MSNBC and the White House Show How Not To Handle Bulls**t Poll Numbers

On Wednesday, we explained why a Quinnipiac poll that deemed President Obama the Worst President Since World War II was five kinds of complete horseshit, and why cable news giant CNN were assholes for reporting so credulously on it, but as it turns out, someone at MSNBC missed the memo that they’re supposed to be in the tank for Obama. On Wednesday night’s Hardball, fill-in host Steve Kornacki scored an interview with White House Communications Director Jennifer Palimieri, and used it to push the “Worst President” poll like he was its daddy.

Kornacki began the interview by saying, “Jennifer, let’s start with that poll,” and then proceeded to middle with that poll, and end with that poll, spending the entirety of the interview pushing Palmieri for a response to said bullshit poll, even after she opened the festivities with a bowl of lightly-dressed verbal arugula that clearly showed these were not the ‘droids Kornacki was looking for. Asked for the White House’s reaction to the poll, Palmieri said, “I think you can take numbers and polls and do interesting analysis and charts that would say all sorts of things.”

As Kornacki continued his Javert-esque pursuit, Palmieri’s answers became ever more stumbling variations on “We don’t live by polls,” all of which was punctuated by the extremely loud wailing of police and fire sirens near the White House, giving the interview the surreal quality of a crunk video having sex with an episode of The West Wing.

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Steve, I’m not saying you conducted the Worst Interview With a White House Official Since World War II, but you’ve got the mouthpiece for the leader of the free world on your show. Try to mix it up a little. I can see taking one shot at it, maybe even two if you’re completely unaware that the poll you’re asking about is total bullshit, but with all of the huge news out just from the past week, this was an inexcusable waste of time.

Notwithstanding Kornacki’s infatuation with that poll (which Mother Jones‘ David Corn destroyed five seconds after Kornacki finished with Palmieri), the White House response to this poll was utter nonsense. I asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about that poll yesterday morning, and he didn’t want to talk about it, but he also obviously didn’t prepare Palmieri to be asked about it.  The idea that you don’t govern by polls is the same false choice answer that George W. Bush used to give, and if that’s the end of your answer, all you’re telling people is that you don’t care what they think. Of course, you don’t govern by polls, but that doesn’t mean you completely ignore them either.

This Quinnipiac poll is meaningless for all the reasons we’v said here, and more, but if you’re the White House, you need to either deliver that message, or come up with a more palatable one on your own. The President has been very effectively making the case that the American people’s dissatisfaction is rooted in the Republicans’ deranged insistence on doing nothing, and if this poll is indicative of anything, it’s that that deranged opposition will be rewarded.

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  • Truth Hertz

    “verbal arugula…”

    Fantastic!

  • Mike Gesing

    I channel surfed into this and stopped. God I wish I hadn’t – it was a train wreck.

  • Jason E

    This poll is a security blanket for old white cranks.

    • Sharon Raine

      Are you serious? That comment is as out there as the poll for Obama haters! There are many, many as you would call them “old white cranks” who support our president with a vengeance! They know who is looking out for them! Haters come in all shapes and sizes! Don’t blame your elders! Nor mine!