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Daily Kos Pollster Busted; The Shame of Lara Logan

Jun30

We’re sorry to say Calbuzz was not all that surprised to hear that Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas on Tuesday announced he plans to sue Maryland based pollster Research 2000 for fraud, charging, in essence, that surveys the firm did for the liberal blog were cooked.

Loyal readers will recall that last summer, in a post jointly published in the Los Angeles Times, Calbuzz threw gallons of cold water on a Survey 2000 poll for Daily Kos that said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom had pulled within nine points of Attorney General Jerry Brown in what was then a primary campaign for governor.

We noted then, among other problems, that the Survey 2000 poll had a screwy method of deciding who was a registered voter – including some voodoo statistical dancing and prancing to supplement their list of voters with “self-identified” Dems and Reeps.

So Markos is surely on solid ground when he says: “We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don’t know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can’t trust it.”

That’s how we felt about the Daily Kos results back in May, which had Jerry Brown’s favorable/unfavorable at 48-43% and Meg Whitman’s at 47-38%. It just made no sense.

We have, in the Calbuzz library, a copy of Michael Wheeler’s important 1976 book titled “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics,” which owes its title to a saying attributed to both Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies and statistics.”

But since at least half of us has worked in the polling business, we know it’s possible to field public opinion surveys that actually measure public opinion. On the other hand, we also know there are some people who claim to be pollsters who really are hucksters. Looks like Daily Kos bought into one of them.

Toldja II: We’re also sorry that it didn’t take long for our prophecy to be fulfilled  about the journalism geniuses in Washington pulling a Lord of the Flies number on Michael Hastings, whose superb Rolling Stone report about Afghanistan instantly rebooted the national debate over the longest war in U.S. history.

Because Hastings, a mere freelancer, managed in the process to skunk and show up all the sycophantic, self-important establishment reporters on the beat, they naturally had to try and make him look bad, with Howard Kurtz,  high priest of the temple of MSM Beltway journalism, leading the charge.

Kurtz is a walking conflict of interest who gets paid by the Washpost to cover media affairs, including those involving CNN, his other employer.   Conveniently for CNN, they also pay the oleaginous Kurtz for hosting “Reliable Sources,” a Sunday morning gab fest about the media, and a powerful pulpit that he used this week to undercut the legitimacy of Hastings’ reporting.

The show began with a long distance interview with Hastings, who was then still in Afghanistan, in which Kurtz tried to channel Mike Wallace, asking the writer a series of confrontational questions, and consistently interrupting when Hastings tried to answer.

He followed with a segment featuring Lara Logan, chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, whom he noticeably did not interrupt, instead letting her spout off freely and proceed to basically call Hastings a two-faced liar and challenge his otherwise undisputed reporting.

Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says that there no ground rules laid out.* And, I mean, that just doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me….I mean, I know these people. They never let their guard down like that. To me, something doesn’t add up here. I just – I just don’t believe it.

Well, all righty then. If Lara Logan doesn’t believe it, notwithstanding that she has no, you know, facts to sustain her very strong feelings, hell that’s good enough for us.

Not content to hurl mere fusillades of innuendo at Hastings, the dynamic duo followed with this colloquy:

KURTZ: When you are out with the troops and you’re living together and sleeping together, is there an unspoken agreement –
LOGAN: Absolutely.
K: – that you’re not going to embarrass them by reporting insults and banter?
L: Yes.
K: Tell me about that.
L: Yes, absolutely. There is an element of trust. And what I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion and, you know, he’s laid out there what his game is. That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do, who don’t – I don’t go around in my personal life pretending to be one thing and then being something else. I find it egregious that anyone would do that in their professional life.

Where, oh where do we start?

First, here and throughout the interview (the transcript is here) Logan absolutely makes the case, argued by Hastings among others,  that MSM types like her owe their first loyalty to their sources, and see their role as being part of the team – rather than being, first and foremost, the eyes and ears of their readers and viewers.

Second, listening to Lara Logan hold forth about “trust” is kind of like hearing Meg Whitman lecture on the virtues of poverty, given that LL is a notorious home wrecker who was square in the middle of the infamous  “Steamy Baghdad love triangle” a few years back.

That sordid little bit of business ended with her married to a guy who happens to be a top-drawer State Department military contractor, which makes her objectivity on this whole war effort thing more than a little suspect.

“Living together and sleeping together,” indeed.

*(Hastings never said there were no ground rules. He said that everything he reported was on the record, and that if someone asked him to keep something off the record, he did).

Must reading: Matt Taibbi’s head absolutely exploded over Logan’s shameless performance, and he responded by dealing her one of the best body slam take downs (delicately titled “Lara Logan Sucks”) in memory, while Geoffrey Dunn’s skewering of her is somewhat more surgical but no less effective and Charles Calderon at Yahoo News has the best links and overall takeout on the continuing controversy.

Today’s sign that civilization is getting better all the time: I’ll have the meat lovers combo!


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There are 8 comments for this post

  1. avatar tonyseton says:

    Lara Logan is the Sarah Palin of reporting.

  2. avatar 4oceans says:

    Lara Logan in higher heels is the Lady Gaga of PR. Sans heels, she rates no higher than Amy Winehouse without the voice.

  3. avatar Adelaides Lament says:

    Exactly: “living together and sleeping together”! I watched that interview and thought it ridiculous that Howie pulled his usual trick of interviewing Hastings but then not having him on camera when Logan came on to attack him. Then I gaped as Logan spent at least half of her time staring into the camera and pimping for her own access. She came right out and stated that it’s understood that the reporters don’t report. Why oh why do I watch Howie anyway?

  4. avatar Adelaides Lament says:

    BTW – Michael Hastings has been described in the msm as a freelancer who happened to get published in Rolling Stone but it’s important to remember he wrote for Newsweek for 6 years (2002-8) and spent two of those years as a full-time war correspondent in Iraq. His fiancee, Andrea Parhamovich – a National Democratic Institute employee, was killed in Iraq shortly before they were to be married. He’s no amateur and certainly knows the difference between on and off the record.

  5. avatar SezMe says:

    Yeah, so pizza guy lost some weight but did you notice that they did not report his cholesterol numbers.

    And did you notice how I stay focused on the important stuff.

  6. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    Posting that LL cleavage shot gave real impact to your quips. We senior citizens thank you for figuring out how to make our eyes dance again in a political page.

  7. avatar GeoHagop says:

    I…she…Lara Who?

    Passions got so hot in the combat zone that one of her lovers, Joe Burkett, brawled in a Baghdad “safe house” with her other paramour, CNN war reporter Michael Ware, a source said.

    And, meanwhile, Hasting’s GF was killed by a road side bomb in Baghdad, isn’t that right? And Logan has the gonads to suggest that Hastings has never sacrificed for his country. What a candidate for spit roasting.

  8. avatar Moderate Democrat says:

    With her pre-partum assets so well displayed in that photo, we can be confident that Lara Logan has plenty of other options to pursue, especially married to a tool of the military industry.

    When with reporters who declare themselves as such, it is ALL on the record unless both sides agree it aint. Did they not read or see Generation Kill?

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