Tag Archives: MSNBC

The real margin of error for polls

In my daily scanning of the news, looking for stories that are both educational as well as entertaining, I came across this particular post: “WATCH – This Viral Video Perfectly Illustrates Why Americans Don’t Trust the Lamestream Media”.

The title is typical click-bait, hinting at something truly revealing that nine times out of ten turns out to be immensely disappointing. This time, however, I found that the post revealed a lie about political polls, almost as an aside, that is simply never noted.

The video itself is entertaining. It shows one particularly bad performance by a MSNBC political reporter, where in only about five minutes he used NBC polls to make a string of predictions about the presidential election, every single one of which turned out to be spectacularly wrong. I’ve embedded the video below the fold for your enjoyment.

What the post however noted that I found revealing was something else:

After all, these were NBC polls that Kornacki cited time and time again. Polls that showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in places like North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio. The polls were terribly off-base. In some cases, the NBC numbers showed Clinton with a double-digit lead in states that she went on to lose. In other words, the polls were not by any means scientific, fair, or truthful.

Does the phrase “margin of error” ring a bell? Typically, it is between three and four percent, in order to be deemed usable, anyway. But NBC’s margin of error in Pennsylvania was 11 percent. [emphasis mine]

In the past decade or so political polls have routinely included what they call their “margin of error,” which generally for most polls ranges, as noted above, about three to four percent. This number is, and has always been a lie, however, as shown by the highlighted text. The real margin of error is the difference between what the poll predicted and what the actual results were. And for all of these NBC polls, the margin of error was not 3 to 4 percent, but anywhere from 11 to 30 percent!

In other words, these polls were worthless. Worse, they suggest some intentional manipulation, as they all made their error in only one direction (against Trump and for Clinton), much like the tampered global temperature data that we see coming from NASA and NOAA. It could be that there is confirmation bias going on here, producing results these liberal news outlets wish, but I do not think so. NBC, and its sister station MSNBC, have repeatedly in the past five years committed some egregious journalist frauds, all of which designed to make conservatives and Republicans look bad and to promote the interests of the Democratic Party. The network has made no moves to correct the problems. Nor has it fired anyone.

I think it very reasonable to suspect intentional fraud here, specifically aimed at helping the Democrats.

More important, this story illustrates why we should all laugh uproariously the next time we see a mainstream media journalist note pompously that the poll he or she is citing has a margin of error of 3%. He or she either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they know very well and think you are too stupid to notice.
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Will Piers Morgan apologize for spreading a racist hoax?

Will Piers Morgan apologize for spreading a racist hoax?

I doubt it, but even if he does apologize (as has happened a lot at NBC recently), he won’t really mean it. When you are a hate-filled bigot, working at a hate-filled television network, apologizes don’t mean you’ve mended your ways, only that you are looking for cover so you can spread more hate.

Note also that Deval Patrick, Democratic governor of Massachusetts, also joined Morgan in spreading this lie.

The media’s ten worst predictions for 2013.

The media’s ten worst predictions for 2013.

Most of these predictions involved major issues — Obamacare, climate change, the federal budget. In every case, the media either was either starkly wrong, badly misinformed about stuff they should be experts at, or participated in political lies to prop up their partners on the left. Thus, this list of news sources is a good guide for the news sources no one should rely on for information.

Not surprisingly, the list includes bad reporting from the news divisions of NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Interestingly, the one media cable news outlet not mentioned at all in this list is Fox. It appears that this news outlet avoided making any of these foolish predictions, and thus avoided looking like a fool.

Update: Just to confirm the above conclusions: CNN’s top five credibility catastrophes in 2013.

MSNBC: “It’s like watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 — just less realistic.”

MSNBC: “It’s like watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 — just less realistic.”

It is also a continuous two-minute hate session, lasting “hour by tedious hour.” Worse, it is a continuous hate session that far too many Americans like, while too many other Americans look the other way and make believe such hate doesn’t exist.

MSNBC, the cable network of hate.

MSNBC, the cable network of hate.

MSNBC was the outlier. Fully 85 percent of its airtime was devoted to commentary — virtually all of it left-leaning — while only 15 percent went to news reporting. Even allowing that this approach is driven by business considerations (newsgathering being more expensive than bloviating), there are a couple of intrinsic problems with this approach.

The first is that relentless partisan criticism invariably leads to name-calling. It’s like a drug addiction — you need more and more. Once you’ve called George W. Bush stupid a hundred times, audiences want something a little different, so you graduate to “worst president in history,” and finally, as Olbermann often did, a demented war criminal. Sometimes on that network, conservatives are labeled “Hitlerian.”

Sarah Palin starts out in 2008 as someone who can’t tell Katie Couric what newspapers and magazines she reads and is then spoofed as a provincial by Tina Fey for saying something she never said (“I can see Russia from my house!”). She ends up last Friday, at least in Martin Bashir’s telling, as “America’s resident dunce” with a reputation as a “world-class idiot” — all as a buildup to that weird riff on defecation.

The stream of angry, vicious, and hateful stuff that pours out from MSNBC anchors on a daily basis is quite shameful. That the left tolerates it and actually seems to relish it also tells us a great deal about the left itself.

“Work like a Third World dictator and just put all these guys in jail.”

Disagree with Obama? Then at least one person on the left thinks that Obama should “work like a Third World dictator and just put all these guys in jail.”

And this idea gets a laugh from host Al Sharpton, a bigot himself who promoted the murder of Jewish merchants in Harlem by his race-hustling.

“And ask yourself this, if they’re that egregious at lying on that issue, what else are they lying about?”

“And ask yourself this, if they’re that egregious at lying on that issue, what else are they lying about?”

Meanwhile, on the same day that the President invoked executive privilege to avoid giving Congress emails and documents concerning the Fast-and-Furious gunrunning scandal, the Attorney General admitted lying in his testimony to a House committee, and that same committee voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt, ABC News has as its lead story … the heat wave in the northeast.

As I’ve said many times before, if you depend on television news to find out what’s going in the world, you’re not merely uninformed, you are misinformed.

MSNBC suspends Schultz for calling Ingraham a ‘slut’

MSNBC has suspended Ed Schultz for calling Laura Ingraham a “slut” on the air. And Schultz has apologized publicly.

This is progress, as in the past leftwing hosts on MSNBC could say practically anything about their conservative opposites (and frequently did) without consequence.