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August 20, 2015

Unbef***inglievable: CNN Real Debate/Fake Debate Rules Will Probably Result in Exact Same Lineup As Fox Debate, With Fiorina Still At the Kiddie Table

The game is rigged.

CNN's criteria for its September GOP presidential debate may keep Carly Fiorina off the stage reserved for the top 10 candidates despite her recent surge in the polls.

The CNN debate methodology, released earlier this year, weighs polls from July 16 to Sept. 10.

The use of the earlier surveys will hurt the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who barely registered in the polls before the Aug. 6 Fox News debate. But since then, she has seen a significant bounce.

"It acts as sort of an anchor on those people who had done poorly early and a bit of a parachute for those people who have done well early," said Cliff Zukin, a Rutgers University political scientist and former president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

The criteria could also protect Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) from sliding out of the top 10 despite his recent dip in polls.

By the way, the claim made is that this is an "objective" way to decide who's in the Main Debate.

It is not.

If you do not specify, well in advance, the criteria that will be used to make a decision, you can post-hoc choose which criteria to include, and how to weight each criterion, in order to give you the panel that you already had in mind.

There's a scam that's used by people promising "stock-picking formulas that produced 1000% gains consistently over ten years!"

Yeah, that's a lie: What they do is use computer software to calculate, retroactively a formula which would pick all the highest-gaining stocks, and then present that as a "formula" for future stock picks.

You can always do that. I can give you, right now, a "formula" which would have, had it been employed in 1996, yielded 1000%+ plus gains: Buy as much of Google and Amazon as you have dollars.

See, I can look backwards from present facts to select an "objective formula" which will result in the results I want.

Similarly, the question of whether Fiorina, or Jindal, or Perry, might appear at the kid's table debate or the real one depends on whether I include very old poor polls, or how much I weight them.

Do I include the oldest poll, but throw it a 10% weight? Or do I give it a 100% weight?

By choosing the latter, I choose to exclude Fiorina (and Jindal and Perry).

And I can tell you that's "objective," but that's a lie: I knew what the consequences of my choices would be before I actually made my choices.

By gaming the criteria, I can produce, within certain limits, any field I personally like, and then I can tell the people "This was all decided by objective, cold math."

Nope! The programmer made all the decisions when he decided what numbers he'd include in his allegedly objective formula, and how much he'd weight them.

CNN should repudiate the FoxNews model -- which was done for showmanship, not civic engagement -- and have two panels, each panel decided by random draw, with the top eight candidates (in the polls) randomly divided into each panel, four each (to make sure each panel has heavy hitters), all others randomly drawn to fill out each panel.

Why not? The cable news networks thrive on free highly-watched content; why have 24 million viewers for 90 minutes, when you can have 24 million (or almost that) for 180 minutes?

There is no reason, except for the media's insistence that it will arrogantly serve as some sort of "gatekeeper" for the American public, before a single American voter has had any opportunity to cast a vote or even, indeed, before most Americans have even begun to think about which way they're voting.

If CNN is truly the "hard news network" and better than Fox, they can prove it now by choosing a substantive, civic-minded debate formant, and not one that simply maximizes interest in a "big show."


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posted by Ace at 05:11 PM

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