When MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah (7/21/19) said that Bernie Sanders “made [her] skin crawl,” though she “can’t even identify for you what exactly it is,” she was just expressing more overtly the anti-Sanders bias that pervades the network.
The hostility is so entrenched, in fact, it seems to have corrupted MSNBC’s mathematical reasoning and created a new system of arithmetic. The cable news network has repeatedly made on-air and online mistakes about Sanders’ polling and other numbers—always to his detriment, and never with any official correction.
Here are some new rules MSNBC seems to follow when it comes to math and Bernie Sanders.
1. 49 < 48
Result: Sanders goes from second to “fourth” place.
MSNBC made a handy graphic for a poll on July 7 that showed 2020 match-ups against Trump among Democratic voters. The list was in descending order of candidates’ polling numbers—except for Bernie Sanders, whose name is placed under Warren’s and Harris’s, though he polls higher than both of them. (If the list is ordered by the margin between the candidate and Trump, Sanders would be in third place, behind Harris.)
Lest you think this was an isolated incident, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki placed Sanders’ name below Warren’s on July 15, when he was “reporting” on a poll put out by the Washington Post and NBC (MSNBC’s parent company.) Once again, the order of the names is descending by poll numbers—except for Bernie Sanders’, which is, once again, placed below where it should be. This time, Sanders is placed below Warren, though he polls higher than she does (both in the percentage who say they would vote for each candidate and the spread over Trump). This same order is used in the online story’s headline (7/14/19), which says, “Trump Trails Biden, Warren and Sanders in New NBC News/Wall Stree Journal Poll.”
3. +5 = -5.
Result: Sanders “loses” ten points.
Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd (5/24/19) showed a graphic claiming that Sanders had gone down 5 points in a Quinnipiac poll. Todd got the absolute value right, he just got the value sign wrong: Sanders didn’t go down by 5 in the poll, he went up by 5 — a 10-point difference. ...
Read full report at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR.org)