Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Why, Journalists, Why?

HIllary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, polls, Washington Post, illustration

Complaints about “the mainstream media” are old hat. But that doesn’t mean the complaints have lost validity.

I was struck by this while reading Matt Welch’s warning, at Reason: “Don’t Believe Any Headline Showing Hillary Clinton with a 12-Point Lead over Donald Trump.”

“There is indeed a 51 percent to 39 percent advantage for Clinton over Trump in newly released Washington Post/ABC News poll, conducted from June 20-23,” Welch concedes. “But that same survey also asked the same pool of voters to react to a far more representative ballot, i.e., one that includes Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson . . . and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. . . .”

The point is, leaving out Hillary’s and the Donald’s actual competition from poll results — or from poll questions, for that matter — is tantamount to misreporting. It is, in other words, “bad science” and “journalistic malpractice.”

“Clinton has yet to reach 50 percent when her proper competition is included,” Welch explains, “and Trump hasn’t even cracked 40.”

In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Mrs. Clinton was reported to enjoy a seven-point lead, but when voters were offered all likely ballot options, including Johnson, the Libertarian, and Stein, the Green, Hillary bettered Donald by only one point: 39-38 percent.

But why would journalists and editors systematically rig the reporting of politics?

Laziness? Covering four candidates is twice as much work as covering two.

Partisan reasons? The Washington press corps has been embedded with R&D operatives for decades.

Whatever the reason, they’ve missed a huge story: the impact of these minor party candidates is major news.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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HIllary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, polls, Washington Post, illustration

Photo credit: Brett Weinstein on Flickr

By: CS Admin


  1. Sherree Jones says:

    Haven’t the mainstream media almost always been for Democrats? Seems that way to me, and they are not careful to tell the truth either. Kind of like they say about Muslims; it is ok to lie about “the infidels”.

    Too bad there are not enough credible reporters who want to get to the bottom of the story and tell the truth!

  2. Pat says:

    Since we don’t have a parliamentary system, the impact of minor parties is negligible. Many Americans might support Gary Johnson or Jill Stein but they’re also realists. The only hope for a third party is to displace one of the two main parties. The last time that happened, the GOP displaced the Whigs. Saying you support Gary Johnson might make you feel good, but what is the impact of your vote? Ross Perot had far more support (and media attention) in both of his runs for president and what did it get him or his supporters? Bill Clinton garnered just 43% of the vote but he won the majority of electoral votes. Perot won zero. As long as Perot supporters didn’t care who won, there was no harm done. Can today’s third party supporters say the same? If so, then have at it.
    The media’s focus on the two major candidates is just realistic. That’s where the action is. Unless and until a third party can gain strength in a region (like George Wallace in 1968), there’s really no point in focusing on them. How many electoral votes will they carry? Not enough to make a difference. That’s why many voters are being realistic about their choices. Feel-good votes won’t get us anywhere.

    • Andrew Terhune says:

      It shows that your vote is available, but that the Ds and Rs haven’t earned it. You’re in the game in a way that none voters are not.

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