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Learning from Failure

Here’s a short reading list of interesting articles about why and how Romney and the Republicans managed to turn almost certain victory into failure.

First stop is a really interesting interactive infographic from Slate, the “Pundit Scorecard”. Go look at it. It is interesting that there were a number of predictions of the presidential election results that were spot on, most significantly Nate Silver but also a few explicitly partisan sources (like DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile). Even more interesting is that every single prediction coming from conservative media was way off the mark, in favor of Romney. Even quite a few predictions coming from supposedly liberal sources (like the Washington Post and MSNBC) or from supposedly liberal contributors to conservative sources (like Lanny Davis on Fox News) overstated Romney’s results.

In fact, you can roughly group the pundits into three distinct categories. There are a few who were remarkably accurate, and every single one of them was associated with liberal sources (there’s that liberal bias of reality again!). Then there is a group of liberal sources who missed the mark in favor of Romney (so much for liberal bias of the MSM). And finally all the conservative sources, who were embarrassingly wrong.

Second stop is our old friend Electoral-Vote, with a quick but insightful analysis of what went wrong for the Republicans. Ironically, they also predict what the Tea Party will say went wrong, and what Karl Rove is probably thinking (Rove being one of the conservatives who totally botched his prediction of the outcome, probably because he spent so much money trying to make it so). And by the way, Electoral-Vote also did a remarkably accurate job predicting the election.

Finally, there are two really good articles from The Atlantic and Mother Jones about why the conservative media failed so badly. To oversimplify, it is because they are far more interested in making money and gaining viewers, than in (you know) actually reporting news (or reality).

The Atlantic frames the question this way:

Before rank-and-file conservatives ask, “What went wrong?”, they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: “Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?”

Or as Mother Jones puts it:

At some point, Republicans will need to wake up to the current state of affairs and realize they’re being held hostage to a powerful, self-sustaining entertainment industry and that the interests of the party and the interests of Fox News are not one and the same.

Interestingly, I think Bill O’Reilly summed it up well in his debate with Jon Stewart. The problem is that you can make lots of money telling people what they want to hear, rather than the truth.


One Comment

  1. Michael wrote:

    Unfortunately, the right-wing profiteering is nothing new. There was a movie in the mid-90s called The Last Supper (it’s not great, but has some funny moments as I recall) that discussed this. The premise of the movie is that a group of liberals have frequent dinners where they invite one fringe conservative. As the supper progresses, the group decides whether or not to kill the guest based on their judgment of the person’s perceived threat to society (e.g., a true racist wanting to kill non-whites dies, while the non-threatening but ignorant characters are allowed to live). (For the record, the movie is not very sympathetic to the liberal characters. They come across as arrogant, naive snobs who are more dangerous than the conservative characters they kill.)

    The movie builds up to the dinner where they manage to get a Rush Limbaugh-like celebrity over. The group becomes split when he reveals that he doesn’t believe anything he says on his show; it’s all for ratings and money. Some argue that he’s evil because he provokes some of his fringe listeners into action. Others argue that he’s just trying to do a job to make ends meet, and he should not be held accountable for the actions of others.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink