Friday, September 9, 2011

A Statistician Corrects MSNBC

David Walonick, Ph.D. of StatPac Inc. emails regarding MSNBC's distortion of the size of Ron Paul's online poll win following Wednesday's presidential debate:

As a statistician, I caught the same thing immediately. Here's a graphic I prepared.


  1. Robert,

    It looks as though MSNBC has "attempted" to fix the graph. Alright, it is still immaculate it looks much better than it did before.

  2. Now it's 57% to 14% for the next closest, with 1300 comments and 121,000 actual votes for RP.
    IOW an updated graph would look even worse from the ruling class's POV.

  3. Why are we still talking about this?

    The poll is generated by javascript, using Adobe software called omniture. But if you look at the html of the site, they're using a function call from a 2004 version, G.9, but using the JavaScript from a 2008 version, H.17.

    Any halfway competent programmer can tell you why this could result in all kinds of unexpected outcomes.

    And do you have any idea how much effort it would be to intentionally go in and change Adobe's obfuscated code to maliciously make Ron look slightly less good? It would have been less work to build their own polling software if that was their goal.

    The more people keep talking about this making me look into it more closely, the more I'm convinced they're all crazy.

    What's even the motivation? It makes no sense. No one but us Ron Paul supporters care about these polls anyway, which is why he always wins them.

    Also, if they had malicious intent, it would have been way more effective to just throw out a percentage of Paul's votes. At least there's no easy way to prove they're doing that, whereas just looking at the graph anyone can tell it's broken.

    Seriously, let's save the conspiracy stuff for where 1) it matters and 2) it's actually happening.

  4. Great work Dr. Walonick!

    Soon they will have to stop ridiculing Dr. Paul and acknowledge that he possesses the truth.

    Fighting for the cause of individual liberty is a continual process which must be taught by example to succeeding generations.

    "Telling the truth is a revolutionary act in times of deceit." -champion

  5. It made no sense for MSNBC to ignore the third place candidate in the debate, or not ask an obamacare question to a medical doctor. It made no sense for Foxnews to show the wrong footage of CPAC victory from the year before. Or from 2008, it made no sense to only show the first place finisher in Nevada on foxnews scroll feed at the bottom when the other states all had two or three. It makes no sense for a damn comedian to force the media into giving a tiny bit of coverage to Paul.

    If the MSNBC stuff was an isolated incident, I would agree. However, it is just the latest in a long line of intentional attacks, with the debates themselves a perfect example.

  6. @Wobbles... "Any halfway competent programmer can tell you why this could result in all kinds of unexpected outcomes."

    So, you're saying MSNBC hires programmers that are not even halfway competent?

    Or, maybe, they had a customized function call from the older version they still want to keep using in the new version?

    I'm not the greatest coder ever, but I have done my share, and I would be embarrassed if I worked at a major news player and produced such a flawed result.

  7. @wobbles, it appears that Romney's score may have been used as the default limit for all scores on the chart... so rather than an indictment of malice against Paul, it could be seen as evidence of favoritism towards Romney.

  8. How hard can it be to generate a graph for a poll? I thought it would be basically as simple as cut and paste. I'm no programmer, obviously, but I didn't think people had to reinvent the wheel every time someone wanted one.

    As I told my friend, who told me that there was probably no malice intended...why should I cut the MSM any slack? When do they tell the truth? When do they have principles? I only give someone the benefit of the doubt when I either don't know them or know them to be honorable...neither of those two choices fit my description of the MSM.


    Fox News man saying he doesn't want Ron Paul people in the shots...if you don't see what is happening then good luck to you sir.