Monday, November 03, 2008

A Rhetorical Device in Need of Repair

All Over the Maps

OK, I'm getting sick of this. So much so that I'm going to exercise my blogger's prerogative to call BULL-shit!

Check out the map to the right, published today as an accompaniment to this article by Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. This is Chris's prediction of the outcome of tomorrow's vote, and YEAH!!, Barack Obama wins. But do you notice anything at all funny about it? Open Chris's article in a new window for a better view, and a chance to check out the map's interactive features.

Now look at this map from Electoral and compare the two. Do you see the bizarre assumption that Chris has made? Never mind the fact that the map above has McCain winning Hawaii despite a 41% lead in Obama's favor (polling is 68 to 27.) We'll chalk that up to a mistake, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it an honest mistake. Especially not in light of the following.

The assumption that Chris Cillizza and every other Lamestream Media 'analyst' I've seen makes is that states will only flip from blue to red on election day. Chris isn't too egregious about this compared to the rest of the yakking class, with only Ohio and North Carolina going to McCain against the flow of polling data, with the following explanation:
Our final map splits the two states that decided the last two presidential elections -- Florida and Ohio -- between Obama and McCain.

In the final analysis we put Florida in Obama's column -- based on the massive voter registration and turnout operation built by the Democrat in the state -- and gave Ohio to McCain due to a belief that Obama's ability to grow the electorate in a state so closely targeted in 2004 is far more limited than in other places.

The truth is that the outcome in both states is almost unknowable as both sides acknowledge how close the contest is. The same goes for Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Nevada -- all states President Bush carried with varying levels of ease in 2004.
The truth is that the latest polls show Obama ahead by 5% in Ohio, and 4% in Florida. His lead in North Carolina is only 2%, so I guess Mr. Cillizza doesn't feel any need to explain the outcome favoring McCain there. But wait a minute - McCain's lead in Missouri and North Dakota is a razor-thin 1%. And he's only leading by 2% in Indiana, and 4% in Montana, Georgia and McCain's home state of Arizona. But you will never hear even a suggestion from the LaMe that any of those states are going to go to Obama.

If you really want to see egregious bias , go to CNN and watch John King play with his high tech interactive election map*. King, who does an even worse job than Wolf Blitzer at concealing his pro-Republican bias, can be seen ten times a day acting out his wildest dreams and changing states like Pennsylvania (where Obama has an 8-point lead) from blue to red with just a touch of the screen. That's not called analysis, John, it's called wishful thinking. From the point of view of a news consumer, your playing with this toy is barely more illuminating than Fred Armisens parody on Saturday Night Live.
(Fred Armisen segment is about 2:00 in)

By the way, does John King remind you more of the buffoonish Ted Baxter character on the old Mary Tyler Moore show, or would you compare him to Murphy Brown's equally buffoonish Miller Redfield? I find the presence of someone like John King on CNN to be a rather sad case of life imitating art. The people deserve better from their 24/7 news outlets. And I for one long for the day when newsmen were chosen for their journalistic integrity rather than their looks.

* (Contrary to blog speculation, King did not call off his wedding to CNN colleague Dana Bash in order to move in with the map. They were wed in May.)
Back on topic, it's time to let the Lamestream Media know that we are well aware of what they're trying to do with this slanted reporting. In showing this race to be much closer than it really is they hope to keep alive the 'horse race' metaphor that pumps up their ratings. Which is not good journalism but is at least a relatively innocuous motive. What is less acceptable is that they are subtly hoping to affect the outcome and give the McCain effort a boost. But what would be TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE would be that they are trying to set things up to make yet another stolen election look like a reasonable and correct result, caused by people (and we'd have to be talking about millions of people) all changing their minds at the last moment. That would in fact be approaching treason.

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1 comment:

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