Friday, January 15, 2010

The Local MSM's Prejudice

This blog used to cover the local MSM quite a bit. I enjoyed writing the stories and got a lot of readers and links from it. However, at a certain point I became too cynical to read the local MSM every day, so this site has focused much less on being a local media critic. Stories like this are why.

Two polls were released on the Senate race at pretty much the same time. They both had the same sample size. They were both done by well-established firms. However, they both showed widely different results. The Suffolk poll showed Scott Brown up by around 4, while the BMG/Research 2000 poll showed Coakley up by 8. Either of the polls could be right -- in fact, they both were probably right in polling who they thought would show up, it's just that they both disagreed on the specific demographics of their likely voters. Guess which poll the local MSM covered?

If anyone picked "not BMG," they win a gold star. There are probably two reasons why the local media would cover Suffolk's poll, but not BMG's. The first is the Suffolk poll is certainly more politically sexy -- it was the first to really show Scott Brown up above the margin of error. The second reason is because BMG is a blog - and, I suppose, viewed by the media as competition. All that said, if the media is to be taken seriously, it should have covered both of the polls. They were done at the same time, using live questioners and the same sample sizes; they were each at least as worthy as the other. Even if the papers wanted to lead with the Suffolk poll, the BMG poll should have featured prominently, too. Otherwise, any notion of fair play or journalistic integrity can be thrown out of the window.

Does the local media really want to be that obvious? Are they really willing to lose the tens of thousands of their readers, who also read sites like BMG? At a certain point, papers like the Globe are going to have to learn that many of the readers they've lost have come at the hands of their increasing willingness to throw their credibility out the window, when it suits their purpose.


Anonymous said...
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Ryan said...

FYI: I deleted the comment above because it was spam.

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