Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rigged Polls, Rigged Networks

By Nicholas Stix
December 6, 2004

Just because it was November, didn’t mean that the Kerry camp and its network shills couldn’t come up with some more “October surprises.” After all, for the Democrats and their media affiliates, it’s always October.

No Exit

On Election Day, the early returns from the Big Media-commissioned “exit polls” were that Sen. John Kerry was drubbing Pres. Bush across the East, especially in the two states Bush had to carry, Florida and Ohio, if he was to have a chance at winning the election. Keep in mind, that unlike the network election coverage, which begins in earnest only after the polls close, the exit polls start coming out early in the day, hours before the polls close.

As Dick Morris pointed out, there is no excuse for bad exit poll data. The problem with many polls during the campaign is that pollsters frequently include all eligible voters, rather than only likely voters. The opinions of eligible voters who won’t be voting tell us nothing about the likely results if the election were held that day, and are thus worse than no response. In an exit poll, you know the respondent has voted. And exit pollsters know not to interview disproportionate members of any one group. Once you have your quota on female voters, for instance, you stop interviewing females.

Similarly, in an unsigned story from Newhouse/Knight Ridder that ran in the November 4 Seattle Times, political scientist Dennis Simon of Dallas’ Southern Methodist University argued, “If we go back in history to prior presidential elections, those exit polls were dead on. Something has changed to make them less dead on.”

The unnamed reporter asked, “What went wrong with those exit polls?" “I don’t know,” said [Democrat] pollster John Zogby, who relied partially on exit polls Tuesday to declare Kerry the winner in Ohio. “I’m not blaming everything on the exit polls, but the exit polls were terrible.”

Joe Lenski, whose Somerville, New Jersey company, Edison Media Research, conducted the $10 million new exit poll system for Big Media, has complained that people were asking too much of exit polls, which he now insists are useful only in predicting landslides. But the exit polls were reliable in the past, and if they were worthless in predicting close races, the networks, major newspapers, and AP would never pay so much for them. Somehow, I doubt that Lenski sells media conglomerates on paying his firm thousands of dollars per client, based on the notion that his exit polls are worthless in calling close elections.

Media outlets don’t need expensive exit polls for a blowout. If the networks can’t call races before election officials can, then no one will watch their broadcasts, and advertisers will withhold their patronage. Big newspapers need accurate exit polls in close races, so that their reporters can start writing their stories early enough to make deadline, so that the paper can have a worthwhile product out in time for the next day that people will buy, and which will continue to attract top-dollar advertisers. The various commercial interests, as I see them, are complementary. They do not, however, complement the political interests of leftwing reporters and editors.

Indeed, Democrat pollster John Zogby blew his election calls based on Joe Lenski’s faulty numbers. Somehow, I don’t expect to see Lenski publicly condemn Zogby for using exit poll data to call elections. That’s one of the main reasons we have exit polls, and calling elections based on them is what Zogby and the other big-name pollsters do for a living on Election Day.

As the anonymous Newhouse/Knight Ridder author pointed out, the phony exit poll numbers affected not only the news coverage during Election Day, but even the financial markets. The numbers spread like wildfire on the Internet through leftwing bloggers.

All Netizens are Not Created Equal

Some observers -- including host Eric Burns of on the November 6 broadcast of Fox News Watch -- have pointed to the spreading of the bad exit numbers as the undoing of the “bloggers,” who had been riding high since they exposed the Memogate/Rathergate hoax. There is a problem with this scenario, however. Burns, et al., use the generic term “bloggers,” without regard to the essential distinctions between different bloggers and other netizens. While a number of bloggers eventually helped unmask Memogate/Rathergate, the hoax wasn’t initially revealed by bloggers at all, but by posters at the Republican Free Republic Web site. And whether bloggers or posters, Memogate/Rathergate was exposed entirely by conservatives and Republicans, not by “bloggers” as such.

There is a subculture of socialist and communist bloggers, but they deserve none of the credit for fact-checking that the media have given them as part of the amorphous set of “bloggers.” The presidential campaign was characterized by one journalistic hoax after another that the (socialist) mainstream media foisted on the public, in order to win the election for John Kerry, and by the mainstream media’s initial refusal, born of the same motive, to cover stories unflattering to John Kerry, such as the Swift Boat Vets. Leftwing bloggers weren’t providing a corrective to anti-Bush hoaxes, they were spreading them! Similarly, the phony exit poll numbers were largely spread by leftwing bloggers. At the risk of sounding like a Republican hack, the rightwing bloggers have been serving as a corrective to the mainstream media; the leftwing bloggers have served as the mainstream media’s accomplices.

The reason why that should be the case is simple: Blogs rose in influence as yet another Republican and conservative antidote to the routine bias and fraud of the mainstream media, whose members see themselves as pillars of the Democrat Party. Leftwing blogs exercise no such corrective function. Note the parallel to talk radio. Although there has always been liberal talk radio – think, Larry King – conservative/Republican talk radio took off, because right-of-center voices were censored and persecuted in the mainstream media, academia, education, corporate America … Leftists have so many “mainstream” outlets to satisfy their political needs that relatively few of them feel the need to support outlets like Air America or to spend hours each day visiting Web sites. On the other hand, outside of Fox News, rightwing Americans have to live on talk radio and the ‘Net, if they do not want to be “homeless.”

This political split within the media is not news, but rather a case of “the more things change …” In sociologist Max Weber’s (1864-1920) Politische Soziologie (Political Sociology), a book within his huge, posthumously published magnum opus Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Economy and Society), he took it for granted that each political party would have its own media organs. While journalism professors still claim publicly to believe in the “ideal of objectivity,” in practice, what they consider “objective” is too often identical to what they think will help the Democrat Party.

So far, two credible and two baseless explanations, respectively, have been offered for the exit poll/election discrepancy: 1. The exit pollsters fudged their numbers, to make it look like Kerry was beating Bush, so as to discourage Bush supporters who had not yet voted from going to the polls, and bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy (my theory); 2. According to the American Spectator’s “Prowler,” the phony exit poll numbers were not from the exit pollsters at all, but were counterfeits that had been packaged by the Kerry campaign to fool “everybody” (on the Left), and then spread via leftwing bloggers and Web sites; 3. Democrat talking point: “Mean” Republican voters skewed the exit poll results, by refusing to speak to pollsters; and 4. Kerry supporters (including an e-mail one of them sent to me, and which sounded like something out of democraticunderground.com’s conspiracy factory) insist that the exit poll numbers were the real deal, and were only countered through massive, Republican election fraud, e.g., through electronic voting machines changing Kerry votes into Bush votes.

Actually, there were two different sets of bad exit poll numbers: phony and phonier. The phony numbers came from Joe Lenski’s “legitimate, professional” exit poll, while the phonier ones came from a Democrat hoax.
As Dennis Simon observed, the exit polls used to work just fine. And as John Zogby rued, the 2004 numbers were “terrible.”

As the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg reported on November 5,

The new system was engineered to avoid such problems. It was built by the National Election Pool, a consortium of the major television networks and The Associated Press, after an earlier set-up, the Voter News Service, helped lead the networks to call the state of Florida in the 2000 election first for Al Gore, then for George W. Bush, then for neither. The system broke down almost entirely on Election Day 2002.

Let’s see. When Bill Clinton was winning national elections during the 1990s, there were no problems with the exit polls. But once Republicans started winning one election after another, the exit polls, old and new, either produced worthless numbers on Election Day or crashed altogether, as the VNS did in 2002. I’m sure that’s all just a big coincidence.

Numbers Laundering?

For the “phonier” numbers explanation, consider the report by “Prowler” at The American Spectator.

“According to at least three sources, one inside the Kerry campaign, and two outside of it, but with ties to senior Kerry advisers, some of the ‘early polling numbers’ were in fact direct reports from Kerry campaign or Democratic Party operatives on the ground in such critical states as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to a Washington lobbyist with knowledge of the numbers, the numbers were packaged together so as to appear to be exit poll results. They were then scrubbed through several sources to land in the lap of sympathetic bloggers who these operatives believed would put the numbers up with little question.

“Some of the numbers claimed to be exit polling data that showed Kerry with a 8-1 voter ratio. As soon as the numbers hit the Internet, panic set in.”

The American Spectator report fits in nicely with what we know about the Kerry campaign’s manipulation of the election after midnight (see the last section below). It appears that the exit pollsters and the Kerry people engaged in separate dirty tricks, each doing their bit to help the Party.

If claim #3 is anything but the unwittingly comical expression of the shamelessness, rage, and desperation of Democrats and their media comrades, I’d love for someone to explain it to me. Note that the “mean Republicans” explanation comes from pollster Joe Lenski himself, the same guy who said that exit polls are unreliable to begin with. Well, which is it, Joe? The exit poll data is meaningless in a close election, but the mean GOP voters screwed it up? That reminds me of the Woody Allen joke about the guests complaining in the Jewish hotel: Guest A: “The food here is terrible.” Guest B: “Yeah, and the portions are so small.”

As for claim #4, I’d like to see its supporters’ evidence.

Reader Will Hartje wrote from Phoenix, “I believe the erroneous polls may well have been manufactured to provide cover for the ensuing fraud that would have been perpetrated had the election been close.”

“They would have been used as ‘evidence’ to support a rigged vote, had the Democrats had the opportunity to do so.”

I believe that Will Hartje is right, and thanked him for the tip. That his explanation didn’t occur to me is due, I guess, to my not being devious-minded enough to keep up with these people. How many cover stories do you think they had cooked up, “just in case” the media failed to deliver the election? The mind boggles.

But many readers may find Hartje’s hypothesis paranoid. Assuming those readers are not socialists and communists for whom the epithet “paranoid,” like its complements “racist” and “sexist” is merely a diversion from making the right judgment at the right place at the right time, they are surely unaware of the “planning,” “flexibility,” and “quickness” of the Democrat hoax machine. And so, we need to go back to Florida, 2000.

Remembering Florida, 2000

In 2000, all of the networks “called” Florida for Democrat candidate Al Gore when the polling places in the state’s Eastern Time Zone closed, even though the polls were still open for one hour more in the rabidly pro-Bush Panhandle, which is in the Central Time Zone. It is highly likely that thousands of Bush voters, upon hearing that the race was lost, were discouraged from voting.

While the 2000 early call in Florida did not cause the 36-day Democrat Siege of America, including the chad scam, it did make it easier for the Democrats and their media lackeys to sell the siege.

The ultimate official count, whereby after several recounts George W. Bush won Florida by only 537 votes, was nonsense on stilts. During several “recounts,” Democrat Florida election officials fraudulently took over a thousand Bush ballots and “reinterpreted” them as Gore votes. In some cases, the fraud was obvious; in other cases, officials handled ballots so much that, as one observer noted, the “chads” eventually gave way. (The chads were the semi-attached pieces of paper that were punched out when a citizen voted for a candidate.) Several thousand felons, over 70% of whom registered as Democrats, voted illegally; several hundred students attending segregated, black colleges engaged in voter fraud, by voting both from their home and their college addresses; and a few thousand military ballots from heavily Republican-registered voters, were never counted. Hence, Bush’s Florida margin of victory should lawfully have been ten times what it was, without even speculating on the Panhandle losses.

As I wrote on November 13, 2000, in my Toogood Reports column, “Jesse Jackson on How to Steal a Presidential Election, and Live Happily Ever After,” at the end of election night 2000, at 4 a.m., a weary Peter Jennings of ABC News interviewed an exhausted Jackson, who talked in slogans:

“Bush, Cheney, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Orrin Hatch, this is the same thing, states’ rights, the denial of a woman’s right to choose, attacks on affirmative action ...”

At no time did Jackson say, “Peter, this so-called victory by George Bush is nothing but a case of voter fraud. My associates and I have been fielding calls all day from black Florida voters who were intimidated out of voting, or barred from polling places….”

By November 9, the Rev. Jackson had heard yet more voices. According to Left-of-Castro columnist, Juan Gonzalez, in the November 10 New York Daily News, “As the Rev. Jesse Jackson told me yesterday, it may be that the television networks projected Florida’s results correctly the first time, but failures in the voting systems of Palm Beach and Broward Counties led to thousands of Gore votes not being counted.”

But how could thousands of Gore votes be counted, if the voters were barred from, or intimidated out of voting?

At 4 a.m. after Election Day 2000, Jesse Jackson was whining about abortion rights and white racism, but about eight hours later, he was singing an entirely different tune, claiming to have been receiving calls all through Election Day from black voters complaining that they’d been disenfranchised. If you believe that Jackson really got those calls, but instead of telling Peter Jennings about them, recycled ancient slogans that were pathetic even when they were new, I’ve got a great deal for you on some Florida swampland.

The 2000 Florida Disenfranchisement Hoax was either formulated in the middle of election night by Gore campaign strategists, or more likely, had been earlier formulated as an electoral fail-safe, to be unleashed the day after a close election. In any event, Jackson clearly didn’t receive his talking points until sometime between 4 a.m. the night of the election and noon the day after.

At the time, all sorts of wild stories surfaced. Al Gore’s black campaign manager, Donna Brazille, insisted that Florida police had kept black voters from the polls with guns and dogs. Though Brazille was guilty of foisting a stupendous lie on the world, she did not suffer for it. One month later, she was a guest on Ted Koppel’s ABC News show, Nightline, where she was treated with respect by Koppel, who never brought up her little exercise in racial arson.

The NAACP claimed to have “thousands of affidavits” from black voters who had been “intimidated” out of voting or otherwise “disenfranchised.” To my knowledge, none of the “affidavits” ever materialized.

When champion race-baiter and “historian” Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, held public hearings in January, 2001 on black disenfranchisement, only three black voters gave testimony. All three admitted that they had been able to vote without any difficulties. One woman testified that she’d been stopped at a state police roadblock, but that was only after she’d voted. Neither Berry nor the NAACP was able to produce a single disenfranchised black
Florida voter. And yet, the legend of 2000 lives on.

During the 36-day post-Election Day siege of 2000, Democrats used the legal system to subvert the law, e.g., demanding that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris not abide by the legal deadline for recounting ballots, and then using the Democrat-dominated Florida Supreme Court to run roughshod over Florida state law.
At one point during the siege, Democrat Palm Beach County election officials sought illegally to move one of the “recounts” to a private room, where the public could not observe it. (Florida state election law requires that all election recounts be performed publicly.) When FReepers, the Republican activists associated with the Web site Free Republic protested, leftist politicians and journalists – who previously had never met a rioter they didn’t like – ignored the law, and smeared the FReepers with the charge that they’d “rioted.”

When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court and in separate decisions, the justices voted 7-2 and 5-4 to put a stop to the endless, illegal recounts, the Dems and their media outlets invented the legend whereby George W. Bush was “selected, not elected.” Writers at the New York Times spoke constantly of the 5-4 USSC decision, while conveniently developing amnesia regarding the high court’s 7-2 decision, the fact that it was the Democrats who had decided to get Al Gore “selected, not elected,” and the lawless partisanship of the Florida Supreme Court.

Since November 2000, the Democrat Party and its house organs, such as the New York Times, have kept hoax alive, and preserved Florida as an example of how to try and steal an election. Indeed, John Kerry announced several months before the election, that he would contest the results in Florida. However, Kerry was beaten so soundly in the Sunshine State that apparently he and his brain trust decided instead to do to Ohio, what the Gore campaign had done to Florida four years earlier.

If “calling” only one state an hour early could have the far-reaching consequences the practice had in 2000 in Florida, imagine the opportunities for mischief through calling many states several hours early via fraudulent exit polls.

See What the Boys in the Boiler Room Will Have

As I reported in my previous column, although shortly after midnight after Election Day 2004 George W. Bush clearly had captured Ohio, and thus the election, Dan Rather refused all through the night to call Ohio for Bush, and ABC likewise refused to make the call.

On November 4, the New York Times’ Jodi Wilgoren explained why CBS, ABC, and CNN had refused to acknowledge that Bush had won Ohio, and thus the election.

“The critical moment came at 12:41 a.m. Wednesday, when, shortly after Florida had been painted red for Mr. Bush, Fox News declared that Ohio - and, very likely, the presidency - was in Republican hands.

“Howard Wolfson, a strategist, burst into the ‘boiler room’ in Washington where the brain trust was huddled and said, ‘we have 30 seconds’ to stop the other networks from following suit.

“The campaign’s pollster, Mark Mellman, and the renowned organizer Michael Whouley quickly dialed ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC - and all but the last refrained from calling the race through the night. Then Mr. Wolfson banged out a simple, two-line statement expressing confidence that Mr. Kerry would win Ohio once the remaining ballots were counted. [Jim Axelrod of CBS cited that statement at the time, but without naming Wolfson.]

“What was driving our decision making was the memory of how in 2000, by allowing Florida to go for Bush, a lot of momentum was blocked,” said one person who was in the room. “Our whole goal was stop the train from moving that way.” Train stopped, lawyers and strategists at the campaign’s Washington headquarters prepared court papers to challenge Ohio’s process for counting provisional ballots, and made spreadsheets comparing each county’s provisional ballots with its margin of victory or defeat.

It didn’t occur to Wilgoren that anything was wrong with Democrats’ successful hijacking of election night coverage. And yet, I can’t imagine that her colleagues at the Times and elsewhere in the mainstream media are at all happy that she reported on the Democrat-media collusion, or that her editors published her article. Her article may influence election reporting for years to come, because it told of Democrat-mainstream media chicanery in much dirtier detail than ever before, yet in a tone that made it sound as if it were standard operating procedure.

And look again at what her source told her: “What was driving our decision making was the memory of how in 2000, by allowing Florida to go for Bush, a lot of momentum was blocked. Our whole goal was stop the train from moving that way.” “By allowing Florida to go for Bush”? Clearly, these people think that they can use the media to make a state fall their way, the will of the people be damned.

In 2000, the networks called Florida for Gore while the polls were still open in the Panhandle. That violation of proper practice “stopped the train,” alright. But the networks only called the state for Bush much later, long after the polls had closed all over the state, which could have had no effect on the momentum of voting – lawful voting, that is.

Returning to the future, after midnight EST on Election Day 2004, with the polls long closed, withholding the Ohio results was not going to lead to more voters lawfully voting in the Buckeye State. The only voting “momentum” that could have been “blocked,” would have involved election fraud. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at Kerry headquarters!

“… lawyers and strategists at the campaign’s Washington headquarters prepared court papers to challenge Ohio’s process for counting provisional ballots …”

But the Kerry campaign had been counting on those provisional ballots. How then, could they challenge the process for counting them? It sounds as though they had taken Democrats’ preferred method of election fraud from 2000, of “reinterpreting” key-punch ballots for Bush or with no vote into Gore votes, and bizarrely projected it onto the provisional ballots. Jacques Derrida, who denied the objective meaning of texts, yet said that everything is a “text,” and gave all power to the privileged interpreters of texts, may be dead, but his spirit lives on in the Democrat party.
If FCC chief Michael Powell has any cojones, he will investigate the collusion between the Kerry campaign and ABC, CBS, and CNN. And those of us concerned with such corruption must beat the drum from now until 2008, reminding voters that exit polls are just another form of Democrat disinformation.

In early July 2004, Evan Thomas, Newsweek’s longtime Assistant Managing Editor, noted on the PBS show Inside Washington,

“There’s one other base here: the media. Let’s talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards – I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but – they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there’s going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.”

(A tip of the hat to the Media Research Center.)

At the time, I thought I’d heard the quote as “five percent,” because while five percent was perfectly believable, I didn’t think that 15 percent was. While I don’t believe we can determine what percentage of influence the mainstream media’s bias and fraud had on the election results, we can determine the pool from which such voters would come – those who were neither fundamentalist Democrats nor “broken-glass” Republicans, and who relied entirely on the mainstream media for their news. I am convinced, however, that many voters who were not Republicans (both from within and from outside the above group) voted primarily not against John Kerry, but against the media who were his most visible supporters. While the majority of white, Christian Evangelicals voted for George W. Bush, millions of voters who supported him were voting against other people and policies, rather than for Bush: Against gay marriage, against a Democrat Party whose patriotism is suspect, and against an anti-American mainstream media. Ultimately, the media may have determined the election – but not for the candidate whom they thought they were helping!

* * *

I sent the following letter to the New York Times, but letters editor Thomas Feyer has not published it, and I rather doubt that he will.

To the Editor:

The blind rage of New York Times op-ed columnists Maureen Dowd (“The Red Zone,” Nov. 4) and Paul Krugman (“No Surrender,” Nov. 5) at the election results was truly a sight to behold. Madame, Sir, I feel your pain. To borrow from Alan Jay Lerner: Poor Democrats. “How simply frightful! How humiliating! How … delightful!”


Nicholas Stix

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