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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Over compensation

This is exactly my point about the BBC's coverage: they are pretending to be neutral when what they're really doing is not telling you (the BBC's license payers) what's actually happening. And this goes back to the primaries.

Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder for The Atlantic on 'How does the media cover a race that is in fact one-sided?'

I heard a ridiculous piece on Radio Four this morning from a BBC correspondent about the racial aspects of this campaign. No, talking up the racial aspects. I will give him that he mentioned that the 'Bradley effect' (where racist people lie to pollsters) has been challenged by former LA Mayor Bradley's Campaign Manager but they still went on about it and it's likely impact. This is not decent reporting, it's Drudge level repeating of a disproved meme.

Here's Nate Silver on 'The Persistent Myth of the Bradley Effect':
Black candidates run races every cycle for the Congress and for the Governor's Mansion, and academics have spent copious time dissecting those results. And while we've never before had a major party nominate a black man for President, we did just finish an exceptionally competitive primary campaign in which a black candidate ran against an extremely popular white candidate with more than 35 million voters participating.

As we have described here before, polling numbers from the primaries suggested no presence of a Bradley Effect. On the contrary, it was Barack Obama -- not Hillary Clinton -- who somewhat outperformed his polls on Election Day.

So why do we keep hearing so much about the Bradley Effect? Apart from the fact that it is a good way to fill column space on a slow news day, it seems that there are three or four reasons why the myth perpetuates itself:
  • Misunderstanding the Bradley Effect
  • Confusing Past with Present
  • Confusing Exit Polls with pre-Election Polls
  • Cherry Picking Result
For BBC reporters I would have to say: not just 'slow news day' but just not doing their job properly and - as the video implies - over compensating for what Blair and others have labeled anti-American BBC coverage.

Here was the BBC's North America editor Justin Webb on Wednesday:
I agree McCain will lose the popular vote but he can certainly still win the electoral college.
This is lying.

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