Friday, February 26, 2010

WRGW "News" Biased & Speculative Throughout SA Elections

***It just so happens that this week, my Internet & Politics is requiring us to provide a media critique for a campus news outlet.

Finally, the SA elections are over and I can say what I actually think about WRGW's coverage of the whole thing. I'll be upfront and say that I was working on Xochitl Sanchez's campaign for the presidential race, but I think my analysis of their coverage is fairly logical and accurate. And that's more than I can say for their coverage of Xochitl's candidacy.

This first time WRGW revealed its bias in the presidential race was on Febuary 10th. And I guess if I'm being really honest, when I say WRGW, I really mean Assistant "News" Editor Dan Keylin. His opening blog about her candidacy stated that "at this point of the announcement process Lifton is the overwhelming favorite." Says who, Daniel? Do you have a poll to back that up? Because I didn't see one.

Dan Keylin will go on to make more statements like that for the next two weeks. More often than not, he has no substantial evidence to back up his claims. He also felt the need to add this disclaimer to the blog post I mentioned above:

"Interestingly, when I tried to join the group I was rejected, a little unexpected for an SA presidential candidate trying to gain some support early in the campaign."
Who the hell cares? That's not news, that's your egotistical commentary.

Ten days later on February 20th, Dan was at it again. I'll give him some credit though, his breakdown of Xochitl's debate performance that night was fairly accurate. But, he was sure to get his plug for Jason Lifton, calling Jason's debate performance "very, very strong."

I realize that the disclaimer at the top of this post said these were solely the views of the author. However, you can't be both an opinionated blogger and be seen as an objective "assistant news editor" at the same time. Pick one.

I'm going to keep going with the examples, because quite frankly WRGW News just really pissed me off this month. February 23rd, WRGW News posted its endorsement for Jason Lifton for President on its blog. Shocker. The endorsement points out that "Jason will be able to hit the ground running on these policy matters from day one." Didn't Hillary Clinton already use that line?

To be fair, she also received some positive/neutral coverage from WRGW on the 23rd. But the post that talked about Xochitl's advantage with the freshmen vote wasn't posted by Dan, it was posted by Alexa Vogel.

And I've saved the best for last! I couldn't help but laugh when I read the results of the polls that were conducted by WRGW. WRGW released a straw poll from their debate, which I conveniently can no longer find on their Web site. From that poll, Dan speculated that Xochitl would be getting a larger number of PIKE and Phi Psi votes based on the results of the straw poll.

First of all, the poll was conducted with 50 participants. Anyone that knows anything about polling, would tell you that you need at least 100 participants in a perfectly weighed poll to be even close to accurate. Second, there was only one Phi Psi in the room that night and he didn't vote!!! Where Dan Keylin got that "analysis" from I'll never know. It certainly didn't come from the poll.

The second poll, was of 369 voters for the Presidential race. But, the poll states that results only reflected likely and very likely voters (aka 58% of 369, or 214 people). They don't have any numbers as to how many of those were freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors and don't include graduated students. Now the poll again acknowledges that is not scientific, but it's so unscientific that why even publish it?

My last example comes from Dan's most recent post, today. He called the results of the election, a "surprising nail-biter." By who's standards was that surprising? Based on his poorly conducted poll, I guess I can see his point though.


Anonymous said...
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Dan Keylin said...
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Dan Keylin said...
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Eric_Thibault said...

The difference between me and you Dan, is that I was up front about my bias and I do not have to uphold the integrity of an assistant news editor.

Secondly, if you were talking to someone on our campaign that didn't think she could win, you probably weren't talking to someone that was working very closely with us.

Dan Keylin said...
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Sean said...

Does it really matter? What is WRGW's listenership? Like 14 people? I'm not even kidding. It has to be under 30 people consistently.

I've never heard of a program getting the space, money, and resources it does, with an audience that can be measured in the tens.

Anonymous said...

Noone listens to, or reads this blog, or WRGW.

Who cares.

Zahin Hasan said...

I just wanted to point out a few things here, from my own viewpoint: I had no idea who Xochitl was until I saw her face, in which I recognized she was one of the coordinators for the VIP program. If I didn't apply for VIP last year, I would have had no clue of who she was. Lifton, on the other hand, had his name plastered everywhere last year when he ran for EVP. His name and image was furthered through coverage of the SA by the Hatchet. As someone who constantly walks to the SA office to use their copier, I can't help but see his and Julie's face on a Hatchet article posted outside of the SA office. Now, it may be unfair to call Jason the early 'favorite', but his name is significantly more recognized around campus (from my perspective).

This, in turn, gives justification to calling the election results a 'surprising nail-biter'. For the Xochitl, who had less name recognition than Lifton (except among the current Freshmen), it was very refreshing to see how well she had done, compared to previous beliefs that she didn't have much of a chance. Eric, I'm sure you had to put in a LOT of effort for her campaign (arguably more effort than those in the Lifton campaign). I'd consider that statement a compliment to your efforts.

Now, I will agree that I was a little unnerved with the inclusion of, "Interestingly, when I tried to join the group I was rejected, a little unexpected for an SA presidential candidate trying to gain some support early in the campaign." I personally would have added that to the comments section, and not the post itself, but we all live and learn.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Eric that a majority of the WRGW commentary with the election was biased against Xochitl from the start. One thing I still don't understand is the whole PIKE and PHI PSI going with Xochitl in your "poll" when about half the room at the debate was Sigma Chi. When Eric says there was only one Phi Psi in the room he is right! That distinction goes to EVP candidate Jon Binetti who didn't even vote in the straw poll.

The election is over, people need to move on. WRGW will probably die out in the next year when all 10 of its viewers's a shame that Lifton won only because of the Law School.

Anonymous said...

This blog is part of a class. It costs nothing to maintain. WRGW is an extremely expensive endeavor. It costs thousands of dollars per year to operate.

Eric_Thibault said...

Thanks to all of you who have agreed with the points I've made. I'd like to make one last comment though:

1. Dan, I think you're missing most of the points I make. I don't necessarily take issue with what you say, but I do take issue with how you say it. The fact that Jason's performance was described as "very very strong," the fact that she was described as the "overwhelming" underdog, are the things that I take issue with and reveal your bias.

2. I completely agree that you should be able to inject your analysis. But as I pointed out, your analysis wasn't based on the straw poll or any other information you provided in your blog posts. So in fact, you didn't really provide analysis. You provided your opinion with unfounded speculation.

3. Had she won, I would had have posted my opinion on this blog.

That's all I have to say. End of story.

Eric_Thibault said...

***would have never posted my opinion....