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Late Night: It Was Good Fun While It Lasted, Our Media Experiment

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Oh have a little pride, for fuck’s sake: 

So as part of a story online about the polls on Saturday, NBC News senior political editor Mark Murray included a section essentially imagining if the findings of his organization’s own poll were altered in a way that showed the Democratic sample in Ohio cut in half. In that case, Murray wrote, Obama’s lead would shrink to three points.

In an email to TPM late Saturday, Murray explained his reasoning behind it.

“We anticipated that there would be criticism of a D+9 sample, and asked our pollsters to assume — as an exercise — what the race would be simply if you halved that Democratic Party ID advantage,” Murray wrote. “We decided to publish that information in my story (towards the end, mind you). But make no mistake: The numbers are the numbers, and we stand by them.”

Criticizing pollsters for allegedly oversampling Democrats has become a cottage industry on the right. Over at National Review Online, Josh Jordan on Saturday referred to Marist’s polling as an “in-kind contribution to Obama.”

Let’s go out of our way to make the wingnuts feel better. That’ll fix everything. Surely then they’ll stop calling you traitors and criticizing your coverage and basically making it out like your personal mission in life is to ruin their fun. If you give them just this one thing, if you throw them a bone, they’ll stop slavering and snarling around your door. That always works.

I swear to … look, is there some value in saying yes, in fact, even if we “unskew” the polls the way you anti-intellectual freakjobs want them unskewed, Obama still wins Ohio so fuck off? Probably. But the point is that by doing that in a news story you’re writing for your critics and not for the facts. You’re writing to head something off, not to tell people what’s going on.

And by the fucking bye, there are worse things than a bunch of wingnuts calling you an asshole. I know they’re annoying and I know they’re loud right now, but if all it takes is loud and annoying to make editors and news directors do what you want them to do why hasn’t Matt Lauer been fired and forced to stand in Times Square covered in bees?


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.