Journalism

I thought I knew you, Chuck

by Josh Nelson

I generally like Chuck Todd, and tend to agree with his analysis, but this is pretty weak:

From NBC’s Chuck Todd

As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it’s not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. (emphasis mine)

It’s not the candidate that we think? Is he implying that most people thought Obama would “see a downturn” in your poll? Obama has had a great past few weeks. He won the last two primaries, increasing his delegate lead to about 150. He now leads the pledged delegate count by 6% with only 17.4% remaining. He leads the popular vote total by close to one million votes.

Hillary, on the other hand, has had a miserable past few weeks. She has been caught in a major lie, cementing the perception in some minds that she can’t be trusted.

Judging by the fact that Todd devoted so much of this piece to Jeremiah Wright, I think it is safe to say that he expected Obama’s numbers to go down in response to the manufactured controversy. But let’s face it, the Wright story has been dragged on ad nauseum by the media for weeks. If you think about it, Ferraro’s comments were just as offensive as Wright’s were. Further, she actually had a role in Clinton’s campaign, while Jeremiah Wright did not. What it comes down to is this. If his speech, career, and life experience do not dispel your doubts about his commitment to equality and pluralism, you obviously haven’t been paying attention.

Why is a piece entitled “NBC-WSJ Poll: New Clinton lows” mostly about Obama and a pseudo-controversy? Obama is mentioned 19 times, Clinton 10 times and Wright 6 times. They refer to the “Wright dustup”, the “Wright controversy”, and the “Wright issue.” We get it, you’re obsessed. Earth to MSNBC, the Wright story broke several weeks ago. Some wingnuts were talking about it almost a year ago. It doesn’t make any sense to me that a story about Hillary’s lowest positive rating since 2001 would be mostly about an Obama controversy, that according to their own poll, didn’t have much of an impact.

The piece ends with some shameless drooling at the possibility of Obama going down in flames.

Considering the doom-and-gloom some predicted for Obama with regard to the Wright controversy, the overall tenor of the electorate appears to still be favorable for him. He’s mortal, but he’s survived … for now. It’s not clear whether he’d be this resilient if another controversy exploded as big as Wright, but it appears that voters are giving him the benefit of doubt. There’s lots of evidence inside these numbers that voters still would like to know more about Obama, and that is both an opportunity and a potential obstacle. (emphasis mine)

Give me a break.

To be fair to Chuck Todd, the piece was written by Domenico Montanaro. But the first line reads “From NBC’s Chuck Todd” in bold letters. Perhaps he should be more careful what he allows MSNBC to attach his name to.

2 replies »

  1. Polls, no matter whom they support, have always allowed pundits to attach their own meaning (or de-meaning, in this case).

    Nice work, Josh. Thanks for contributing this to S&R.

  2. . . . if another controversy exploded as big as Wright

    The only “controversy” more manufactured than that was Kerry being Swiftboated.