Monday, October 27, 2008

Reasons Journalism is Dead

The one thing that we can all take away from this campaign is that the national media is worthless and the American public is doomed because the media outlets are all corrupt and lazy. Let me just give you a few examples.
1. Voter Fraud. People have clamored about the possibility of voter fraud in Ohio. The liberal media denying it and mocking Fox News (which is the conservative media). The conservative media simply whines about Supreme Court decisions that did not go there way and give accusations by implication. However, some college kids went out, did real journalism, and proved it.
2. Barak Obama was a registered socialist. Yes, you hear McCain claim he is a socialist, and you hear Keith Olbermann deny it, but it is true. Obama was actually a registered member of the socialist party in America. World Net Daily has the proof. Too bad no one thought to research Barak Obama when he was running for office.
3. The Polls. The polls are all fake. Look at this daily tracking poll that has Barak Obama up 8%. That seems like a commanding lead. However, take a look at the methodology. Rasmussen Reports interviews 8% more Democrats than Republicans. This is to account for voter turn out, which is based on polling but is a guess. In other words, if the Republicans turn out for this election in record numbers like Rasmussen expects the Democrats to do, then we are tied. Remember that methodology when you look at some state by state races like Nevada. If the Democrat swell does not appear or the Republicans also view this election as historic, then McCain wins that state by 3%. It is more than enough to give every toss-up state to McCain easily, and it is enough to keep Colorado, and flip New Hampshire for McCain.

That is just a sample of the stuff that has made me a little upset. Journalism is officially dead. It makes one long for the days of Yellow Journalism. Even that would be an improvement over what we have today.

6 Comments:

Jay said...

I thought you trusted Rassmussen. All polls are going to be dependent on their methodology. The question is whether there are legitimate reasons to use the method. My understanding is that most polls use a higher number of Dems because there are a higher number of registered Dems in the country. In states like Kansas, where there are more Republicans, a greater percentage of Republicans are interviewed. If your poll doesn't reflect a cross-section of actual voters on Election Day, it's going to err. I think Rassmussen's page explains all that pretty well.

And by the way, I'll be very surprised if Democratic turnout isn't extremely high next week.

Lee said...

Oh I think Democratic turnout will be extremely high, but I think the Republican turnout will be high as well. Rasmussen is the best because they tell you about their methodology, and I think they are actually trying. They say it is about where it was in 2006. Now, I am no pollster, but I have a lot of Republican friends who are in a much different mood than they were in 2006. I think voter turnout across the board will be through the roof. I do not think the Dems will pull in 8% more than the Republicans.

That and the main point I am trying to make is that at Rasmussen for example, they are adjusting the polls for a heavier Democratic turnout, yet John McCain is gaining on Obama. In the last couple of weeks, at Rasmussen, Obama has lost FL, NV, MO, to the toss up column, and NH and VA have moved from likely Democrat to leans Democrat. So, the polls are intervieing more Democrats, but the results are leaning Republican. Bad sign for Obama fans. Why is that making news? The news guys just pick the worst polls and do not even try to analyize the polls that are there.
Sad.

Jay said...

Well, I have Republican friends who live in Virginia, and they are decidedly less enthusiastic than in 2006; I can think of at least one who's voting for Obama. But it's impossible to judge from that sort of thing.

Check out fivethirtyeight.com if you want in-depth statistical analysis on polls, methodologies, etc. (if you haven't already seen it). They don't see Obama losing ground in any key state.

Lee said...

I have seen FiveThirtyEight.com. They have Obama winning 351 electoral votes. I think that sight is fascinating, but as someone who is not sold on the Sabermetric approach to baseball stats, I am not going to be overly impressed in elections, but it will be interesting to see.
In the end, that is still a grouping of polls, even if he tries to weight them for accuracy. This sight has the underlying assumption that these polls are trying to be accurate, which I do not think is true for all of the sights he lists.
His sight has the same problem that I think many polls have. I do not think Republican turn out for a Presidential election will be as depressed as it was in 2006, which is what Rasmussen is saying and others say it will be worse.

Just for the record you will note Rasmussen is his third most accurate poll.

Oh and if you did not see it in the comment thread to a previous discussion. My official prediction is Obama winning with 273.

Jay said...

I think the people at fivethirtyeight.com would say it doesn't matter whether the polls intend to be accurate; he's theoretically trying to account for ACTUAL accuracy in his use of each poll. So, for example, I've read him say things like the NYT/CBS poll leans 2-3 points Democrat. Whether the pollsters did that intentionally or not shouldn't matter.

If we're making bold predictions--and I think Obama only getting 273 is pretty bold at this point--I'll go the opposite extreme and pick Obama to win 396. Realistically, I think fivethirtyeight is going to end up pretty close to the actual number.

Lee said...

See I think intentionality does matter, and this ties into the journalist trying to influence rather than report. If the NYT/CBS poll has in the past leaned 2-3 points, the 538 guys will adjust appropriately. But what if in this charged election year, they decided to slant it a little more than proper. And this year it leans 4-6 points Democrat. We will not know that it leans that far to the left until election day, which will make all the calculations for 538 off. If you have several pollsters doing this, then you will have a very slanted system.

In the end, we can only see a week from tomorrow. I probably will post a follow up on this topic as polls always interested me.