The ghost of Warren Mitofsky

Sunday musings while wondering why the heck the Star Tribune carrier can’t get the paper to the doorstep.

  • Face it, every now and again you sit and consider your life and your own mortality. “Will there be any notice that I was even here?” you might occasionally ask yourself. I doubt Warren Mitofsky, who died over the weekend, had to think about it too long. Mitofsky was the “father of exit polling.” He also “helped invent a way to sample households by telephone to efficiently reach people with unlisted as well as listed phone numbers. The random digit dial method now is a survey research standard.” When you think about how candidates have become slaves to polls, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Mitofsky changed the nature of democracy.
  • Democrats loathe to predict victory, ” AP political writer David Espo’s headline says today. My first response? “Are you kidding me?” Then I read the piece, which — oddly — quoted mostly Republicans. Swing and a miss, Espo.
  • Democrats on a roll for U.S. Congress,” screams the headline on a Reuter’s story. My first reaction: “are you kidding me?” Maybe it’s just my editor’s nature in me but if there’s one thing that screams “this story stinks,” it’s one that ends with a “the future remains to be seen” line. Which this one does.

    “I’m a political realist. Can we win? Yes, but this is 10 weeks out and a lot can happen in 10 weeks,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

    Sounds like a case of the “I’ve got to have a story Sunday and I’ve got to write something” flu.

  • The fans are going wild… for baseball!” says the Star Tribune’s front page article. Right. Here’s a more honest take. “Lame MLB wild card formula in which a bunch of teams in the National League with losing records might make the playoffs creates phony sense of playoff fever.” Or maybe that wouldn’t fit in the headline. And how does this square with ESPN’s column a few weeks ago, “Baseball not as popular as it once was”? By the way, last year, 10 of the 30 major league teams played before nearly half-empty stadiums (I’m using 65% as the cutoff). This year that number is 13. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
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