Conservative Thought Bubble

Many, many people have spoken about the Conservative Media Thought Bubble. Bill Maher. Andrew Sullivan. etc. .. and I know, I know, your response is that there is a Liberal Thought Bubble as well. Ok, let’s let’s take a look at the premise. I hope that you read this and give it some sincere thought because I think our ability to work together as a nation relies on it. I know this is long, but, Conservatives, please give me a moment of your time. 

Fox News, and other organizations in the Conservative Thought Bubble, put forward information during the election. They made predictions about the outcome of the election. The asserted news stories during the election. Let’s assume you’re right and there is a Liberal Thought Bubble as well and we’ll put organizations like MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times into that Bubble. I’m picking MSNBC here because they are essentially the liberal response to Fox News, the Washington Post hosts several of my favorite political writers (one of which is a commentator on MSNBC) and I’m picking the New York Times because of the incredible number of times during this election that I was attacked for using “a liberal rag” like the New York Times.

Polling and Election predictions are just educated guesses and predictions. They aren’t inherently true by themselves, they are guesses as to the outcome of a future event. However, the Conservative Thought Bubble spent a LOT of energy and time during this election telling you that the polling data showing President Obama with a lead was the result of SKEWED POLLS (cue scary music). In a brilliant stroke of election profiteering, someone even created a website called UnskewedPolls.com. They explained that the polls were oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans and Independents. They published “corrected” versions of the polls which changed the polls from all leaning toward Obama to all leaning toward Romney. That’s OBVIOUSLY the unskewed version, right?

Now, Karl Rove was one of the biggest Dark Money Machines in this campaign and he spent a TON of time on Fox News explaining how Mitt Romney was going to win. Here is Karl Rove’s prediction:

Karl Rove's Electoral Prediction

The day before the Election, Fox News analysts said that Romney was going to win Wisconsin. They even admitted that polling suggested it was going to lose, but they ignored that in favor of their “gut feeling.” Newt Gingrich, while speaking with Greta Van Susteren, said Romney would win with more than 300 Electoral votes. He also said that Michigan and Pennsylvania are “starting to be in play.” 

So, how did their predictions match up with the actual Election?

Rove said Romney would win the following Swing States: Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, Iowa, and Colorado. Romney did not win a SINGLE ONE OF THOSE STATES. 

The Fox News analysts who tried to ignore all of the real data over Wisconsin and said Romney would win Wisconsin… Nope. Obama won Wisconsin (Paul Ryan’s home state) by 6 points. 

Newt Gingrich said Romney would have over 300 Electoral votes. Wrong. President Obama has over 300 Electoral Votes and the states he said were “in play” Obama won by 8 and 6 points. 

Now… again, these are predictions. We understand that they are guesses at a future event and so these people aren’t lying about the outcome, they just poorly predicted the outcome. The question is WHY. Why were they so bad at predicting the outcome? Was it because the polling data is really unreliable and so it’s really difficult to correctly predict the outcome?

Ok, let’s set that aside and talk about the Liberal Bubble. 

Ezra Klein is a writer for the Washington Post and a commentator on MSNBC. This was his prediction for the 2012 election.

Ezra Klein's Prediction


He said this:

So here’s my prediction for tomorrow: The polls will prove to be right. President Obama will win with 290 electoral votes. I’m not extremely confident in the precision of that estimate: Some swing states are close enough that it’s entirely possible for a good ground game to tip, say, Florida into Obama’s column, or Colorado into Romney’s. Virginia is basically tied, and I’m giving it to Romney based on the assumption that challenger wins in a tie, but it could easily go the other way. So if Obama ends up winning with 303, I won’t be surprised.

Now, the Holy Grail of election Prediction is Nate Silver at 538 which is now part of the New York Times. Nate Silver has been the bane of the Conservative Thought Bubble because his predictions have had Obama leading at every moment during the Election. If you aren’t familiar with Nate Silver, let me give you the quick run down. Are you familiar with the movie Moneyball? It’s the baseball movie with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill where they flip the entire Baseball industry on its head because they institute a rigorous, statistical approach to determining the correct course of action. They have complex computer models which predict with high accuracy how to get more wins per dollar spent and it works to fantastic effect.

Nate Silver took this idea and applied it to politics. He built a computer model which takes current polling data, past polling data, past election results, etc all into account and then produces a set of predictions with certain likelihoods. It is non-partisan. It’s just math. There is no skewing of polls. In very simple terms, it just averages all of the polls and uses that as its prediction (it’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea).

This was Nate Silver’s prediction:


Ok, so now that we know the Liberal Bubble predictions, how did they work out?

Nate Silver nailed it. Exactly. You can just look at the above map because that’s what happened.

My point here is not about the accuracy of Nate Silver’s prediction. It is about the question of WHY is Nate Silver’s prediction so good and WHY is Fox News’ prediction SO BAD. 

If you look at the data, you don’t see two Thought Bubbles. You see one Conservative Thought Bubble and one group of people looking at and reporting reality. Not everyone in the “liberal” media hit the number exactly, but they were all much more connected to reality. Why? Because they just listened to the data.


When Fox News analysts explicitly ignore the polls to tell you “gut” feeling, you should know that they are then speaking to you from within the Conservative Thought Bubble. 

It’s not just the polls though. DATA is the enemy of the Conservative Thought Bubble. When the jobs numbers improved and the data showed that their narrative against Obama and the Economy was incorrect, they just attacked the jobs numbers saying that the Obama administration had faked them. Just like when the polling data went against their story, they just claimed the polling data was being faked. 

This Conservative Thought Bubble came out to bite several Republicans in the ass during the election… Mitt Romney, for example. The Conservative Thought Bubble has been spinning about Benghazi every since it happened and has convinced everyone that the President did not call it an Act of Terror. Mitt Romney took that story from within the Conservative Thought Bubble and he brought it outside into reality and he got smacked for it. “Please proceed, Governor” and “go look at the transcript”… reality came down on Romney because he brought Bubble Fiction out into the real world.

The idea that Pregnancy due to Rape is impossible was another idea in the Conservative Thought Bubble. Todd Akin brought that one out into the real world and the world came down on him.

The Conservative Thought Bubble says you can lower everyone’s taxes and fix the deficit at the same time, but when they idea is brought out into the real world, it is shown to be fantastic fiction. 

Please, Conservatives, I ask you to take some time over the next few weeks and really think about the outcome of the election, how it matched up with reality and think about the information coming to you from the Conservative Thought Bubble does not match up. 

I don’t ask you to do this because I want to change your political ideals. I ask you to do this so that you can apply your political ideals on TRUE information.

I’m not trying to make you a liberal, I just want you to be a conservative who bases your political decisions on TRUE information.