Media Delegate Counts – Biased, Misleading, or Incorrect? Who Do We Believe?

April 12, 2016 |
By Sadiq Samani

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Since the beginning of the Democratic primary Americans have been noticing the misleading delegate counts reported by the media. Mainly, superdelegates are being included in total counts creating a perception for their readers that Hillary Clinton is decimating Bernie Sanders, which is untrue. Even worse, some news outlets, like CBS News, aren’t mentioning that there is a separation between superdelegates and delegates. They are only showing the total for the combination of the two, without any fine print, making it seem like Hillary is close to winning the nomination. This narrative is completely inaccurate and misleading. Counting superdelegates is purely speculative because those votes won’t be cast until the Democratic National Convention which starts July 25th, three months from now. Until then superdelegates are allowed to change their “vote” any time they want. It’s like assuming a girl I matched with on Tinder has already fucked me.

My friend, discovered that most media outlets are misleading the public or their data is unreliable. Check out his research:

The truth is, most media get their sources from either AP or Green Papers, and Hillary is merely leading by 219 (Green Papers) or 251 (AP) delegates based on either source. However, many of these sites, like The Economist, are showing a 689 delegate lead, which is 314% or 274% more than the actual count.

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Over the last couple of weeks we’ve also noticed that the data fluctuates day to day, which would be understandable if it wasn’t for the inaccuracies. I’m not sure if they are doing this because of their bias, or they are completely incompetent. How are we supposed to trust any of these organizations when they can’t even get simple math right? Surprisingly, the only site that we’ve found to be accurate and not misleading is The New York Times. Notice how they show the true delegate counts and then in fine print they describe the superdelegate process. The New York Times may have endorsed Hillary, but at least when it comes to the delegate counts, they are doing their job.

On the GOP side the data has been fairly accurate on most sites. However, recently, the inclusion of unbound delegates because Colorado didn’t hold a GOP caucus, have become the GOP’s version of superdelegates. Media is now giving the appearance that Cruz is a lot closer in the delegate count compared to Trump, even though these unbound delegates won’t come into play until the convention. I may not be a Trump supporter, but this is not Democracy. At the very best it’s a failure of the balance of powers.

The national media is supposed to be an unbiased source for news, not an extension of the two-party system. However, it seems more and more likely that their methods are a disservice to the American public, and are helping tip the scales for the establishment candidates.

Research Feedback From Unnamed Friend

Tracking the delegate trackers: Fox News democratic delegate chart more accurate than MSNBC, PBS and The Economist (really)

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News outlets are showing different delegate totals. Many are inaccurate because they’re showing projected (speculative) totals as if they were actual totals. Democratic superdelegates are not pledged until July 28, 2016. Unbound Republican delegates are not bound until July 21, 2016.

Delegate trackers are hard to compare because they are always in flux. They change almost daily, sometimes multiple times in a day.

Here are some hard numbers>>

• “Unreliable” means only speculative totals shown, no actuals.

• “Misleading” means speculative totals are shown as main headlines, but actuals shown in fine print.

• “Visual bias” means actual numbers are shown, but the visual chart alludes to the speculative total.

• “Accurate” means mostly accurate actual numbers are shown.

The New York Times is the only news outlet that shows the true, unadulterated delegate counts on both the Democratic side and the Republican side.

Washington Post is the only news outlet that differentiates between bound and unbound delegates on the Republican side.

On the Republican side, most news outlets show totals within a few percent of each other, however there are some interesting discrepancies. (See the spreadsheet for the Republican info). Most include the unbound delegates for Ted Cruz.

ABC News shows a true Democratic count, however its chart is intentionally made to make it look like Clinton has a larger lead than she really does.

Associated PressBBCFox NewsHuffington PostNPRWall Street JournalWashington Post and CNN all have varying degrees of presentation bias, but at least they show mostly real numbers in there (somewhere).

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CBS NewsBloombergPoliticoUSA Today and NBC News/MSNBC are surprisingly misleading. to the point of being unreliable.

And the biggest surprise — PBS and The Economist have the most misleading Democratic delegate counts, with no actual totals and intentionally misleading visuals. The Economist is a particularly noteworthy offender, for two reasons. One, they left the page without any updates for five full days, which omitted Wyoming and Colorado (a screenshot of the April 11 chart is in the Imgur album, along with the April 12 chart). Two, there’s no logical explanation as to why they included superdelegates on the Democratic side, but went with the accurate unbound delegates on the Republican side.

Have you noticed these inaccuracies? Have any data to share with others? Comment below.

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