Which voters had the better grasp of the facts

THE BASIC PREMISE OF THIS ARTICLE IS THAT CONSERVATIVES WERE MISINFORMED BY THEIR MEDIA AND LIBERALS WEREN’T. THE CONSERVATIVES BELIEVE THAT IT WAS THE LIBERALS WHO WERE MISINFORMED.

What matters here is not the facts, though I think the conservatives have a better grasp of them but the values and the policies which are best for the US. Obama’s victory is not a vindication that America is headed in the right direction.

How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

By Conor Friedersdorf, THE ATLANTIC

Before rank-and-file conservatives ask, “What went wrong?”, they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: “Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?”

Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday’s result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout — Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.

Those audiences were misinformed.

Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different. Its driving force was Nate Silver, whose performance forecasting Election ’08 gave him credibility as he daily explained why his model showed that President Obama enjoyed a very good chance of being reelected. Other experts echoed his findings. Readers of The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other “mainstream media” sites besides knew the expert predictions, which have been largely borne out. The conclusions of experts are not sacrosanct. But Silver’s expertise was always a better bet than relying on ideological hacks like Morris or the anecdotal impressions of Noonan.

Sure, Silver could’ve wound up wrong. But people who rejected the possibility of his being right? They were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage.

Conservatives should be familiar with its contours. For years, they’ve been arguing that liberal control of media and academia confers one advantage: Folks on the right can’t help but be familiar with the thinking of liberals, whereas leftists can operate entirely within a liberal cocoon. This analysis was offered to explain why liberal ideas were growing weaker and would be defeated.

Today?

It is easy to close oneself off inside a conservative echo chamber. And right-leaning outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s show are far more intellectually closed than CNN or public radio. If you’re a rank-and-file conservative, you’re probably ready to acknowledge that ideologically friendly media didn’t accurately inform you about Election 2012. Some pundits engaged in wishful thinking; others feigned confidence in hopes that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy; still others decided it was smart to keep telling right-leaning audiences what they wanted to hear.

But guess what?

You haven’t just been misinformed about the horse race. Since the very beginning of the election cycle, conservative media has been failing you. With a few exceptions, they haven’t tried to rigorously tell you the truth, or even to bring you intellectually honest opinion. What they’ve done instead helps to explain why the right failed to triumph in a very winnable election.

Why do you keep putting up with it?

Conservatives were at a disadvantage because Romney supporters like Jennifer Rubin and Hugh Hewitt saw it as their duty to spin constantly for their favored candidate rather than being frank about his strengths and weaknesses. What conservative Washington Post readers got, when they traded in Dave Weigel for Rubin, was a lot more hackery and a lot less informed about the presidential election.

Conservatives were at an information disadvantage because so many right-leaning outlets wasted time on stories the rest of America dismissed as nonsense. WorldNetDaily brought you birtherism. Forbes brought you Kenyan anti-colonialism. National Review obsessed about an imaginary rejection of American exceptionalism, misrepresenting an Obama quote in the process, and Andy McCarthy was interviewed widely about his theory that Obama, aka the Drone Warrior in Chief, allied himself with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America. Seriously?

Conservatives were at a disadvantage because their information elites pandered in the most cynical, self-defeating ways, treating would-be candidates like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain as if they were plausible presidents rather than national jokes who’d lose worse than George McGovern.

How many months were wasted on them?

How many hours of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories did Fox News broadcast to its viewers? How many hours of transparently mindless Sean Hannity content is still broadcast daily? Why don’t Americans trust Republicans on foreign policy as they once did? In part because conservatism hasn’t grappled with the foreign-policy failures of George W. Bush. A conspiracy of silence surrounds the subject. Romney could neither run on the man’s record nor repudiate it. The most damaging Romney gaffe of the campaign, where he talked about how the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes are a lost cause for Republicans? Either he was unaware that many of those people are Republican voters, or was pandering to GOP donors who are misinformed. Either way, bad information within the conservative movement was to blame.

In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood’s convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama’s America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense — not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there’s no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it’s often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.

On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find.

It ought to be an eye-opening moment.

But I expect that it’ll be quickly forgotten, that none of the conservatives who touted a polling conspiracy will be discredited, and that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage. After all, it’s not like they’ll trust the analysis of a non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who constantly tell them things that turn out not to be true.

November 10, 2012 | 16 Comments »

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. Lefto-clap-trap-hogwash. The author doesn’t even know that neither the GOP establishment nor Romney are conservatives. That was their main problem. As for Obama’s win better not talk about. Shame for Americans, shame for the world. How much lower than gutter-politics liberal politics can go? Watch the space, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  2. To complicate. A significant number of people on the right were dumb enough to stay on the sideline and they were not told in spite of all the evidence that the far left machine would do ANYTHING to win. If calling Romney the killer of a woman does not say anything about the intentions of the far left, then nothing else will do. For too many on the rt, the dislike of Romney was greater then the dislike of Obama!This is sickening.

  3. TO YAMIT – edited version of talkback previously zapped by Spam Filter:

    Regarding Benghazi – Good analysis. But we can only touch on the surface. We’ll never know the true extent of what’s been going on with Obama’s foreign policy. We’ll only see the results. The political establishment in Washington, along with the media, are one big incestuous bunch. They cover up each other’s scandals.

    The Clintons came to power with suspect baggage from Arkansas, but they managed to stay on, with barely anyone seriously questioning anything. The Monica scandal was merely a way for the Republicans to annoy and obstruct Clinton – all within rules of the game agreed on by both parties. Republicans stayed away from serious issues. Benghazi won’t become Benghazigate. Congress is too corrupt and maybe the Democrats know things about Bush and other Republicans that would be explosive if revealed.

    PS – I think that quoting your link sent Spam Filter into a panic.

  4. TO YAMIT regarding Benghazi –

    You write: I like my speculation better.https://www.israpundit.org/archives/50255/comment-page-1#comment-220425&nbsp

    Good analysis. But we can only touch on the surface. We’ll never know the true extent of what’s been going on with Obama’s foreign policy. We’ll only see the results.

    The political establishment in Washington, along with the media, are one big incestuous bunch. They cover up each other’s scandals.

    Hillary and Bill Clinton came to power with some suspect baggage from Arkansas – but they managed to stay on, with barely anyone seriously questioning anything. The Monica scandal was merely a way for the Republicans to annoy and obstruct Clinton – all within rules of the game agreed on by both parties. Republicans stayed away from serious issues.

    Benghazi won’t become Benghazigate. Congress is too corrupt and maybe the Democrats know things about GW Bush and other Republicans that would be explosive if revealed.

  5. Donald, I didn’t write what you highlighted. That was from the article and then my response to it. I should have put that in a quote block but I didn’t notice at the time there was a way to do that with the new format.

  6. What all of the Obama supporters are refusing to acknowledge is that they do not control the House. So at best it is a phirric victory. I think the Republicans should be saying : ” we control the House, but are ptreated to compromise, but not to roll over.”. 

  7. Canadian Otter says:


    November 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    BENGHAZI, the plot thickens.
    – Who denied aid to the Seals?
    – Not me, said Petraeus.
    – Who, then?
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/10/26/Petraeus-on-Benghazi-It-Wasnt-Me
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Pure speculation:
    – Petraeus is asked to follow White House script during hearings.
    – Petraeus refuses.
    – He’s told there’s a file on him and a girl.
    – Petraeus says, Go ahead. I don’t care. I’ll resign.
    – So he resigns.
    Stay tuned…

    I like my speculation better.https://www.israpundit.org/archives/50255/comment-page-1#comment-220425  I never liked or trusted Petareus.  He seems to be a Politician in Uniform.  His combat experience is light to nil held mostly staff and safe command and academic posts.  He lost two wars and is the darling of the American right without the necessary credential.  My reading of this ambitious politician in uniform is that he resigned  in exchange for presidential protection.  The original contention that it was a minor anti Muslim film demonstration and Muslim reaction to said film came from him and he never retracted or changed his story despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary.The question is who is covering for who?  He for Obama and Hillary or they for him?

  8. All that this article is saying is that the MSM won the election for Obama.  It is saying that because the MSM won the struggle for the most minds that their “information” is true.  Basically it is the same smear tactic that has been in use all along:  discrediting reports with ridicule as opposed to evidence.
     <blockquote cite=””>Conservatives were at an information disadvantage because so many right-leaning outlets wasted time on stories the rest of America dismissed as nonsense. <cite> 

    After all “50 million frenchman cant be wrong”Ridicule does not substitute for the transparent release of Obama personal records, for those with common sense. 
    (sorry, cant figure out the new quote system)

  9. Laura wrote:I expect that it’ll be quickly forgotten, that none of the conservatives who touted a polling conspiracy will be discredited, and that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage.
    After all, it’s not like they’ll trust the analysis of a
    non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who
    constantly tell them things that turn out not to be
    true”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..The right would
    be better off listening to the advice of liberals who wish them to lose?

    _____Come again ——————Is there a translator in the house ?????????????????????//____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  10. “and Andy McCarthy was interviewed widely about his theory that Obama, aka the Drone Warrior in Chief, allied himself with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America. Seriously”?  …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..This is largely true. Obama has indeed facilitated the jihadist takeover of country after country in the Middle East.  ============================================================================”Conservatives were at a disadvantage because their information elites pandered in the most cynical, self-defeating ways, treating would-be candidates like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain as if they were plausible presidents rather than national jokes who’d lose worse than George McGovern”……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Far from a joke, Sarah Palin was the only reason McCain got the number of votes he did. As to being a national joke, if a largely unknown Obama who served scant time as Illinois state senator and scant time as U.S. Senator and had nothing more on his resume than being a community organizer can become president, then anyone can.  =====================================================================================”In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Why shouldn’t we expect that Americans murdered in a foreign country because our own government refused to rescue them, would be a significant issue? The hostages in Iran sunk Carter’s presidency and at least they all survived. I did not expect that the country had changed so much that we no longer even care about the lives of fellow Americans serving abroad or about a president who blatantly lied and covered up what took place and why. As to the polling, it wasn’t conservative media, but mainstream polling organizations which had the race very close nationally and in swing states and even sometimes showed Romney gaining a lead.  =======================================================================================”But I expect that it’ll be quickly forgotten, that none of the conservatives who touted a polling conspiracy will be discredited, and that the right will continue to operate at an information disadvantage. After all, it’s not like they’ll trust the analysis of a non-conservative like me more than the numerous fellow conservatives who constantly tell them things that turn out not to be true”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..The right would be better off listening to the advice of liberals who wish them to lose?

  11. Typical leftist drivel. Almost all news in the USA is leftist driven. The lowest-rated big network newscasts draw several multiples of the viewers of the highest-rated Fox news shows or of Rush Limbaugh. Obama voters were misinformed, as will inevitably be revealed in the coming months.

  12. What would Friedersdorf have said if Romney won?  Nothing.  His views here are an ex post facto rationalization replete with the pre-election views of the liberal – left MSM that it is they who tell truths that Conservatives deny.