50.4% to 48.1%. So the country is divided…but that divided? Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone not long ago, that today everyone has their own reality within which to exist and needn’t be disturbed by non-conforming pieces of information. The Right has Fox, the Left has MSNBC, and it is difficult to understand how they reflect the same acreage. Karl Rove didn’t predict the landslide that George Will did, but he left no doubt that Romney would be victorious.
The question with which I puzzle is, how much, if any, dishonor flavored the stew of his opinion. Rove, Will, Dick Morris, and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeght.com were presumably reading the same polls, yet Silver was right, as he was in 2008, and Rove and company were all wrong. When Rove predicted victory, did he know he was wrong? Was he simply being deceitful as part of his job, doing his best for his clients, or does he not know how to accurately read and understand polling data?
Okay, so I think he was lying his ass off. My question is, just how many of that 48.1% who voted for Romney did so because of disinformation propounded by Karl Rove and Fox News? If they had had to listen to the €œtruth€ more of the time than they did, how would it have affected the results of the election?
Politics is public relations. Each side is doing everything it can to sell its candidate, spin its story, put the very best face on the facts. This is understood. I think, however, that the time has come for an accounting. Karl Rove needs to have the record read back to him, and be made to explain when and where it was his best spinning within a reasonable construction of reality, and when and where he was lying.
Are we likely to get it? I am afraid not. The New York Times does not believe in accountability. When they reported on the failures of Rove and others, they focused on Rove’s refusal to accept the Fox calling of Ohio for Obama. In his explanation, he dutifully trotted out the experience of Florida in 2000 when that state was called, he said too early, for Gore. The parts of history that were left out by Rove and the Times have to do with the reliance of the networks in calling states on exit polls, the fact that Gore actually won the state in the final tally, and the fact that the Republican Party had done almost everything it could to steal the election, principally but not entirely, in the State of Florida, probably with the connivance and electoral expertise of Karl Rove.
It seems a very long time ago, but exit polls showed Gore winning because a great number of people thought they had voted for Gore, but for a variety of reasons, none accident in my judgment, their votes ended up in another column, or not counted at all. As reported on September 11, 2001, the final full count in Florida, not the half-count urged by Gore for reasons way beyond me, demonstrated that Gore won that state and the election, but was denied victory by his own misfeasance and supreme malfeasance by five justices on the United States Supreme Court who based their ruling on an argument that had not been briefed in the case. Lastly, the United States Civil Rights Commission investigated the 2000 election in Florida and referred the case to the Justice Department for prosecution. There was none, to no one’s surprise, but the fact has NEVER been reported by the New York Times, which remains tethered to the stability of our once-proud democracy, the facts and reality be damned.
A fair reporter would have mentioned these problems when discussing Rove in the year 2012, and his power plays Tuesday night could have been called for what they were–desperation in the service of ENORMOUS amounts of money.
While on the subject of elections and the news media, another part of the Times’s reporting post-election discussed the strategies and angst at the two headquarters during the last 30 days. A fair amount was made of Obama’s failure during the first debate to react at all, much less aggressively, to Romney’s disavowal of all he stood for, according to his prior pronouncements. The problem here is that the media have taken it for granted that politicians move to the center as the election approaches. It is acceptable for the Times and all others to not be surprised when a candidate says something different from what he has before, but no one should have the idea that it is OKAY to do it.
It is as if there has been a deal cut. In exchange for the stability it craves, and the access it gets, the New York Times, and all the others, will go easy on the practitioners of politics in every single instance where the judgment is demanded. Mistakes will passively be made, miscalculations will occur, but HONOR will not be a part of the discussion..