Since NBC/WSJ/CBS/New York Times/ABC pay for the poll why should they have to report results running counter to their politics? John Podhoretz at Commentary Magazine has the scoop:
A stunning tale today in the Salt Lake Tribune, however, reveals the dirty little secret of polls paid for by the media. The results are, in effect, owned by the media, and the media can insist that they be rejiggered.
The Tribune published a poll done by the respected Mason-Dixon firm that showed a 10-point lead for the county’s Republican candidate for mayor. The poll was released on Thursday. Later, editors for the paper objected to the results on the grounds that the poll had an insufficient number of Democrats in its sample:
Tribune editor Nancy Conway acknowledged the problem. “We are as concerned about this as anyone,” she said Monday. “As soon as we understood there was a problem we worked to correct it. “We had no reason to doubt the poll until we saw others conducted over the same period and could see differences in the numbers. That raised questions,” Conway said. “We contacted our pollster who did additional research on Salt Lake County demographics and found there was indeed a flaw. “We knew right then that we needed to correct our mistake and that’s what we are doing,” Conway said.
And so it was done, as the story explains.
These are stunning admissions:
To recap: A newspaper pays for a poll. It doesn’t like the look of the results. So it asks the pollster to reexamine them and alter them by changing his “weights.” He does so; he may agree with the call (as the Mason Dixon pollster says he does in the story) or he may be simply serving the interests of his paying client.
And it will do so based on the partisan split—the very controversy that is dismissed so cavalierly by media types. We only know about this one because of the highly unusual circumstances of its revision. The question you have to ask yourself now is: How many times does this happen before a poll is published?
But people like myself have been called every conspiratorial wacko name in the book for looking at the data, saying it is obviously wrong and charging the polling organizations with either incompetence or bias. Turns out it is both.