Politics: December 1999 Archives

I could scarcely believe what I saw on Fox News Sunday. I mean, I know that many so-called journalists and analysts and pundits in the political arena ignore Alan Keyes, but to see one of them actually admit it on national TV was a bit shocking.

Dick Morris elaborated on how he usually took his breaks from the recent WMUR/Fox Republican debate during when Keyes was talking. I do realize that this is the case with most journalists. Most of them don't care what Keyes says, because, after all, the polls say people don't care about Keyes. Of course, they also show they don't know much about Keyes, and heck, if they don't already know about Keyes, it isn't the job of the news organizations to teach them, right?

I cannot understand the complete illogic that governs the minds of these people. They do polls that ask who people will vote for in an election between Bush and Gore, Bush and Bradley, McCain and Bush, McCain and Bradley, and they mention Keyes only once in the entire poll, and Bush and McCain a half dozen times each, and they still believe that the polls are not only an unbiased representation of the view of the people, but that the polls in turn have no effect on public perception. And then they apparently believe further that it is not their responsibility to enlighten the public as to who this Keyes guy is! They do believe that it is their job to tell us about Bush. Why? Because Bush might win. Well, why couldn't Keyes win? Because the people won't vote for him. How do you know that? Well, he doesn't do well in the polls. Duh. Am I the only one who thinks this is circular logic?

But Morris went further, to show his ineptitude. He noticed that on his vote.com site, Keyes was selected by half the respondents to a poll asking who won the debate. And Morris responded to that by saying he should therefore pay more attention to Keyes.

I have rarely heard such utter nonsense. No matter who is selected as the winner or loser, you should pay attention to all of the candidates. That is your job, dammit. Why the hell should anyone care what you have to say about the election if you are not even paying attention to all of the candidates? There are only six candidates. How hard is this? It isn't even my job to know any of this stuff, and I probably know more about all of the GOP candidates' positions than Morris does.

What makes it even more ludicrous is that his poll means absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. Before the debate was even over, I got mail from the Keyes campaign telling me to vote for Keyes in the vote.com poll. This is standard operating procedure for many campaigns at many levels of government. Keyes wins a lot of online polls, because his campaign people and his followers are on the ball with the practice of online voting. That is all it means. It is in no way a positive of negative guage of interest in Keyes or his ideas.

I guess that is in line with the rest of Morris' criteria for deciding who to pay attention to, though. I mean, he excludes Keyes from his radar for no good reason, so why not include him for no good reason?

Keyes is now getting a little bit of national airtime, but only because he played the race card, calling the media racist for ignoring his campaign. Apparently a signficantly interesting platform of greatly reducing the size of federal government, abolishing the IRS and repealing the 16th Amendment, returing local control of schools, using the "bully pulpit" instead of legislation to help fix moral problems, etc. is not worthy of the journalists' time, but when they are called racist on national TV, well, then that's news!

Again, I plead with the media to change their undemocratically corrupt practices of skewed polling and biased reporting that excludes candidates they think won't win. I urge them to eschew the idiotic mantra of Bob Dole, when he said that Perot should be excluded from a debate because he was low in the polls, but when asked if he could beat Clinton with hos low poll numbers, quipped that the only poll that matters is on election day. His quip was half right. The only poll that SHOULD matter is on election day.

But polls probably won't go away. They are too embedded in the economy of political media. People watch CNN to see latest poll results and to see ignorant pundits analyze the subvaluable data. That makes advertisers happy. This is even more true of Morris' vote.com site, which relies entirely on polls (polls which are far more worthless than anything CNN/Time/Gallup does, because the concept of random sampling simply does not exist in a site like his).

So fine, don't get rid of the polls right away, because I am sure you won't be able to. Instead, whenever you do a story on Bush, how about doing a story on Bauer? And each time you cover a campaign stop by McCain, why not cover a stop by Keyes? And when you discuss the differences in Forbes' tax plans, could you talk about Hatch's, too (heck, he is a U.S. Senator, for Pete's sake)? What do you have to fear? Your budgets are irrelevant. Your personal views are irrelevant. Polling data is irrelevant. You have chosen to be the source of information about the candidates for the people, and with that comes a responsibility to be the source of information about the candidates for the people. This is not not complicated. This is not hard. Report on the candidates. Do your job. Encourage intelligent, informed voting.

But therein lies the rub. How can Dick Morris encourage educated votes by his viewers when he is so uneducated about the candidates? So I make one last plea, this time to the American people: eschew news sources that don't responsibly cover the candidates, and consider writing them a letter telling them why you won't be giving them your attention anymore. If they do a story on a debate and focus on Bush and McCain and barely mention Keyes and Bauer and Hatch, then that news organization is reporting incompetently and it is not worthy of your eyes and ears. Find another. If you run out of news organizations to turn to, then perhaps you will get frustrated and start writing missives like this one, and eventually, we as a people can effect change.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from December 1999.

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