For several years I’ve been calling out the major media outlets for routinely latching onto the weirdest and most unrealistic polling result of the week, and holding it up as if it were the only poll, while ignoring all the other polls released that week. Whenever the media can hype a laughably wrong “outlier” poll as if it were accurate, it can stir up controversy in the process, which boosts ratings and thus corporate revenue.
Now the media outlets are doing something much, much worse. Instead of waiting for a single “outlier” poll to occur naturally so they can begin dishonestly hyping it, the media outlets are actively manufacturing polling results that they know are illegitimate, so they always have something to hype.
Case in point: today the Washington Post and ABC News released a jointly conducted poll which claims Donald Trump is ten points ahead of President Joe Biden. This poll is so laugh out loud wrong, so many millions of miles removed from being believable, that even WaPo and ABC put a disclaimer in the fine print, admitting that it was likely an “outlier.”
In other words WaPo and ABC just very quietly confessed, in exact words, that their own poll is bullshit. So why even release it? One word: RATINGS. This bullshit poll has allowed WaPo and ABC to spend all day Sunday milking the resulting controversy for ratings.
The kicker is that this poll claims Trump is leading Biden by twenty points in the youth vote. This would be literally impossible, as young voters have long voted Democrat by massive margins, including when Biden ran against Trump in 2020.
All you have to do is have any familiarity with politics (and not have been recently dropped on your head) to know that Biden is ahead of Trump with the youth vote by perhaps thirty or forty points. It’s obvious that this WaPo/ABC poll intentionally mis-sampled the youth vote in order to produce a fictional result that gets the numbers wrong by about fifty points. That alone is enough to falsely skew the overall polling result in Trump’s direction by at least ten points. In other words, WaPo and ABC faked these numbers on purpose – to the point that there should perhaps be a criminal investigation into whether this constitutes financial fraud on the part of a for-profit corporation.
But the other major news outlets saw WaPo/ABC admit that their own poll was laugh out loud bullshit, and the rest of the media ignored the poll entirely, because they’re not sociopaths, right? Sadly, no. Some other major news outlets did go on to spend Sunday hyping this bullshit poll as if it were real. And why not? When the media can pretend that the widely despised Trump (who by the way is going to prison before the election) is somehow running away with it all against Biden, it can scare mainstream Americans into staring at their screens in horror – which boosts ratings and thus revenue.
So yes, the mainstream media is indeed a bunch of sociopaths who are always perfectly willing to use false information as a way of selling a fictional narrative about what’s going on, so long as it boosts their precious ratings. But it’s getting worse. The major media outlets used to wait until poorly conducted polls periodically happened to fall into their laps. Now the major media outlets are intentionally commissioning illegitimate polls, so they milk the resulting false narratives more often. This is reaching a National Enquirer level of media dishonesty. We need to force the mainstream media into full scale ethical reform, while we still can.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report