The Fall of the "American Taliban"

|

Back in February, I wrote the following about this DailyKos/Research 2000 poll, which suggested that every conservative in America thought Obama was a Kenyan communist:

Last week Daily Kos editor Markos Moulitsas told readers that he was "putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic  world." But the liberal Dinesh D'Souza (whose sinister claims about the left's "responsibility" for 9/11 are summarized and rebutted here by George Mason law professor Peter Berkowitz) found himself "making certain claims about Republicans that I didn't know if they could be backed up." Working backwards, Moulitsas set out to prove, via a Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, that self-identified Republicans have much in common with the makeup-wearing, women-beating acolytes of Mullah Omar.

The poll's results obviously do not confirm Moulitsas's rather extreme judgment of rank-and-file Republicans, but are nevertheless alarming. After a quick read of the questions and methodology (areas in which I possess no expertise), I was skeptical.

Now, DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas is admitting that the study was, in his words, "bunk":

I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk.

Since the moment Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman approached me, I took their concerns seriously and cooperated fully with their investigation. I also offered to run the results on Daily Kos provided that they 1) fully documented each claim in detail, 2) got that documentation peer reviewed by disinterested third parties, and 3) gave Research 2000 an opportunity to respond. By the end of last week, they had accomplished the first two items on that list. I held publication of the report until today, because I didn't want to partake in a cliche Friday Bad News Dump. This is serious business, and I wasn't going to bury it over a weekend.

We contracted with Research 2000 to conduct polling and to provide us with the results of their surveys. Based on the report of the statisticians, it's clear that we did not get what we paid for. We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it.

Good for Moulitsas for both allowing an investigation and coming clean when the results were unfavorable to Kos and Research 2000.

NEXT: How Will States Keep Health Insurance Premiums Down If They Can't Order Insurers to Operate at a Loss?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Dude. What happened to “what happens on Journolist, stays on Journolist?”

  2. As long as major figures on the American left are willing to admit to fuck-ups in their inquiries and major figures on the American right aren’t, the left has an advantage.

    (Notice the conditional! I am not affirming the antecedent!)

    1. I guess but it was so obviously wrong that he had no choice to admit it even without the consultants.

  3. Pretty much everything about the “progressive” movement is built on lies. No need to apologize for that, we already know.

  4. Pretty much everything about the “progressive” movement is built on lies. No need to apologize for that, we already know.

  5. Markos probably backed away from such a stinking turd so quickly because even he realized there wasn’t enough Febreeze in the world for people to miss the chunks of corn in it.

    1. No, he did this because he was pissed. He wants accurate polls for a number of reasons-for example, to tell his audience where to target their donations. He’s suing them for fraud-he didn’t get what he paid for and his reputation was damaged as a result.

      1. Yeah, wouldn’t want a guy who runs a virulently anti-semitic website and who has personally cheered the deaths of American citizens to have his “reputation” damaged, now would we? Christ, only the choir that he preaches too thinks the turd that is Moulitsas is reputable in regards to anything in the first place. Furthermore, his ability to sway elections is highly fucking questionable to begin with. Ned Lamont and Bill Halter anyone?

        To rephrase the age old conundrum: If your reputation falls amidst a crowd of toadying sycophants, does anyone else give a shit?

        1. In the above post that should read: …”the crowd he preaches to…”, not “too”.

  6. Pretty much everything about the “progressive” movement is built on lies. No need to apologize for that, we already know.

  7. Not if he’s just come clean about the rest of the surreal nonsense on his site

  8. Hey, Moynihan, here’s a conspiracy theory for you to sink your teeth into:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/int…..ion/58901/

    Wait, you believe in that one, don’t you?

    1. i don’t know what the “conspiracy” is, but anyone who believes that Saddam did not have “some” connection with Al Qaeda, or that he wanted to get nukes and other WMDs is an idiot. Not a reason to go to war necessarily. I believe there are a few other countries that have “connections” to Al Queda, and either have or want to obtain nukes and other WMDs, that we didn’t go to war against. Just saying.

      Having said that, when you do go to war, you should win.

      1. You don’t know what the conspiracy is? Did you RTFA?

        The connection being posited by Lake and Goldberg is supposed to be justification for the war.

      2. Anyway, Moynihan is always going on about how conspiracy theories are the gravest danger to liberty, so I’m giving him a chance to tackle another one.

        1. I read it. I am not a conspiracy theory kind of guy. There was no justification for going to war with Iraq that you couldn’t find just about anywhere, with dozens of other countries. That is obvious. It’s not our worst excuse for going to war. The war with Mexico, maybe our worst, or the Spanish American war, right up there, are some examples. So, let them keep the ball rolling on “reasons” after the fact. However, if you are going to go to war for a fucked up reason, or a good reason, win the fucker.

          1. “There was no justification for going to war with Iraq that you couldn’t find just about anywhere, with dozens of other countries.”

            I’d like to see a list of dozens of other countries who had invaded no fewer than three of their neighbors since 1970. There might be a few, but there sure aren’t dozens.

  9. But the important question is: will I still be able to get my copy of American Taliban in time for Christmas?

  10. George W. Bush lied, so therefore nobody can ever complain when a progressive lies. Ever. Or else that means you love George Bush.

    1. Can’t we hate them both for their lies?

      1. Don’t confuse me.

    2. Hahahahaha, I fucking love it. Your post perfectly sums up the “argument” you see put forth every fucking day by so-called progressives(because fuckers stuck in the 1930s are really forward-thinking) Seriously, if I had a fucking nickel for every time I wrote a post critical of the Obama administration on a political website that was answered with “yeah, but Bush lied and you believed him”, even though the fuckers have no idea how I felt about Bush, I would have enough money to make Bill Gates look like a Depression-era hobo.

  11. Markos can be commended for recognizing a turd sandwich when he sees it, but considering his inability to be consistent about recognizing turd sandwiches that negate whatever progressive issue he’s pushing for this isn’t exactly praiseworthy.

    His site is responsible for so much garbage out there that he would have to essentially shut it down just to BEGIN to stop some of the madness.

  12. But the important question is: will I still be able to get my copy of American Taliban in time for Christmas?

    We still know that 96% of Republicans believe Obama ass-raped that girl in Colorado and made her kiss his shit-streaked Afro-wang, and as Sun Tzu said, “Knowing is half the battle,” and half is 100%, so the search-and-replace job on American Taliban won’t delay its publication.

    CLAP CLAP CLAP

    1. That was Glenn Beck, it was in 1990, and she was already dead.

  13. Admitting that you are wrong doesn’t make up for being wrong. Kos printed this bullshit, what other bullshit has he passed off?

    1. Admitting that you are wrong doesn’t make up for being wrong. Kos printed this bullshit, what other bullshit has he passed off?

      Kos didn’t run the polls. It wasn’t his polling firm. He was a victim of fraud.

      R2K is considered a legit polling firm and used by many local tv stations across the country.

      Markos wasn’t wrong about anything really. He was defrauded plain and simple.

      1. Eh…if he was good at his job he should have known the poll was showing pretty outrages stuff.

        The fact is he was blinded by his hatred of the right and assumed the worse.

        Does this make him satan/hitler? No.

        Does this make him untrustworthy when he comments on conservatives and probably any political group that opposes the left? yes

        1. Eh…if he was good at his job he should have known the poll was showing pretty outrages stuff.

          Because he’s a statistician?

          Did you even read the analysis of how they figured out the polls were BS? Fluffy had a good summary down below. Maybe you should read it before mouthing off about shit you have no idea about.

          The fact is he was blinded by his hatred of the right and assumed the worse.

          What are you talking about? He didn’t “assume” anything. He was given bad data and defrauded. Again, he hired a polling firm to poll races and approval ratings of various politicians, and they fudged their numbers (numbers which weren’t that different than many other national tracking polls) — and you infer that he was “blinded by hatred”? Because he believed these wholly un-spectacular poll numbers?

          Methinks the only one blinded by hatred are the people trying to trash markos for hiring a polling firm that is considered reputable and used by many local media outlets across the country.
          The fact is he was blinded by his hatred of the right and assumed the worse.

          A reputable political pollster seemingly fudged their numbers and kos should have known? Why because the data

          Does this make him untrustworthy when he comments on conservatives and probably any political group that opposes the left? yes

          So being a victim of fraud (about polling) makes one untrustworthy and and makes any commentary they have invalid?

          What kind of BS statements are these.

          So much stupidity packed into one blog post. Well done Mr Corning, Well Done.

          1. Because he’s a statistician?

            Because he is a human being living in the US a county filled with conservatives.

            I knew it was Bullshit because i know more then zero conservatives and they do not think like that. Kos obviously does not know any or the ones he does know he thinks they are some sort of alien monsters.

          2. So being a victim of fraud (about polling) makes one untrustworthy and and makes any commentary they have invalid?

            If he is a sucker then he is a sucker….why should i trust a sucker for getting good reliable information?

            Also your use of the word “fraud” is a little over the top, and by little i mean way over the top. This was not a scam of the Russian mafia, this was an over zealous push poller and Kos bought into it.

          3. Give us a break dickwad. How did everyone else know they were bullshit except for Kos? It is called common fucking sense. I don’t know of anyone, outside of the sycophantic cocksuckers at Daily Kos, who thought those Research 2000 polls were even remotely accurate. Christ, when your polls are that fucking off on every election for which a poll is produced, it doesn’t take long to realize something is up, unless of course you are a fucking idiot.

            Oh, wait, that would explain why you didn’t catch on. My bad.

          4. Seriously, anyone who disputes that Kos is blinded by hatred for the right, you know the same Kos who has a book entitled AMERICAN TALIBAN for fuck sake, is a clueless jackass.

            Christ, when you author a book-length diatribe that likens your political opponents in a democracy to a theocratic group of mass-murderers who happened to also aid and abet the terrorists who perpetrated the largest terrorist attack in US history, I think the question of whether you are bllinded by hatred of the right and are thus easily led by obviously bogus polls has already been answered, don’t you? Of course, if you are as fucking stupid as Chicago Tom, I guess not.

      2. Unless he wasn’t actually defrauded, and wanted a bullshit scandalous report, and didn’t expect someone to call him out on it and follow through. But if he’s actually suing them, I suppose they’ll bring that out in their defense if it’s true.

    2. Exactly. Anyone with an IQ higher than pocket lint knew that the Research 2000 “polls” were complete bullshit.

  14. I love how he can slander 40% of the population and just say “oops” and pretend it didn’t happen. What a dirtbag.

  15. Apropos of nothing….

    Last night, as I was aimlessly working my way through all the television channels available to me, I was treated briefly to the sight of Rachel Maddow citing the Huffington Post as (presumably irrefutable) proof of something or other.

  16. The left is happy to label the right “terrorists”. They are more interested in gaining politically from the stigma of terrorism than in stopping terrorism.

    1. The left is happy to label the right “terrorists”. They are more interested in gaining politically from the stigma of terrorism than in stopping terrorism.

      Thank God the right never does this. NEVER, NOPE. During the Bush years the right NEVER politicized terrorism or accused the anti-war crowd of being terrorist sympathizers

      And they never attack civil libertarians as being objectively pro-criminal either.

      It’s like the years between 2001-2008 never existed.

      Oh and by the way, comparing the right to the Taliban isn’t that bad an analogy. Both of them want to use religion and their perverse version of morality to control the lives of others.

      it stings because it’s fucking true.

      1. And you’ve got the polling data to prove it!

        Hey, how about we just agree now that comparing any American political faction closer to the mainstream than Fred Phelps to the Taliban is a sure sign of hysteria and stupidity.

        1. And you’ve got the polling data to prove it!

          Nope, just public on the record comments from the religious right and the moral values crowd.

        2. Hey, how about we just agree now that comparing any American political faction closer to the mainstream than Fred Phelps to the Taliban is a sure sign of hysteria and stupidity

          Nope. The religious right, the Christian coalition the Fred Phelps’sd and the Tony Perkins’s and the Hugh Hewitt’s are all cut from the same cloth.

          If they don’t like the comparison maybe they should stop making so much noise about how others should lead their lives and preventing things like Plan B and opposing birth control and pre-marital sex etc.

          Fuck all of those moralistic scum.

          1. Yeah, that pretty much proves my point (though what you have against the guy who played Norman Bates in Psycho is beyond me).

            1. Yeah, that pretty much proves my point (though what you have against the guy who played Norman Bates in Psycho is beyond me).

              What point is that exactly? That these religious wackos, who are trying to achieve the same ends as the Taliban and the Chechans shouldn’t be compared to the Taliban and the Chechans?

              You can be an apologist all you want for these moralistic pieces of garbage, but that wont change the fact they are all agitating for the same results. A society religious society based on their own religious beliefs.

              And more than one person has the name Tony Perkins.

              1. “And more than one person has the name Tony Perkins.”

                What a relief!

                Anyway, what makes this line of argument (if I may flatter it) so dim is that, even if these chappies would clap all women in a burqa, they don’t live in a society that tolerates it. And the reason they don’t live in a society that tolerates it… is because a big chunk of the voters consists of exactly the people you want to say would do it if they could… when in fact they could but wouldn’t and haven’t.

                In any case, it isn’t conservatives anywhere in the West who are allowing Muslims to carve out shariah enclaves in our countries and arrange marriages and send their daughters home for clitoridectomies and so on. No, it’s the multicultural left that can stomach that, not the Baptist church at the end of the block.

              2. Anyone claiming there is a segment of the conservative movement in this country that has the same goals as the Taliban is a fucking retard, plain and simple. I simply can’t understand why so many people are being diplomatic in response to your laughably idiotic posts rather than calling you the dimwit asshole you clearly are.

          2. Technically: “Fred Phelpses” and “Tony Perkinses” and “Hugh Hewitts.” But I’m not judging, pluralizing proper names can be tricky.

            1. Technically: “Fred Phelpses” and “Tony Perkinses” and “Hugh Hewitts.” But I’m not judging, pluralizing proper names can be tricky.

              SugarFree,

              Thanks for the correction. I went back and forth between ‘es’ and apostrophes and for some reason the ‘es’ didn’t seem right. Now I know better

        3. True. But I will note that Tony Perkins of the FRC defended* the Ugandan homosexuality death penalty bill on the FRC webpage.

          * Including lying about what the bill purports to do.

  17. Wow dude! That makes a lot of sense!

    Lou

    randomurl.tr.cn

    1. Life is one never ending Ah Ha!

  18. the real lesson is that kos was too stupid to recognize it was obvious bullshit at the time. what else is he too stupid to get?

    1. Basically he will believe anything no matter how vile or ridiculous on its face if it says something bad about his political opponents. You really can’t understate how awful he is. In a different time and place Kos would be out denouncing people to the NKVD. Thank God we live in a time where all he can do (so far) is smell his and others’ farts on a blog.

      1. Pot, kettle, racist.

      2. Confirmation bias. No more, no less, I suspect.

      3. Christ, the fact he cheered the deaths of American citizens in Iraq tells you all you need to fucking know about Kos.

  19. Instead, Markos Moulitsas’ new book will catalog the ways in which modern-day leftists and liberals share the same agenda as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro.

    1. I think Jonah Goldberg already wrote that. And he didn’t even have a polling firm to blame for making that mistake.

      1. Mistake?

        I wish I had a few mistakes like that – it’d be nice to retire at 30.

  20. The amount of posts over there that cite R2K and then draw conclusions should cause a teency weency problem for the credibility of his site. If there was any to begin with.

  21. When did Dinesh D’Souza become a “liberal”? Am I confusing this D’Souza with some other D’Souza who claimed that American conservatives should team up with Muslim conservatives to create a moral world so as to pull the rug out from under the feet of extremists?

    1. Yeah, that confused me as well.

    2. I think he’s calling Markos “the liberal version of Dinesh D’Souza” as opposed to saying D’Souza himself is a liberal.

  22. If you RTFA, it wasn’t the Taliban poll results that tipped them off.

    It was statistical coincidences in the Obama approval rating daily tracking poll that shouldn’t have been possible with real data.

    The article is actually very interesting, if you read the report the math guys produced debunking Research 2000.

    The Obama approval tracking poll doesn’t appear to have been “obvious bullshit at the time”. In fact, it appears that the fraud was probably undertaken by making up plausible-sounding numbers based on trends in other polls.

    The data contain “markers” of the results you get when people are trying to make up random number sets and try to “force” randomness on to their output.

    They didn’t catch these guys because one poll had a bizarre result. They caught them because someone looked at the data of scores of polls and said “These numbers aren’t statistically noisy enough to be real.”

    1. Oh Fluffy…

      How cute, acting like anyone around gives a shit about facts and reality, when it’s easier to just attack and smear.

      KOS LIED AND IS A FRAUD AND JUST MAKES SHIT UP!!!!111!!!!!!ELEVEN

        1. Why so bitter, Tom?

          Mocking the idiots who are distorting reality is “bitter”? Really?

          Look at the comments — everyone is attacking Markos as if he should have somehow magically known that a reputable political pollster was deceiving him (and how many other clients)

          It’s not bitter to point out that certain people are so blinded by their hate of the “the left” that they ignore facts and reality.

          You have a rather odd definition of bitter.

          1. Jim Geraghty expressed doubts about the reality of Kos’s polls a long time ago, based simply on the fact that they seemed to be consistently 10 points off reality in Kos’s favored direction. A well-maintained bullshit detector would have spotted something, if not this mathematical arcana, a long time ago.

          2. Again, everyone but you it seems has known for ages that the Research 2000 polls were complete bullshit. Christ, they stunk so bad, they could have been sniffed out even if they were buried under a pile of manure and used tampons.

            Your pathetic defenses of Moulitsas are going to fall on deaf ears here because the people at this site are not willing to look past his man sins including his praise of the murder of Americans in Iraq, his comparison of his political opponents to mass-murderers (he is writing a fucking book about it), his imputation of racism to any criticism of Obama, the raging anti-semitism he allows on his site etc. etc. etc.

          3. Kos was 1 of 3 things (or some combination therein) to accept the obviously fraudulent R2K polls – self-deluded, deceitful, or very stupid.

      1. Kos does lie & make shit up… I’m not sure that’s worth making news at 11 though.

      2. there’s two different polls people are talking about. There is the tracking poll that isnt obviosuly bunk by one individual poll and then there is the one that he comissioned for his book that is about Republican held views that has some really crazy shit in it that should have been obviously not correct. Stuff like 90 percent of republicans think gay people shouldnt be allowed to teach. You really think its that high?

    2. What’s your point? There’s no way to catch them for the one-off OMG Taliban polls, no matter how strange the results. That doesn’t change the fact that some polls were really crazy and deserved far more skepticism.

      And R2K is only reputable to the extent it exists. Let’s not pretend like a few local news polls make a great resume when there’s no shortage of established polling operations.

  23. the liberal Dinesh D’Souza (whose sinister claims about the left’s “responsibility” for 9/11 are summarized and rebutted here by George Mason law professor Peter Berkowitz)

    This is an aside, but I do think the left does share some responsibility for 9/11. Just not that “cultural” left. It’s more that the Left’s Cold War propaganda about Western Imperialism and capitalist exploitation has informed radical jihadist ideology, inflamed Muslim hatred of America, and incited violence against the West.

    1. Yeah, the argument against that seems to be “Noam Chomsky is always right about terrorists, but how dare you say that the terrorists are right about Chomsky!”

      1. So many prominent Left intellectuals barely conceal their eagerness to incite violence by the world’s “proletariat”. It’s part and parcel of the whole Marxist belief system. They’re SUPPOSED to rise up and overthrow their capitalist opressors.

        It’s why Chomsky said “the guns have finally been turned back on us” after 9/11. Cause the fucking Marxist lefties saw it as the worlds poor FINALLY rising up and rebelling against their Western Capitalist Oppressors.

        1. It takes a genius like Noam Chomsky to see the world’s poor in the first son of the tenth wife of the owner of one of the richest construction companies in the world.

    2. I’d say the right has a more direct role. Considering they armed and trained OBL and the mujahideen.

      1. I’d say the right has a more direct role. Considering they armed and trained OBL and the mujahideen.

        OBL got nothing from the “right” -whatever that means – since the funding was authorized by a Democratically controlled Congress.

        And of course, the mujahideen are not Al-Qaeda (Sayyid Qatb and all that).

        Details are bitches.

      2. Christ, give us a fucking break. They armed those individuals to resist an invasion by a country the left spent the better part of 70 years claiming was a worker’s paradise.

    3. Their multiculti tendencies and/or their general assumption that the average American is two drinks away from lynching any nearby brown or strangely dressed person don’t help — when they straight up refuse to even admit the very obvious likelihood that this or that terrorist was probably a radical Muslim, it makes you wonder whether the same willful denial of politically incorrect facts affects security efforts.

      1. Yet you think the same of me. Last week you asserted that I am a neo-confederate racist and you insinuated that I would support murder by a private actor if race was the motive in the murder.

        I asked you to cite where I had supported a state policy or law based on race.

        I asked you to cite where I had expressed approval of any law, of any state, confederate or otherwise, which mandated life in bondage based upon one’s race.

        I asked you to cite where I expressed support for the proposition that murder, committed upon the basis of race, was okay if perpetrated by a private actor.

        You made an intellectually sloppy assertion which you can not support.

        Recognizing that Lincoln was a mass murdering racist (he supported Illinois black codes) does not make me a neo-confederate racist.

        1. YOu may not have advocated murder based on race, but you certainly seemed to be condoning and outright advocating for the murder of law enforcement officials connected, no matter how tenuously, to the Cory Maye case. That makes you a piece of shit.

          1. Okay slaver. Go ahead and worship the boots of Caesar’s blue collar, poorly educated, cowardly, thuggish murderers.

            1. Hey B, you are not a square shooter.

              Last Friday, June 25, 2010, at 8:34 pm, I asked why haven’t “our brave men and women in uniform” done anything to emancipate Cory Maye-even if it meant “killing LEOS.”

              Do you understand the difference betweeen killing and murdering? The fact that you twisted and contorted what I wrote indicates that you are a rat bastrad who is no friend to freedom. If agents of the state deliberately arrest, prosecute and incarcerate a man falsely after invading the man’s home without his consent, it is not murder to slay any agent of the state who violently attempts to prevent the man’s emancipation.

              OR

              YOUR READING COMPREHENSION SUCKS!

        2. Holocaust deniers who hate Lincoln and Mandela do tend to be pretty racist. It’s people like you that allow the left to brand libertarians racists.

          1. Seems like Heart here may be a Holocaust denier. Seems like he’s okay with Lincoln’s mass murdering ways.

            Defending Lincoln is a sure sign that one is not a friend of liberty. Again, Licoln was a documented, irrefutable racist. He believed that the races should not mix. He also claimed that the white race is superior to the black race.

            Yeah, being criticial of a mass murdering racist is somehow bad for the cause of liberty.

            1. You know, I might have been willing to entertain your views on the great emancipator if you hadn’t expressed neo-nazi views on the Holocaust in a previous H&R thread and later trash talked Mandela. Either go back to Stormfront or at least switch to posting as ‘nazimike’. Stop trying to weigel your way into the libertarian movement.

  24. So does this mean that there won’t be any more polls showing Democrats with a big November advantage? Somehow, Kos/R2000 seem like the only place in the entirety of public polling that is able to find a majority of people who say they are voting Democrat.

    1. Kos will hire a new polling company soon. However, he wants accurate polls, good or bad to his side.

  25. Yeah, but what about people like me who just lie to pollsters? If they asked me if I thought Obama was a Muslim, I would say, “yes, and he worships Xenu too”. In reality, I think he just worships himself.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.