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"David Duke Effect....Voters Didn't Want to Admit" Vote for Bush --11/15/2004


1. "David Duke Effect....Voters Didn't Want to Admit" Vote for Bush
On Friday, for the fifth straight night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted a portion of his Countdown program to Internet-fueled rumors about massive vote fraud which benefitted President Bush and a guest compared Bush voters to embarrassed David Duke supporters. Olbermann highlighted one professor's claim that "the exit polls are usually so precise...that it was virtually statistically impossible for them to have been so wrong." Olbermann relayed the professor's insistence that the chance all the exit polls, which found Kerry won, would be wrong, was 250 million to one. Dismissing another professor's contention that there wasn't any "national pattern" of fraud, Olbermann proposed that "you would not need to fix every state to win the whole election." Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly and CBS suggested that the exit polls may have been wrong about Bush because of the "David Duke effect," an election in which he got many more votes than was reflected in what pollsters found because "people didn't want to admit to exit pollsters they'd voted for David Duke, the head of the Ku Klux Klan, because they didn't want to admit they were a racist. So perhaps a lot of voters didn't want to admit they voted for Bush."

2. Brokaw Notes Reporters Out of Touch, Boasts of Republican Friend
Asked if he believes political reporters "understand rural and religious voters in the red states," outgoing NBC anchor Tom Brokaw conceded: "Not as well as they should, nor do I think that most political reporters work as hard at it as they need to." Brokaw boasted on CNN's Reliable Sources that he has a friend who is "a die-hard Republican and I kind of get from him, if you will, the wavelength of the Republican Party across rural Iowa when I check in with him."

3. "If Walter Cronkite Was Around Today...Kerry Would Be President"
"If Walter Cronkite was around today," USA Today founder Al Neuharth proclaimed in a speech in South Dakota last week, "I think John Kerry would be President" because of "the trust the people in Middle America had in Cronkite, when he returned from Vietnam opposed to the war, public opposition soon followed." As recounted by the Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, in addition to boasting of the influence of Cronkite's bias, Neuharth "said he thought if McGovern had won the presidency in 1972, U.S. troops would have pulled out from Vietnam a lot sooner with a lot fewer casualties, the Cold War could have ended sooner and there would have been a compassionate Democratic leadership." Neuharth seriously maintained: "The seeds for ending the Cold War were sown by George McGovern."

4. Fourth Poll Finds Public Recognized Media Tilt Against Bush
In the fourth survey in the past few weeks to have found more of the public perceived the media as biased in John Kerry's favor over President George W. Bush, a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll, released on Thursday, pegged the percent of voters who believed Bush's press coverage was "unfair" at nine points higher than for John Kerry while the percent who thought Bush's coverage was "fair" was lower by the same gap -- 9 points.

5. "Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Barack Obama"
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Barack Obama."


"David Duke Effect....Voters Didn't Want
to Admit" Vote for Bush

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann On Friday, for the fifth straight night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted a portion of his Countdown program to Internet-fueled rumors about massive vote fraud which benefitted President Bush and a guest compared Bush voters to David Duke supporters. Olbermann highlighted one professor's claim that "the exit polls are usually so precise, even on a state level, that it was virtually statistically impossible for them to have been so wrong last week." Olbermann relayed the professor's insistence that the chance all the exit polls, which found Kerry won, would be wrong, was 250 million to one. Dismissing another professor's contention that there wasn't any "national pattern" of fraud, Olbermann proposed that "you would not need to fix every state to win the whole election."

Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly and CBS suggested that the exit polls may have been wrong about Bush because of the "David Duke effect," an election in which he got many more votes than was reflected in what pollsters found because "people didn't want to admit to exit pollsters they'd voted for David Duke, the head of the Ku Klux Klan, because they didn't want to admit they were a racist. So perhaps a lot of voters didn't want to admit they voted for Bush."

Olbermann teased his November 12 show: "Rolled up scholarly papers at 50 paces: Cal Tech says the exit polling was just fine. University of Pennsylvania says exit polling was so bad, the odds against it being that bad were 250 million to one."

Olbermann soon announced his #3 story, as checked against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
"Intimidation, harassment, fabrication, doctoring, spinning, de-contextualizing and actual truth-telling have all been facets of the continuing firestorm over the probity of the elections on the Internet. The latest dueling weapons, scholarly analyses from researchers at major universities. One suggests that the actual statistical odds that the exit polling was wrong -- that wrong -- were 250 million to one. The other says that while the incorrectness of national exit polling can't be explained by the proverbial margin of error, on a state-by-state basis, it was within the margin of error. That study comes from the Voting Technology Project run by Cal Tech and MIT. In its report, 'Voting Machines and the Underestimate of the Bush Vote,' the researchers look at those state-by-state exit polls. They note that in 30 states, the exit polls predicted Senator Kerry would get more votes than he actually did get. And in 21 more states, they predicted President Bush would get more votes than he actually did get. The Cal Tech/MIT report also says there is no pattern evident between how badly exit polling did in a particular state and whether or not that state used electronic voting machines.
"But from University of Pennsylvania business professor Steven Freeman comes the reverse conclusion, that the exit polls are usually so precise, even on a state level, that it was virtually statistically impossible for them to have been so wrong last week. Freeman notes that in Germany, Venezuela, the Republic of Georgia and Mexico, exit polls have actually been used as a means of auditing the national elections to make sure nobody stole them. Used in Mexico in the Vicente Fox presidential election by no less a figure than Dick Morris, the former Clinton strategist.
MSNBC graphic "Professor Johnson [meant Freeman] used a lot more data than did Cal Tech and MIT. He noted that in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the exit polls appeared to have been wildly wrong [with matching graphics on screen showing contrast between exit poll and reported result]. In Florida they forecast a Bush win by .1 percent. He actually won by five percent. In Ohio, the exit polls showed a Kerry victory by 4.2 percent. The President won by 2.5 percent. In Pennsylvania, the exit data indicated Kerry by 8.7 percent. The Senator won, but by 2.2 percent.
"Johnson [again, presumably meant Freeman] then goes into the deep woods, talking about the mathematics of probability and statistics. But in there, he says, that if they were random and representative, then the chance that the exit polls were going to be that wrong in Florida was less than one in 1000, rather less than three in 1000. That they'd be that wrong in Ohio was less than one in 1000. That they'd be that wrong in Pennsylvania, less than two in 1000. And that they'd be all wrong by that much on the same night, 250 million to one.

The AFL-CIO's International Labor Communications Association posted a PDF of "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," a November 10 report from Steven F. Freeman, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania: www.ilcaonline.org

Back to Olbermann: "Johnson [Freeman] nonetheless writes that the systematic fraud or mis-tabulation in the election would be a, quote, 'premature conclusion,' but that it is also an 'unavoidable hypothesis.' Well, you know we're in trouble when the two sides start throwing professors at each other. To try to help us understand, I'm joined by Craig Crawford, MSNBC political analyst and columnist for Congressional Quarterly and the head of the 'Trying to Understand Department.' Good evening, Craig."
Craig Crawford, an analyst for CBS's Early Show, via satellite from Washington, DC: "Yeah, we're in the deep woods now. That's for sure."
Olbermann: "In both of these studies, there's some really heavy academic math. But do any of them, or either of them, or parts of either of them make sense to you?"
Crawford: "Well, it wouldn't surprise me, Keith, if exit polls are more accurate than actual polling. Some of the balloting is so flawed. But there are flaws in the exit polls. And I guess, at the end of the day, what matters is the actual balloting is what elects people. But, yeah, they do make a little sense to me in terms of, you know, looking at these comparisons and seeing these big differences. I don't think either one explains it. But it does seem so incredibly amazing that the exit polls were that far off because their history isn't that bad. This is the worst they've done since they began, really, around 1988."
Olbermann would let go of the possibility the election was fixed: "One thing about that Cal Tech/MIT report that struck me perhaps as oversimplified, the conclusion there, it was the big conclusion that's being used as such in a lot of quarters, that there was no national pattern of fraud in electronic voting, and that means that there wasn't any fraud. Obviously, you know, whether you're the Democrat or the Republican, or from the Libertarian Party, you would not need to fix every state to win the whole election, would you?"
Crawford: "It's kind of like, you know, saying a new drug is safe because it only kills a few people. I mean, the actual problems in the states that matter are what we're looking at and not overall. And, you know, the search for real evidence of fraud is the key here now. I mean, I don't think anything's going to change unless something's shown that someone actually did something with the intent to defraud. And that would take someone admitting it, which is unlikely, or a squealer out there, I suppose, who knew something about some conspiracy."
Olbermann: "The other paper, the one from Professor Johnson [wrong name] at Penn, there are some points in there that are kind of dubious in term of the theory, but there's one really good point in there that's kind of buried that says that all the explanations for why exit polling would have been so bad, are not scientific explanations. They're just hypotheses. I mean, you could say Bush voters probably didn't want to stop to talk to pollsters or the voters lied to the pollsters or the exit poll companies were trying to cook the data for some reason. But you might as well say, I mean, if you're trying to figure this out scientifically, you might as well say aliens were responsible for bad exit polling."
Bush's vote reminded Crawford of David Duke: "Yeah, and sometimes this does seem like spotting UFO's. But there is the 'David Duke Effect.' It's called that in exit polling because back in the 1991 governor's race in Louisiana against Edwin Edwards, the exit polls showed him getting just a few percentage points, and he ended up getting, I think, around 25 or so. So the explanation then was that people didn't want to admit to exit pollsters they'd voted for David Duke, the head of the Ku Klux Klan, because they didn't want to admit they were a racist. So perhaps a lot of voters didn't want to admit they voted for Bush. I don't see that as particularly likely, but some evangelical Christians do tell their people not to talk to exit pollsters because they see them as representing the liberal media. It is a consortium of the national media organizations."
Olbermann: "Lastly, as if we needed this, the thing has been muddied up a little bit further by John Kerry's decision to sort of stick his toe in the water of this probable Libertarian/Green Party recount in Ohio which they, by the way, have raised about half the money already that they need to get that thing going. But this has permitted you in your piece for Congressional Quarterly to stick Senator Kerry with an old familiar epithet. And where were you when you first heard Craig Crawford or somebody say this about John Kerry?"
Crawford: "Well, it's, you know, another case of flip flopping if you ask me. It's like all of his Iraq votes compressed into one week because, in this case, he initially said they wouldn't concede until all the votes were counted. A few hours later, they conceded. And now they're sending lawyers to keep counting. So I think what really is going on is he's heard the noise from the Democratic camps starting to say he conceded too early or gave up too early. And he is thinking about a 2008 race again, and so probably wanted to give them something. And in this case, he's managed to play to both sides."
Olbermann: "Yeah, may have conceded to preserve his chances in 2008, may have gotten back into the contest to preserve his chances for 2008, which is the story of politics. It changes so quickly. Craig Crawford, as always, sir, right to the point. Great thanks, Craig. Have a good weekend."
Crawford: "Good luck in the deep woods."
Olbermann: "Thank you kindly."

Some good news: Olbermann is on vacation this week, so we'll have a few days without his rumor-mongering inspired by left-wing bloggers.

Brokaw Notes Reporters Out of Touch,
Boasts of Republican Friend

NBC's Tom Brokaw Asked if he believes political reporters "understand rural and religious voters in the red states," outgoing NBC anchor Tom Brokaw conceded: "Not as well as they should, nor do I think that most political reporters work as hard at it as they need to." Brokaw boasted on CNN's Reliable Sources that he has a friend who is "a die-hard Republican and I kind of get from him, if you will, the wavelength of the Republican Party across rural Iowa when I check in with him."

Brokaw, from the NBC studios in Manhattan, appeared in a pre-taped interview with Howard Kurtz on the November 14 Reliable Sources. The exchange from the top of the interview:

Kurtz: "We've just been through a bruising presidential campaign. Do you think that journalists in places like New York and Washington understand rural and religious voters in the red states?"
Brokaw: "Not as well as they should, nor do I think that most political reporters work as hard at it as they need to. Too often I think that the central part of America is treated as kind of flyover country. People land there during the Iowa caucuses and may make a run through there on a bus with somebody else, but I don't think they go back independently and try to understand the DNA of that part of America as thoroughly as they need to.
"Now, this is not condemnation. I find myself guilty of those same sins, although I have more I suppose personal reasons to spend time in that part of the world and I'm still connected to it. I have a friend, for example, in a small town in Iowa that I check in with from time to time. He works on Main Street, he's prospered over the years. He's a die-hard Republican and I kind of get from him, if you will, the wavelength of the Republican Party across rural Iowa when I check in with him."
Kurtz: "And, of course, you grew up in South Dakota."
Brokaw: "And I grew up -- but you know Howie, I've been gone for a long, long time, but I am still -- I still have connective tissue to that state and all that it stands for."

For many years that was George McGovern and then Tom Daschle.

"If Walter Cronkite Was Around Today...Kerry
Would Be President"

"If Walter Cronkite was around today," USA Today founder Al Neuharth proclaimed in a speech in South Dakota last week, "I think John Kerry would be President" because of "the trust the people in Middle America had in Cronkite, when he returned from Vietnam opposed to the war, public opposition soon followed." As recounted by the Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, in addition to boasting of the influence of Cronkite's bias, Neuharth "said he thought if McGovern had won the presidency in 1972, U.S. troops would have pulled out from Vietnam a lot sooner with a lot fewer casualties, the Cold War could have ended sooner and there would have been a compassionate Democratic leadership." Neuharth seriously maintained: "The seeds for ending the Cold War were sown by George McGovern."

FNC's Brit Hume in his Wednesday "Grapevine" segment quoted Neuharth's contentions and I tracked down the local newspaper story with the quotes. An excerpt from the November 10 Daily Republic article, "USA Today founder criticizes national media's political coverage," by Harold Campbell:

The national media took a few hits on election coverage from Al Neuharth, a Eureka native and founder of USA Today, who spoke at Tuesday's annual McGovern Center Conference at Dakota Wesleyan University.

"I think the media often reflects public activities or opinions rather than reports on them," he said.

Neuharth said the national media probably was more unfair to McGovern during his 1972 presidential campaign than to any other candidate he can remember.

"Many (reporters) got caught up in the country's apparent support for Vietnam," he said. "The media often reflects public activities or opinions rather than reports on them. They certainly weren't fair and objective in 1972."

However, he said he thought the presence of one journalist in the 1970s helped shape policy, Walter Cronkite.

Because of the trust people in Middle America had in Cronkite, when he returned from Vietnam opposed to the war, public opposition soon followed,

"If Walter Cronkite was around today, I think John Kerry would be president," he said.

Most of Neuharth's presentation consisted of fielding questions from audience members in the newly dedicated Sherman Center....

He also said he thought the national media was doing a good job of reporting the facts from Iraq.

"The number of troops involved and casualties are facts, and we should report those facts," he said.

"However, in a war, both sides of the conflict are great propagandists, and we have to separate facts from propaganda."

He said reporting the facts could play a key role in public response to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

"People have to ask themselves if this is worth the price," he said....

Neuharth said he has known McGovern for more than 50 years.

He said he thought if McGovern had won the presidency in 1972, U.S. troops would have pulled out from Vietnam a lot sooner with a lot fewer casualties, the Cold War could have ended sooner and there would have been a compassionate Democratic leadership.

"The seeds for ending the Cold War were sown by George McGovern," Neuharth said.

Neuharth is the founder and senior advisory chairman of the Freedom Forum, a non-partisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.

The Freedom Forum funds and operates the Newseum, the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute.

Neuharth was the chairman of the Freedom Forum from 1986 to 1997, and was a trustee of the foundation and its predecessor, the Gannett Foundation, from 1965 to 1999.

He is also the former chairman and chief executive officer of Gannett Co.

END of Excerpt

For the article in full: www.mitchellrepublic.com

Neuharth devoted his Friday USA Today column to similar praise of McGovern, "Is McGovern again ahead of the times?" For the November 12 piece, with a picture of Neuharth: www.usatoday.com

Fourth Poll Finds Public Recognized Media
Tilt Against Bush

In the fourth survey in the past few weeks to have found more of the public perceived the media as biased in John Kerry's favor over President George W. Bush, a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll, released on Thursday, pegged the percent of voters who believed Bush's press coverage was "unfair" at nine points higher than for John Kerry while the percent who thought Bush's coverage was "fair" was lower by the same gap -- 9 points.

Pew's November 11 report, "Voters Liked Campaign 2004, But Too Much 'Mud-Slinging'; Moral Values: How Important?" gave short shrift to the media bias question, but the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed the two paragraphs on it in the poll "conducted among 1,209 voters who were originally interviewed in October." Pew found:
"Voters are increasingly troubled by what they see as the media's unfair treatment of the candidates. While a majority (56%) view press coverage of Bush's campaign as fair, four-in-ten [40%] think it was unfair, up from 30% four years ago.
"Significantly more voters (65%) believe the press was fair in its coverage of the Kerry campaign. However, a growing minority also views this coverage as unfair -- 31% say that now, compared with 24% who faulted press coverage of Al Gore's campaign four years ago."

For Pew's rundown in full of its poll: people-press.org

As noted above, this was the fourth poll in two weeks to discover that the public recognized the media's anti-Bush/pro-Kerry tilt:

-- By 46 percent to 42 percent, those who voted on election day in 12 "battleground" states, believed "that the media's coverage of this year's presidential election was biased towards one candidate or party," a survey conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates determined. Within the 46 percent, more than twice as many, 32 percent of the total number of those polled, saw a tilt in favor of Kerry and Democrats than in favor of Bush and Republicans, 14 percent. By 30 percent to 12 percent, independents saw the bias going in Kerry's direction. Of those who saw bias, 68 percent perceived more than in past election years. See the November 9 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Two polls released the week before the election found that more people perceive the media tilting coverage in favor of Democrat John Kerry than in favor of Republican President George W. Bush. Gallup determined that 35 percent think coverage has tilted toward Kerry compared to just 16 percent who said it favored Bush. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press discovered that "half of voters (50 percent) say most newspaper and TV reporters would prefer to see John Kerry win the election, compared with just 22 percent who think that most journalists are pulling for George Bush." While 27 percent described Kerry coverage as "unfair," 37 percent labeled Bush coverage as "unfair." Pew also learned that "voters who get most of their election news from CNN favor Kerry over Bush, by 67 percent-26 percent." For details, see the November 1 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

"Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Barack
Obama"

From the November 12 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways to Mispronounce Barack Obama." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Dalai Lama
9. Rocky Balboa
8. Baked Alaska
7. Lions and Tigers and Barack Obama
6. Conan O'Bama
5. Affleck Box Office Bomb-a.
4. Jerry Orbach
3. Bahama Mama
2. Jacko's llama
1. Bandaloop

-- Brent Baker