Wednesday, 30 June 2010

DAILY KOS AND RESEARCH 2000: WHO IS THE SCREWER AND SCREWEE?

Ken Berwitz

As many readers know, www.dailykos.com is a hugely successful hard-left web site, run by Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga, known more familiarly as "kos".

For some time, the daily kos has used a company called Research 2000 to conduct political polling.  It has featured Research 2000's findings on the web site and countless articles there have been based on those findings.

But there is a problem.  Mr. Moulitsas Zuniga now believes that Research 2000 either fudged, or straight-out made up, a lot of the results. 

For that reason he has fired Research 2000 and is suing the company.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's blog on the Research 2000 situation:

More on Research 2000

by kos

Tue Jun 29, 2010 at 10:01:39 AM PDT

I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.

Since the moment Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman approached me, I took their concerns seriously and cooperated fully with their investigation. I also offered to run the results on Daily Kos provided that they 1) fully documented each claim in detail, 2) got that documentation peer reviewed by disinterested third parties, and 3) gave Research 2000 an opportunity to respond. By the end of last week, they had accomplished the first two items on that list. I held publication of the report until today, because I didn't want to partake in a cliche Friday Bad News Dump. This is serious business, and I wasn't going to bury it over a weekend.

We contracted with Research 2000 to conduct polling and to provide us with the results of their surveys. Based on the report of the statisticians, it's clear that we did not get what we paid for. We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it. Meanwhile, Research 2000 has refused to offer any explanation. Early in this process, I asked for and they offered to provide us with their raw data for independent analysis -- which could potentially exculpate them. That was two weeks ago, and despite repeated promises to provide us that data, Research 2000 ultimately refused to do so. At one point, they claimed they couldn't deliver them because their computers were down and they had to work out of a Kinkos office. Research 2000 was delivered a copy of the report early Monday morning, and though they quickly responded and promised a full response, once again the authors of the report heard nothing more.

While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.  

I want to feel stupid for being defrauded, but fact is Research 2000 had a good reputation in political circles. Among its clients the last two years have been KCCI-TV in Iowa, WCAX-TV in Vermont, WISC-TV in Wisconsin, WKYT-TV in Kentucky, Lee Enterprises, the Concord Monitor, The Florida Times-Union, WSBT-TV/WISH-TV/WANE-TV in Indiana, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bergen Record, and the Reno Gazette-Journal. In fact, just last week, in an email debate about robo-pollsters, I had a senior editor at a top DC-based political publication tell me that he'd "obviously" trust Research 2000 more than any automated pollsters, such as SurveyUSA. I didn't trust Research 2000 more than I trusted SUSA (given their solid track record), but I did trust them. I got burned, and got burned bad.

I also looked at the Research 2000 web site and, as of this moment, there is no response to Moulitsas Zuniga.  In fact, other than a section for "Google News" (which has several articles about the kos allegations) there does not appear to be anything new on the site since April.  That seems very odd for a company doing political polling.

So who is the screwer and who is the screwee?

Is kos right?  Is Research 2000 - clearly a well-respected company until this situation exploded - a fraud?  Or is kos wrong, and open to a whopping countersuit? 

Since mainstream media are barely, if at all, reporting about this, I'll try to keep you posted on how this plays out.

But just one more thing:  what would have happened if had been the polling venue for, say, www.foxnewschannel.com?  Do think you'd have heard more about it by now?

Now there's a blog I'd like to see "kos" write.

Ken Berwitz Steve - Yep, Rasmussen is among the most accurate of the political pollsters. This is a classic example of why it is always dangerous to do pit-bull attacks of the type favored by dailykos.com. By crapping on Rasmussen, while using - thus inherently endorsing the quality of - Research 2000, kos put himself into a glass house. Somehow I think he just may have noticed that by now. (06/30/10)

steve schneider one would think that the consistent obama approval rating of ~60 % would have clued them in that the polling was suspect. the interesting part is how they consistently ridicule rassmussen polling calling it the rassapollosa, or something like that. correct me if i'm wrong but hasn't rassmussen been the most accurate pollster? steve (06/30/10)


LARRY KING'S FADEOUT

Ken Berwitz

Larry King has announced that, in a few months, he will end his long-running show on CNN.

I respect Mr. King's interviewing capabilities, his amazing knack for snagging highest-profile guests and his sheer longevity.

But let's be honest: he is way past his time, and has become a prime time nightmare for CNN (disastrous ratings, but too iconic to fire).

Is he quitting of his own accord?  Has he been pushed out?  Is it a combination of the two (that's my guess)?  Who knows for sure.

Regardless, he is a pioneer of the cable news genre and, for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude. 


DETAILED. CREDIBLE. AND BURIED BY THE MEDIA

Ken Berwitz

What have you heard about the allegations of sexual molestation against Al Gore?

Not much, have you?

Ok, no problem.  This is the age of cyberspace and, thankfully, we don't need to rely on the selective reporting of media anymore. 

Here is Byron York's article about it, from yesterday's Washington Examiner:

Sex complaint against Gore is detailed, credible

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
June 29, 2010

The allegation that Al Gore sexually assaulted a woman in a Portland, Ore., hotel room nearly four years ago has dealt a serious blow to the former vice president's story that he and wife Tipper simply "grew apart" after 40 years of marriage.

The police report of the masseuse's complaint is 73 pages long and extremely detailed. According to the document, she got a call from the front desk of the trendy Hotel Lucia on the night of Oct. 24, 2006. The hotel had a special guest. Could she come at 10:30 p.m.?

She went to Gore's room carrying a folding massage table and other equipment. Gore, whom she had never met, greeted her with a warm embrace. "The hug went on a bit long, and I was taken just a bit aback by it," the masseuse told police. But she went along because Gore "was a VIP and a powerful individual and the Hotel Lucia had made it clear to me by inference that they were giving him 'the royal treatment.'"

Gore said he was tired from travel and described in detail the massage he wanted. It included work on the adductor muscles, which are on the inside of the thighs. "I mentally noted that a request for adductor work is a bit unusual," the masseuse told police, because it can be "a precursor to inappropriate behavior by a male client."

Gore also requested work on his abdomen. When that began, "He became somewhat vocal with muffled moans, etc.," the masseuse recounted. Gore then "demand[ed] that I go lower." When she remained focused on a "safe, nonsexual" area, Gore grew "angry, becoming verbally sharp and loud."

The masseuse asked Gore what he wanted. "He grabbed my right hand, shoved it down under the sheet to his pubic hair area, my fingers brushing against his penis," she recalled, "and said to me, 'There!' in a very sharp, loud, angry-sounding tone." When she pulled back, Gore "angrily raged" and "bellowed" at her.

Then, abruptly, the former vice president changed tone. It was "as though he had very suddenly switched personalities," she recalled, "and began in a pleading tone, pleading for release of his second chakra there."

"Chakra," in Gore's new-agey jargon, refers to the body's "energy centers," which the masseuse interpreted as having a specific meaning. "This was yet another euphemism for sexual activity he was requesting," she told police, "put cleverly as though it were a spiritual request or something."

She wanted to end the session, but Gore "wrapped me in an inescapable embrace" and "caressed my back and buttocks and breasts." She tried to get away -- in the process calling Gore a "crazed sex poodle" -- but the former vice president was too strong for her.

A little later, she said, Gore produced a bottle of brandy and mentioned there were condoms in the "treat box" provided by the hotel. "He then forced an open mouth kiss on me," she said.

At that moment, the masseuse brought up Gore's long marriage. "How do you rectify this with your wife?" she asked. That brought on another "quick shift" in Gore's mood. "I never saw anybody's moods just go like this," the masseuse told police, snapping her fingers.

The accuser said Gore maneuvered her into the bedroom. His iPod docking station was there, he told her, and he wanted her to listen to "Dear Mr. President," a lachrymose attack on George W. Bush by the singer Pink.

"As soon as he had it playing, he turned to me and immediately flipped me flat on my back and threw his whole body face down over atop of me," she said. "I was just shocked at his craziness."

"He pleaded, grabbed me, engulfed me in embrace, tongue kissed me, massaged me, groped by breasts and painfully squeezed my nipples through my clothing, pressed his pelvis against mine, rubbed my buttocks with his hands and fingers and rubbed himself against my crotch, saying, 'You know you want to do it.'"

Finally she got away. Later, she talked to friends, liberals like herself, who advised against telling police. One asked her "to just suck it up; otherwise, the world's going to be destroyed from global warming."

She got a lawyer and made an appointment to talk with authorities. She canceled and did not tell police until January 2009 and even then did not press charges.

In 2007, a Portland paper learned what had happened. Gore's lawyers called the story "absolutely false," and it wasn't published.

Now the National Enquirer has made the police report public. And Gore's family-man image will never be the same

Would our wonderful "neutral" media have buried this if it were, say, Sarah Palin and a mail masseuse?  Or any Republican at all?

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


DAMN THAT BUSH (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

From USA Today:

The federal debt will represent 62% of the nation's economy by the end of this year, the highest percentage since just after World War II, according to a long-term budget outlook released today by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

 What's that you say?  The budget was put together by a Democratic house and Democratic senate, then signed by a Democratic President?  The "stimulus package" was passed by that same Democratic house and senate, then signed by that same President 16 months ago?  So this has absolutely nothing to do with President Bush?

Who cares.  Damn that Bush anyway.  And if it works again this time, we'll use it next time too.


JUDGE ZAGER, MEET JUDGE HOYLE

Ken Berwitz

Do you remember the movie "The Verdict", starring Paul Newman? 

If so, you probably remember that Newman played Frank Galvin, a trial lawyer trying to win a court case even though the judge -- Judge Hoyle, played by Milo O'Shea -- was clearly acting on behalf of the other side.

With that in mind, here is an excerpt from yesterday's Chicago Tribune article about the Rod Blagojevich trial and how Judge Zagel frustrated attempts by Blagojevich's lawyer to determine how involved Barack Obama was in filling the senate seat he had vacated to become President.  Please take special note of how Jeff Coen, writing for the Tribune, frames Sorosky's line of question (no media bias there, I'm sure):

06/29/2010

Judge halts questioning on Obama

Sheldon Sorosky, one of Rod Blagojevichs lawyers, has been trying to drag President Barack Obama into the fray this afternoon, asking union official Tom Balanoff whether the FBI asked him about campaign money going to Obama.

Prosecutors objected, as they have so often during cross-examinations, and U.S. District Judge James Zagel said Sorosky should only ask in general what the FBI had said to Balanoff.


Sorosky tried the question again, using Zagels recommended wording. I know that wont be objected to, Sorosky said, causing the nearby Blagojevich to laugh.

But Balanoff didnt get to give an answer, and Zagel wouldnt let the line of questioning go on after a private sidebar discussion among the lawyers.

Balanoff insisted he was acting more on Jarretts behalf and less on Obamas. At one point, Zagel chided Sorosky for asking questions that were too argumentative, suggesting that questions beginning with the word so should raise a red flag.

So, maybe you can eliminate the sos, said Zagel, adding to his earlier ban on questions that start with "wouldn't you agree?"

 

Add in Zagel's ruling, last year, denying a request by Blagojevich's defense team to open all sealed records and transcripts related to the case, and you've got a lot to think about, don't you?.

That said, however, I have to admit that this a somewhat murky situation.  Zagel was recommended by Republican Henry Hyde, and appointed by Republican Ronald Reagan.  Also, from what I have read, he is generally considered to be a prosecutor's judge.   These facts would seem to argue against the premise that his rulings are unfairly tilted against Blagojevich's legal counsel.

On the other hand, Judge Zagel was appointed 23 years ago, and that is more than enough time for him to have changed his judicial philosophy and comportment.

Maybe Zagel is just plain making the right decisions. 

Maybe he just plain has it in for Rod Blagojevich.  

Or maybe he is just plain protecting Barack Obama, either out of political considerations or because he noticed what happened to Inspector General Gerald Walpin and doesn't want to be next.

In any event, there are the facts.  You decide.


ELENA KAGAN AND MEDIA MANIPULATION

Ken Berwitz

The media elite have decided.  Elena Kagan is ok by them. 

So instead of reporting what most people have no problem seeing - i.e. that Kagan is a hard-left, activist liberal who would be very likely to adapt court rulings to her beliefs instead of following the constitution - they are telling us she is some kind of centrist.  And they are supplementing that preposterous claim with positive report after positive report about her.

Just like they did for President Bush's nominees, right? (yes, you may detect a tad of sarcasm there)

L. Brent Bozell has written an excellent column detailing this ridiculous farce.  Here some of its key excerpts:

Bozell Column: The 'Elusive' Truth About Kagan

 

By Brent Bozell (Bio | Archive)
Tue, 06/29/2010 - 21:26 ET

 

It's not cute when reporters play dumb. Last year, when Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, CBS anchor Katie Couric said labeling her won't be easy. CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews found no clear ideology in her public record. This week, the Washington Post embarrassed themselves with a front-page story claiming Obama has not chosen outspoken liberals in either of his first two opportunities to influence the makeup of the court.

 

That ridiculous sentence collides with a June 8 report by liberal Los Angeles Times legal reporter David Savage. The early returns are in, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is proving herself to be a reliable liberal vote on the Supreme Court. Cases this year on campaign speech, religion, juvenile crime, federal power and Miranda warnings resulted in an ideological split among the justices, and on every occasion, Sotomayor joined the liberal bloc.

 

That verdict came before Sotomayor voted with the gun-controllers in the Chicago gun-rights case; before Sotomayor voted for allowing public universities to deny recognition to Christian student groups who dare to oppose homosexuality; and before Sotomayor voted as part of a 6-3 minority that it shouldn't be illegal to provide material support to groups defined by our government as foreign terrorists.

 

Now match that record with what the liberal media claimed about Sotomayor. You know, for a Democrat, she has a pretty conservative record, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg announced on PBSs Charlie Rose show last year. In fact, on a lot of criminal law issues, you could say that she's more conservative than some members of the Supreme Court, including Justice Scalia.

 

If Totenberg sold shoddy diet pills that fraudulently, she'd be a red-hot case for the Federal Trade Commission.

So why should anyone believe the media are telling the truth now when they suggest Elena Kagan cannot be called liberal? Kagan's views are elusive, the media chant in unison. They all tried to evade Kagan's vivid writing as a college student in the Daily Princetonian in 1980, about how she cried and got drunk when Ronald Reagan won and ultraconservative Al DAmato defeated her candidate, ultraliberal Democrat Liz Holtzman.

 

She wished that our emotion-packed conclusion that the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead and that there was no longer any place for the ideals we held or the beliefs we espoused would be replaced by the hope that the Reagan era would be marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore.

 

Unbelievably, our journalistic geniuses can read that and say Kagan's political views are elusive.

 

Liberal partisans expect the objective media to spout obvious lies that there are no liberals to be found in Obama's Supreme Court selections, that they have been far too elusive to be categorized. That is why Americans are turning away in droves: they're not finding the media's biases to be elusive.

It's Charlie Brown and the football again. 

Sadly, however, for a lot of people it will work like a charm.  Just as it always does. 

Especially for the ones who have convinced themselves that they're too smart to be fooled by media -- even as those same media thoroughly manipulate them.

I'd bet you know people like the ones I just described.  I hope you're not one of them.


MEDIA MATTERS: DEBUNKING THE DEBUNKER

Ken Berwitz

Every now and again I read www.mediamatters.org.  I find it entertaining; a little like SNL on line -enough facts to make it seem real, but funny to anyone who knows what actually is going on.

The pieces that grabbed my attention this time are titled "Drudge falsely suggests U.S. has not previously accepted international aid for oil spill" and "In fact, international offers of assistance had alreadly been accepted."

Now, if true, that is news.  And mediamatters.org even put up a PDF of the specific examples that are supposed to prove its contention about the U.S. accepting international assistance.

Unfortunately for them, I read what they put up.  You can too, by clicking here.  And, if you do, this is what you will find: 

There have been 63 individual offers of assistance (I could be off by one in either direction, but I don't think so).  And, from those 63 offers we have this:

-April 30:  BP (NOT the US government) purchased a containment and fire boom from Norway

-Early May:  Eight skimming systems accepted from Norway" (it doesnt say whether BP or the US accepted them but it is the next item after  the containment/fire boom system that was purchased by BP directly" mentioned above, it probably is also a BP purchase as well).

-May 3:  BP (NOT the US government) purchased 13,780 feet of boom and two skimmers from Mexico

-May 5:  Accepted the International Maritime Organizations offer to send communication to all 169 Member States and the maritime community generally regarding use of websites provided by the U.S. to assist in safe navigation in the Gulf of Mexico

-May 23:  BP (NOT the US government) purchased three rigid Koseq sweeping arms accepted

-June 4:  Accepted 1 containment boom from Canada on June 4

Bottom line:  The US, after 70 days and 63 individual offers of assistance, has accepted the passing along of navigation information (big deal), 1 containment boom (over a month and a half after the disaster occurred) and possibly 8 skimmers.  The end.

This is supposed to debunk the claim that the U.S. is refusing international assistance?

Like I said, it's SNL online.

Zeke .... The world's largest skimmer, a 600' Taiwanese vessel, is en route to the Gulf. However, it won't be able to operate, because the US Coast Guard has not determined it is effective. .... .... ... Just give OilBama another 70 days to decide on this. (06/30/10)


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