Pundit Projection Syndrome

The affliction that causes national political commentators to project their own perceptions onto the public– let’s call it Pundit Projection Syndrome–is affecting David Gregory’s ability to come to grips with the fact that the public just wasn’t as into John McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s debate performances as he was. Last night on his MSNBC show, Race for the White House With David Gregory (10/6/08), the anchor demonstrated his confusion in a discussion with liberal-leaning pundit Laurence O’Donnell:

GREGORY: Yes. Lawrence, let me show you another number here, which pertains to the debates in particular. Which ticket is doing better in these debates, Obama/Biden 50 percent, McCain/Palin 29 percent. What surprises me about that is that I think both of these debates have highlighted pretty strong performances by both McCain and Palin. You can argue who won on points, certainly. But in both of those debates, they were strong performances. This polling doesn’t bear that out at all.

Luckily, O’Donnell was able to talk Gregory down by injecting some needed reality:

There’s no polling that bears that out, David. The polling we had that night from CBS and from CNN all indicated that Biden had a very big win, like giant margins over Sarah Palin, and that Obama, to all of our surprise, had a very significant win over McCain on the foreign policy debate, which was supposed to be the McCain winning debate issue.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.