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 An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media

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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   11/17/2012, 8:32 am

Why Fox News and the Wall Street Journal Reward Their Pundits for Being Wrong About Everything
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Something is deeply amiss when completely misjudging the election can get you touted as a sharp thinker in the conservative media world.
November 16, 2012 |

Conservative hand-wringing in the wake of President Obama's victory continues unabated, with both voters and strategists venting their frustration about the GOP's loss, while condemning the conservative media forleading followers to believe a GOP victory was imminent. (A landslide!)

Instead of being honest down the homestretch, conservative pundits on Fox News and at places like the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post fed Republicans a steady diet of falsehoods and Pollyannaish analysis that ran counter to the clear polling data about the state of the race.

Some Republican leaders are now promoting wholesale changes. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal urged Republicans to "stop being the party of stupid" and to reject the anti-intellectualism that has often defined the political movement. "We've also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism," he told Politico.

But "dumbed-down conservatism" is what drives the GOP Noise Machine. It's what Fox, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative media have been pushing for years and posting healthy profits in the process. If there's going to be widespread change within the conservative movement it's going to have to include the right-wing media. And for that to happen, accountability has to be finally introduced into the equation.

Currently it's a foreign notion among many commentators who boast dubious track records of being chronically incorrect. Early indications are that most conservative pundits won't face recriminations from within the GOP Noise Machine for getting everything wrong about the campaign. But will consumers finally revolt?

Note that last week CNBC's Larry Kudlow welcomed Romney loyalist Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post onto his program two nights after Romney lost decisively. On the show there was no discussion about how all of Rubin's horse race insights had been monumentally wrong.

Kudlow politely declined to ask Rubin about her suggestion that Romney might win nearly all the battleground states. (He won just one, North Carolina.) And he also didn't discuss the revelation that Rubin had misled readers in real time about the status of the campaign. The conservative CNBC host, among those whoerroneously predicted a Romney blowout, politely demurred and accountability was ignored.

For weeks, if not months, Rubin's readers were led to believe the Obama campaign was crumbling and the incumbent was making one foolish move after another. After Obama won an electoral landslide, Rubin wasn't asked about her dreadfully erroneous spin. Neither was Kudlow's other guest, James Pethokoukis, a blogger from the American Enterprise Institute who forecast Romney would win 301 electoral votes. (Romney won 206.)

Between the three of them, Kudlow, Rubin and Pethokoukis could not have been more wrong about the election; an election they allegedly studied intently all year long. And none of the three bothered to acknowledge their failings on CNBC that night.

The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost was another full-time campaign watcher who obsessively assured readers that Obama's chances were dim. Casting a critical eye towards polling, Cost presented his "interpretation" of what was happening in the campaign: There was no way voter turnout among Democrats and Republicans would look the same as it did in 2008.

It did.

Cost's explanation last week then, for why he got everything wrong about Obama vs. Romney? Answer: The Obama campaign "played to its base with a level of intensity rarely seen in the modern era." (Whatever that means.) And Cost was surprised that it worked.

Here's the real punch line, though, and here's why the conservative media have dug themselves such a deep, insular hole: Two days after Cost got everything wrong about the campaign, James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal linked to Cost's post-election column and urged people to read Cost's deep insights about the campaign. (Surprise! Taranto loved Cost's piece about how the Romney defeat did not represent a serious set back for the GOP.)

So Cost's penalty for completely misjudging the election was to be touted as a sharp thinker by the Wall Street Journal. The point being, within the GOP media bubble there's no price for having been consistently wrong about the campaign. There's no shame in announcing all the polls are wrong (biased!), and that Romney was surging to an easy win, even though both claims were pure fantasy.

That no-harm/no-foul rule also extends to the mainstream media. Five days after Romney's defeat, Face the Nation invited Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan to pontificate about the campaign. It was an interesting choice considering Noonan had botched the election, insisting the day before the vote that Romney was marching to victory over the "small and lost" Obama campaign.

Uninterested in polling data, Noonan sensed Romney's looming victory because "all the vibrations" were right. Plus, she saw more Romney/Ryan yard signs while out traveling in Florida.

I realize Noonan is not a data-miner and her writing style is more impressionistic. But she works for the largest newspaper in America and her (erroneous) election-eve analysis came down to "vibrations" and lawn signs? That's just embarrassing.

Noonan appears to be in no danger of having her reputation dinged by the media, though. What about angry conservative media consumers? Will they penalize any of the sites and pundits who emphatically misled readers, listeners and viewers about the state of the race?

Historically, there's little evidence of right-wing media outlets losing their audience in the wake of getting stories wrong, even getting them spectacularly wrong. There seems to be an almost tacit understanding among conservative news consumers that the GOP Noise Machine tells them what they want to hear about how crooked and un-American Democrats are. And that even if the stories don't hold up to scrutiny, consumers remain loyal.

But last week's election results seemed especially traumatic for Republican voters, so it's possible there could be fall out.

The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky highlighted this angry comment posted by a dedicated RedState reader [emphasis added]:

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The simple fact is that in the run-up to this election, we were fed a steady diet of lies, from all our "loyal" sources. We need to hold not only the Romney campaign accountable, but also the conservative press (specifically the Murdoch press - Fox was the worst of the bunch), and the establishment talking heads like Karl Rove and Peggy Noonan. We need to get clear about something: these people are selling us a product. They have been taking our money and telling us bedtime stories. We complain about the MSM, but can we honestly say that the conservative press has been more honest?
Writing a scathing critique of the right-wing media's debacle, The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf noted that in covering the election, the biggest news story of the year, "the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media."

Indeed it did. And unless people start demanding some much-needed accountability from the GOP Noise Machine, the conservative drubbings will continue.
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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   12/5/2012, 7:48 pm

How To Get In Trouble At Fox News
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So it seems that Karl Rove and Dick Morris are on the outs at Fox News. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that Roger Ailes wants the two pundits off the air, for the time being, and that Fox News producers "must get permission before booking Rove or Morris." The reasons for their benching? "Morris's Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line" within the network, and "Ailes was angry at Rove's election-night tantrum when he disputed the network's call for Obama."

At last we're getting a clearer picture of what it takes to face a reckoning at Fox News. Glaring conflicts of interest, grossly unethical behavior, and naked GOP boosterism adorned with a journalistic fig leaf are just fine. To reap the Ailes whirlwind, you have to become such a transcendent embarrassment that the network has no choice but to treat you as a liability.

It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but there exists some precedent. The most prominent example is, of course, Glenn Beck, whose short-lived Fox News tenure was an ongoing exercise in damage control. Beck managed to stay in Ailes good graces owing to high ratings and ad revenue, but as he grew increasingly unhinged (caliphate, anyone?) and big-name advertisers fled en masse, they had a falling out and Beck was shown the door. "Half of the headlines say he's been canceled. The other half say he quit. We're pretty happy with both of them," Ailes told the Associated Press.

And then there's E.D. Hill, the Fox News anchor who in 2008 memorably characterized a fist bump between Barack and Michelle Obama as "a terrorist fist jab," generating howls of outrage from all corners. Her program was canceled within two weeks, and later that year the network declined to renew her contract.

On the other hand, there are plenty of Fox News personalities who have very publicly disgraced themselves and the network and who remain secure in their jobs. Look no further than the cast of Fox & Friends. Their 2008 stunt in which they smeared two New York Times reporters by Photoshopping yellow teeth, big noses, and receding hairlines into their publicity photos should have sent heads rolling. And yet, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade are still on the air. Eric Bolling declared himself a birther on his Fox Business Network show: "There is a legitimate question as to whether or not the president of the United States is allowed to be president of the United States." He's since moved up to the big leagues and now co-hosts The Five on Fox News.

All this to say that, despite Morris' and Rove's benching -- which has every appearance of being temporary -- there is still no real culture of accountability at Fox News. The only way to get in trouble is to make such a spectacle of yourself that the network brass are forced to act (sagging ratings seem to be a precondition as well). And even then, there's a good chance you won't face any consequences whatsoever.

You might even get promoted.

The Best of Dick Morris Laughing

Last edited by Artie60438 on 12/5/2012, 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added the video)
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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   2/5/2013, 9:27 pm

I regret to inform everyone that Fox News is not renewing our favorite punching bag,Dick Morris's contract. Shocked No longer will we have the luxury of knowing what will definitely _Not_ happen based on Dick's predictions. Sad

With Sarah Palin recently getting the axe,Fox News desperately needs to strengthen it's nitwit bench. Perhaps Allen West or Joe Walsh can take their place.

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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   2/6/2013, 10:39 am

Lawrence O'Donnell says goodbye to Dick Morris. Let's hope that the Daily Show or Colbert give him similar accolades. The man was a treasure
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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   8/29/2015, 8:58 pm

I almost forget about this thread. Shocked Meanwhile one of our favorites William 'the bloody" Kristol picks up right where he left off.... Very Happy
From July 18th
Trump GOP Candidacy Blows Up
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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   6/3/2016, 1:13 pm

Finally,Exactly where he belongs....
The Hill Dumps Dick Morris After He Takes Job At National Enquirer
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The Capitol Hill-based newspaper The Hill has dropped laughingstock Dick Morris as a columnist after he signed on with the National Enquirer as its chief political correspondent.

In a statement to Media Matters, a spokesperson for The Hill wrote: “In light of Dick Morris' new position at the National Enquirer The Hill has decided to discontinue his column at The Hill. We wish him well.”

Morris’ dismissal from the paper is long overdue. In December 2012, several Hill staffers told Media Matters that the columnist lacked credibility in light of his faulty predictions, with one saying: "I think everyone at The Hill views him the way that people outside The Hill do. He is a laughingstock, especially the way he acted in this last election."

Morris, an ethically challenged pundit best known for his erroneous political forecasts, will become the chief political correspondent for the publication that helped bring him down in the 1990s.

National Enquirer touted the former Clinton adviser turned Clinton foe’s hiring in a press release, claiming it “underscores our commitment to investigative journalism. … He greatly values our commitment to delivering the kind of quality content that our readers have come to trust us for.” Morris said that the publication is “one of the few journalistic outlets that has the courage to publish the truth.”

His political predictions include claiming Mitt Romney would win the 2012 election in a “landslide”; it’s “very possible” President Obama would drop out of the 2012 race; the 2008 election would feature Condi Rice vs. Hillary Clinton; Clinton would drop out of her 2006 U.S. Senate bid because she’s afraid of challenger Jeanine Pirro (Pirro dropped out amid a poll showing her losing by over 30 points); and Rick Lazio would defeat Clinton in the 2000 Senate race (he lost by double digits).

Morris’ contract was not renewed by Fox News in early 2013. New York writer Gabriel Sherman reported that "Morris's Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line" inside the network.

Indeed, many of Morris’ former Fox News colleagues mocked him as "often wrong," a self-promoter, and "creepy." He was rebuked by a Fox executive after he attempted to auction off a Fox News studio tour to benefit a local Republican Party group.

The National Enquirer has endorsed Trump and has become a source of pro-Trump and anti-Clinton information. It is run by David Pecker, a close Trump friend. The Washington Post noted that Trump and the tabloid have a “very cozy relationship” and “Trump has written several articles for the Enquirer during the campaign.”

Morris’ new job with the Enquirer is an odd pairing given their history. Morris resigned “from the [Clinton] Administration after Star reveal[ed] his affair with a prostitute” and the National Enquirer and Star alleged in 1996 he “has a longtime mistress and a 6-year-old daughter with her.” (The Enquirer and Star are both owned by Pecker’s American Media Inc.)

Morris’ first column unsurprisingly appears to be bogus. The New York Post reported that it will run next week and “claims that Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server was actually hacked twice while she was secretary of state. ‘It was revealed in a footnote in the inspector general’s report,’ he told Media Ink.” Morris previously claimed Clinton’s server was hacked twice in a column on his website. In reality, as Vox notes, the inspector general’s report “doesn't turn up any evidence that Clinton's emails were successfully hacked or compromised” -- just that there were attempts.
Looking forward to the stories of Hillary's Two-headed alien love child,her secret plan to allow Iran to develop a nuke,ect. How long before Con Man Don #WhinyLittleBitch starts quoting and referring to Morris's out of touch ramblings in his rants?
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PostSubject: Re: An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media   6/4/2016, 6:28 pm

I could not stop laughing when I read about this. He'll definitely be happy at his new "home."
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