The Press’s Confirmation Bias and the End of Objectivity

“With polling seemingly increasingly impossible to get right, the last checks on media objectivity are dissolving.”

Most reporters in the DC Circle of Jerks lean left. They do. Look at their marriages, their career paths, etc. They lean left.

But I do think a lot of them recognize it and try to balance it with alternative data. That is all coming to an end now rather rapidly. That end is coming because of polling.

Look, if you will, at the media treatment of Allison Grimes and Wendy Davis. In her book, Lena Dunham described what she did to her sister. “Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl I was trying,” she wrote. The media has done much the same with female Democratic candidates.

Wendy Davis is a creature of the media. Maria Shriver gave her a metaphorical feel up on national television droning on and on about Davis’s pink shoes, partly fictionalized background, etc., etc. Vanity Fair described her “Barbie like” looks. Allison Grimes also got a lot of media attention — inordinately more than any Republican woman and inordinately more than she deserved.

But the media could largely justify their natural biases toward both women because polling suggested their races might be closer than they turned out to be. The press could comfort themselves in Battleground Texas’s statements because of Democrat pollsters telling them it was so. Same in Kentucky. Heck, because of bad polling in Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mitch McConnell68%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard68% felt compelled to divert money into his race at the end.

Consider also Georgia and Kansas.

In Georgia, Democrats pushed a narrative for months that things were close. They thought they were going to be in the wilderness for twenty years, but they were bouncing back quickly. They relied on scores of polls to justify it. The media bought into it. Objective pollsters who had been burned in 2012 over-corrected in 2014. It gave the media an avenue to claim Georgia was going purple faster than expected.

But it did not happen. In fact, in state wide races without heavy outside influence, the GOP averaged 58%. Nathan Deal and David Perdue both won without runoffs despite media polls showing …read more    

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