Monday, February 27, 2017

If It Were Up to Me…

And I love the Red, White, and Blue; just not in that order.
I did a thought experiment today; play along with me.  Let’s say I am the President of the United States.  No, not President Mike Exinger – I am Donald J. Trump.  Yeah, I’m President Trump, and if it were up to me, this is what I’d do.

I’m President.  Period.  I won the election.  Not so bigly like I’ve claimed, but I won.  I’ve got a compliant (that is to say, Republican) Congress, so I am pretty much guaranteed that my agenda is going to get a fair hearing and most likely I will be successful in implementing my programs.

So what’s the problem?  Well, I like attention, and I want to be seen favorably.  I certainly have my fans, but there are many who don’t care for me.  And that includes the press, which doesn’t help make me any new friends.

Of course, it’s not ALL of the press – I’d be nowhere without Fox News and many right-leaning media outlets (National Enquirer, Sheldon Adelson, Breitbart…you all know who you are).  But much of the “MSM” I consider to be the “enemy of the American people.”  Most particularly those members of the press we excluded from Friday’s gaggle.  They all have one thing in common – they’re all investigating and running stories about my “so-called” ties to Russia.

Funny thing is, the more I castigate the press, the worse I seem to be doing in those all important polls of my approval.  I did not see that coming.

So how can I win the public over and finally put the media in its place (the dumpster)?

Well, if it were up to me, I’d say “Let’s investigate me – fully.” 

No, really.  I’ve got nothing to hide, remember?  I am squeaky clean like a baby from its bath.  I’d haul out my tax returns, let them assign a Special Prosecutor, hold hearings with subpoena power – you name it.  Let them flail about trying to pin something on me – and come up empty.

Sure, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen and Felix Sater may or may not have Russian connections, but that’s not ME.  I said I have no deals with Russia.  They don’t have anything on me – no secret recordings, no video, no loans, no Russian mafia, nada.  Investigate all you want, and when the smoke clears?  I am home free, and the American Press will have egg on their collective face.


Now the thing is, like I said, I have to be squeaky clean.  I really have to be in the clear, and that means I really can’t have any ties to Putin or Russia or the Russian mafia at all.  Nyet.  I mean, none.

Now, if it were up to me and I DID have ties to Moscow; maybe a loan or three, some previous nefarious communications, a night with a проститутка…what would I be doing about that? 

Pretty much this right now.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Believe it, or Don’t

You may have seen the news about a recent poll that purports to show that “Voters feel Trump administration more truthful than news media.”  Or something similar.  I realize that using the words “news,” “poll,” and “Trump” is bound to cause someone to yell “FAKE NEWS,” but bear with me.  Remember, I have a little history with polling (from my market research days), but the issues I have aren’t statistical.  That just means you should be able to follow along.

The poll was done by Emerson College, and there ARE a few statistical issues I could raise.  First, they didn’t ask “Who is more truthful…Media or Trump?”  What they did was ask separate questions about Trump, the news media, the Trump Administration, and others.  So there wasn’t any comparison like every headline I’ve seen so far makes it out to be.

Second, while it claims to be a “National” survey, the data doesn’t reflect a very even distribution.  Almost a third of all responses come from just THREE of the 50 states – New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Granted, Emerson is located in Massachusetts, and it IS a student poll, so maybe they were trying to save money.  I’m joking – I have no idea why this is.  There are other issues I have with the methodology (land-lines, weighing, etc.) – you can read about their methods here, though again, this isn’t my beef with the poll.

Big issue #1 is this – the gap between “Trusts Trump” and “Trusts Media” is very small – 49% versus 48%.  That’s smaller than the actual “plus or minus” accuracy (margin of error was +/-3.9%) quoted for the survey.  So in all likelihood, if you were saying STATISTICALLY if one was considered more trustworthy than the other, you’d be wrong.  Too close to tell.

What you CAN tell without any doubt is that there is a W-I-D-E gap in how Democrats and Republicans responded.  As you can imagine, Dems think the media more trustworthy than Trump and his administration, GOP voters think just the opposite.

And it’s not even close.  Here are the “crosstabs” from the survey:

Do you believe the Trump administration has been generally truthful or generally untruthful?


Do you believe the news media has been generally truthful or generally untruthful?


One more issue I have here about the survey, before we discuss – “news media” is an all-encompassing description.  It covers…well, a helluva lot of ground.  NPR, CBS, AP, Fox News, Huffington Press, NY Times, my local paper, etc.  That’s ALL “news media” and they are as different to me (and most likely, to most everyone) as night and day when it comes to truth.

And so there are two problems here.  One, the gap between Democrats and Republicans, and two, the definition of news media.  In short, had they asked the question(s) differently, they may have received a different perspective.

What if, instead of asking:
Do you believe the news media has been generally truthful or generally untruthful?

They asked:
Do you believe the news media YOU USE has been generally truthful or generally untruthful?

A follow-up question would have asked about WHAT SPECIFIC news media is used, of course.  But this is actually beside my point.

My point is this – now that the “results” of this poll are out, there are about 90gadzillion posts about it, all with the same MISLEADING headline that Trump (or Trump Administration) is more truthful than the news media.  Which isn’t the case, even according to this poll.  Naturally, Trump has already tweeted it, which is interesting because he told us we couldn’t trust polls or the news, and that’s what this is.

Oh, only if it’s favorable to him could we trust it?  Riiiiight.  Got it.

Colorful, but wrong as hell

This is wrong in so many ways, which brings me to the graphic shown above.  This is also making the rounds in social media, supposedly showing where on the LEFT-RIGHT axis certain media falls.  It also has a HIGH-LOW quality rating.

And while it looks impressive, it’s ONE GUY’S OPINION.  Well, maybe it’s ONE GUY’S OPINION of SOME OTHER GUY’S OPINION.  But there’s NO methodology shown, no information – just a graphic that people can point to and say, “See, all the networks are leftist.”  Which is just so much bullshit.  Of course, that’s MY opinion.

What’s also my opinion is that most people choose the media that reflects their own opinions.  Trump with a 90% “truthiness” rating from Republicans?  That makes sense.  They’ll believe just about ANYTHING he and his administration tell them.  At least, they have so far.  They don’t bother with fact checking and even looking at other sources just to see if maybe, just maybe, they’re not getting the real deal.  That’s why when pundits wonder what, if anything, Trump could say or do to make his fanbase squeal, I say “Nothing.”  He really could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to his base.

So…I really don’t see things getting better, communication-wise, in the near future.  The rallying cry of “FAKE NEWS” will be shrill, loud, and off-base. 

At least Saturday Night Live will have new material for the next four year.  If we last that long.