Today we are six weeks out from this American election. Six days from today we will learn what the true character of America is. There are lots of opinions on how this will play out, but really no one can know until the final poll is taken on November 6th. That said, educated guesses can be made.
One thing it’s important not to do is overstate the importance of the media or the polls. We’ve seen them try to interfere before, and we’ve seen them thwarted by the will of the American people. When you know your history, you are bringing education to your guesses. Mark Twain famously said that history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. I would argue it sometimes echoes as well. Here’s some history for you from 1980:
Remember when Jimmy Carter beat Ronald Reagan in 1980?
That’s right. Jimmy Carter beat Ronald Reagan in 1980.
In a series of nine stories in 1980 on “Crucial States” — battleground states as they are known today — the New York Times repeatedly told readers then-President Carter was in a close and decidedly winnable race with the former California governor. And used polling data from the New York Times/CBS polls to back up its stories.
Four years later, it was the Washington Post that played the polling game — and when called out by Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins a famous Post executive called his paper’s polling an “in-kind contribution to the Mondale campaign.” Mondale, of course, being then-President Reagan’s 1984 opponent and Carter’s vice president.
All of which will doubtless serve as a reminder of just how blatantly polling data is manipulated by liberal media — used essentially as a political weapon to support the liberal of the moment, whether Jimmy Carter in 1980, Walter Mondale in 1984 — or Barack Obama in 2012.
First the Times in 1980 and how it played the polling game.
The states involved, and the datelines for the stories:
- California — October 6, 1980
- Texas — October 8, 1980
- Pennsylvania — October 10, 1980
- Illinois — October 13, 1980
- Ohio — October 15, 1980
- New Jersey — October 16, 1980
- Florida — October 19, 1980
- New York — October 21, 1980
- Michigan — October 23, 1980
Of these nine only one was depicted as “likely” for Reagan: Reagan’s own California. A second — New Jersey — was presented as a state that “appears to support” Reagan.
The Times led their readers to believe that each of the remaining seven states were “close” — or the Times had Carter leading outright.
In every single case the Times was proven grossly wrong on election day. Reagan in fact carried every one of the nine states.
Here is how the Times played the game with the seven of the nine states in question.
You’ll have to go read the whole article to find out how they did it, but the important point here is that their narrative did not win. I don’t think it’s going to win this year either. This is not 1980, but the echo of that year is ringing loudly here outside the noise machine. So is 1972. I can practically hear a chorus of Pauline Kaels from the capital of Indiana already.
So hang in there, folks. Whether you want Obama gone or Romney in, we’ll all find out what’s going to happen here shortly.