Hillary or Obama?
I don't really care too much for the news. Depending upon what station you watch or what network it's on, either Obama is beating Hillary, or Hillary is beating Obama. I often wonder if these "spin doctors" -- or reporters, as some call them -- are capable of turning the tide of whole elections. We all, of course, remember on election night 2000 when the TV networks first called Al Gore the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes then, 6 hours later, declared them the property of George W. Bush -- only to take that back too.
The whole mess was a product of bad exit poll data, media leaks, voting-box issues and the like that, nevertheless, resulted in Bush's stealing the presidency. It was clear to me then that polls can't be trusted, so I was really hoping the same tidal wave of events didn't happen again. But, of course, the reporters returned with a vengeance in 2004 and are chomping at the bit in 2008. Let's take a look at some recent headlines, shall we?
The Times (London)
Stunning win lifts Obama's bid to become first black president
The Toronto Sun
Obama now true contender; Iowa shows voter dislike of Hillary
The Sunday Times (London)
America hails the rise of a new JFK
Clinton wins back women, narrowly takes New Hampshire
Agence France Presse
Clinton basks in New Hampshire win
For Obama's Supporters, Triumph and Then Disaster
How black America can revive Obama's campaign
Is a narrow win for Hillary really a disaster for Obama? If he's the new JFK, does he really need to be rescued by black people? Can so much change in a matter of days? I just don't think so. Human beings aren't that changeable. So to what do we owe these cataclysmic events? The spin doctors.
My favorite was an AFP article about misleading poll data that suggested Obama should have beat Hillary in New Hampshire by about 5 to 13 percentage points. The article considered what threw the voting results to Hill, whether it was her crying on the eve of the primaries, independent voters, or "the wave of enthusiasm for Obama artificially amplified by the news media" after his Iowa win. I don't know. But I can't believe somebody wrote that article with a straight face. I'm just wondering why it was necessary to do a pre-poll of the NH poll? What with pre-polls, polls, and exit polls, how does anybody ever know what's the real result? You never know, that pre-poll data just might have swayed a voter, who would have otherwise supported Obama, to vote for Hill because she was the underdog.
At the end of the day, I think that folks should get to make up their own minds and there should be some sort of gag order on the media until election results are in. Only then can we get back to some kind of "truthiness" in reporting, and not so much fabrication, calculation, and extrapolation.
The AFRican Blogger
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