FAIR AND BALANCED FAIRNESS

Drudge reports that Fox News Channel senior vice president John Moody has ordered an end to Schwarzenegger puns: NYT media watcher Jim Rutenberg is preparing to root out a memorandum posted recently in the Fox News computer system:

“The urge may seem irresistible to play off Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career,” Moody wrote. “Resist it. Otherwise the effect is often to belittle the candidacy of the front-runner for one of the most important offices in the U.S., and that’s not fair and balanced. No more references to ‘Conan,’ ‘Terminator,’ and ‘Kindergarten Cop’ as shorthand for the candidate…. Certainly don’t suggest he is part of a ‘circus’ or lump him in with novelty candidates” like Gary Coleman… Ask yourself if your clever turn of phrase is suggesting that Schwarzenegger’s candidacy isn’t a serious one. That’s exactly the case his political opponents want to press. We need to play it down the middle.”

While there is merit to Moody’s move here–Schwarzenegger has a legitimate shot to become governor–it may appear to be motivated by partisan politics. And, frankly, were it not for the movie career, Schwarzenegger would be several points below Gary Coleman in the polls.

Also, where is the fair and balanced coverage of Gallagher? He’s canceling appearances to stay in California to campaign and yet gets no coverage. Surely, he’s got every bit the chance to get elected as Ariana Huffington?

FILED UNDER: Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John says:

    Just a snarky question. With the latest LA Times poll with Bustamonte @ 35% and Arnie @ 22%, how is he considered the “front runner”? This is a strange world that Fox lives in.

  2. John Lemon says:

    I think Gallagher has a two drink minimum at his “campaign appearances.”

  3. James Joyner says:

    The “frontrunner” thing struck me as odd, too. There are apparently polls showing Arnold on top, but Bustamonte seems the odds-on favorite now unless the other Republicans follow Simon’s lead and drop out.

  4. Paul says:

    My B.S. dectector is sounding like crazy…

    (for who it is or what state)

    How can a guy lead my 30 point in poll 1,

    Trail by 5 points in poll two,

    Lead by 10 points in poll 3,

    and then trail by 10 points in poll 4.

    I just ain’t buying any of it.

    Paul

  5. Paul says:

    ooops that parenthetical remark should say FORGET who it is.

  6. John Lemon says:

    The polls on this might be a little crazy for the following reasons:

    1) Samle sizes are likely to be small. Polls with 400 – 500 people will have wider standard errors and “bounce around” more (but that still won’t count for the wild discrepancies);

    2) Who is surveyed will matter alot. Because you have a Latino in the key Democratic slot, there will be a big effort to survey the Latino vote, a population that is somewhat reluctant to take polls. The effort made to get a sizeable sample of this group may play a big role in determining the poll outcome.

    3) Related to the above, the population being surveyed matters alot. Is it the CA (voting age) populations? Registered voters? Likely voters? All three are different categories and are likely to have qualitatively different mixes of voters. Moreover, since this is one of the strangest elections in recent years (at least leading up to it — presidential 2000 may be a landmark for history), it is difficult to predict what the turnout will be. It is an “off” election (where turnout is typically low), but extremely high profile (which means turnout will be high). The algorithms used to determine “likely voter” will have a big effect onthe poll result.

    4) We are just getting info about the candidates. Simon, McClintock and Bustamante are known entities with regard to their policies. Arnold isn’t. And signing both Buffett and Schultz sent very mixed signals about policy direction. Having an “economic summit” is an admission of “hey, I’m not sure what I’m doing yet.” That could explain lots of Arnold’s polling volatility.

  7. Ian S. says:

    Regardless of the motivation, I have to say I was sick of the puns about Arnold before he even officially announced. It’s nice that someone’s cracking down on them.

  8. Paul says:

    Hey John-

    I know HOW a statistical sample can be screwed up.

    Maybe I phrased that wrong…. Not “How can a guy be..”

    Maybe I should have said, “How am I supposed to believe…”

    I don’t know which, if any, of the numbers is right. But I’m pretty sure somebody’s methodology sucks.

    P