Ron Rosenbaum finds the blazing arrow between Jonathan Klein's (and everyone else's) idea of "storytelling" and the Dan Rather/memo scandal:
In a way, it was storytelling that got Mr. Rather in trouble: He and his people were so convinced of the "essential truth" of the Bush National Guard–dodging story that they didn't realize the documents looked too good to be true. Proved their "story" too perfectly.
Fiction is often truer than reality! So who needs reality? ... P.S.: Was it Michael Wolff who made the point that Jayson Blair was prized for his ability to turn out televisable stories too. ... [Link via Sullivan ] 2:33 A.M.
Mystery Pollster's analysis of the offical Mitofsky exit poll screw-up report confirms that, as suspected, the problem was not bloggers, and not some esoteric technical bias it takes an advanced degree to figure out. The problem is that Mitofsky had built a cheesy, dime-store organization that relied crucially on poorly-trained young people at the bottom. MP says:
The report confirms that interviewers were often young mostly inexperienced. Interviewers were evaluated and hired with a phone call and trained with a 20-minute "training/rehearsal call" and an interviewer manual sent via FedEx. They were often college students -- 35% were age 18-24, half were under 35. Perhaps most important, more than three quarters (77%) had never before worked as exit poll interviewers. Most worked alone on Election Day.
It reminds me a bit of the infamous Iowa caucuses of 1988, when the TV commentators generalized knowingly about exit poll numbers generated by kids looking for extra credit who didn't make it to their assigned caucuses on time and missed the vote. Where are the "multiple layers of checks and balances"? ["Multiple layers" was a defense of CBS in Memogate, not Mitofskygate--ed. Right. I knew that! The point is that, as with CBS, there was a lot less going on behind the curtain than Mitofsky's arrogant professionalism would lead you to expect.] ... P.S.: Hey, at least he didn't release the report the day before the Inauguration! ... 12:53 A.M.
Wednesday January 19, 2005
Science Brings Us Together! I find it difficult to believe that the sight of John Kerry triggered much activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. ... P.S.: The linked op-ed, by Joshua Freeman, doesn't even make the basic initial case for its goo-goo, op-ed-friendly claim that Americans were attracted to both candidates. If they were, wouldn't the ventromedial prefrontal cortex ("an area associated with strong instinctive feelings of emotional connection") have lit up when voters viewed either of the two candidates? Instead, Freedman claims, different brain areas lit up for the different men. That suggests polarization, not commonality, no? ... 11:56 P.M.
Why would anyone deny having an affair with Bob Marley? ["No comment" is not a denial--ed. Right. And not a river in Egypt! But the Post has an earlier vague semi-denial.] 7:55 P.M.
Williams ... was a Democrat and a doctrinaire feminist, not the sort of woman we usually go for here. But she was always more than that, taking on her own party and her own value system when they hypocritically betrayed her.