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Archive for October 28th, 2012

Thumbs On The Scale, Minnesota Division: Big Media Want Close Race So They Can Sell Political Ads

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2012

Two polls on the presidential race in Minnesota came out this weekend. One, the Saint Cloud State poll, has methodologies that are as good as it gets, and it has Obama up by 8 in the North Star State:

But unlike many of the voter surveys sparking headlines recently, this one used gold-standard methodologies and appears to be quirk-free. Indeed, its principal investigators, political science professors Steve Wagner and Stephen Frank, have released a 25-page document [PDF] describing — in excruciating detail — how the numbers were obtained.

The important bits: The survey used a sample that was balanced on multiple levels. Forty percent of the numbers were for cell phones, the same percentage as Minnesota households without landlines. Live interviewers — trained students working under close supervision — alternately asked to speak with men and women and the oldest and youngest adult in the households that were called.

The other one, done for the StarTribune by the Mason-Dixon firm (which Nate Silver has noted skewed to the right in both 2008 and 2012), has Obama up by 3.

Guess which one local Minnesota GOP operative and Brodkorb buddy Ben “Artful Dodger” Golnik is touting? (Oh, and if anyone has bought into the local GOP’s constant yammerings that the Strib is historically liberal, check this out.)

But besides the political-leanings angle, the profit angle is also to be considered. With Google coming very close to (if not actually) destroying the Fourth Estate through sucking up ad and other revenues that traditionally went to traditional media outlets, political ads are more important than ever for Big Media’s survival. And you don’t get ads if the race isn’t close.

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Facebook Shows How To Hose Groups Organizing On No Budget

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2012

From FDL’s Jane Hamsher, we hear of this:

Facebook quietly introduced a new “Promoted Posts” feature that forces you to pay money to reach upwards of 80% of your friends and fans, effectively censoring you by limiting the prominence of your posts if you pay nothing. Users are asked to pay around $7.00 to have posts appear to friends and fans as they once did, and larger pages like ours, with roughly 2 million fans, are required to pay a jaw-dropping $4,000 per post to reach our full audience.

If Facebook keeps this up, your timeline may soon be dominated by only major corporations willing to spend the cash. Sign our petition calling on Facebook to keep the social network truly free and change their Pay-to-Promote policy that unfairly limits users speech.

Sign the petition to keep Facebook free: end posting fees that unfairly limit the speech of individuals and small groups!

Click here to sign: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/facebook-ptp

As Jane notes, the very social movements touted as “Facebook rebellions” — the Tunisia revolt for one — would not have been possible had this policy been in effect at the time the activists involved were using Facebook to mobilize support.

This is sadly reminiscent of how the Post Office — allegedly under pressure from large magazine empires seeking to kill off less-well-funded competition — jacked up the rates paid by magazine publishers, a move that seriously threatens the viability of periodicals like The Nation.

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