Letter: “Honest media” must break free from polls, stick to facts

On March 5, 2023, NYU journalism associate professor Jay Rosen posted on X, that the media should reinforce “not the odds, but the stakes”. “Not the odds”: the media quotes polls which are easy and safe to publish, after all they are from what on the surface appear to be reliable sources. But polls can be skewed and misleading, depending on the honesty of the polling organization. Many people could accept that candidates polling at 45% -vs- 42% are significantly different. Yet it probably isn’t significant when you figure in the margin of error. Here it could be +/- 2%.  And exit polls are extremely dangerous to fair election results. It leads to citizens not voting on Election Day, when they see exit polls showing that their candidate is behind.

Tim Miller, a former Republican communications operative, was interviewed on the Fresh Air show on August 22, 2022. He talked with substitute host Dave Davies about his newly released book, Why We Did It. His book describes the rationale that people had for working for Trump. Miller said that many stayed to be “in the mix,” for money and for power. He felt that the media runs American politics, our democracy. At one time, the press was considered independent and called the fourth estate. Now it’s considered as a part of the fourth branch of government working to get the news out.

This is where “…but the stakes” comes in. The honest media needs to hammer this home, as per Rosen. We all know we are facing high stakes with the 2024 Presidential Election. We are facing the potential loss of our democracy. We all have heard Trump and GOP allies planning to further dismantle it – they have ethically and socially destructive plans and are primed to go. Many Americans, including citizens in the Democratic Party, are not enamored by President Biden. Importantly, Biden is NOT threatening anyone who disagrees with his politics, including the honest media. Trump said he will have the honest media that didn’t accept The Big Lie and other untruths investigated by the CIA if re-elected.

The honest media needs to break free right now as it has a huge opportunity and responsibility for the future of America. Quit using polls if they are not significant. If you must, always include the margin of error. And help us all with just publishing facts. On Saturday, March 15, 1783, George Washington gave an address to the Officers of the Army. He said in part, “…the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.” Americans must help our honest media sources be strong. Support your local news sources: donate to your local public radio station and subscribe to competent newspapers. Get the facts. The freedoms which we value and deserve are at stake: the freedom to speak freely, the freedom to gather together in public spaces and protest, etc. So do your part everyone, as the time for action is short, and we cannot give up.


Mrs. Dale Simmons, community volunteer

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  1. I have never trusted politically driven polls. I simply don’t pay attention to any of them, and I hate that ALL news media constantly quote them as if they were the gospel truth. I have always respected Tim Miller’s straight talk and rarely find fault with his take on things. I can remember when news stations and their anchors were respected and trusted. We relied on them.
    Sadly, most cable news sites have become just another arm pushing political agendas, so I no longer view them. I see the majority of these cable news shows as more of paid infotainment with some being more entertaining than others.

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