Archive Opinion The Orion

Media makes coverage mess

August 1, 2004

The room was packed. People would scream, clap and dance as they heard the promise of a better tomorrow. Hope sprang eternal. The tyrant would be overthrown.

John Kerry was Elijah, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all in one long-faced body.

Some people call this preaching to the choir. How many Republican and third-party voters would you expect to find at the Democratic National Convention?

These things end up becoming paid vacations for journalists that put out just enough energy to burn the carbs from a Miller Lite. The major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, ADD, DSL, MYOB, WTF) dedicated their incredible news power to a few select hours of the convention during the evening — but not when they had their big shows on (because we all know reality TV is much more real than a live news event).

CNN had its major election coverage, which involved showing only some of the speeches and hobnobbing with one another and having a jolly good time. And then there’s the “Fair and Balanced” coverage of Fox News. It’s so fair and balanced, Bill O’Reilly can talk right over the speeches and you can hear all about them secondhand from their correspondents. (Useful information in parenthesis: the Fox News correspondent pool still has Geraldo Rivera, aka “Hey y’all, I’m faxing everyone the current locations and future destinations of the troops I’m with.” But since he’s not around to screw things up, their coverage of the convention should be better. I think.)

Of course with all of this epic coverage, there should be some kind of bounce in the polls for Kerry. Well? Hold on a second…here it comes…nope, false alarm.

The bounce has been quoted by many media professionals to be on average of 5 percent after a nominating convention. It’s almost like they used to have these “conventions” to figure out who the person would be to represent their party.

Is it me, or have there been a lot more polls this year? Thanks to the Internet and 24-hour news networks desperate for news that is easy to cover and debate, we have a new poll every other day that shows one person 3 percent ahead one day, then 2 percent behind the next. Could it be that back in the dark ages (the 2000 election) there were fewer polls taken and there was an opportunity for a larger change in the numbers?

Well according to the latest unscientific poll I made up off the top of my head, 32 percent say yes, 34 percent say no, and 33 percent say they like chocolate ice cream. Factor in Ralph Nader and ice cream falls to 24 percent.

Now here’s the fun part about polls in this election: Most of them consist of people who call themselves likely voters (50 to 60 percent of the country). About 20 percent of those people won’t vote so that leaves us with 40 percent to 48 percent possibly voting. Then factor in the number of people they ask about these polls (only a few thousand). When all is said and done, about 0.0000012 percent of nearly 300,000,000 people stated in each poll that they’ll vote for one person or the other.

In other words, screw the polls or screw covering the election in any way that would lead to an accurate one. Just think: in a few days you can watch this whole process all over again when the Republicans storm New York.

Of course if you want to see the actual action, watch C-SPAN. The only downside is you won’t see any of those evil liberals listening to their rock and/or roll and (gasp) dancing.