On election night, internet pioneer Matt Drudge reportedly told Steve Bannon, who was then executive chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, that the corporate media’s exit polls showing Hillary Clinton beating Trump were wrong.
“Fuck the corporate media,” he reportedly told Bannon, according to Joshua Green’s new book, Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency. “They’ve been wrong on everything. They’ll be wrong on this.”
Green notes that the first exit polls Drudge splashed on his website showed that voters “were deeply dissatisfied and longing for ‘change’” but also did not show Trump winning in any swing state.
“Well, the numbers tell two different stories,” Bannon told Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner when Kushner wondered what the polls meant. “If you believe one set, we’re killing it, it’s a change election, and everything lines up exactly like we thought. But, man, if you believe the other one, we’re getting crushed.”
Green notes that Cambridge Analytica’s digitial “model had picked up a late shift in the electorate toward Trump. But it was only a model. These exit polls were based on thousands of interviews with actual voters, and they were telling a much different story.”
Bannon then reportedly called Drudge for his opinion, and Drudge apparently told him he thought the exit polls would be wrong yet again.
During the 2016 election, Breitbart News wrote extensively about the potential for a “reverse-Bradley effect” because of “social desirability bias.” Trump alluded to Breitbart News’ stories about the potential for a reverse-bradley effect on the stump on numerous occasions.
When it was clear later on election night that Trump would win the White House, a staffer said, “Holy Shit. This is happening.”
“Drudge was right. The corporate media blew it,” Green writes.