MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” slammed the media for its “complete obsession” with political polling as a framework for news coverage, specifically as it relates to the polling of current President Joe Biden.
Molly Jong-Fast joined the program on Tuesday to discuss the stakes of the upcoming presidential election, rather than the polling odds.
“We spent so much time covering the odds of a Hillary Clinton presidency,” Jong-Fast said. “We didn’t spend enough time covering the stakes of a Donald Trump presidency.”
“And I think that’s what polls do. They shift the narrative in a way that’s not necessarily helpful. And they drive a lot of news cycles,” she continued.
Jong-Fast notes that she wasn’t referencing the accuracy of polling, which is a whole other issue, but rather “more just as sort of the wrong engine for a lot of reporting.”
“It’s a complete obsession,” co-host Joe Scarborough said.
“All of these polls that are like you read the headline that goes the worst news ever for Joe Biden. And I’m thinking, oh my God, he was riding his bike in Delaware and a comet dropped on him crashing him to death,” Scarborough quipped. “And then I put up the link and I look at it, and they show me three polls, where the President of the United States is within the margin of error.”
Scarborough called out the media saying, “This network had real human beings to talk about but instead of dealing with voters, they wanted to talk about a poll that would push their narrative about how bad Joe Biden was doing, when in fact, voters from Virginia to Ohio to Kentucky overwhelmingly affirmed just how well the Democrats were doing swimming against the tide.”
Co-host Willie Geist turned the conversation back to Jong-Fast saying “We don’t have to go back very far to show that the panic about polls was unwarranted,” referencing the latest election cycle earlier this month.
“There was talk on election night of the upcoming red wave,” Geist continued. “Obviously that didn’t happen because of the issue of abortion within and democracy. Two things that again will be on the ballot next year.”
Jong-Fast agreed with the sentiment saying that political polling tests “our shadows, not substance.”
“They’re not organic events,” she continued. “And so you should treat them as another data point.”
“I’m not saying to ignore all polls,” Jong-Fast clarified. “I’m just saying that they shouldn’t drive coverage the way they often do.”