One of the first things that I saw plastered everywhere on Friday morning was that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were tied in a new poll out of Nevada. Being that I’m a bit of a polling nerd, I was curious exactly how the poll was conducted and who it was conducted by. What was the MOE (margin of error)? What methodology did they use?
Well, it took me about 20 seconds to realize I didn’t have to bother with any of that after I saw who commissioned and paid for the poll – the Washington Free Beacon.
For those of you who may not know, the Free Beacon is an ultra right-wing website that sells things like body armor and shirts that proclaim George W. Bush is our greatest living president.
And who did they get to do this “poll”? A company called Target Point.
Here’s a screen shot of their “clients” section:
Yeah, it’s a company that caters to Republicans.
So, an ultra-conservative website teamed with a company that caters to Republicans – to do a poll about Democratic presidential candidates? Starting to sound a bit fishy? It should.
Even Rachel Maddow tore into this “poll” on Friday night, pointing out that this is apparently the first poll Target Point has ever done. Not only that, but when her show reached out to the company to find out when they were going to release their results about the GOP candidates – they informed the show that they weren’t ever commissioned to do a survey for Republicans by the Free Beacon.
To summarize, this is an ultra-conservative website which commissioned a company that caters to Republicans – to do a poll only about Democratic presidential candidates.
Not only that, but this was what’s called a “push poll.” What that means is that the questions are worded in such a way as to heavily influence the answers.
For example, this question:
Recently several news organizations have reported that the FBI could indict Hillary Clinton over her handling of her email server. How concerned are you that she could actually face such an indictment?
“Several news organizations have reported that the FBI could indict Hillary Clinton”? The only news sources even saying she’s going to be indicted are members of the conservative media. That’s a question taken directly from right-wing propaganda. Like I said… it was a push poll. Which means it’s utterly and completely worthless.
Then again, common sense should have told people that a poll that was paid for by the ultra-conservative Free Beacon, and carried out by a company which has never conducted a poll before and whose clients are mostly Republicans, shouldn’t have been trusted.
But, no. Instead, liberal websites and various social media accounts ran with it – especially those supporting Bernie Sanders. After all, this was good news for Sanders, right?
It genuinely bothered me how many Sanders supporters, and supposed “liberals,” seemed to have no problem using an ultra right-wing source just as long as it told them what they wanted to hear. Even if that polling information was most likely complete and total garbage, coming from a state that hasn’t been polled in almost two months because it’s simply too hard to conduct an accurate poll.
However, I will say I was a little embarrassed on Friday. Because this was the day where I witnessed quite a few liberals playing right into the hands of the Free Beacon by defending and promoting well-funded, right-wing propaganda.
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