The Note loses count to make GOP look good for 2010 elections to win the Media Putz
Originally published on MediaPutz.com on January 14, 2010
ABC’s The Note
Journalists are supposed to be good as math, but this stereotype can be taken to ridiculous extremes. In math, 2 is not more than 6 and 14 is more than 10.
As we saw, the MSM dropped the pretense of understanding mathematics and went on to hype the Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan retirements as a brash statement of Democratic predictions for the 2010 elections.
But no one stepped up to grab the idiotic spotlight more than ABC’s The Note with its headline: “Democrats are Dropping Like Flies.”
FreeDictionary.com defines the phrase “drop like flies” as “rapidly collapse, die, or drop out in large numbers.”
According to The Note, 2 is a large number. Yet, while there are two Democratic senators not running for re-election, there are six Republican senators not running. Florida (Mel Martinez), Missouri (Kit Bond), Ohio (George Voinovich), New Hampshire (Judd Gregg), Kansas (Sam Brownback), and Kentucky (Jim Bunning).
The original article from ABC notes Democratic Governor Bill Ritter (CO) and Dorgan’s retirement, but this was before Dodd’s announcement. So one retiring U.S. senator from the Democratic Party requires a headline about “dropping like flies.” (DLF)
So let’s help out The Note and the rest of the bandwagon-esque MSM:
Retirements from the House: 10 Democratic representatives, 14 Republican representatives
Retirements from the Senate: 2 Democratic senators, 6 Republican senators
Even if two of those retirements come within a 24-hour period, there is a responsibility to paint a broader picture beyond what you can see in a small travel mirror.
In 2008, there were 4 retirements for the GOP and 0 for the Democrats in the Senate. In 2006, there was 1 Republican, 1 Independent, and 2 Democratic retirements from the Senate.
In the previous four election cycles, there have been 13 retirements from the GOP, 1 right-leaning Independent, and 8 retirements from the Democrats (one of those was Zell Miller). This research took a matter of minutes on the Internet.
Yes, The Note is designed to give pithy political information throughout the day, information to use in political debates where a full perspective isn’t really required. Since after all, in the eyes of The Note, Democrats are dropping like flies.
Even if there are more retiring Republicans from the Senate. Even if there are more retiring Republicans from the House. Why let the truth get in the way of a good “trend” story even if that “trend” is “how many Democratic senators have retired in the last 24 hours?” If you said, Dems 2, GOP 0, you win the MSM short-term mentality game.
And there was damage caused by what The Note set out to do. As noted in this headline, “DSCC’s Menendez: Democrats Are ‘Absolutely Not’ Dropping Like Flies,” since the “DLF” phrase spread like wildfire over the Internet. Keith Olbermann chastised CNN as it was happening on his MSNBC show for using the phrase “dropping like flies.”
“I can say that while everybody today is riveted on these two retirements, the fact is Republicans have six retirements and they have to run the table across the board just to stay even to where they’re at,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said.
When the MSM wonders why its credibility is called into question, this is a prime example. There is nothing in the story about any major trends outside the day in question. No sense of where Republicans are in all of this. Even though The Note is a cool way for establishment ABC News to be “hip” on the Internet, the traditional, establishment pro-GOP bias still shines through in the headline. If anything, the MSM’s credibility is really dropping like flies: “rapidly collapse. . . in large numbers.”
Perhaps the best perspective on this madness came from a comment on the story on The Note from “justsane”:
“dropping like flies? i thought this was a news site..”
For using telephone booth vision combined with horrible math molded into a Republican talking point, ABC’s The Note is this week’s Media Putz.