Free Markets, Free People
Today a reporter for the Daily Caller interrupted the President in a Rose Garden announcement about his decision to selectively enforce the law of the land based on his whim (and pure political calculation not to mention a flip-flop).
The guy who saw fit to interrupt twice the President’s address in the Rose Garden on his new immigration policy, which was being carried live by the cable nets, was actually a reporter for The Daily Caller named Neil Munro.
The left is appalled by the reporter’s behavior (apparently deciding what parts of laws you’ll enforce, though, is ok). The
Emperor President was not amused.
Good thing he didn’t throw his shoes at Obama. I’m sure, as they did the last time that happened to a President, the left would have found that hilarious.
It’s amazing, though, how much “world class temperament” resembles the behavior of an irritable, spoiled four year old:
Details on this reporter, Neil Munro, actually trying to be a reporter are here.
This episode was, naturally, followed by the usual panties-in-a-wad bleating from our legacy media, 95% of whom are far too cowardly and biased to challenge Obama on anything at any time. So naturally, they declared Obama a holy personage, and designated Munro’s questions as blasphemy. Well, something like that; when these guys get into high dudgeon, it always sounds to me like they’re talking about their religion.
I do believe I detect some serious frustration in our noble President. Not to mention frustration in his legacy media acolytes. Though I have no enthusiasm whatsoever for Romney, I must say that watching the sour phiz that Brian Williams might have to wear this November would be fun.
Of course, some of us had this guy’s number from pretty early on. And some others, such as the last commenter on that thread, were determined to be fooled by Obama indefinitely. Some still are. No names needed, I think; examples abound.
As I’ve mentioned any number of times, you have to be careful about what polls you consider as worthy of believing and what polls are likely not particularly accurate. Jay Cost has a great article about that with the added point that the media doesn’t understand what he tells you and so doesn’t understand the races in the various states.
He points to this from the Hill as an example:
President Obama is retaining his commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, topping the Republican presidential nominee by 12 points in a poll released Wednesday by Franklin & Marshall College. Obama would win the favor of 48 percent of Keystone State voters, versus just 36 percent for Romney, according to the poll.
1. The president is under 50 percent in most swing state polling averages. It’s not an ironclad rule that Obama cannot rise in the polls, but common sense suggests that it will be tough. He’s been the president for three years – if you’re not inclined to vote for him now, what will five months of a campaign do?
That’s an important point – if you’re the incumbent and polling under 50%, you’re in trouble regardless of the type voter the poll uses. Also note that the Romney candidacy isn’t even official yet. He would likely see a rise in preference once he is officially the GOP candidate.
Another point I’ll expand on later – favorability. Cost says this:
It’s worth noting as well that most of these polls show the president getting roughly his job approval, which is all we should expect him to receive in the general election (maybe a little less). And his job approval rating has consistently been under 50 percent for two-and-a-half years.
Not good. Not insurmountable, but certainly not an indicator of a strong candidate. More on favorability later.
2. Most polls are of registered voters. This matters because the actual electorate will only be a subset of registered voters, and will probably be more inclined to vote for the GOP. So, these polls probably overstate Obama’s “lead,” such as it is.
With a state like Pennsylvania, using registered voters, you most likely get an oversampling of Democrats. Which side is most likely to be motivated this time? The GOP. So the number quoted in the Hill story is probably considerably lower than claimed (remember Wisconsin? A state carried by 14 points in 2008 is now showing 7 points).
3. There is no “blue wall.” This is a common point pundits will make – the list of states that have not voted Republican since 1988 amounts to a “blue wall” for the president. Nonsense. It’s better to say that these states have Democratic tilts, some of them pretty minimal.
We’ve seen evidence of that in landslide elections. There’s no “red wall” either. It’s all about tilts. Some states tilt more than others but all states, at some point, are in play. Think preference cascade.
The states with a Republican tilt of at least 1 point total up to 253 electoral votes, based on the 2008 results. The states with a Democratic tilt of at least 1 percent total up to 257 electoral votes.
In other words, it’s a wash.
And this is key:
4. The “horse race” metaphor has its limits. Take this from the guy who used to write the Horse Race Blog: The concept of a horse race does not capture the idea of voter psychology very well at this point. Roughly 85 percent or so of the electorate is locked in – though they may not be admitting it to pollsters – while the final 15 percent has barely started the decision-making process. So, the idea that Obama has a “lead” in the polls is really a non sequitur. The gettable voters are not yet engaged, so there really is no race going on at the moment
The fight is for the 15% and they’re not even really paying attention yet. My guess is the 15% probably have a preference, but can be swayed. But for the most part, the majority of the electorate is already engaged (and again, this is one reason WI has national implications).
Finally, favorability. Obama supporters like to point to his favorability rating vs. Romney. That’s pretty much useless as Morris Fiorna explains:
Over all, in the 13 elections between 1952 and 2000, Republican candidates won four of the six in which they had higher personal ratings than the Democrats, while Democratic candidates lost four of the seven elections in which they had higher ratings than the Republicans. Not much evidence of a big likability effect here. In most elections, however, the electorate did not give a large personal edge to either candidate. In four elections they did.
So it is a very mixed bag concerning favorability or likeability. The most pertinent recent example:
Jimmy Carter’s 1980 job approval was flirting with lows established by Harry S. Truman, Nixon and later, George W. Bush, but the electorate rated Carter’s personal qualities as the highest of the Democratic candidates between 1952 and 2000. The same electorate rated Ronald Reagan as the lowest of the Republican candidates. The Ronald Reagan of October 1980 was not the Reagan of “morning again in America” in 1984, let alone the beloved focus of national mourning in 2004. Many Americans saw the 1980 Reagan as uninformed, reckless, and given to gaffes and wild claims. But despite their misgivings about Reagan, and their view that Carter was a peach of a guy personally, voters opted against four more years of Carter.
Fiorna sums it up this way:
“Voters didn’t like my personality” is a loser’s excuse.
As the campaigns progress, we’re likely to hear how Obama’s favorability rating is higher than Romney’s and that such a rating is “significant”. Don’t buy into that. It is likely not that significant at all.
In summary, if the candidate is under 50% in a state in which registered voters are polled, he’s not as strong (or weak) as the polling might indicate. If the poll is of registered voters, take it with a grain of salt. All states are in play and the fight is for the uncommitted 15%.
Favorability? Disregard. It’s about job performance. (That said, here’s POLITICO trying to make something of Obama’s favorability rating).
Hopefully this will help you navigate the worth of the umpteen polls you’ll have thrown your way in the next few months. You should be able to quickly get their measure and then just as quickly figure out if the media has any idea of what it is talking about.
Most likely you’ll find they don’t. But then, that shouldn’t particularly surprise you, should it?
Perhaps. It certainly seems so. She’s out with a column calling the Obama administration a “house of cards”. I’ll get to that in a minute, but there was something else she said in the column that caught my attention:
Political professionals now lay down lines even before a story happens. They used to wait to do the honest, desperate, last-minute spin of yesteryear. Now it’s strategized in advance, which makes things tidier but less raggedly fun. The line laid down by the Democrats weeks before the vote was that it’s all about money: The Walker forces outspent the unions so they won, end of story.
Two points – one, that “line” has been debunked, but Democrats continue to try to make that conventional wisdom (which is fine by me, because the CW hides the real truth that it was their message). But more importantly, point two, Noonan is right – political professionals try to shape the story before it happens, with their spin already being generated so that if they win their positive spin becomes CW and if they lose their negative spin becomes CW. In Wisconsin, the negative spin or excuse was Democrats were outspent and being outspent means losing.
That takes us to the part where Noonan talks about Obama:
President Obama’s problem now isn’t what Wisconsin did, it’s how he looks each day—careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn’t go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker’s place, where the money is.
There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration.
It became apparent some weeks ago when the president talked on the stump—where else?—about an essay by a fellow who said spending growth is actually lower than that of previous presidents. This was startling to a lot of people, who looked into it and found the man had left out most spending from 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency. People sneered: The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That’s more alarming, isn’t it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.
For more than a month, his people have been laying down the line that America was just about to enter full economic recovery when the European meltdown stopped it. (I guess the slowdown in China didn’t poll well.) You’ll be hearing more of this—we almost had it, and then Spain, or Italy, messed everything up. What’s bothersome is not that it’s just a line, but that the White House sees its central economic contribution now as the making up of lines.
Any president will, in a presidential election year, be political. But there is a startling sense with Mr. Obama that that’s all he is now, that he and his people are all politics, all the time, undeviatingly, on every issue. He isn’t even trying to lead, he’s just trying to win.
There’s so much packed into those few paragraphs. Apparently Noonan has shed the blinders that had her backing Obama in 2008 and sees him for what the rest of us saw him to be all along. An empty suit.
She talks about the fact that his campaign has been “laying down the line” that it is Europe’s fault our economy is in trouble. Typical Obama. He’s failed miserably and, perfectly in character, is trying to blame it on another entity.
Everything is political. Obama petulantly claimed that it was offensive to be blamed for the national security leaks that have been coming out of his administration. Question: who the hell else should be blamed?
Most ominously, there are the national-security leaks that are becoming a national scandal—the "avalanche of leaks," according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that are somehow and for some reason coming out of the administration. A terrorist "kill list," reports of U.S. spies infiltrating Al Qaeda in Yemen, stories about Osama bin Laden’s DNA and how America got it, and U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet computer virus, used against Iranian nuclear facilities. These leaks, say the California Democrat, put "American lives in jeopardy," put "our nation’s security in jeopardy."
But everyone of them served to burnish the Obama “Commander-in-Chief” record. Even DiFi recognizes where they’re coming from. As Noonan says, it has becomes clear that “he and his people are all politics, all the time” and those leaks simply serve that end.
Finally Noonan talks about the absurd article Obama was waving around touting the equally absurd notion that he was the president who had spent less than any other president. You have to be a syphilitic inbred moron with a single digit IQ and totally unaware of what has happened these past 4 years to even begin to believe that. Yet he’s out there presenting it as “fact”.
And then yesterday, he talked about the private sector “doing fine”.
It is becoming increasingly clear the man has no grounding in or understanding of economics whatsoever. And so, the claim he’s “smartest man in the room” seems to be only true if the room is empty.
What Noonan’s deconstruction of Obama signals though, in a larger sense, is the disenchantment of the big middle with Obama. She’s one of the bellwethers.
You know E.J. Dionne is an Obamabot. You know Charles Krauthammer is anti-Obama. Noonan was among those who were nominally from the right but who endorsed Obama last cycle.
It was cool to be for Obama last time. It was hip. It was in. Our first black president. A chance to show the world our racial differences have been put aside.
And heck, what real damage could he do, right? So she touted his candidacy over McCain’s.
Then reality bitch slapped her.
She’s finally now come to the point where the adage “if you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you’re not a racist, you need to vote against him in 2012 to prove you’re not an idiot” is staring her directly in the face. Credibility is in the balance.
Over the next few months, a whole lot of marginal Obama voters are going to come to the same conclusion and in November, the Obama house of cards will collapse.
I’m very busy these days*, so I doubt that I’ll have much time this summer to weigh in on the election. But I don’t think it matters much. We’ve seen enough of these elections, and we now have the measure of the legacy media. It’s not that hard to predict a trajectory in advance.
Insert usual disclaimers here: future is uncertain, who knows what will happen, blah, blah, blah – hey, if any of us could predict the future in detail, we’d be on the beach enjoying all the money we made in the stock market.
With those caveats, here, then, is my expected approximate trajectory of reporting, straight from my patented combination of cracked crystal ball, Ouija board, and leaky 8-ball. It includes short summaries of legacy media narratives at various points from roughly a month ago up until past the election. Along about December, we can see how close I came.
(April) Obama is almost certain to be re-elected. How could anyone think otherwise? Plus, did you know Romney has a weird religion and carries dogs on the top of his car?
(early May) Obama is very likely to be re-elected. Though he has challenges to meet as a result of the problems he inherited from Bush. Plus challenges from wingnuts who take things out of context from his books. Which we are absolutely not going to talk about, especially any stuff about eating dog meat.
(mid May) Romney is a strong candidate because he has so much money, but Obama has the hearts and minds of the people, so he’ll win. The economy is showing signs of improvement, which will help Obama.
(June) Romney’s well-funded right-wing henchmen are going all out, and according to polls this will be a close race, but Obama has the advantage because of his committed base. The economy is improving slowly, despite some negative indicators, and will probably peak just as Obama needs it to.
(early July) Romney’s rich buddies have spent millions to make this a toss up, but Obama’s incumbency and natural connection to voters still make him the likely winner. A lot depends on the continued improvement in the economy. By the way, doesn’t Obama look presidential at this 4th of July event?
(late July) The continuous unfair attacks on Obama have put him somewhat behind in the polls, but there’s still plenty of time for him to catch up as the voters realize who is behind the negative campaigning, and as hoped-for economic improvements kick in.
(early August) Obama seems to be losing his mojo, probably because he’s tired from fighting those nasty right-wing partisans who distort everything he says and denigrate his record by blaming him for things that were Bush’s fault. In other unrelated news, unemployment continues to be high because of the Bush recession and financial markets are jittery because of events in Europe, China, and the Middle East.
(mid-August) Obama has lost his mojo because he’s distracted with important matters of governance and frustrations of unfair right-wing attacks. Yes, we know it’s late summer and Congress is out. There are still important matters of governance. (Shift to tone of the guys at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark claiming “top men” were investigating the ark.) Important. Matters.
(late August) Polls show Romney ahead. Obama is fighting for his political life against great odds, as unscrupulous racist opponents level unceasing unfair attacks and as he continues to fight the Bush recession. By the way, did you know Romney believes in a weird, cult-like religion?
(end of August) Romney’s choice for VP at the GOP convention shows just how far right he is. Choosing such a far-right partisan for VP will benefit Obama. Voters will finally realize just how beholden Romney is to rich conservatives who own yachts. Pay no attention to the polls showing Romney with a large lead. It’s just a post-convention bounce.
(early Sept, after a mediocre speech done by Obama at the Democratic National Convention after a couple of days rest, in which he sounds a little like he did in 2008:) Obama has regained his mojo and is surging in the polls according to left-wing polling organization X, and a post-convention bounce has nothing to do with it. By the way, we have an exclusive, documented report that GOP VP candidate X once threw a candy wrapper out on the highway, and is therefore unfit to be vice president.
(late Sept) Obama has pulled almost even again or maybe a little ahead according to internal polls and has momentum that will eventually give him the edge. Due to the rapidly approaching election, we don’t have time to report anything about the economy. But here’s some more negative stuff about GOP VP candidate X.
(early Oct) Romney is a mean rich guy who hates dogs, with an uncaring wife who spends her money on expensive horses, and a VP candidate who is a litterer. We don’t understand how anyone with a brain could vote for him. Look at this thing we just dug up about him which is totally legit and makes him look really bad. Meanwhile, noble Obama is struggling with troubles in Europe and the Middle East, and continued economic problems inherited from Bush, and sure is doing a great job of acting presidential. The race is still very much in doubt. The polls suggesting that Romney has a large and growing lead don’t mean anything.
(late Oct) Obama has mismanaged his campaign by not attacking Romney strongly enough and exposing the fact that he’s a mean, rich guy from a weird cult who throws people out of work. As a result, he might lose the election, though it’s still a toss up according to some small-sample polls who over-sampled urban Democrats by thirty percent.
(early Nov) With voters going to the polls in 48 hours, Obama is embarking on a marathon with twenty speeches a day to remind voters of how wonderful he is. The limited time for planning is the reason the venues are not full to overflowing. Photos of half empty auditoriums are distortions taken while the stage was setting up. Pay no attention to the ones in which Obama is actually speaking to a half-empty auditorium. Those are not from an official media photographer, and are probably Photoshopped.
(election day) As voters go to the polls today, Obama’s campaign staff are quietly confident that the marathon campaigning has turned the tide, and he’s back in the race. Nasty right-wing partisans who will stop at nothing are trying to block him with voter suppression efforts in key states that are probably illegal. Pay no attention to the noble Obama minions at polls bravely fighting back against the wingnuts, even though some get a bit over-enthusiastic and hold billy clubs while standing outside polling doors.
(election day plus two) Obama looks like he has lost a close election, though recounts in several states could still win it for him. Republicans are trying to block all recounts, probably to cover up their own illegal election tampering.
(election day plus seven) Obama is pinning his final hopes on recounts in large state X, where he is 100,000 votes behind, but his staff has expressed confidence that they know about missing ballots that will close that gap.
(election day plus nine) Some of the missing ballots put forth by Democrats turn out to be shredded newspapers in cardboard boxes, but Democratic election officials deny any attempts to manipulate election results.
(election day plus ten) Obama has conceded to Romney. As we long predicted, Romney’s money and right-wing meanness were enough to dupe the electorate into electing him over the noble Obama. Though some doubts remain as to whether the election really should gone the other way and was only decided by throwing out Obama votes that were slightly irregular but clearly indicated voters’ intent, and were certainly not votes from dead people and illegal aliens no matter what those right-wing hacks at Fox say.
(late Nov) Romney is now choosing his cabinet. We can only hope that Romney chooses wise and moderate Republicans who will reach across the aisle to the Democratic minority to craft bipartisan legislation to fix our financial crisis which is still left over from the Bush years, and exacerbated by problems in Europe and China, and definitely was not Obama’s fault. Obama and Michelle have been gracious during the transition, and rumors of broken vases in the White House after Obama’s concession speech are just more right-wing rumor-mongering. Michelle has been working so hard with Ann Romney that she hasn’t been seen in public in weeks.
(early Dec) Romney has chosen a cabinet of right-wing partisans, and is off to a bad start. With a questionable election behind him, instead of healing the nation, Romney chose hard-line GOP insiders like Mitch Daniels and Lamar Alexander as advisors. He’s probably going to be worse than Bush.
(*) If you’re a software developer and want to see what I’ve been up to lately, my first video training course for online training company Pluralsight went up a couple of weeks ago. More info here. The course is basically me droning on for four hours about user experience design principles, so I doubt that very many of you would be interested, but perhaps a few would be.
While President Obama tries to keep the subject on anything but the economy (and I think he miscalculated on the gay marriage thing), the economy continues to take its toll whether the center of media attention or not.
Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama’s weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy "good," down from 48 percent in February to just 31 percent now.
And yet we’re engaged in discussions about whether Romney was a bully and Obama was bullied or gay marriage.
The economy is the No. 1 issue in the presidential race, thanks to the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression and one of the shallowest-ever recoveries.
While the recession officially ended in summer 2009, unemployment remains stubbornly high, at 8.1 percent in April. Some 12.5 million Americans are out of work.
The increasing skepticism toward the recovery tracks a weakening overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product, and matches economic growth downgrades by many economic forecasters.
We keep hearing the “economy is the No. 1 issue in the presidential race” but we rarely hear about it in that regard.
Instead we’re continually diverted and distracted by the latest “issue du jure”.
You’d almost think it was a strategy.
I am on record saying that Joe Biden is full of crap when he tried to sell Obama’s decision to okay the raid that killed bin Laden as “gutsy”. Biden’s claim is that had the raid failed, his presidency would have been over.
Nonsense. We’d have simply never heard about it. There was no risk to Obama or his presidency to okay the raid and tremendous upside (which he continues to try to cash in on) if it succeeded. Most reasonable people know and understand that. It is the usual Biden hubris.
But, this new claim which has been floated by Big Peace is also nonsense. The claim is a memo that authorized the raid also was used to cover the President’s rear if it failed. Here’s the memo that is being touted as proof:
Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.
The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.
The decision to shift operational command to McRaven is being characterized as a CYA move by the president who, if the raid failed, would or could throw McRaven under the bus.
What was done is exactly what should have been done by standard operating procedure for any operation – unless, of course, you want people who have no situational awareness, haven’t been in on the planning and are thousands of miles away, making minute-to-minute operational decisions. You know LBJ designating targets in North Vietnam or Jimmy Carter trying to run the Iranian operation.
Of course you give operational control to the operational commander for heaven sake. He’s the guy who has planned, rehearsed and is most familiar with the operation. He knows the operators, he knows the terrain, he has helped configure the force, he knows the best time to go in.
He is the guy best qualified to have operational control and the shift noted at 10:45 am means at that point it was up to the best qualified man to make the call “go”.
The sort of nonsense that Big Peace is running is, unfortunately, done out of apparent ignorance. This is not a story. It has nothing to do with CYA. It is how operations are done. When the command authority, who retains the right to make the decision of “go” or “no go”, makes the decision to proceed they then hand the operation off to the operational commander.
That’s what was done here. It was the correct thing to do.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am no fan of Obama’s. And I remember when he criticized another campaign for using bin Laden to “score political points”. But this sort of attack is just nonsense.
I ask because I have found the coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting and death to be sensationalist and, many times, based in rumor later found to be incorrect.
Or, to put a finer point on it, the coverage of the case has been anything but objective and fact based.
For instance, the original reports that said the incident was a white on black killing. In fact, Zimmerman isn’t white. He’s Hispanic. ABC then published a video from the police station claiming there was no evidence of injury. A closer look revealed ample evidence of injury, but that meme had already traveled the world twice. MSNBC, not to be out done, made the claim that Zimmerman uttered a racial slur that was caught on the 911 tape. Again, when examined more closely, it appeared clear that it wasn’t a racial slur at all, but a comment on the weather.
Meanwhile, the race baiters, attracted to the killing like sharks to chum, had picked up on the story as presented by the media and converged on Sanford FL, the site of the killing, to seek “justice” for Trayvon Martin.
Well, apparently some of it was served yesterday … in Mobile, AL:
Mobile police need your help to catch a mob that beat Matthew Owens so badly that he’s in critical condition.
According to police, Owens fussed at some kids playing basketball in the middle of Delmar Drive about 8:30 Saturday night. They say the kids left and a group of adults returned, armed with everything but the kitchen sink.
Police tell News 5 the suspects used chairs, pipes and paint cans to beat Owens.
Owens’ sister, Ashley Parker, saw the attack. "It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed." Parker says 20 people, all African American, attacked her brother on the front porch of his home, using "brass buckles, paint cans and anything they could get their hands on."
And, according to Ms. Parker, as they were leaving something else occurred:
What Parker says happened next could make the fallout from the brutal beating even worse. As the attackers walked away, leaving Owen bleeding on the ground, Parker says one of them said "Now that’s justice for Trayvon." Trayvon Martin is the unarmed teenager police say was shot and killed February 26 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
The left is fond of trying to blame the right for inciting incidents of violence. The Gabby Gifford shooting is the most recent example.
I have to wonder if the news media who sensationalized the Martin shooting and the race hustlers who inflamed the situation are willing to take the blame for this beating?
UPDATE: Ace points to two more beatings that appear to have been motivated by the Martin case.
Yesterday I talked about the horrendous coverage of the Trayvon Martin case by much of the mainstream media. How, now, they’re walking a back much of what they claimed in stories they aired or wrote. About how both NBC and ABC had abused anything called objective and/or unbiased reporting with NBC’s purposeful re-editing of a 911 tape to make Zimmerman sound racist and ABC’s false claims concerning a lack of injuries to Zimmerman as well as claiming he made a racial slur on the 911 call.
Not to mention the NY Daily News’ claim that Neo-Nazis were patrolling Sanford FL, a completely false rumor a simple check with the Sanford Police Dept. would have revealed (as a blogger proved).
It took only two minutes. An unfounded report on a little-known blog claiming that Gov. Nikki R. Haley was about to be indicted rocketed from South Carolina political circles into national circulation, along the way becoming the latest lesson in the perils of an instantaneous news culture.
Well, no, that’s not the peril. The peril is forgetting to do what journalists and editors are supposed to do and that is check their sources and get confirmation before going with a story.
But again, at numerous main stream media organizations, those three levels of editors came up with a big #FAIL.
But journalists from news outlets that reposted Mr. Smith’s report on Twitter — including establishments old and venerable (The Washington Post, CBS News) as well as new and widely read (The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed) — had no way of knowing that in the minutes after it went online, and did not stop to check first.
March 29, 12:52 p.m.: The Palmetto Public Record publishes an article online with the headline “Haley indictment imminent? Stay tuned. …” It cites two unidentified “well-placed legal experts” who said they expected the federal Department of Justice to indict Ms. Haley “as early as this week” on charges stemming from her involvement with a local Sikh temple.
12:54 p.m.: A blogger for The Hill, a Washington newspaper that focuses on government and politics, sends a Twitter post about the article to his 1,500 followers, who include several prominent political journalists with large Twitter followings that reach into the tens of thousands. Some then repost the item — BuzzFeed just two minutes later; The Washington Post 18 minutes after that.
1:03 p.m.: The Daily Beast posts a short article, which it later removes, about the Palmetto Public Record report, becoming one of many online outlets to write lengthier items, including Daily Kos and The Daily Caller. Headlines like one on the Atlantic Wire’s post, “Nikki Haley Probably Won’t Win Republican Veepstakes,” are common.
1:12 p.m.: A USA Today reporter contacts Ms. Haley’s office with a request for comment, the first of dozens of such inquiries that will deluge the governor and her staff for the rest of the day.
1:22 p.m.: The Romney campaign, which is reported to be considering Ms. Haley as one of many possible vice-presidential choices, receives a request for comment from ABC News.
1:25 p.m.: Mr. Smith seems bemused by all the attention his report is getting, posting on Twitter: “Well, now I know what it’s like to watch a story go viral in real time.”
3:29 p.m.: Matt Drudge, whose heavily visited Drudge Report can help drive decisions in newsrooms around the country, links to a Daily Caller article under the headline “REPORT: DOJ targets S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.”
And none of it was true.
Not everyone pushed it out there though:
“I saw the original Tweets, and my first thought was that I’d never heard of the Web site that reported it,” said Byron York, the chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. Mr. York, a prolific Twitter poster, decided not to send the item out to his 30,000 followers. “It was a pretty easy decision to stay away from it,” he said.
Uh, no it wasn’t that easy, Byron … see the rumor mongers above who couldn’t resist. Not that repeated failures by the main stream media will at any point lesson the condescending lectures we’ll continue to get from them about why they’re so superior to blogs. Will these repeated failures on the part of the media prompt any soul searching? Has it in the past?
More importantly, given their part is spreading a false rumor one has to ask, where does Gov. Haley go to get her reputation back, media?