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  • Morning Joe Inaccurately Hypes Latino Support For Trump In Nevada With A Misleading Poll Report

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    MSNBC’s Morning Joe hyped one poll to suggest 30 percent of Latino Nevada voters support Trump, but the survey’s participants who fit the description of Latino likely voters provided such a small sample size that Morning Joe’s blanket statement was likely inaccurate.

    On the September 29 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski and correspondent Jacob Soboroff reported that an NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll found 30 percent of Latinos supported Trump. Soboroff, after referring to the results as “surprising” and “frankly puzzling,” went to see if “Latinos for Trump” were “a real thing” by interviewing callers on Jesus Marquez’s radio show on the Las Vegas station La Voz de Nevada.

    Marquez is one of the remaining members of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council -- several of them quit, calling the group a “scam” and denouncing Trump’s August 31 anti-immigrant speech as “horrible,” “dishonest,” and “tone-deaf.” Marquez often makes media appearances as a Trump surrogate, so callers to his pro-Trump radio show aren’t likely to be the most representative sample of Latino voters in Nevada.

    The problem with MSNBC’s reporting was explained by Futuro Media Group’s Julio Ricardo Varela shortly after the report aired. In an article on NPR’s Latino USA, Varela explained that the poll MSNBC was citing did not contain a large enough sample of Latinos to be representative. Varela dug into the poll’s methodology to explain that the poll surveyed 1,090 adults, only 627 of whom were likely voters, and only 17 percent, or 107, were Latino. Varela laid out the significance of MSNBC’s botched reporting (which also aired on the September 28 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, according to Nexis):

    This would mean that Morning Joe did not accurately represent the poll’s data and methodology, and no one at the table challenged the data. It also raises questions about whether a sample of 107 likely Latino voters in Nevada is even large enough to make a confident conclusion that Trump has 30% of the Latino vote in Nevada, especially when a national NBC News/Telemundo/WSJ poll has Trump’s Latino support in the high teens.

    One particularly misleading graphic, titled “Among Nevada Latino Likely Voters,” showed the breakdown of the 107 people the poll surveyed who fit that description, but at the bottom noted the total number of people polled, 1,090. The graphic could have left viewers with the impression that 1,090 Latino likely voters were surveyed, instead of 107:

    Later in the day, Soboroff acknowledged he was receiving “blowback” for his reporting, but instead of addressing the criticism, he doubled down. Soboroff said, “I actually got a lot of feedback, a lot of blowback online from folks saying that that 30 number percent looked high. That’s the number that we got in our NBC News poll here.”

    MSNBC is not the first network to fumble reports about the Latino vote: Earlier this year, Telemundo also based a report that Latinos could be warming to Trump on flawed polling. Given the lousy attempts that Trump has made at Latino outreach, his anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the fact that even his Latino supporters have admitted his Latino outreach is doomed -- as well as the media’s penchant for misrepresenting Latino voters-- a poll that shows a large number of Latinos supporting Trump should be met with skepticism.

    According to Stephen A. Nuño, an associate professor at Northern Arizona University, media reporting on the Latino vote can “often be contradictory, confusing, and outright nonsensical” because sloppy methodology is often used when polling Latinos. Nuño explained that sample sizes are often too small to be representative, polls are frequently not conducted bilingually, and polls are not representative of age, country of origin, and gender.

    In a June 10 guest appearance on NPR’s Latino USA, Nuño talked about the number of things that can go wrong when polling Latinos and interpreting the numbers:

  • Rush Limbaugh Falsely Denies He Called Alicia Machado A Porn Star, Then Repeats The Claim

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Radio host Rush Limbaugh denied, then repeated, the false claim that former Miss Universe Alicia Machado is a “former porn star,” an accusation right-wing media have adopted to attack her.

    On the September 29 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh said that he “didn’t call [Machado] a porn star”:

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): And they say that "Rush Limbaugh the other day called her a porn [star]." I didn't call her a porn star. I was reading a news report in which she was referred to as a porn star. I don't watch porn. I don't know if she's done porn or not. I have no idea if she’s a -- I read what one of your colleagues in the drive-by media wrote about her. She's worse than a porn star. Because she's a woman and this and this is 2016 and women are getting bullied and raped on college campuses, ostensibly. You got to be very, very careful here.

    So Trump calls her Miss Piggy. There is a character called Miss Piggy, proudly called Miss Piggy. One of the Muppets. Looks like somebody in American politics today, I might add. If you can't figure it out, I'll leave it up to you at some point to see.

    However, on the September 28 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh did refer to Machado as “a porn star” and “the porn star Miss Piggy.” The claim -- which is actually false -- had been pushed by right-wing media outlets in order to delegitimize Machado after she reported that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and publicly humiliated her for gaining weight.

    Mere minutes after making his denial, Limbaugh resumed his name-calling, referring to her, once again, as a “former porn star”:

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): You would think if the [Clinton campaign] thought they won [the debate] hands-down, slam dunk, that they would start hammering Trump on any number of things that include issues. And instead they bring up this former porn star and this whole sordid thing that happened 20 years ago with the Miss [Universe] pageant.

    This is hardly the first time Limbaugh has resorted to slut-shaming to attack a woman. In 2012, he infamously attacked then-Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying before Congress in favor of requiring that health insurance plans cover birth control. He also demanded that she post sex “videos online so we can all watch.” Limbaugh’s disgusting attacks, in that case, led to a decline in his affiliates, advertisers, and political influence.

  • Alicia Machado Didn’t Kill Anyone, But Don King Did

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    CNN political commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski attempted to smear former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, by claiming that she “has been part of a murder.” While no charges were brought against Machado and she long ago denied involvement, Lewandowski ignored the role of Don King in Trump’s campaign -- the former boxing promoter who was “found guilty of second-degree murder for killing a gambling associate who owed him $600.”

    Lewandowski attempted to deflect from the criticism over Trump’s public shaming of Machado by smearing her on the September 29 edition of CNN’s New Day, asserting that “The Clinton campaign took a person and brought her into a debate who has been part of a murder.”

    While Machado “was accused of being an accomplice to an attempted murder” in 1998, according to a Los Angeles Times report, “A judge later said there was insufficient evidence to arrest her and ordered only her boyfriend’s arrest.” New Day co-host Alisyn Camerota explained to Lewandowski that Machado was “never charged, never indicted,” and “never convicted” of the accusations, facts reported by The New York Times as well.

    In his attack on Machado, Lewandowski ignored that Trump has leaned on Don King in efforts to court minority voters, who in 1966 was found guilty of murder for reportedly stomping his employee to death. King also shot and killed a man in 1954 (later ruled a “justifiable homicide”) who, according to ESPN.com, “tried to rob one of his gambling houses.” King’s 1966 murder charges were reduced by the judge at sentencing to manslaughter, and King was later pardoned in 1983.

    Lewandowski’s attempt to smear Machado while ignoring the role of King in Trump’s campaign isn’t surprising given his sycophantic support for Trump. Despite being a paid CNN contributor, Lewandowski is still very much involved in the Trump campaign. Lewandowski’s company Green Monster Consulting LLC received $20,000 for “strategy consulting” for the Trump campaign in August, which the campaign claimed was “severance.” Lewandowski announced September 29 that he is no longer receiving payments from the Trump campaign and it is reported that “the campaign paid off the remainder of his contract in one lump sum.” Lewandowski’s claim cannot be confirmed until future rounds of FEC filings.

    Lewandowski has also traveled with Trump on the campaign trail and was reportedly involved in preparing the Republican nominee for the first presidential debate.