Monday, November 14, 2016

Occam's Razor

I'm a firm believer in Occam's Razor.  It states the solution to a problem is usually the most simple and obvious.

I've been listening to, and reading, a lot of complicated explanations for Hillary Clinton's loss last week.  It all, simply, comes down to this:  half the country didn't like her and didn't trust her.  Clinton had high negatives from the day she announced, and it only got worse.  That's it.  That's the list.

I don't remember where I read it, but one pundit said the Democrats nominated the one person who could lose to Donald Trump.

The great Charlie Gibson nailed it at the tail end of ABC's coverage Wednesday morning.  Gibson talked about an overheard conversation in a locker room.  One guy told another he's voting for Trump, in spite of everything he's said, because "He's not one of them."

While I'm at it, enough of calling the Trump win an upset.  Nope.  Not at all.  He was leading all along.  The media and the pollsters had their noses in their data and didn't see it.  That's not an upset.  That's a surprise for the so-called experts.

I'm also kicking myself.

Walmart founder Sam Walton had a concept called MBWA.  "MBWA" signs used to hang in his stores.  It stands for Management By Walking Around.  In other words, Walton wanted his managers out on the floor, not in an office.  If the media walked around more, especially in middle America and the rust belt, they would have seen this coming.

Trump drew 9,000 at a rally in the Pittsburgh area the Sunday night before the election.  Another 3,000 couldn't get in.  People were lined up, at sunrise, in the sub freezing cold in Scranton last Monday morning.  Hillary Clinton needed music and movie stars to help her draw a crowd.  Surrogate Joe Biden's November 6th rally was moved to a closet at Johnson College in Scranton.  As I've written here, I saw Trump signs in areas where I had never seen Republican candidate signs before.  Clinton signs were few and far between.  Trump filled the Wilkes-Barre Township arena-- twice, and there were people who couldn't get in.

Trump spent some of the last hours before the election campaigning in Pennsylvania, a state the experts thought he couldn't win.

This wasn't an upset.  This was bad journalism.

On top of failing to see the signs, a lot of alleged reporters crossed the objectivity line and ventured in to advocacy.

Last week, I put print newspapers in my "losers" column.  There was some excellent reporting ( and a lot of crap) during this cycle.  At the very end, it was just bad luck.  Trump was declared a winner around 3 AM Wednesday, too late to get a paper out on the streets for the morning rush.  By the way, once again, it has been proven that newspaper endorsements mean squat.

Television was not immune.  I saw a lot of bad reporting and un-objective material during the last year.  There was even more election night.  It's happened before.  1968 and 1972 election night coverage is on YouTube.  You can tell many of the anchors hated Nixon.  It doesn't excuse the behavior now, and it was unprofessional.