Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Uninformed voters

Much as I hate to amplify poll mania, this struck me as relevant to what's wrong with everything in media.
In the initial days after the budget sequester went into effect, a majority (51%) of Americans say they don't know enough to judge whether the automatic cuts in the budget put in place last Friday are a good or a bad thing for the country. The remainder tilt toward negative evaluations of the sequestration's impact on the country, by 30% to 18%. Similarly, the majority of Americans don't yet have enough information to judge sequestration's impact on themselves personally, but among those who do, the tilt is negative, by 26% to 17%.
Although it's perfectly clear cutting spending in any way is bad policy that will impede our economic recovery, not sure anybody really knows what the long term effects of specific cuts are going to be. But the voters don't a clue what it's about. Which brings me to something Conor Friedersdorf wrote today. Rarely do I find his insights relevant but Conor nailed the media fail with this:
There's no direct analog to statistical analysis in baseball. But where Congress and the White House are concerned, what if the press put much greater emphasis put on "the sausage" and much less on the sausage-making? What if we judged legislators on their votes, Obama on what legislation he signs and vetoes, and left it at that? [...]

... Are we really seeking out the most important, relevant information? Or does the focus on inside baseball actually serve the interests of political journalists and those they cover, but few others? Are we as attuned as we ought to be to the fact that the trees don't always have the best perspective? Are we remembering that outcomes matter more than the intentions of the players?
Short answer is no. The poll makes that clear enough. Big Media is overly obsessed with inside gossip and themselves. They've utterly failed in their most important mission -- informing the public.


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Blogger opit said...

'Media fail' ignores the corporate objectives altogether and presupposes public policy is for the 'public good.'

A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted, and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll. Push polls may rely on innuendo or knowledge gleaned from opposition research... read more


5:05:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I presuppose none of those things. Don't trust Gallup. Even if the numbers are off, it confirmed a trend about the mass indifference/ignorance I'm actually seeing in the wider news.

8:41:00 PM  

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