Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doublethink in Politics

Yesterday, the Charlottesville Daily Progress posted a letter to the editor online criticizing independent candidate Jeffrey Clark. That's all well and good, but the letter started off with:

Congressional candidate Jeffery Clark and his campaign strategist Chris LaCivita are either absurdly uninformed or confirmed egomaniacs, or both. Or maybe just incredibly naive.

There's a clear problem here. Chris LaCivita isn't Clark's campaign strategist. He's Hurt's. This person, a Hurt supporter who is opposed to Clark, is so stupid he doesn't even know that LaCivita is the strategist for his guy, not Clark! Walter F. Johnson of Albemarle County, #FAIL!

But the problem is that the Daily Progress published the letter anyway. This is at least the second time so far this year that the Daily Progress has published a letter that was either critical of Perriello or Clark that didn't get its facts straights. A few months ago they published a letter claiming that the health care bill exempted members and their staff (it doesn't!) and was passed using the "deeming" method (it wasn't in the end!).

This isn't just picking on the Daily Progress. The Danville Register & Bee has had problems with reality too, such as claiming that Perriello would win easily if Goode ran as a third party candidate this year despite a poll showing him tied with Perriello even if Hurt was still in the race.

Why can't these Media General newspapers show even a basic level of competence?

The Daily Progress has corrected the letter to the editor online, but it didn't post a disclaimer or correction. And it begs the question as to who is checking these letters in the first place.

Just a few days ago, Bruce at Southside Central said that Robert Hurt's campaign "immediately" backtracked from Hurt's statement that he would debate Clark. That was entirely wrong and, after I noted reality, Bruce corrected himself and published an explanation. He was wrong, but after being corrected he not only fixed the mistake but did so in a way that kept public the fact that he was originally wrong. Good man!

The problem seems to be that these "mainstream" newspapers don't want to admit that they were wrong. They are like minions in 1984 going back to "correct" the past with no admission that an error was made.

This Orwellian approach to politics is being replicated by many Hurt supporters online. For example, I notice that Garrett Watson is angry that Jeffrey Clark supports a federal amendment to ban gay marriage. That's a fine position to take, but back in 2008 Virgil Goode attacked Perriello for supporting gay marriage because Perriello opposes a federal amendment for the very same reasons Garrett outlined! Will Garrett bash Hurt when the coming attacks on Perriello's stance on gay marriage hit?

Elsewhere, a Hurt supporter has been claiming that Hurt polls very well against Perriello and we know Perriello is in trouble because he hasn't released a poll he conducted a few weeks back. That's a fine claim to make, but we also know that Hurt conducted a poll a few weeks back too! Hurt has the same polling firm as Rigell in the 2nd, where Rigell is showing a commanding lead against Glenn Nye. Why hasn't Hurt released his poll? How far behind is Hurt?

It's obvious that Perriello should be polling under 50%, which is a sign of vulnerability for an incumbent. No matter how far ahead of Hurt he won't release a poll showing him under 50%. But Hurt should be willing to release any poll that shows him tied or ahead of Perriello. He could even use the margin of error to argue that he's tied even if he's behind a little bit. My only conclusion is that Hurt's own polling shows him significantly behind Perriello. That's just a fact and any Hurt supporter who claims otherwise is full of hot air.


  1. I responded to you via Twitter but will also mention it here since there is more space to explain.

    Firstly, thank you for pointing out the error.

    In our line of work, dealing with the sheer volume of copy, mistakes are inevitable. When mistakes are made, we dutifully correct them and publish a correction.

    The letter was accidentally run on a day prior to its scheduled publication in the Daily Progress print edition. A corrected version of the letter ran today so there is no need to run a correction in the print edition. The online version has been edited and I posted a correction notice at the bottom of the article this morning.

    If you look back over our online body of work you will see that corrected articles have a notation at the bottom.

    -Matthew Rosenberg
    Online Content Coordinator
    The Daily Progress

  2. another DNC Svcs poll last night. I do not know for a moral certainty if "DNC Svcs" is in anyway connected to the Democratic Nat'l Committee; maybe I should not assume so.

    but IF DNC Svcs is indeed associated with Democratic Nat'l Committee, then Perriello has at least a 2d set of poll #s to look at since about 10 days-2 weeks before the election.

    I have not rec'd any other poll calls. Are we sure that Hurt has run one?

  3. "My only conclusion is that Hurt's own polling shows him significantly behind Perriello. That's just a fact and any Hurt supporter who claims otherwise is full of hot air."

    Hurt gains absolutely nothing by releasing any poll. Dems and people like you will bash hurt if the poll shows he is behind. If the poll shows he is ahead what does he gain? NOTHING.

    NO campaign has ever released a poll this early. Internal polling is INTERNAL!!!!!!!

    Wake up. Polls are pointless this early anyways.

  4. NAS, you are just so full of it, aren't you? You write this grandiose post about media outlets (believe it or not, you ARE one too) not being truthful and then you conclude it by doing the same thing yourself!

    Guess what, NAS? We're just not that stupid! You said:
    "My only conclusion is that Hurt's own polling shows him significantly behind Perriello. That's just a fact and any Hurt supporter who claims otherwise is full of hot air."

    Well, your statement that "That's just a fact" is not a FACT! Rather, NAS, it's just your OPINION, again not a fact that is known to be true!

    So, using your own protocol, I call on you to issue a correction/retraction and admit you made a mistake! Hey, man, we're all human; even the great and wonderful NAS!

  5. If Hurt were ahead of Perriello, he would have released a poll. Fact. End of story. Perriello is almost certainly under 50% and vulnerable. But Hurt hasn't seized control of the race, yet.

  6. "If Hurt were ahead of Perriello, he would have released a poll. Fact."

    Your saying that an opinion is a fact does not make it a fact, even if you say it twice! Rather, it DOES make it "doublespeak" or even "doublethink" as you so eloquently stated in the title to this post.

    I again call on you to issue a correction/retraction just as you have demanded from the DP!

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