Here's another good example of garden-path journalism -- writers being led up the garden path by something they'd desperately like to be true, even if all the available evidence suggests that there is no there there:
This could be huge for Santorum. I’m guessing people in Iowa like what he says, but needed permission to support him in the form of some assurance that their votes wouldn’t be wasted. If he’s trending upwards in the polls, they get that permission.
OK, it's the National Review shilling for a hard-right candidate, but this isn't a fault of partisanship. NR is doing what journalism does: hammering the data into a story line it wants to see, rather than asking the data what the story should look like. That's not a partisan issue, but it is an ideological one. We won't fix it by demanding that National Review* stop inflating the appeal of repellent sleazeballs; we can begin to address it if we ask our news organizations to stick with the numbers and treat the campaign "story line" as the cultural fiction that it is.
To assess all that, let's have a look at how and under what conditions some (otherwise rational) news organization might want to claim that "Santorum jumps to third." On to some recent polling results, for which we'll draw on the data kept at RealClearPolitics.
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Labels: clues, politics, polls