My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Media Lies And MisRepresentations

Two candidates in this category tonight.

First, the Denver Post front-page reporting on the poll it released yesterday. Specifically, this headline and subsequent reporting.

Seeming split over same-sex issues on ballot

Coloradans appear ready to ban gay marriage while endorsing legal benefits for same-sex couples, but a new poll shows the state is not willing to legalize marijuana.

There's the lede, placed very low on the front page Sunday. But here's the actual poll results:

Constitutional Amendment 43, which would define marriage as only between a man and a woman, is up 8 points, with 51 percent in favor and 43 percent against.

But Referendum I, which would create domestic partnerships that extend many legal protections of marriage to same-sex couples, is also leading. Of those polled, 47 percent were for the amendment and 42 percent were against it.

And earlier in the same article are these pieces of information:

"There is kind of a rule of thumb that if an initiative, shortly before an election, is at less than 50 percent ... it is fairly unlikely to pass."

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research from Oct. 24 to 26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

So, how, exactly you might ask, did the Post distort this story? Well, in several ways. First of all, this is a poll of registered voters, a group that skews toward the liberal by a few points. So for Amendment 43 the number is probably more like 54-55%. Secondly, by the same logic, Referendum I is probably, at best, a dead heat, well under the magical 50% mark.

So, had the numbers been reversed, does anyone out there doubt that the headline would actually be "Marriage Definition in Trouble; Partnerships Comfortably Ahead." The distortion is in not addressing the skewing of the numbers and in titling the headline in a way that makes it look like the state is divided on this issue. In reality, the poll reveals that its likely that Colorado voters next week will reject the gay agenda, and by a a bit of a margin, as well.

The second candidate is from this morning's Rocky Mountain News--on the front page in really big letters:

GOP Pointing Fingers

Actually, that may not be the headline. The website does not actually have the front page headline, it only has the milder article headline "Republicans Take A Look In The Mirror."

But more importantly, Lynn Bartels' reporting only includes quotes from two actual Republicans--Greg Brophy, state senator from Wray (so still active in politics, though not deeply engaged right now) and Mike Beasley, a former lobbyist for the governor.

So this article--or more importantly, the headline--deliberately gives the impression that the fissures in the GOP are starting to form and widen. In reality, she only talked to a person who is out of politics and another who is not currently campaigning, so, also, not really in the game.

All the serious Republicans are too busy right now to assign blame. But that doesn't slow Bartels down--it's never too early for a good obituary, eh?

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