How times change

I commented below how odd it was that the GOP was sending out releases now on polls showing only an 8 point spread between Kennedy and Klobuchar.

Check out this part of the e-mail Pat Shortridge, the campaign manager for Kennedy , sent out to supporters last night.

Dear Kennedy Supporter,

Three new polls were released today continuing to show that the Minnesota Senate race will be one of the closest in the country.

Survey USA and MN GOP have the race at 8 points and WSJ/Zogby at 9. Make no mistake, this race is the number one pick-up opportunity for Republicans in the country. Mark has just begun to help voters understand the big differences between the candidates on the big issues facing our country…

Whoaaaa! Hold on here, pard’ner!

Zogby now is a credible poll? This from the campaignthat took great pains to make the point to me about what a terrible, terrible journalist I was (and presumably still am) for being so biased as to cite — Zogby. (Here’s the one that REALLY made ’em mad!)

And wasn’t it GOP Chair Ron Carey who tried to cut Zogby off at the knees by noting…

“On Election Day in 2004, John Zogby confidently predicted that John Kerry would defeat President George W. Bush and get at least 311 votes in the Electoral College. In 2002, Zogby had Walter Mondale defeating Norm Coleman by six points in his final poll.

And now when the Kennedy folks wake up in the morning and ask “where’s the love for our guy?” the answer is…. John Zogby?????

I suggested last January that polls that weren’t budging indicated Kennedy may be in trouble, citing Zogby specifically. Boy, did the fur fly on that one! Proof that I was anti-Kennedy, they said. I got a call from the Kennedy spokesperson lecturing me on Zogby’s methodology, and an opinion of my shortcomings as a “reporter” (please note: I am not a reporter).

Looking back, the only problem with the assessment (mine, not theirs) was….well…there was no problem with the assessment, actually.

Back then my pals — and I mean that. I like those guys — over at at Kennedy vs. the Machine gave me a good going over.

Remember this?

Two important points: (1) Kennedy vs. the Machine is NOT part of the Kennedy campaign. And (2) Gary Miller, who started KvM and is as good a blogger as exists, has not wavered in his criticism of Zogby’s methodology. Unfortunately, he’s also not writing much anymore.

[…] If Polinaut didn’t have a track record of hyping flawed polls, burying a certain county attorney’s debate ducks (imagine, for a minute, Kennedy had done likewise), largely ignoring Sen. Dayton’s ignominious distinction, calling into question the motives of this and other conservative bloggers, overlooking Sen. Johnson’s colossal ethical breach for a week, hyperventilating about imagined breaches of privacy, selective highlighting on Kennedy & Klobuchar fundraising sources, Collins would have some cred of his own. […]

Back to memory lane…

On April 6th — no longer available for some reason, KvM said….

[…] Remember this column from Roll Call the next time Amy Klobuchar and Ford Bell tout their lead in an “interactive” Zogby poll. (All emphasis ours) […]

and in June we got, the now-lead guy at KvM, Andy Aplikowski said …

But there is no mention of Klobuchar’s lobbying hypocrisy on Polinaut. Instead he runs a story how she is leading in a Zogby poll. And takes a preemptive shot at KvM in it too. That is selective editing, my friends. Others know it as bias.

at Residual Forces, there was this

. Sorry, Zogby has been pretty well blown out of the water for credibility.

For the record, I absolutely do not believe this race is over. But the Kennedy campaign has made things difficult for themselves by squandering precious time making boogeymen out of people who say or write things they disagree with, instead of considering the possibility that not everyone who says something they don’t want to hear is in the pocket of their opponent.

They are not alone. Not by a longshot. And not just Republicans. It is the cancerous hubris of all politics.

When confronted with distasteful information, it’s far too difficult in the environment of a campaign organization for someone to muster the courage to ask, “what’s if it’s true?”.

It’s easier just to rally around punching the messenger.

  • Meredith

    Bob, there are good things and bad things about bloggers. The good thing is that anyone can blog and there is freedom to say what ever you want. Yea, let freedom ring. The bad thing is when educated and credible sources, which I believe MPR and Polinaut to be, take these statements made by certain bloggers and exploit them, tout them, credit them, applaud them, diminish them in a very newslike, credible source type manner. Are you servicing your audience well by not looking into the backgrounds of the people you tout? Some of these bloggers don’t have any degrees, or have held any elected offices, or possess any substantive knowledge and facts to back up their statements. They just state what is one their mind, which is great, but don’t misconstrue who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is essential to get the everyday person’s opinion, but don’t turn these statements/bloggers into experts, Woodward type of journalist reporters. I’m sure they are going to get pissy about this comment, but so be it. Credibility and education still account for something and the public deserves educated insight.

  • Bob Collins

    Meredith, to be honest with you, I come at things from a different direction. I actually think bloggers are pretty smart; I think people are pretty smart too, in general. It’s true anyone can blog but you may recall I raised a ruckus a few months ago by asking a question of political bloggers: “are you connected or coordinatede with a campaign in any way.” I thought it was important in the interest of transparency.

    We see now that it was an important question and the ruckus masked a discomfort with the answer, for in some cases the bloggers and the campaigns were quite close. The question I had…and have…is who is getting their cue from whom?

    In my comments above, however, I focus on a mindset; a mindset that is certainly shared by folks who are are partisan toward anyone and a mindset that is certainly not limited to politics, but it quite dangerous when it is; not because they might lose an election, but because they might win and carry the same mindset into governing.

    It’s that mindset that immediately seeks to classify people and idea into “friends” and “enemies” based on whether the message itself is ‘friendly’ or ‘unfriendly.’

    In these polarized times, this is the foundation of that polarization. It is what prevents bipartisanship.

    The reality is that nobody has all the answers, but everybody has a piece of all the answers. Bloggers are not worse than journalists. Journalists are not worse than politicians, politicians are not worse than anyone else getting up and going to work today. We are all experts because we all have a piece of all the answers.

    If we could just pool our expertise, consider our own, consider others, check, and doublecheck, and not immediately think that process sign of weakness… we have a real chance to display a sign of greatness.

  • Jeff

    “We are all experts because we all have a piece of all the answers…”

    Well said. I do think that is the strength of the blogs.

    When the world consisted of one, maybe two, local newspapers, and 3 tv networks and a radio station or two, they couldn’t possibly give you everything. They made editorial decisions about what to report. Something invariably ended up on the cutting room floor.

    Nowadays, a wider net is cast, and there’s more news, more analysis, more discussion, more tidbits, etc…

    That can only be a good thing.

    Yes, there’s more racket, and more dreck, but a discerning reader will ferret out what’s worth paying attention to.

  • Dwight

    A discerning reader will ferret out what’s worth paying attention to, but only if there is full disclosure about the source. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Michael Brodkorb, but the media and blogs like this one continue to treat him like a legitimate source–until Tim O’Brian took Brodkorb and his GOP house organ called MDE down:

    Mudslinger for hire

    Michael Brodkorb on occasion has identified himself on his blog, Minnesota Democrats Exposed (3), as a part-time paid consultant for the Kennedy campaign.

    Robin Marty at Minnesota Monitor (4) called into question just how part-time Brodkorb is, pointing out that Brodkorb makes $4,583 a month working for the Kennedy campaign. And despite Brodkorb’s claim when he announced the gig that readers of his blog “may notice a small drop in [his] coverage of the U.S. Senate race,” Marty discovered Brodkorb’s posts on the Senate race have increased dramatically since he started drawing a paycheck.

    In the same vein, MN Publius (5) reported that an FEC filing showed that Brodkorb accepted $5,500 from Sixth District U.S. House candidate Michele Bachmann on Aug. 8 for “research.”

    Brodkorb claims that his blog “is not created, endorsed, sponsored, or authorized by any political party, candidate, or candidate’s committee. It’s all me and always will be,” but these revelations cast serious doubt on that claim.

    He wrote on his disclosure page, “[M]y ethics are not governed by legal interpretations. This is why I have gone through the unprecedented efforts of creating a disclosure page on my blog.”

    A couple of problems with that statement:

    • His disclosure page (which was announced Aug. 31 but posted only Tuesday) doesn’t disclose anything. Nothing about his salary from Kennedy, the payment from Bachmann, his prior work as the research director for the Minnesota Republican Party, being the chair of the Senate District 38 Republican Party. It’s nothing more than a sanctimonious screed aimed at those who exposed his ties to campaigns.

    • He only disclosed his identity because of a defamation lawsuit. He blogged anonymously from July 2004 to January 2006.

    • As Blog of the Moderate Left (6) pointed out, Brodkorb didn’t disclose the work he did for Bachmann; MN Publius did.

    • Disclosure pages are anything but “unprecedented.”

    Brodkorb is a nice guy. But he’s not credible on this issue. He needs to be upfront about what his blog is.

    And, in light of these facts, to argue that it is anything but a paid advertisement for the GOP is disingenuous at best, and, at worst, a lie. Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.

    If Brodkorb is going to make a career out of “exposing Democrats” by twisting their words and concocting half-truths, then he’d best have his house in order.

  • Bob Collins

    //, but the media and blogs like this one continue to treat him like a legitimate source

    You obviously haven’t read Polinaut for very long. Tim O’Brien was late to the party.

    Suggest you go back to around last January and February and read .

  • Gary M. Miller


    I could not agree more with your post — except that you mistakingly confuse KvM with the Kennedy campaign. As the editor of KvM, I have never acknowledged the legitimacy of a Zogby poll. One of my KvM colleagues, and the Kennedy campaign, now thinks they are the cats meow.

    The fact that they are doing so is troubling to me — particularly when there are legitimate polls that show Kennedy within striking distance. I would challenge you, however, to find me trumpeting a Zogby poll.

    I would encourage you to set the record straight on this.

    Gary Miller

  • Bob Collins

    See revised original post. And for the record — if you haven’t figured it out by now — Gary’s a great blogger who has a penchant for making a point without needing to slam your face against the wall to make it. His voice, whle still occasionally popping up on KvM, is nowhere near as prominent as it once was, or needs to be again.

    My apologies if I conveyed any other message where Gary is concerned.

    But he still has THE best line, that made me laugh out loud then..and still does. “If Bob Collins didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.” That, friends, is a gift of writing.