A couple of weeks before the election this past November, the Washington Post ran a column written byironically titled “When the facts don’t matter, how can democracy survive?“
And in her column Rampell went on a rant against those of us who insist on accuracy in numbers. Government numbers and especially polling numbers. She went so far as to link to a post I wrote that same day. In my post I called a Fox News poll that over-sampled Democrats by 9 points biased. To a far left wing Hillary supporter like Rampell, she can’t imagine anything being more right wing than Fox News. In her little liberal mind, Fox News pegs the needle all the way to the right. So how could someone on the right (apparently I am an even more right-wing media outlet than Fox) question Fox New’s right wing orthodoxy?
Rampell’s problem is that she believes the left wing hype that Fox is a far right news outlet. But her perspective is so far left that from her perch she can’t see past the liberal horizon. To her, the center looks like the far right end of the spectrum.
Here is what she said about my article and her link to my site:
Today, some of these same message-bearers are the victims of their own success. The most prominent right-wing media outlet, Fox News, has been attacked by even more right-wing media outlets for supposedly conspiring against Trump. Fox News’s own polls, for example, stand accused of pro-Clinton skewing.
How ironic that she had just written a condemnation of those who don’t trust the numbers put out by the Hillary campaign.
Offered sober-minded, nonpartisan analyses that Trump’s fiscal plans would add trillions to deficits and jeopardize the economy, his supporters claim these assessments must be lies because (A) the analysts are biased against him, and (B) Trump would obviously never let bad things happen to the economy, duh.
In other words, ignore the experts, ignore the math, trust the message.
So who were these “sober-minded, nonpartisan” creatures she is talking about? They are a group called “Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget” led by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff and Obama’s CIA Director and Secretary of State Leon Panetta. You don’t find them more fair minded and nonpartisan than Leon, right?
And then there is Democrat Timothy Penny who’s nonpartisan credentials consist only of an appointment by George W Bush to a bipartisan committee to study Social Security. Penny represented the Democrat side on this.
And the token Republican co-chair is Mitch Daniels, former head of the Office of Budget and Management under George W Bush.
And the President is a former Editor for the Washington Post, Maya MacGuineas.
So the nonpartisan group that wrote the budget analysis that Rampell says is sober-minded and nonpartisan consists of three co-chairs, a hyper-partisan Leon Panetta, a Democrat who once served on a bipartisan committee (as a Democrat) under GW Bush and a Republican who was a GW Bush appointee. And a President who is a former WaPo editor.
George W Bush supported Hillary. And despises Donald Trump. How can anyone trust this group to do a nonpartisan analysis of Trump’s budget plans?
So, I’m sorry if I take exception to your position that this budget analysis is a “sober-minded, nonpartisan” product Ms Rampell. It was produced by Democrats and #NeverTrump folks. So I think it is appropriate to “ignore the experts” in this case. Or at least meet it with a good dose of skepticism. For one thing, they completely ignored the economic growth Trump’s tax cuts will bring and subtracted the cuts as a net loss. A glaring partisan mistake.
So after criticizing those of us who are not inclined to believe Hillary pal Leon Panetta’s analysis of the Trump economic plan, Rampell proceeds to rip my analysis of the Fox News poll that skewed to Hillary with a +9 Democrat lean.
Here is what I wrote on October 13, 2016.
So, the news that Fox wants you to hear is that last week in their poll, Clinton was up by just 2 points. But what they don’t report and you have to dig to find (here are the poll internal numbers) is that while Clinton was up by 2 points a week ago and is now up by 7 points is the real story.
Last week Fox polled 2% more Democrats than Republicans (41% to 39%) and this week, they polled 9% more Democrats than Republicans (45% Democrats to 36% Republicans).
So what this poll tells us is that if you ask more Democrats than last week who they are voting for, Hillary gets more votes.
So between the two polls, Hillary benefited from Fox News asking 7% more Democrats who they were going to vote for than last week.
You know what this poll really says? Hillary only gained 5 points in spite of adding 7% more Democrats. She actually has gone down in the polls, if they were apples to apples.
“She actually has gone down in the polls, if they were apples to apples.”
And a couple of weeks later, my analysis was proven right. Hillary was in decline and headed for a loss. She was not rising in the polls, she was sinking. And my analysis is based not on a sober-minded, nonpartisan analysis, which is another way to say “feelings”. No, my analysis was based on hard cold facts and actual numbers. And during the election, I lauded the LA Times poll several times because their polls were based on consistent samples and they reported all of their responses.
I particularly like Ms Rampell’s closing lines.
The problem with elevating yourself by tearing down the existing authoritative institutions is that once you succeed, you’ve established a road map for others to tear you down, too. There will always be someone waiting in the wings with an even juicier conspiracy theory, an even zanier hidden truth, an even more intricate data-unskewing method — and there’s no longer any authority left to debunk any of it.
This is how a democracy crumbles: not with a bang, but with data trutherism.
Except that my analysis of the poll skewing was dead on.
And it proves that people like me that practice “data trutherism” are far more accurate than those that practice “data liar-ism”.
The facts DO matter Ms. Rampell.