Did you see Robert Blake on the “Piers Morgan Show” last week? You can catch up with it on the CNN website, even if it’s now become a series of bites or takes, with bleeps here and there. It was the movie of the week, where you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen and didn’t know what to believe. What more can you ask for? First, the contestants: Piers Morgan is 47, six-feet-one and barely shy of 200 pounds, I’d guess. He has a plush, self-satisfied poker face, not too far from David Cameron.
Vatican correspondent John Allen (of the National Catholic Reporter, NPR, and CNN) is respected for his thoroughly-sourced reporting and scrupulously-fair analysis. If anything, he is occasionally accused by some liberal Catholics of being too sympathetic to Vatican spin.
After writing that there's not much evidence that the Bain ads are reshaping the race, some were keen to remind me of the NBC/WSJ poll, which set the Bain narrative by releasing a battleground subsample showing Obama with a larger advantage in the battlegrounds than the rest of the country. I did not mention the NBC/WSJ poll in the prior post, mainly because there were plenty of reasons to doubt that Obama had a structural advantage in the battlegrounds.
Early last month, a political blogger at a major national newspaper, as part of a growing chorus, all but declared that Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital was effectively defunct as a campaign issue. The headline: “Bill Clinton sticks another fork in Obama’s Bain strategy, says Romney had ‘sterling’ business career.” The top of the article: “The shelf life of President Obama’s Bain Capital strategy appears to be rapidly shrinking.
One week ago, scientists in Switzerland announced that they had likely confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle long hypothesized to imbue other particles with mass. And as soon as scientists had completed their work, science journalists began doing theirs: A scramble ensued among commentators to explain for the general public just what the Higgs boson is. We couldn’t help but appreciate the lurid metaphors they came up with. Here are some of our favorites.
Nothing gets journalists chattering like a debate about themselves, so I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that my post yesterday about the fixation many news outlets have with being first attracted some notice. Nearly everyone who contacted me about the piece did so to say “Amen!” Except for the poor souls whose job it is to produce micro-scoops on a daily or hourly basis.
The contours of the electoral map might seem disorienting to those accustomed to the old red-blue divide of the last decade. A bevy of states haven’t returned to their Bush-era patterns—instead, they've moved in opposite directions. Traditionally Republican North Carolina remains doggedly competitive, and Romney isn’t even contesting New Mexico. At the same time, Obama is well beneath 50 percent in states that he carried by 10 percent or more in 2008, like Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Last week, NBC/WSJ blessed the political community with a battleground state subsample showing Obama leading by 8 percentage points in twelve critical states. Predictably, NBC/WSJ’s finding revived the spring tale of Obama’s decided advantage in the Electoral College, which would allow him to decisively win a close national contest. As I mentioned at the time, a small sample and contradictory data combined to cast great doubt on that conclusion. This week, CNN Opinion Research followed NBC/WSJ’s footsteps with a similarly misguided polling adventure.
In this week’s TIME Magazine and on last Sunday’s CNN prime-time special, Fareed Zakaria focused on the shortcomings of the U.S. immigration policy and its current and future impact upon the U.S. economy. A lot of the discussion was about the inability of high-skilled immigrants to stay in the United States and how it influences the competitiveness of U.S.-based companies. In a related post, my colleagues Neil Ruiz and Jill Wilson touch upon this subject in an explanation of the recently-reached H1B cap for fiscal year 2013.