After Mitt Romney's dominating debate performance over President Barack Obama propelled the Republican ticket to leads in national and swing state polls, the mainstream media is trying desperately to find a way to ignore the reality on the ground.
And on Sunday, the mainstream media--and Reuters, in particular--may have reached a new low by legitimizing a semi-scientific online poll with a whopping 10% margin of error that found Obama leading Romney by 28 points (59%-31%) among early voters.
The poll has been splashed across the front page of websites like The Huffington Post, and has become a convenient way for the mainstream media to try to claim that Romney's lead over Obama, which has been stable for the better part of a week, does not matter because Obama has banked enough early votes to give him insurance against any lead Romney may have in the polls.
The poll is atrocious for many reasons. First, the poll apparently only surveyed a grand total of 11 13 voters from Ohio and 19 22 from Florida, two states that may be the most critical in determining the election.
Second, instead of actually looking at the number of absentee ballots returned or early votes cast in the various swing states to obtain hard data, Reuters decided to conduct an online poll.
Mainstream organizations never report on "online" polls such as those done by Zogby Interactive. They usually ridicule, at worst, and caution, at best, polling outfits that do not even call cell phones.
But, of course, the mainstream media conveniently make an exception when one of these semi-scientific online polls helps Obama during a period in which he desperately needs it.
In recent days, mainstream polling organizations that the media consider gold standards--such as Pew Research and Gallup--have shown Romney with leads ranging from two to four points. Even Reuters/Ipsos's own daily tracking poll for Friday had Romney leading Obama nationally by one point.
With these numbers, the mainstream media does not have a national poll it can cite to help Obama, so Obama's media supporters are seizing on the Reuters result to help Obama's flailing campaign.
Reuters should be ashamed for trumpeting such a poll, but mainstream organizations who are hypocritically reporting on and legitimizing a poll they would have otherwise ignored are even more shameful.