Polls, Political Realities, And The New York Times

During a recent lunch with my sister and a good friend, the topic (unsurprisingly) turned to politics. The three of us are, as the kids used to say, “in sync,” so it was more a session of “who in the world looks at Donald Trump and sees someone presidential?” But at the end, my sister voiced what has become a common complaint-cum-question: what is going on at the  New York Times

We’ve all noticed it; the Times seems intent upon highlighting anything that could be considered negative about the Biden campaign, while essentially ignoring Trump’s increasing dementia. When I say we’ve all noticed it, I have evidence; the day after our lunch, both Robert Hubbell’s newsletter and Josh Marshall in Talking Points Memo addressed the Time’s obvious bias.

Hubbell’s analysis was well worth reading.

He began by addressing the Times-sponsored poll that showed Biden currently trailing Trump. “The Times covered its own poll as front-page news for three days, ignoring three other polls from reputable organizations that showed Biden leading (slightly in one poll) or tied (in two polls).”

If the Times mentioned the three recent polls that contradicted the breathless coverage of its poll, I can’t find that story. What I can find is another front-page story about Joe Biden’s age. (NYTimes: Amid Age Concerns, the White House Tries a New Strategy: Let Joe Be Joe.) At the New York Times, “No news is good news”—because if there is good news about Biden, it’s not news at the Times.

Hubbell then reported on Trump’s most recent word-salad.

The gratuitous dig at Biden’s age was published on Super Tuesday—and after a weekend during which Trump melted into incoherence while he promoted anti-immigrant hate and election denialism, called the country of Argentina “a great guy,” was defeated in his attempt to pronounce “Venezuela,”  confused former President Obama and current President Biden, and asked the crowd to look at the back of his head because “I am like an artist.” (See Newsweek, Donald Trump’s String of Gaffes Over Weekend Raises Eyebrows.)

Calling those statements “gaffes” should be considered a campaign contribution. 

As Hubbell reported, the Times’ bias has become so noticeable, it is prompting coverage by other media outlets. He also shared an observation by another Substack author to the effect that polls are manufactured news events and  shouldn’t be considered “news events” at all–that Journalists “should not be in the business of creating news, especially in ways that they have the power to control.”

Hubbell quotes a commentary from SalonThere is something wrong at the New York Times | Salon.com

Two things…check that…three things appear to have gone off the rails at the paper we used to call the Gray Lady.  First, whoever is in charge of the paper’s polls is not doing their job.  Second, whoever is choosing what to emphasize in the Times coverage of the campaign for the presidency is showing bias.  Third, the Times is obsessed with Joe Biden’s age at the same time they’re leaving evidence of Donald Trump’s mental and verbal stumbles completely out of the news.

Hubbell noted that he’d watched Trump’s Super Tuesday victory speech, and that (in addition to appearing sedated) he was rambling, confused, and detached from reality.

Trump repeated an internet rumor that Biden “flew in 325,000 immigrants” into our country (a grotesque misrepresentation of how the CPB processes asylum applicants fleeing their home country). He descended into incomprehensible comments about Venezuelan oil being “tar” that is refined in the US and “goes up into the air” (complete with whirly-gig hand gestures). He repeated a dozen easily disprovable lies. Even though Melania was noticeably absent, he thanked his ”family” for being present.

Finally, Hubbell turned his attention to the polling, and shared numbers showing that Trump has continued to significantly under-perform FiveThirtyEight.com’s averages. In Virginia, he underperformed by 20 points, in Tennessee, by 10, Massachusetts by 14.

Many states did not have enough polls to qualify for a FiveThirtyEight average, but in Vermont, the most recent poll had Trump winning by 30%. In fact, Haley won by 4%, an underperformance by Trump of -34.

Trump over-performed in one state—North Carolina—by +5.

Like my sister, and many of you, I have been frustrated–and worried–by the mainstream media’s coverage of the polling and the candidates.

In the wake of Super Tuesday, Americans are facing an almost-certain choice between two candidates, both of whom are older than the candidates we’re used to. One of those candidates is a good, decent man who has drawn on his experience and wisdom to power a transformational–and very much under-rated–Presidency. The other is a morally-repulsive, intellectually-vacant ignoramus rapidly descending into dementia.

That’s the choice. The New York Times isn’t covering it. 


  1. Well this obviously is nothing new, the times negatively covered Hillary Clinton, and before that, especially Obama’s second term, they were absolutely negative.

    So one would have to ask the question, why? Is it to keep stirring the pot to find more spectacular headlines to sell newspapers? Or, is it something more nefarious. After all, with the entire planet descending into more intense chaos, the negative news cycle continues to soar. Don’t you think it would be a headlines Bonanza with Donald J Trump shooting from the hip? Hanging out with Vlad the impaler? Dismantling NATO, probably attacking Mexico? Not to mention the myriads upon myriads of his criminal activities?

    Mind-bogglingly you have people who love DT, and claim that he was so fiscally responsible as president, and did so much for the little guy, and you wonder what they actually were seeing? In fact, they’re just repeating what they’re hearing on wing nut radio, and wing nut social media. Or, the wing nut news channels and newspapers! Willfully ignorant? Willfully stupid? Willfully delusional? I think it’s the trifecta! The bizarro World unholy Trinity!

    One things for sure, he won’t make the same mistakes this time around, he will overthrow the government as soon as he is elected and takes office, if that happens! At that point, Biden would have a huge decision to make!

  2. President Joe Biden’s age is but 5 years older than Trump’s; they are of the same generation but from different worlds. I have said repeatedly that the Republicans are united even with their disparity within; they will all vote Republican, no matter who. Biden is being denigrated from within his own Democratic party who are seeking quantity (possible remaining life-span) vs. quality (wisdom, experience, knowledge, qualification and loyalty to America and Americans). President Biden cannot end the problems at the southern border with Republicans voting against themselves when given their demands, nor can he rule Israel from the Oval Office. As Hillary Clinton recently stated, “Yes, Joe Biden is old.”; he doesn’t deny it. What will his State of the Union Address tonight tell us about his stand on this current destruction of democracy by Trump who has some level of control in all three branches of our government ignoring all Rule of Law to hand him the presidency again. Trump and McConnell will rule the nation with the system they have gradually put in place since 2016. This is NOT a sudden, surprising takeover; will our allies support us through this tumultuous year of the MAGA party when Democrats are not supporting democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution? Trump’s destruction of America has never slowed since he left the White House; it has accelerated and grown stronger due to their continuing unity.

    “…the Times seems intent upon highlighting anything that could be considered negative about the Biden campaign, while essentially ignoring Trump’s increasing dementia.” The Times is not alone in their dog-whistle support of Trump. Read between the lines!

  3. There is more to worry about than inaccurate polls – the third-party group No Labels plans to pick a presidential candidate very soon.

  4. I don’t know why they need to, but it seems as if the NYT is trying to create the friction of the campaign to sell more papers. Otherwise, their “reporting” and “polling” seems incompetent at best.

    Watch Nicolle Wallace’s show on MSNBC for her daily piece on “AUTOCRACY”.

  5. Two thoughts:

    1) Trump continues to be the Teflon don – he’s been so unhinged for so long that he’s madness doesn’t even make the news. To paraphrase something I said before a Clinton/Trump debate that seems to still be true – “as long as Trump doesn’t literally drop his pants and relieve himself center state, he’ll be reported as presidential”. The bar is so low, it’s impossible for him to get under it.

    Joe, on the other hand, is seen as basically competent. So, when he has an issue it’s a front page story because it’s different from standard behavior. That’s Trump’s big advantage – his behavior is always poor, so it’s not news worthy.

    2) I think Biden would do himself a large favor if he stopped arms sales and other aid to Israel. I don’t think he can afford to lose support from any group and assisting in a genocide isn’t doing him any favors. No reasonable person believes Biden controls BB, but BB sure does get a lot of money and arms from the US. I have to believe turning off the spigot would be motivational, even to the genuine psychopaths in that government.

  6. I think that there are a multitude of issues – related to Biden – the Democrats – + which should concern all of us. I will start by noting that I heard something I do not feel free to reveal which indicates that most probably there is a plan – hidden from public view that has Joe B – NOT planning upon running this year despite all the public posturing. While I can’t say this is Certain – I would note that the source and the individual tied to the source is Extremely potentially serious on multiple levels. I would also note that there are multiple factors which point to – let’s presume for example JB – has a 70% chance of winning and DT 30%.. IF – for example – a War “erupts” – prompted through DT’s push/tie with Putin – or an Economic “Disaster” – is unleashed – that say threatens the Banking System or a breakdown in the Electrical Grid or a MAJOR – Race related “incident” – the resulting Tumult could spell disaster. The 30% odds – 1.) Could go way up and 2.) Even if the odds look the same – the result – if DT – is UTTER disaster. One wouldn’t, for example, – ride a commercial flight – knowing that there was a 30% chance the flight would crash. JB – also – would – I would think – love to leave office – as: “The Graceful Leader”- rather than risk an uncertain future – of potential major issues – many of which are quite visible today. Assume – for simple example – that – either a Specific younger Candidate would replace him or that the Dems would have – 2 clear choices agreed upon – or the Democratic Convention – would – work the issue out – perhaps 5-10 votes – building consensus – I, in no way, am certain – of an outcome – such as I am suggesting, however I would surmise – that IF the Dems – are as “smart” – as some claim they are – that They are Smarter enough to listen to the issues – NOT the public – often bumbling – multitude of voices. We will see!

  7. I recently took in a presentation by Eric Deggans of NPR about technology. the media and its future. He gave the audience a recommendation: limit your use of media in 2024. Polls at this point in time have little meaning and we shouldn’t sweat over negative or celebrate positive poll results. We’re still eight months away. Register, vote, provide financial support, educate, influence.

  8. “Trump may be bad for the USA, but he’s great for CBS.” ~ Les Moonves, CBS President 2016

    It remains true today. With all the lawsuits against Trump, his controversial speeches, and his lamebrain policies are all front page newsworthy. He even came out and supported Israel’s genocide after being silent until this week. I wonder what convinced him to abandon his “peace around the world” policies.

    As for Israel, their lobby spread around money to 36 candidates who all won their primary race on Super Tuesday. Talk about foreign government influence in Washington. Can you imagine China or Russia having a PAC?

    Genocide Joe is abandoning progressives and going after Nikki Haley’s Republican supporters — voters and donors. That’s a huge mistake! It’s almost like he is trying to lose to Trump—every time I see GJ go blank on the stage or mutter word salads, I cringe. Poor strategy from top to bottom, and if you listen to the SPOXs, they are amazing liars. You can tell they’ve been taught about body language. 😉

  9. What I have noticed of late about the NYT on line is that so much of the news has been replaced with opinion and conjecture. Other online news outlets also have become more opinion than hard news.
    Too often when what I want is the “who, what, where and when” of a matter all I get is “might, may, and could”.
    Don’t they hire reporters anymore?

  10. In a column last week, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post noted this issue with the New York Times. She wrote:

    “Mainstream journalists refuse to cover Trump’s mental and emotional defects with anything remotely approaching the fervor they show about exploring the effects of President Biden’s age. The New York Times headlined Trump’s outing at CPAC as “Trump invokes clashing visions of America.” One would have thought he was presenting a political science paper on the decline of the middle class rather than incoherent invective replete with racist rants about migrants (and something about “The Silence of the Lambs”?!).” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/03/01/newsletter-race-trump/ . She faulted a “press corps determined to minimize Trump’s rambling, incoherent speeches and slurred, jumbled words — plus his angry outbursts, word salads and calls for violence.”

  11. I canceled my subscription recently. I had enough of the very clear bias. They don’t need my money or my eyes on their distortions.

  12. Yes, The Times’ coverage by its reporters is maddening and frustrating. It stands in stark contrast to the Opinion of the Editorial Board of The Times that appeared in yesterday’s paper entitled “Trump’s Conquest of the Republican Party Matters to Every American.” That board is separate from the NYT newsroom. Several snippets from this Opinion:

    (1) “The Republican Party is forsaking all of those responsibilities and instead has become an organization whose goal is the election of one person at the expense of anything else, including integrity, principle, policy and patriotism. As an individual, Mr.Trump has demonstrated a contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law that makes him unfit to hold office. But when an entire political party, particularly one of the two main parties in the country as powerful as the United States, turns into an instrument of that person and his most dangerous ideas, the damage affects everyone.”

    (2) “Without a sufficient number of Republicans holding positions of power who have shown that they serve the Constitution and the American people before the President, the country takes an enormous risk.”

    (3) “A party without dissent or internal debate, one that exists only to serve one man, is also one that is unable to govern.”

    (4) “But tuning out is a luxury that no American, regardless of party, can afford. Mr. Trump in 2024 would be the nominee of a very different Republican Party-one that has lost whatever power it once had to hold him in check.”

    (5) “But it also means that for Democrats, even state and local races turn into ones against Mr. Trump. Rather than competing on the merits of policy or ideology, they find themselves running against candidates without coherent positions other than loyalty to Trumpism.
    “Republican voters may soon no longer have a choice about their nominee; their only choice is whether to support someone who would do to the country what he has already done to his party.”

    I would submit that the lack of any choice within the Republican Party has already happened (just look at Mike Braun’s ads for Governor)! American voters do not have the “luxury” of staying on the sidelines and not voting in the upcoming presidential election if they wish to preserve our democracy.

  13. Thanks for the heads up. I subscribe to the NY Times and Washington Post, both for news coverage and to support free press — and for lack of quality in what is now the shadow of a newspaper in Indianapolis and Muncie. May have to reconsider whether the NY Times is worth the investment.

  14. I have noticed the NY Times news reporting is going off the rails. When a story about Trump has the Headline “Fact Checking Trump”, and a story about Biden is “Amid Age Concerns, the White House Tries a New Strategy: Let Joe Be Joe”, I’ve got to wonder what the heck is going on, especially when stories about incoherent Trump speeches that are so far off the rails, they can’t be fact checked are marking news elsewhere. I am sure there is some truth about the bar being set so low for Trump that Trump and Biden aren’t even in the same race.

  15. It is “cool” to be down on Biden…per the young, the Left…and The Times always is the “coolest”.

  16. The media in the US is a big disappointment. They repeat the same stories over and over and wear us out with pictures of Trump and his rallies! This election is WAY too long and WAY too expensive. No other country goes through all this to elect a President. It is ridiculous that we can’t have national regulations to run the campaigns, giving equal TV time to each candidate, a couple of good debates and then VOTE!

  17. Having grown up in N.Y.C., and virtually worshipped the Times for years, I have come to the conclusion that it has been absorbed into the “Dark side” of big money capitalism.

  18. George Marx, you give way too much credit to the Dems for being wily, crafty, dark wizards. I might ask what you have been smoking, unless you’re saying the Dems are plotting to throw the election?
    Let me just say the reason that so few Presidents are able to get things done is that they lack the knowledge of the players and the systems you have to know to push things through. You can only do this if you hold both houses and it helps to have a Pelosi with you. Biden knows DC like the back of his hand. He knows who might come on board and who wouldn’t in a million years. That’s how he got things done in his first term, despite being too old for the job.

  19. First, let me say something we all know: Lives are a matter of perspective. I have mine and you yours about everyone we know personally, publicly, and historically. We also have our perspectives and opinions about ourselves.

    Here’s something more subtle. Our perspective about ourselves is the playground of advertising, and advertising largely covers the cost of entertainment. Ergo, the more we prize entertainment, the more our self-perspective is subject to manipulation by money.

    Trump is a demigod created by advertising which has followed him his whole life. He’d be broke without entertainment.

  20. I am older than either of our apparent candidates for president, but I would hope if I were the candidate for such office that I could defeat Adolph Hitler, I mean, DJT – same difference. From the Times boardroom point of view, I suppose keeping the political wars going sells the lifeblood and bottom line of their enterprise, i.e., advertising, and that secretly they are pro-Joe and hope he will win since DJT if elected has promised the polity dictatorship, murder, and an end to the Constitution – and there’s no reason to believe that Herr Trump if elected would not shut down the NYT if their editorial bent rubbed him the wrong way – or if the Times refused to act as his propaganda arm, or whatever. Dictators don’t need excuses.

    So both candidates are old? So? With this Supreme Court which found that 14-3 of our Constitution doesn’t mean what it plainly says and in my opinion is self-executing, what’s next? The Constitution also says one must be 35 to run for president, which lets 34-year old Taylor Swift out of the running, though this court might well find that such an issue belongs with the Congress to decide, like 14-3 was, though no implementing language is to be found in 14-3. They made it up.

    Age is only one component of competency, and Biden with his some forty years of experience in government who occasionally garbles a word but who has in just a few years has matched FDR in bringing the country back to New Deal boomtimes versus the record of a criminal psychopath who can’t put a noun and a verb together leave no room for comparison, whatever the Times prints. The Oval Office at a minimum should not be populated by power mad treasonous secessionists with a finger on the button. Ever. . .

  21. In reading 14-3 my understanding of it is that the only way a person who participated in an insurrection could hold office is if Congress voted by 2/3’s to exempt them from that ban. Supreme Court ignored that law/provision and cleared the way for a blatantly corrupt indicted criminal authoritarian to be on the State ballots. Coney Barrett justified her vote to keep trump on the Colorado ballot by indicating that the “temperature needed to come down”. Is that grounds to disregard a law that helps safeguard the US Constitution?
    The Supreme Court is showing deference to trump by pushing back the immunity question. The delay is another injustice to Americans who are suffering through the ongoing attempt at an authoritarian, corrupt coup. If the high court votes that trump is immune from prosecution for his crimes while in office, US will be in Constitutional crisis.
    I thought it was weird that Chief justice Roberts didn’t show up to reside over the second impeachment trial after the 1/6 insurrection. What side are they on? Sort of like the NYTimes promoting too much deference to DJT.

  22. How MAGA politics spreads: Read Lee MCINTYRE’s “On Disinformation: How to Fight For Truth And Protect Democracy.
    Short and succinct.

  23. Another possible interpretation of what the NY Times is doing. Encourage the MAGA crowd to believe that Trump can win so they make him their nominee after which he gets steam rolled by Biden. OK, but the idea isn’t quite as crazy as space lasers. Just something to think about.

  24. I have mentioned before on this thread that although Indiana has a partisan primary, there is no requirement that a voter produce a membership card in either party. It is totally our option to choose which party to vote for in the primary.

    Therefore, I will be choosing a Republican ballot in May and I will be voting against any MAGAts that appear on my precinct ballot. If enough of you do the same thing, maybe we can get the worst of them off the ballot for November, the same way that the Tea Party got Lugar off the ballot several years ago. Better to stop Banks, Braun, Rokita, etc. in May than to have to do it in Nov. And remember that when the Tea Party Primaried Lugar, we got a Democratic Senator in November because the TP candidate was unelectable.

  25. It’s rarely mentioned, especially in the Times—I share your appraisal and your dismay—that the people working in the Biden Administration in key positions are the second rung of comfort, security and competence, not to mention integrity and experience, whereas those Trump would put in place are to be feared… The nation can trust those in the Biden Administration; those Trump would recruit—and we know who they are already—threaten democracy and world order..

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