Getting it right about a legendary newspaper editorial

(This essay was first posted at Media Myth Alert blog on 21 December 2020.) The timeless paean to childhood and the Christmas spirit, published in 1897 in the old New York Sun, long ago became the single best-known, most-reprinted editorial in American journalism. It also is a myth-distorted artifact, as suggested by errant media descriptions […]

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Our incurious press

(This essay was first posted at Media Myth Alert blog on 30 November 2020.) “The press has had little to say about most of the strange details of the election — except, that is, to ridicule all efforts to discuss them. This animus appeared soon after [Election Day], in a spate of caustic articles dismissing […]

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What polling could use now

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 10 November 2020.) Polling is hardly a flamboyant field that attracts a lot of colorful characters. It is a rather reserved profession that now finds itself under siege in the aftermath of yet another polling surprise in a national election. The field is buffeted […]

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Yet another polling surprise

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 4 November 2020.) Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting. Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications […]

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Why we are so enamored with pre-election polls

(This essay originally was posted at the Conversation online site on 29 October 2020.) The Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned on Twitter and elsewhere the other day that if preelection polls in this year’s presidential race are embarrassingly wrong again, “then the polling industry is done.” It was quite the forecast. While it is possible […]

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