Mainstream Media Still Selling; Public Not Buying Anymore
The lame tweet said it all for Mainstreet, the polling firm hired by PostMedia to monitor the 2017 Calgary civic election
"Quito Maggi @quito_maggi Replying to @AB_PETE Congrats to Mayor Nenshi & his great team, looks like we fu**ed up, too early to say how bad”
Mainstreet had had Bill Smith, the challenger to Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, ahead by double digits as late as the final week of the mayoralty contest. Despite criticism about the methodology behind the polls, PostNews stuck with their man through multiple polls.
On election night, Nenshi won re-election by about nine percent over Smith. It was an epic misjudgment— one perpetrated by Canada’s leading chain of local newspapers and the National Post.
In a time when public trust of the media has made “Fake News” a popular notion, the major source of newspaper/ website news in Canada not just fumbled the ball. They kicked it. They tripped over it. They let the air out of the ball.
Of course, this gaffe-tastic polling performance does not come in a vacuum. Wonky polling was also a huge fail in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential win, when many of the top firms couldn’t seem to locate the widespread support that eventually propelled him to a stunning win. CBS TV News gave Clinton a 93 percent chance of winning in the week before the vote.
Then there was Brexit, the Oops by British pollsters who failed to see the victory by forces wanting to take Britain out of the EU. Bogus polls have similarly produced results that caused major newspapers/ broadcast companies to embrace narratives that were inconsistent with the facts.
And yet these same organizations continue to act as if they are still sage arbiters of fact. Pushing “insiders” who promise the full story when all they’re only reflecting is their own circle of acquaintances. Or partisans who wouldn’t say something positive about an opponent if you placed a gun to their head.
At a moment when citizens most need an unvarnished portrait of the cultural/ political landscape Mainstream Media has instead decided to lace its coverage with opinion or embrace polling firms that can’t seem to find the story in the data.
But even that low bar looks like Edward R. Murrow stuff next to the revelations this week in America’s cable news wars.
Since Hillary Clinton’s stunning electoral loss last November, devastated Democrats and their media water-carriers have insisted that Trump’s triumph was expedited by his collusion with Russians. On her current book tour, a deranged Clinton nightly expounds an enemies list that would make even Richard Nixon blush.
The eager hair-and-teeth at CNN, MSNBC and the three major liberal news networks grabbed the Russia story like Frederica Wilson grabs a new cowboy hat. Night after night since the election they’ve pounded viewers with a John LeCarré tale of Russian spies, influence peddling in Eastern Europe and the need for the FBI or a special counsel to expose the perfidy of the new POTUS.
Turns out that they were right. At least, they were about everything but the Trump part. We’ve now learned that the FBI was involved (and perhaps paid for) digging dirt from Russian sources. That Russian sources were paid millions by agents for Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention. In the midst of the 2016 presidential vote, the Dems and FBI were partnering in exposing the opposition candidate.
The now-discredited information was reportedly then used to obtain wire taps on the Trump campaign before and after the election. The results of which were spread by (among others) Obama administration officials Susan Rice and Samantha Powers to the far reaches of the U.S. Intelligence community. And caused FBI director James Comey to drop Hillary’s email investigation cold as a mackerel in the midst of the election.
We’ve also learned that the FBI— then run by Robert Mueller, erstwhile Russian prober— knew of Russian criminal bribery attempts in buying American uranium in 2008, but neglected to tell Congress or others (they’re obliged by law to tell) for the almost four years it took for that uranium purchase to go through.
A cadre of Mueller’s current subordinates and confederates— including the current FBI head Christopher Wray and Justice department 2IC Rod Rosenstein— kept the big hush going so the Obama administration could do their Iran nuclear deal— which needed Russian cooperation.
Wait, there’s more. And more to come. But we've only get 800 words in this format. Suffice to say that a combination of FBI bungling, Democratic malfeasance and Clinton grifting has flipped the story over on top of the original accusers.
The question remains, how will the networks and news organizations, so fervently invested in Trump/ Russia— not Clinton/ Russia— narrative re-position their credibility when their tissue of lies is torn away? Can they back up and start over? Will anyone still be watching or reading?
There will be forgiveness from some. Trump haters gonna be Trump haters. But what of those still-rational folks who’ve trusted media? Between outrageously bad polls and outright deception, can they move on? Or is fact dead?
As we used to say in the biz, ”Stay tuned”.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)