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By his own admission, John Zogby's push-poll of 512 Obama voters yielded one of the biggest responses he's ever seen.  But for some reason, he doesn't want to repeat the experience.

John Ziegler, failed radio personality and full-time conspiracy theorist, offered to pay for an analogous test of McCain voters, but Zogby declined.

As they say, "heh."

Intro

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Ziegler's "poll" was a quiz, asking participants what they knew about common Republican disinformation about Obama and various other oppo-research material, the kind of stuff that doesn't interest people who aren't political junkies and/or your Republican grandfather with an AOL account.  That's the story over at Sore Loser Central, where Obama won because black people are stupid, rather than the whole country being just plain sick of Republicans.  Take it away, dummkopflegende:

57.4% could NOT correctly say which party controls congress (50/50 shot just by guessing)
And the baseline for public knowledge is ... ?  Not available from Ziegler, anyway.
71.8% could NOT correctly say Joe Biden quit a previous campaign because of plagiarism (25% chance by guessing)
Were there any other -sixteen- twenty-year old news stories in the quiz?  No?  Why not?
82.6% could NOT correctly say that Barack Obama won his first election by getting opponents kicked off the ballot (25% chance by guessing)
Except that he didn't, because he had no authority to do so.  Might explain it.
88.4% could NOT correctly say that Obama said his policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry and make energy rates skyrocket (25% chance by guessing)
Yes, "bankrupt" them ... unless they used clean coal, because if not they'd price in the negative externalities.
56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing)
Except that that wasn't the "start" of his political career.
So, John Ziegler has proved that most of the people who voted for Obama hadn't wasted any time with right-wing bullshit.  Science is forever in his debt.  But the last thing Zogby wants to see is a similar study of McCain voters' familiarity with AM radio bullshit, because their adherence to it would draw more attention to the episode AND remind the US that the Republican voting bloc has been reduced to the Axis of Cletus.

Here's John Zogby, in his own words:

“I am happy to do a poll of both Obama voters and McCain voters, with questions that I formulated and sponsored either by an objective third party or by someone on the left, in tandem with a John Ziegler on the right — but poll questions that have my signature,” Zogby said.

“I believe there was value in the poll we did,” Zogby added. “I also believe it was not our finest hour. This slipped through the cracks. It came out critical only of Obama voters.”

Emphasis mine.  Admission Zogby's.  Psychosis?  Ziegler's:
"I am shocked by John's statement that he would do another poll but not an exact duplication. What is the point of that? Not their finest hour? This a was great poll. This didn't fall through any 'cracks,' they just got scared ... The point of the poll was for my documentary on the media's impact on voter knowledge."
and furtherwhore:
“I’m outraged. I find this amazing. There was nothing wrong with the original poll. I’m the exact same person I was last week. The left-wing blogosphere basically demanded this.”
He's shocked, he's outraged, he's a lying righting sack of shit, he was captain of his college golf team, he blew a career as a TV sportscaster thirteen years ago with O. J. jokes, then lost a job in radio by spelling out the N-word -- ON AIR -- and then lost a job in radio AGAIN speculating -- ON AIR -- about the pubic hair of the girl who dumped his ass.

What a fucking freak.

Oh, I'm sorry.  Did I say that out loud?   Unfortunately, Ziegler's got a similar problem:

NATE SILVER: What did Zogby charge you -- what did you pay for this survey?
JOHN ZIEGLER: I'm not going to tell you that, I'm not a fucking idiot.

...

NATE SILVER: Who paid for it?
JOHN ZIEGLER: You think I'm going to tell you that? When you've already shown yourself to be the enemy?

...

NATE SILVER: What is Barack Obama’s religion?
JOHN ZIEGLER: You'll have to ask him. But I do know that he never claimed to be a Christian until he met Reverend Wright. And I do believe -- and I’ve never held this against him -- that it would have been highly unlikely for him not to have been registered as a Muslim as a child in Indonsesia but who cares. He did change his website based on that reality –- he was far more ambiguous about that issue on Fight The Smears. I’m an agnostic so I couldn't care less what his religion is. I just care that he lied about it.

...

NATE SILVER: Would you consider Obama a Christian?
JOHN ZIEGLER: You'd have to ask him. There was never any evidence that he was a Christian until he decided to join the church of a racist hate-monger for political purposes.

NATE SILVER: Would you not believe Barack Obama if he told you he was a Christian?
JOHN ZIEGLER: Does he believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God who died and was raised from the dead later?

NATE SILVER: Do you think he’s a believer in Jesus Christ?
JOHN ZIEGLER: I have no way of knowing that. I don't think there's any evidence that he is, either.

...

NATE SILVER: Would you consider yourself well-informed
JOHN ZIEGLER: I’d consider myself extremely well-informed.

NATE SILVER: Who are the two senators from South Dakota
JOHN ZIEGLER: Thune and, uh, Johnson.

NATE SILVER: Very good. South Carolina?
JOHN ZIEGLER: Go fuck yourself. I'm done with this interview if you're going to ask me stupid questions like that. Obviously I know who Lindsay Graham is.

NATE SILVER: Well, since you’re running a website calling people misinformed, I’d like to see if -- there are certain things you’ve said that I would consider misinformed.
JOHN ZIEGLER: Misinformed? You're a piece of work! You are never going to have the guts to post a representative transcript on your website! I thought you actually ran a legitimate website!

NATE SILVER: Thank you, have a good day.
JOHN ZIEGLER: Go fuck yourself.

Does John Ziegler have tourette's syndrome all the time, or just when he's caught asking "have you stopped beating your wife?" and pretending it's SCIENCE! ?

Today, Silver is back, asking if right-wing radio killed conservatism.  I think that's a nice, antiseptic way to put it.  I think the problem conservatism now faces in this country is that guys like John Ziegler are the face of conservatism:  some white, male, baby-boomer asshole who expects the world to hail the accomplishments he's never worked for or achieved.  When your published works are limited to a book on free speech, which you only wrote after lampooning your ex's cooch on live radio, you have a depth problem.  

Recently, I was reviewing the reviews for Tom Friedman's The World is Flat, because I was alarmed to find that it's being ... taught in schools.  There are two passages that spring to mind to describe the archetypal white, male, baby-boomer asshole epitomized by John Ziegler and Tom Friedman.  

We'll call this social type "Mike," because guys that age are mostly named either "Mike" or "Steve," for some reason.  

Here's The Guardian:  

In her introduction to Graham Greene's The Quiet American, Zadie Smith says of Alden Pyle, the American of the title: "His worldly innocence is a kind of fundamentalism." She goes on: "Reading the novel again reinforced my fear of all the Pyles around the world. They do not mean to hurt us, but they do."

Greene has Pyle travelling with books such as The Role of the West and The Challenge to Democracy. A modern-day Greene could substitute the works of the real-life Thomas Friedman - a contemporary quiet American. Like Pyle, Friedman is "impregnably armed by his good intentions and his ignorance". In The World Is Flat Friedman has produced an epyllion to the glories of globalisation with only three flaws: the writing style is prolix, the author is monumentally self-obsessed, and its content has the depth of a puddle.

And here's Matt Taibbi:  
On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horses[]t. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans. Man flies on planes, observes the wonders of capitalism, says we're not in Kansas anymore. (He actually says we're not in Kansas anymore.) That's the whole plot right there. If the underlying message is all that interests you, read no further, because that's all there is.

It's impossible to divorce The World Is Flat from its rhetorical approach. It's not for nothing that Thomas Friedman is called "the most important columnist in America today." That it's Friedman's own colleague at the New York Times (Walter Russell Mead) calling him this, on the back of Friedman's own book, is immaterial. Friedman is an important American. He is the perfect symbol of our culture of emboldened stupidity. Like George Bush, he's in the reality-making business. In the new flat world, argument is no longer a two-way street for people like the president and the country's most important columnist. You no longer have to worry about actually convincing anyone; the process ends when you make the case.

Things are true because you say they are. The only thing that matters is how sure you sound when you say it. In politics, this allows America to invade a castrated Iraq in self-defense. In the intellectual world, Friedman is now probing the outer limits of this trick's potential, and it's absolutely perfect, a stroke of genius, that he's choosing to argue that the world is flat. The only thing that would have been better would be if he had chosen to argue that the moon was made of cheese.

That's Mike.  Everyone's sick of Mike.  Everyone's had to work with a Mike ... or three.  All the girls have broken up with a Mike.  Everyone's sick of Mike's insecurities and their paradoxical relationship with his certainty that the world may now suck his dick.  The young people don't get Mike, and don't see why they should bother.  Oh, and Mike?  He's getting old.  Pretty soon, he'll all be gone.  
.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Grand Moff Texan on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:21 PM PST.

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