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December 27, 2004

Yet Another Year-End Top Ten: Top Ten Blog Moments

Wish I had thought of this.

You won't be very surprised at what Number One turns out to be.

I'll just mention Number Six, as it's a longstanding pet peeve of mine:

6. The Exit Polls: On Election Tuesday, depending on whom you want to believe, either the networks or the Kerry camp released mid-afternoon polling data to several extremely prominent Websites, including Matt Drudge on the right, and Anna Marie Cox's Wonkette Weblog on the left. The result added even more of a roller coaster quality to an already manic day, leaving Kerry voters temporarily euphoric, and Bush supporters in a state of sullen disillusionment.

After the election, the legacy media tried to use those polls to discredit the same bloggers that they previously built-up, particularly Ana Marie Cox's Wonkette site. But as Blogger N.Z. Bear noted, Wonkette carefully indicated that all those poll numbers come with "grains of salt. Huge tablespoons of salt", and reminded her readers they still had time to vote. As Bear wrote:

"Other than simply publishing the poll numbers under a banner which screamed 'PACK OF LIES', what more could possibly be expected to warn readers that the information they were receiving had not been fact-checked to death and should be viewed as potentially suspect?"

This was used as a club against the "irresponsiblity" of bloggers for a month.

The trouble was, bloggers were fairly responsible about this, especially rightwing blogs, which almost immediately began knocking down the numbers as unreliably skewed to Democratic demographics.

Except for one source-- the amateur leftist webzine and sort-of Mainstream Media outletSlate, which, near as I can tell, let the bad numbers stand all day without providing any caveats to them... until George Bush actually won the election.

Seems to me that once again the blogosphere was much quicker to disseminate useful information -- and correct its earlier misreporting -- while a MSM outlet let the bad numbers stand without warning its readers of their fundamental hinkiness.

And, of course, all the MSM reporters on TV gave the impression that Kerry was going to win, based upon the numbers. But they didn't quite explain the reason for their optimism and jubiliation, and therefore couldn't also explain the reason that this optimism and jubiliation might be misfounded.

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posted by Ace at 01:22 PM

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