment.

But I expect that it'll be quickly forgotten, that none of the conservatives who touted a polling conspiracy will be discredited, and that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage. After all, it's not like they'll trust the analysis of a non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who constantly tell them things that turn out not to be true.
11-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #3
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I definitely think partisan media (Fox News, Huffington Post) have a tendency to skew stories in such a way that it is hard to know what is really going on. I wondered reading Karl Rove's prediction if he was deluded or, just hoping to make a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever the case was, it was pretty clear since the second debate, that Romney wasn't going to break through in any of the midwest swing states.

In the end, it is really tough to beat an incumbent president, even if things aren't the best. Americans even gave George W Bush a second term in a time when the economy was pretty weak and it was pretty clear that Bush didn't have a clue about running things. The one exception in the last thirty years was George HW Bush and that was more due to Perot splitting his vote.

Last edited by Rondec; 11-07-2012 at 09:49 AM.
11-07-2012, 09:21 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote

A good read.
It certainly is.

"They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty."

Good insight.

"After all, it's not like they'll trust the analysis of a non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who constantly tell them things that turn out not to be true."

Yes, unfortunately business at Fox News(!) will continue as usual.

11-07-2012, 09:25 AM   #5
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It was interesting watching the Republican woman on CBC last night saying how much she enjoyed being in Canada, because being on the right is not a sign you're a nut case here. Harper, true to his word has used his majority to limit the power of the lunatic fringe, not to empower it. He hated having to suck up to the fundamentalists. YOu can argue with his politics, but his reaching out to minorities, gays and immigrant groups is what has kept him in power. Republicans just don't seem to understand, SOuth Asians are for the most part very conservative, as are Chinese who also tend to be very wealthy. They'd do well to look at harper's model and realize, a conservative is a conservative regardless of sexual orientation, colour, creed or country of origin. In other words you have to represent your electorate to be able govern. How simple to understand is that? I'm as left as they come, but I'm not so silly to believe no good ideas ever come from listening to more conservative values. An intelligent right is essential to good government. Allowing the lunatic fringe to take over is a disservice to us all.
11-07-2012, 09:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
that it is hard to know what is really going on.
No.. no it is not...................

Three Lessons From The Nate Silver Controversy - Forbes
QuoteQuote:
The silly debate over Silver’s model showed a political, pundit and media class at a classic horse-and-buggy meets internal combustion engine (or ink-stained newspaper curmudgeons meet Internet, or, to get really on-the-nose, Moneyball) moment: ignorance and fear masked by loud harumphing. It seems like an amusing footnote now, but only days ago Peggy Noonan was seriously arguing that a mild proliferation of Romney yard signs she observed in liberal Northwest Washington, plus magical vibrations of true Americanness emanating from all over, were signs of imminent Romney victory. Other Silver critics seemed not to understand basic statistical concepts. Others tried to change the subject. Some political reporters simply ignored the existence of polling averages altogether, pumping up the uncertainties of divergent poll results into epistemological voids. I don’t have high hopes in the short run. But people want Silver’s kind of knowledge; it generates huge traffic to the New York Times site. Media organizations understand that, if nothing else. In the long run political journalists and campaign consultants are going to need to know rudimentary statistics; they will be referring to models as a baseline for the state of a given race. And, one hopes, fact-checking those random gut feelings about a candidate’s “momentum.”
All one has to do is understand "science".......One has to get over their "internal bias" to believe what they want to believe (personally I know this is not as easy as it sounds)........
and not accept every "authority" as gospel... especially without logical evidence..

Of course ther is always the possibility of "the mule".. (Asimov)
11-07-2012, 09:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffkrol Quote
No.. no it is not...................

Three Lessons From The Nate Silver Controversy - Forbes


All one has to do is understand "science".......One has to get over their "internal bias" to believe what they want to believe (personally I know this is not as easy as it sounds)........
and not accept every "authority" as gospel... especially without logical evidence..

Of course ther is always the possibility of "the mule".. (Asimov)
Well, what I meant is that Fox News tends to obfuscate. It is in the media's interest (not just Fox) to have as close a race as possible and so they will tend to emphasize the polls that show things "tightening," even if trends are the opposite of that.

You didn't need to be Nate Silver to know that Obama was going to win this election. The surprising thing was that it was as tight as it was, considering how Romney fell over himself letting everyone know that he was an out of touch rich guy who didn't really care about people who weren't like him.
11-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Well, what I meant is that Fox News tends to obfuscate. It is in the media's interest (not just Fox) to have as close a race as possible and so they will tend to emphasize the polls that show things "tightening," even if trends are the opposite of that.
Yep, and it wasn't just FOX doing that, either. CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and even MSNBC to some extent were all calling it a toss-up in the days leading up to the election, even as Silver's predictions (and also Sam Wang's over at Princeton) kept creeping up toward 100%. This is partially because they want ratings, yes, and also partially because normal, non-psychotic people (i.e., not Dick Morris, Karl Rove, etc) don't want to look like fools in case the reality doesn't match up to the data (no matter how convincing that data may seem). Can you imagine if the MSM titans all called it for Obama in the days leading up to the polls and then somehow Romney pulled it out? The wingnuts have relatively little to lose, but CNN et al still have a lot of inertial credibility that they'd really like to hang on to. Better to call it a toss-up and hedge their bets.

But calling it a toss-up is certainly not the same thing as hanging onto the clearly fantasyland prediction of a secret Romney landslide on the eve of the election, as many of the wingnuts did.

11-07-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
YThis is partially because they want ratings, yes, and also partially because normal, non-psychotic people (i.e., not Dick Morris, Karl Rove, etc) don't want to look like fools in case the reality doesn't match up to the data (no matter how convincing that data may seem).
And also, at least from the pro-Obama side, because they didn't want to send a message to voters that would negatively affect voter turn out.

Last edited by les3547; 11-07-2012 at 11:47 AM.
11-07-2012, 11:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It was interesting watching the Republican woman on CBC last night saying how much she enjoyed being in Canada, because being on the right is not a sign you're a nut case here.
You could say the same about being a socialist. There are and have been many highly respected socialist leaders in Canada. Socialism is equated with Communism in the US, it's ridiculous and paranoid. Socialist countries consistently score top marks in the UN's Human Development Index.

Canada benefits a great deal by having political parties on the left, right and center. The battle is fought in the middle federally between the Liberals and Conservaties, but the parties in power have been very pragmatic about stealing ideas from opponents to the left and right.

The US needs a socialist party like Canada's NDP. Government needs social policies, not just financial policies, and the left has the will to push them. A far-right party could air its fiscal restraint and small government ideas, without paralyzing the country. Trying to accomodate everyone in two parties leads to rigid polarization and closed thinking.
11-07-2012, 11:35 AM   #11
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I really don't think that the failing of that segment of the media is in the horse race. It is the ideological isolation which accepts certain truisms as self evident, and allows no other facts in. The article mentions the myths about tax cuts. When congressional research shows these beliefs to have no basis, the research is suppressed. Don't teach evolution in our schools. Global warming does not exist. Obama is not really president or an American. If your news is taken intravenously from Fox, no one will offer another voice. To do so would be disloyal.
11-08-2012, 06:56 AM   #12
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I am again annoyed at how the media are deconstructing Tuesday's election. This becomes the theme of articles:
QuoteQuote:
"I don't think anyone on our side understood or comprehended how good their turnout was going to be," said Henry Barbour, a Republican committee man from Mississippi. "The Democrats do voter registration like a factory, like a business, and Republicans tend to leave it to the blue hairs."
The election was not won or lost by a fluke of turnout or gimmick. It came out the way numerous polls have predicted for quite some time. It came out consistent with an intelligent reading of polling on the issues. All this analysis of whose party focuses on this or that group and the hackneyed use of the term "demographics" is missing the point. What the losing candidates were selling was not wanted by a majority of voters.
11-08-2012, 07:47 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I am again annoyed at how the media are deconstructing Tuesday's election. This becomes the theme of articles:

The election was not won or lost by a fluke of turnout or gimmick. It came out the way numerous polls have predicted for quite some time. It came out consistent with an intelligent reading of polling on the issues. All this analysis of whose party focuses on this or that group and the hackneyed use of the term "demographics" is missing the point. What the losing candidates were selling was not wanted by a majority of voters.
And also, possibly voter suppression efforts and the underhanded tactics of the Republican election team energized people? My sister who lives in Minnesota was telling me yesterday how she, normally a marginally-involved individual (she votes, that's it) became so upset (panicked even) over what the Republicans were doing she convinced half a dozen people who weren't going to vote to do so, and then transported them each personally (it took her three trips) to the polls to make sure they did.

I too have a complaint about how the media and experts deconstruct events. I'd say that the tendency (obsession?) to deconstruct causes a kind of blindness. It can be useful to take things apart, but if that's the only process one applies then one will miss the big picture.

Last edited by les3547; 11-08-2012 at 08:40 AM.
11-08-2012, 08:12 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
And also, possibly voter suppression efforts and the underhanded tactics of the Republican election team energized people? My sister who lives in Minnesota was telling me yesterday how she, normally a marginally-involved individual (she votes, that's it) became so upset (panicked even) over what the Republicans were doing she convinced half a dozen people who weren't going to vote to do so, and then transported them each personally (it took her four trips) to the polls to make sure they did (most of the voters were elderly).

I have a complaint too about how the media and experts deconstruct events. I'd say that the tendency (obsession?) to deconstruct causes a kind of blindness. It can be useful to take things apart, but if that's the only process one applies then one will miss the big picture.
My wife's reaction was something similar to your sister, and she volunteered to canvass and provide transportation. My friends out your way traveled to Nevada to do the same thing, and another friend in Santa Fe headed for Ohio to be a poll watcher. The billionaires and the suppression were motivators.
11-08-2012, 08:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
My wife's reaction was something similar to your sister, and she volunteered to canvass and provide transportation. My friends out your way traveled to Nevada to do the same thing, and another friend in Santa Fe headed for Ohio to be a poll watcher. The billionaires and the suppression were motivators.
The suppression seems to have worked pretty well in AZ.

Daily Kos: More than 600,000 AZ votes NOT counted
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