It would appear that the media has almost unanimously declared Hillary Clinton the winner of last night’s debate. Hamilton Nolan over at Gawker is calling bullshit on this assertion.
Because as far as the data goes, it looks fairly clear Bernie Sanders “won” (whatever that actually means):
Where is all of this evidence that Hillary Clinton “won” the debate last night? It is.. nowhere, as far as I can tell. The only real sort of evidence that a candidate won or lost a debate would be a bunch of statistically significant quality polls showing clear, strong voter sentiment that a single candidate “won.” Is that what the mainstream media is touting here? No. Not even numbers factory Vox could come up with a single such poll in their debate explainer. There were several large online polls, which are a fairly degraded form of data that can end up measuring enthusiasm of a candidate’s base more than actual total voter preference. But to the extent those online polls have any value, Bernie Sanders won 68% in the MSNBC.com poll; Bernie Sanders won 55% in the Daily Kos poll; Bernie Sanders won 54% in the Time.com poll; and Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly won CNN’s own Facebook poll, not that you would know it from what the pundits were saying on CNN itself. CNN’s own focus group also said that Bernie Sanders won, and Fusion’s focus group said that Bernie Sanders won, and Fox News’ focus group said that Bernie Sanders won.
Not that any of that should stop the political media from credulously buying into the stated opinions of political operatives.
This really does underline the pathological behavior of the establishment media – which essentially operates as a mass propaganda transmitter for conventional wisdom. The narrative projected by the purveyors of conventional wisdom goes something like this:
During elections, there will be an outsider who threatens the establishment. This candidate will surge in the polls by appealing to those fed up with the political system, but their policies are unrealistic and fanciful so cannot be taken seriously. Over time, the establishment candidate will restore order to the mania created by the outsider candidate, and politics will go back to normal.
In this election, Bernie Sanders is the outsider candidate and Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate, and THEY MUST ADHERE TO THE NARRATIVE. Otherwise reality as projected by the mainstream media is false, and those professing to be experts are in fact talking out of their asses.
Bernie Sanders objectively won the debate if you go by the actual data. But the media has decided this is not possible, and therefore Hillary Clinton has.
So get used to it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.