Disinformation or journalism FAIL?


A relatively brief one, this morning. Or is it morning? Every day seems gloomy like Mordor around the 816.

Though I am generally loathe to quote from Ann Coulter, this, concerning the Massachusetts election, jumped out in her weekly column this morning: “On Jan. 8, just 11 days before the election, the New York Times reported: ‘A Brown win remains improbable, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1 in the state and that Ms. Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has far more name recognition, money and organizational support.'”

Earlier in the column, it was indicated that “12 percent” of the Mass electorate are registered Republicans, and there are roughly four million residents in the commonwealth. A three-to-one margin in the state would, given our predilection toward the two-party system, imply that there are an estimated three million Democrats and one million Republicans. The truth, however, is that only about 36% of the electorate are registered Democrats, based on the 12% figure stated in the column, reported also by the AP and Reuters. Another media source reports well over 50% are independent voters, or without a stated ideology.

Massachusetts is generally considered a “blue state”, along with the vast majority of New England, though I despise these terms, too. So a 3-to-1 margin, all things being extrapolated fairily, should have resulted in a 75-25 exaggerated obliteration of Scott Brown, in a state that broke clearly and decisively for Obama only 14 months ago. In reality, it probably should have been around 60-40 for Coakley.

The Times is correct, a Brown victory should have been rendered improbable. But it’s also evident they were trying to dampen the upsurge in support for Brown, as evidenced by the litany of reasons Coakley should still win: money, manpower, machine backing. (Democracy is convenient, no?) The Times also has skin in the game: as the parent company of the Boston Globe, which has been reliably in the tank for Democratic candidates and operatives, the last thing the Times would want is corporate dissonance. So, the paper of record, the [trying to keep from laughing while I write the words] high-watermark of American journalism, discreetly stands behind its adopted hack of a corporate brother. In the end, both are, with apologies to Boston, sullied. (Democracy is inconvenient. Remember that the Democratic legislature in Mass changed the rules pertaining to senatorial selection from governor’s appointment–once the federal constitutional mandate for such picks–to special election to keep former Gov. Mitt Romney from making an executive decision, in the event that Kennedy’s health failed on his watch. Again, democracy is inconvenient.)

And Massachusetts, facing a fiscal meltdown stemming primarily from its own attempt at health-care reform, not only serves as cautionary tale, but a prophetic voice against Washington’s disconnect from the general electorate. Disinformation or FAIL? Amazingly enough, the answer is yes.

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