Does being proven right give someone credibility in the eyes of the corporate press? If so, then Mark Weisbrot, David Rosnick and Erik Sperling should soon become three of the corporate media’s most widely cited sources on Venezuela – at the very least before any elections.
Venezuelan writer, Francisco Toro, was given a platform by the Guardian and New York Times to grossly exaggerate the likelyhood of a Capriles victory. Now he blasts the polling company, Consultores 21, in this blog post for raising his hopes.
However, days before the October 7 election that so bitterly disappointed Toro, Erik Serking evaluated the record of Consultores 21. Sperling noted that
Consultores 21 is "respected," "reputable," and "well-regarded," according to the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, and Washington Post, respectively. Capriles himself has said "personally, I believe in Consultores. I’ve been looking at Consultores’ polls for many years."
After going over the terrible record the company has established in previous elections, Sperling concluded
The continued existence of Consultores 21, despite their consistent lack of any semblance of accuracy, demonstrates its purpose as a mere campaign tool for opponents of Chavez. News organizations should be able to uncover and identify this type of blatant bias,…
Mark Weisbrot’s colleague at CEPR, David Rosnick, went even further than Sperling. In order to factor out bias in the polls, he did a mathematical analysis of the polls based on the record of various pollsters (including Consultores 21) in previous elections. Based on his analysis, he estimated that Chavez’s margin of victory would be 13.7 points. Chavez won by 11 points.
Unfortunately, the international corporate media is essentially a “de-meritocracy” – as are corporations in general. Competence and honesty do not correlate well with success. In the absence of a major revolt among readers and viewers, the corporate media will not be significantly reformed or, better still, replaced.