Why I'm Embarrassed For Los Angeles Times' Andrew Malcolm

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

I really am.

I mean, Laura Bush's former flak enjoyed a long career in journalism at the Times and for some reason has decided to wind down that career as an online laughing stock, robotically posting his Obama Derangement Syndrome updates everyday while making a fool of himself and the newspaper. (I believe the appropriate word is "hack.")

Specifically, as Media Matters has noted again and again, Malcolm's entire job seems to revolve around cherry picking polling results that reflect poorly on Obama. That's his job. As in, his full-time job. The problem with that dopey job description is that Obama's polling numbers haven't really changed much over the last twelve months, which means Malcolm is forced to fabricate material and, more embarrassingly, look away from polls that represent good news for Obama.

The reason I'm embarrassed for Malcolm this week in particular is that on Monday morning Malcolm posted his usual fact-free, Obama-hating snark in the form of this:

Happy New Year, President Obama; Your job approval's down again

Malcolm's proof? He pointed to Gallup's daily tracking poll [emphasis added]:

After all the pre-holiday hoopla over the "productive" lame-duck session of Congress that only added a trillion dollars to the national debt, the Democrat's end-of-his-second-year approval rating has declined to 47% from 49%, with 46% disapproving of his job performance, according to Gallup.

You read that correctly. Malcolm wrote up an Obama attack item based on the fact that his Gallup approval rating moved from 49 percent to 47 percent. For Malcolm, that two-point movement qualified as news. Right, and here's where I'll point out that the Gallup poll has a margin of error of three points, which means the two-point movement Malcolm highlighted as news was completely irrelevant. i.e. Obama's approval rating moves up and down a couple points all the time.

But it actually gets worse for the hapless Times scribe because on the same day Malcolm pointed to Gallup for proof that Obama's ratings were "down again," the polling firm posted new numbers around midday. The results? Obama climbed to a 50 percent approval rating, marking his best showing in eight months.

That's right, the day that Malcolm announced that Obama's approval rating was "down again" at Gallup, was the same day Obama reached an eight-month high-water mark at Gallup. Do you understand why it's actually embarrassing to read Andrew Malcolm these days?

Punch line: Since the latest Gallup results were posted, Malcolm has dutifully ignored the good-news-for-Obama polling data.

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