While some of you have expressed your dislike of the award for Douchebag of the Week because it’s “divisive,” in the comment sections of other posts, we’re going to keep awarding it anyway. If you think the term douchebag is mean spirited, we’re sure you’re too busy trolling the left-wing blogs pointing out in insanity, hypocrisy and plain wrongheadedness of calling conservatives fascists to really take notice that one site uses the word douchebag to describe someone once a week. As for the sensitivity problems you have with our other chosen tags being divisive, tough. You’re free to suggest alternatives, but they’d better be good because we’re free to reject them. Anyway, on to the winner.
This week’s winner isn’t a single person, it’s an industry, two industries, as a matter of fact. You could call it a tie, but one couldn’t win without the other, so they count only as one this week.
The first Douchebag of the Week for 2008 is the media and pollsters. The only way they could’ve been more wrong on the outcome of New Hampshire is if Kucinich or Duncan Hunter had won.
Polling is an inexact science, if it can be called a science at all. Getting people to talk to you is difficult enough, especially when you rate on the level of phone solicitor in the minds of most Americans, but the age of cell phone has made it even more difficult. Still, they do a semi-accurate job, most of the time. But not this week. Not only did they get the pre-primary polls way wrong, they even got the initial exit polls wrong. In fact, they were so far off that had this been the general election in a state a Republican won, left-wingers would be running around screaming of how the vote was rigged by Diebold. Since it’s a primary, and everyone knows Democrats would never commit voter fraud (except those who’ve looked into it), the media simply said, “oops, we got it wrong,” then inundated us with discussions of how the numbers worked out.
That brings us to the media, where polls are news only because the media hires the pollsters to make the news. Does anyone really think a random sampling of Americans have an opinion on the “sub-prime ‘crisis'” that is anywhere close to educated? Such a small fraction of Americans have sub-prime loans, so the vast majority of don’t know what they are, let alone understand them. But you poll people with the word crisis and tell them people could lose their homes (not that they bought home they couldn’t afford in the first place), and people think “Oh God, we must do something, then they call their bank to find out if they’re one of those people. But the media will report those “poll results” as though they’re gospel carved in stone from the mountain top. Hell, the reporters probably don’t understand the issue, but they understand 70 percent are concerned and think something must be done. That sells.
So the media creates news by asking pollsters to find out what people who don’t understand complex issues what they think in the most simplistic terms. That’s how news is born. Those numbers drive front pages and nightly newscasts across the country, because the art of real reporting has died.
That leads us back to New Hampshire. The media and pollsters don’t win simply because they got it wrong in the New Hampshire primary, they win because their getting it so wrong in the New Hampshire primary exposes the fraud that is polling, yet both will continue to do what they do in the way they’ve been doing it.
For continuing to manufacture news based upon surveys of uninformed people (people the media is supposed to help inform), which creates an endless cycle of misinformation and miseducation and for having no interest in stopping this cycle, the media and pollsters win Douchebag of the Week.