09 November 2012

Commentator editor refuses to admit wounded foot injury is self-inflicted

So, on Thursday, 8 November, the New York Times (yes, I know, I know, liberal, pinko, rag) has this article on page 8 of the special section of the paper on the 2012 election headlined "Election Result Proves a Victory for Pollsters and Other Data Devotees" (what school taught them to write headline sentences like that? All capital letters and truncated sentences. Oh well, it's the USA - no insult intended, Katie and Dick, honestly). I'm sorry that I can't give you a link: the NYT online version is behind a pay wall, and we picked a hard copy up at the airport on our way home. 

Anyway, what it's really about is the "battle" between those who believe that the facts give us at least some evidence to argue about, against those who believe that their accumulated knowledge and experience belies the need for facts. 

What brings this on (apart from my grump about The Commentator 2 days ago)? And, anyway, do we get any sort of apology from that online paper? No, of course not. I'll add a couple of links below to the current issue where writers appears to sidestep the issue of the comment made on 5 November as to who were the real believers in freedom, etc, etc. What brings this on is the NYT (gleefully? It is, after all, Karl Rove they're sticking their knife into) noting how Rove and other "pundits" (those who rely on accumulated wisdom, etc) got the election so wrong and how they were prepared to dismiss facts over "knowledge". 

Anyone in the USA on 6 November will know that this is about Rove, a Fox News commentator, who blew his top on air when the channel called Ohio for Obama (accurately, as it happened), shortly before the other channels committed themselves. He was talking (as a committed Republican and former Bush W., advisor, let alone Speaker of the House) to the Romney camp who were insisting that it was too soon to call. Well, media people have got it wrong before, doing that, but they've learned their lesson, and now crunch lots more numbers before they commit themselves. After hearing their reasoning, Rove backed down, and the following day graciously apologised for his doubts. 

Or, as the liberal, pinko, NYT has it, "The election results...left some well-know pundits, many of whom have a partisan bent, eating crow on Wednesday morning..." But they would put it like that, wouldn't they. What's interesting in all this is that the people we were with for the early part of the evening (before heading off to "Democracy Plaza", or, as it's more usually known, the Plaza of Rockerfeller Center to be with the real partisans) were all liberal, pinko, etc (c'mon now, this is NYC the bluest city in the bluest state in the Union), but determined to examine the data as it came in, not rely on instinct, gut feelings, accumulated experience, etc.

So, I'm not getting at the Republican sympathisers - and Rove's initial refusal to accept the number-crunchers' findings was entirely understandable - but at those who act as experts but prefer to let their prejudices override the evidence staring them in the face: the journalists at The Commentator who would claim some sort of expertise. The links that I promised are here, and here (actually, this one reads like sour grapes - after all, Obama won 25 states [with Florida, at the time of writing, still undeclared, even though he's marginally ahead], and has a 2 million lead in the popular vote - bet they wouldn't grouse if it was the other way round, with same slim margins). Actually, this one also reads like sour grapes:

But I'll keep looking at The Commentator, but I think I'll concentrate on their stuff on Israel and the Middle East. Less risk to my blood pressure!

By: Brian Goldfarb


Stan said...

I think it is a mistake to categorize Karl Rove as a Fox news commentator. Karl Rove was the coordinator of Super Pac spending for the Republicans. He played a central role in the election, and convinced very rich people to put hundreds of millions of dollars into his control. He had a much larger dog in the fight than just being a Fox News commentator.
I am a data guy. The polls were not as accurate as it might seem in this election. The polls showed Ohio to be the central point in this election. It was not. Colorado was. This is a very important distinction. If Ohio with its 1.5 percent difference in vote was the tipping point, the argument would be that the election was a very close hard fought battle over hearts and minds of a middle America.
Colorado being the tipping point points to a demographic shift being the important factor. The "Middle America" paradigm would support the proposition that every election can be won or lost by either party in their current state. The demographic paradigm says that the Republican party must be inclusive in order to win. My conclusion from this election is that the Republicans must change the dynamic of their party, or give up on winning the Presidency.


Brian Goldfarb said...

Your comment about Colorado could also be applied to New Mexico, in terms of the demographic shift. Re Rove, I was repeating what the NYT said and apologise for any errors I passed on.

Having re-read those Commentator articles, I stick by my main argument re "pundits".

Stan said...

I do agree with your main argument, but felt the need to point out that Rove is not really a pundit, but a player.
The reason I point to Colorado is that if you rank the states that Obama won by margin of victory. The state that put him over the top was Colorado, which was won on demographics. For sure New Mexico represents the new demographic as well, but Colorado represents the state where the scales tipped. Virginia, was the next state in line after Colorado. It too was a demographic victory, but more of a city mouse country mouse type specific to itself and not the rest of the country. However, the Virginia demographic trend (with its 13 electoral votes) is also a big headache for the Republicans, as is the North Carolina (15 votes) trend which at best for the Republicans will be a tossup, but will be probably moving into the blue column.
The polls had Colorado and Virginia considerably closer than Ohio; They were incorrect in identifying the central battleground.


Dick Stanley said...

Hardly a new conclusion, that the Elephants need to be "more inclusive," less conservative, more "progressive." Hardly any more believable than last time and not any more likely to happen. Interesting, don't you think, that Colorado gave more votes to legalizing marijuana than to Barry?

He won 25+ states, yes, but some of them by no more than 500K votes. It was a narrow win, historically, much narrower than his own 2008 win, which is rather odd, if not historical, an incumbent being re-elected by a narrower margin. It may be historical, for all I know.

Karl's a nice guy. I've known him for years, starting with his days as adviser to Gov. Bush. And he wasn't the only one who doubted the polls. But they did forecast a narrow victory for Barry and that's how it turned out. He calls it "a mandate," but that's ridiculous. As he is in many things. We'll see what happens in 2014.

David All said...

Karl Rove is a Republican campaign manager and fund raiser. That Fox News has him as a news commentator shows how they are nothing but a right-wing propaganda machine.

As for the Election:

It is the end of Western Civilization as we know it. Now only Benjamin Netanyahu stands as a Leader of the Free World!

As for my native state of Ohio: Glory be to God, Ohio has once again saved the Union!

And for my adoptive state of Virginia: As they did four years ago, the voters of Virginia has carried the state to as high as it ever has been!

David All said...

Virginia use to be a strong Republican state, which had last gone for the Democrats in 1964. The Republicans Party's shift to the Right over the last decade alienated the majority of the voters in the Washington DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. It was these suburban voters that swung Virginia for Obama and the Democrats in 2008 and again in 2012.