New York Times lays an egg

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Sunday mornings used to be a bastion of integrity and insight for political journalism. It was a day for hard hitting Meet The Press interviews and important newspaper exposes. Unfortunately, Sunday mornings have now largely morphed into the day that the media introduces its ratings-driven false narratives for the week, so it can then spend the rest of the week milking those false narratives.

Today’s perpetrator is the New York Times, which released a 2024 presidential poll that claims Donald Trump will not only beat Joe Biden handily in 2024, but Trump will also win every key swing state in a blowout. This poll is so laughably unrealistic, you can safely dismiss it even without diving into the specific methodology. But those who have dived in have quickly figured out that the poll dramatically under samples key voting groups, and appears to massively over sample people who didn’t even vote in 2020. The poll also laughably claims that Trump is outperforming with younger voters – a demographic that overwhelmingly despises him.

In other words, this poll was either conducted by complete moron pollsters who have somehow forgotten the basics of how polling works, or the poll was intentionally reverse engineered to produce a specific “shock” result. Either way, this fake poll – and yes, we need to start using that term when it applies in situations like this – will conveniently allow the New York Times (and the rest of the media) to spend this entire upcoming week putting on hand-wringing performance art about how doomed we supposedly are. And scared audience members will remain glued to their screens accordingly.

Here’s the most important takeaway in all of this: the New York Times poll is a wild outlier that is not in line with other polls. The overall polling averages do not show Trump winning. Yet whenever a poll occasionally claims that Trump is winning by a mile, the entire media then spends the entire week unanimously hyping that poll in the name of chasing ratings. It doesn’t matter that such polls are obvious bullshit. The (entire) media rewards such polls specifically for being bullshit. There is now a clear incentive system for producing fake polls, to the point that it’s becoming an epidemic.

There is a real danger to this. Back in 2022, the Republicans kept commissioning intentionally fake polls claiming they were going to run away with the midterms. The media hyped these fake polls as if they were real, it convinced a lot of folks on our side that we were going to get blown out no matter what, and actively served as voter suppression.

But at least the “fake polls” in 2022 were coming from illegitimate entities to begin with. In 2024 the fake polls are coming from major respected news outlets who are cutting out the middle man and manufacturing their own fake polls in house, so they can then turn around and milk those fake polls for ratings whenever it’s the most convenient for them.

Trump is being forced to testify tomorrow in a trial that will end him financially and will remind the general public that he has four upcoming criminal trials that will end his viability. So is it a coincidence that the media is suddenly cranking out a fake poll that shows Trump magically running away with the 2024 election? You be the judge.

Remember, the media can only spend 2023 milking the 2024 election for ratings if it continues to prop up Trump more and more in order to counterbalance things as he becomes more obviously less and less viable. We’ve been seeing this throughout the entire election cycle. And now that Trump is heading into his darkest hours, the media is bending over backward more thoroughly to crank out fake news about how he’s magically winning. And yes, we need to start referring to this stuff as “fake news” – because that’s precisely what it is.

In any case, our job is to shout down this kind of fake news and punish the media for publishing it. We need to get the media to understand that there’s a ratings cost, not a ratings gain, to this kind of villainy. And we need to avoid the urge to sit around fretting about how we’re supposedly in trouble. That kind of losing messaging doesn’t motivate activists or win over voters; it just tells them that there’s no point in bothering.

Our messaging has to be that yes, 2024 could end up being a very close contest, but yes we’re going to win. Any other messaging is surrender. In the end, 2024 will come down to what every other election comes down to: whether we’re willing to put in the work required to win, and whether we’re able to get everyone on our side to understand that this is a winnable battle worth fighting for. And we will continue to put the dishonest media, and their fake polls, in their place accordingly.

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