Thursday, September 18, 2014

Colorado Mid-Term Elections and the scam called Mainstream News

“The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public.”
~ Justice Hugo Black, 1945, 
In opinion written for Antitrust case between 
newspaper publishers and the Associated Press

Anyone reading this blog knows I have little, if any, respect for what passes as "mainstream media."

Fact: In 1983, 50 corporations owned the major media outlets in the United States (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies). By 2012, only 6 corporations held 90% of them.

So what is the result of this concentration of ownership by only 6 corporations?

The facts (truth) are more often gutted and left to wither, while manipulation of the masses through sensationalist lies in order to twist opinion, often, is all that we have left.

There appears to be no better recent example of the death of truth in "news," than the "huge" headlines relating to the Hickenlooper vs Beauprez Governor's race as broadcast on three of the four main networks in Denver and picked up by "The Denver Post". The headlines are based on the results of the latest Quinnipiac University poll released this week in Colorado (ignoring the other polls released this week by pollsters refuting the Quinnipiac results).

Each one ran with headlines of:

Only one network, Channel 9, the NBC affiliate, got the story even close to reality with their headline, "Mixed results in Colorado governor polls"

Those other "Doom for Hick" reports were eventually changed for the late night broadcast news or this morning's newspaper but by then, the damage and the lie was already in play.

So before the people of Colorado start betting on which moving company Hickenlooper has retained for his impending move from the Governor's Mansion, let's review the polls (Keep in mind that Colorado has a population of 5.118 million as of 2012 with 3,588,192 registered voters as of August, 2014):

  1. The Quinnipiac University poll for 9/10-9/15/2014, released yesterday,  shows Beauprez with a ten point lead over Hickenlooper (50% vs 40%. Note: The Libertarian candidate, Matthew Hess, and the Green Party candidate, Harry Hempy - perfect name - each got 3 percent totaling only 96% ).  The poll was conducted by telephone calling only a sample of 1,211 likely voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
  2. The USA Today/Suffolk poll for 9/13-9/16/2014,  shows Hickenlooper with 43% and Beauprez with 41% (10% undecided and 6% to other candidates) - a statistical deadheat - with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. From the poll: "The survey was conducted via landline and cell phone. All respondents indicated that they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election. The field of 500 likely general-election voters was conducted Saturday, Sept. 13, through Tuesday, Sept. 16. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence."
  3. The Denver Post poll conducted by SurveyUSA for 9/8-9/9/10/2014, was "too close to call" showing Hickenlooper with 43% to Beauprez' 40%  - the poll was conducted surveying 664 "likely voters."  No margin of error was calculated.
  4. The NBC News/Marist poll for 9/2-9/4/2014, shows Hickenlooper at 43% to Beauprez' 39% with 9% voting for other parties and 9% undecided, polling 975 registered voters with only 795 stating they would "likely" vote.  A margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

So what do these polls really say about the governor's race?  

Not so much.  What it doesn't say is that there is really any consensus as to who is "ahead" or "behind".  It shows only that the few people willing to interrupt their evening to take a call from a pollster, decided an answer specific to how a question was asked and what the person's mood was at that moment.

As far as the accuracy of "polls" to predict an election?

I remember exit polls, one election night, in 2000 that called Al Gore the winner of the presidential election. I, also, seem to remember one Eric Cantor considered a "shoe in" against "tea party" extremist Dave Brat (another fitting name)..

Polls are skewed by the pollster, the questions, the inflection used in asking the question.  They are dependent on the willingness of the voter polled to be polled and his/her attitude towards the pollster. (as well as the "truthiness" of the voter's response)...

As for the media's inability to actually research and report accurate stories without creating some sensationalist false story to grab the most viewers and to manipulate the message?

That goes back to those 6 corporations who own just about every bit of media in the U.S., outside of the internet, and the race for dollars as well as the control of the public.  Until we force the break up of the monopolies on the media (now spilling into the internet in the form of AOL, Microsoft, Google, et al, as well as Social media darlings Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al, and access providers Comcast, CenturyLink, et al), mainstream news will continue to be skewed towards sponsor dollars and control.

What I do know is...

What is good for Wall Street is not, necessarily, good for the nation.

And that "...widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public" thing isn't even considered important by those controlling mainstream news.

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