Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, January 09, 2009
The Friday funnies: Sarah Palin, also too...


It's all part of a media busting "documentary" being filmed by a guy named John Ziegler, who according to a caller on the Stephanie Miller Show today, was seriously picked on in high school, poor thing. He wants you to know that Sarah is not an idiot! It's the evil liberal media that's making you THINK she's an idiot... Also there too, she tells Ziegler that the media bias there, and also too Keith Olbermann, that guy's evil!

Anyhoo, gotta sign off now, cause it's time to practice my fancy pageant walkin'!

Update: Sarah says the mainstream media elite are taking her Ziegler interview out of context. No seriously, she's really saying that...

And U.S. News' Robert Schlessinger says that for her own good, Sarah needs to just go away.

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posted by JReid @ 1:41 PM  
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Sheeple vs. Nate Silver
What happens when someone who thinks Sean Hannity delivers the news meets the most accurate poll cruncher in politics (or baseball?) Calamity, that's what.

It all started when a rather surly winger named John Ziegler commissioned a poll for his "documentary," which is aimed at proving that Obama voters were too uninformed to know that their candidate is a fake Muslim, un-Christian terrorist, just like Fox News said he was. Ziegler got poor John Zogby (perhaps he played the "Z" card) to conduct what amounted to a push poll, prompting Zogby to post the following disclaimer on his website:
"We stand by the results our survey work on behalf of John Ziegler, as we stand by all of our work. We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. It was a legitimate effort to test the knowledge of voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in the Nov. 4 election. Push polls are a malicious effort to sway public opinion one way or the other, while message and knowledge testing is quite another effort of public opinion research that is legitimate inquiry and has value in the public square. In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election. The client is free to draw his own conclusions about the research, as are bloggers and other members of society. But Zogby International is a neutral party in this matter. We were hired to test public opinion on a particular subject and with no ax to grind, that's exactly what we did. We don't have to agree or disagree with the questions, we simply ask them and provide the client with a fair and accurate set of data reflecting public opinion." - John Zogby
Ziegler then released a popular Youtube video, in which he sets up various Obama voters, most of them black, to look foolish because they could only remember bad things about Sarah Palin, but not ancient bad things about Joe Biden or untrue bad things about Obama:



Enter Nate Silver, the poll number cruncher extraordinaire. He called Zogby & Ziegler out on the push poll:
Most of the questions on the survey take the form of a multiple choice political knowledge test, stating a "fact" to the respondent and asking them which of the four major candidates (Obama, McCain, Biden, Palin) the statement applies to. Questions include the following:

"Which of the four [candidates] said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket?"

"Which of the four [candidates] started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground?"

"Which of the four [candidates] quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism?"

"Which of the four [candidates] won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot?"

As should be obvious, the veracity of several of these claims is -- at best -- debatable, yet they are apparently represented as factual to the respondent. It is not clear whether the respondent is informed of the "correct" response after having had the question posed to him.

There was also a question: "which of the four candidates said "I can see Russia from my House?" The correct answer? Tina Fey. Seriously.

Which brought the former talk radio host out in Ziegler, who got so mad, he called Silver up, for an on the record interview. It didn't go well:
NS: Do you stand by all the statements in the survey as being unambiguously true?
JZ: I stand one hundred percent by the notion that there is absolutely zero ambiguity as to what the right answer is to any of the questions. With the one exception of the Palin-Russia-Alaska question which we asked the way we did for a very specific purpose which was to try and gauge the Tina Fey Effect which I think we did in a very effective manner which was what was actually said by Tina Fey, everyone attributed to Sarah Plain. But for purposes of scoring Obama supporters’ answers we counted Palin as a correct response.

NS: What was the right answer to that [Palin] question?
JZ: The technically accurate question [sic] is that none of the four people said that, but we counted it as correct if they said Sarah Palin.

NS: Why would you commission a survey question with no correct response?
JZ: The purpose of the question, you pinhead, was we wanted to determine the Tina Fey Effect.

NS: Were the interviews conducted by telephone or online?
JZ: How can you ask a question like that and pretend that you have any clue what you're writing about! That's unbelievable that someone could write what you did! That is unbelievable that you wouldn't know that it's a telephone or an online poll and that you went on my summaries of the questions before the questions were even released!

NS: We’ve heard reports from our readers that very similar questions had been asked in an online format. There was no online component at all?
JZ: That is correct, which you would have known if you had looked at the information. Before you called this a push poll -- you don't seem to know the definition of a push poll. How do you have this website?

NS: Is the complete interview available anywhere -- complete results for the interview?
JZ: Yeah if you had done your research it is all online, every question, all the cross-tabs. Man, you're never going to post this [transcript], are you? ...

Um ... yes ... he was going to post that transcript. (Ahem).

So let's review: John Ziegler doesn't do well on the telephone, and he thinks that the mainstream media would do better to follow the lead of talk radio hosts when presenting news and information in advance of an election. By the way, if you keep reading the transcript, Ziegler also reveals that he's pretty confident Obama is a Muslim, and not at all confident that the president elect accepts Jesus Christ as his personal savior.

All you can feel is pity at this point.


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posted by JReid @ 5:13 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
Listen now:


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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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