MSNBC’s War On Accurate Graphics

MSNBC's War On Accurate Graphics

MSNBC is widely considered to be the the most left-leaning cable news outlet in the United States. One Washington Post writer referred to MSNBC as the “face of the Resistance.”

However, it’ll be challenging for MSNBC to resist Donald Trump’s declarations of “fake news” if the network doesn’t figure out how to make accurate graphics. I’ve been attempting to keep track of MSNBC’s frequent errors, and I’ve listed some of them in this article.

As you look at the graphics below, notice that every error related to Bernie Sanders is to his detriment. Isn’t it odd that an MSNBC error never benefits Bernie Sanders? Similarly, Kamala Harris has been portrayed negatively on more than one occasion due to these errors.

The Graphic: Second Quarter 2019 Fundraising Numbers

q2 fundraising

Errors:

  • Bernie Sanders raised $18 million in Q2. MSNBC was off by $6.2 million.
  • Kamala Harris raised nearly $12 million in Q2. MSNBC was off by about $7.5 million. MSNBC also used a comma instead of a decimal point for some reason.
  • Cory Booker raised $4.5 million in Q2. MSNBC was off by $600,000.
  • Minor nitpick: There’s absolutely no consistency in the alignment of the numbers. Some are centered, some are aligned to the left, and many aren’t horizontally centered.

It’s pretty easy to see what happened here. Whoever created the graphic gave Harris’s numbers to Sanders, Booker’s numbers to Harris, and Klobuchar’s numbers to Booker. Whoops!

The Graphic: April Monmouth University Poll Results

monmouth university non white voters

Error:

  • According to this poll, only 25% of non-white voters said they supported Biden.

By misreporting the numbers, MSNBC viewers would be led to believe that Former Vice President Joe Biden had the most support among non-white voters surveyed in this poll. If you look at the crosstabs of this poll, you’ll find that Bernie Sanders received the most support among non-white voters.

This graphic is also slightly misleading because Don’t Know (21%), Kamala Harris (11%), Beto O’Rourke (5%), and Cory Booker (3%) had more non-white support than Pete Buttigieg.

monmouth edu crosstabs april

The Graphic: May Quinnipiac Poll Results

may quinnipiac poll

Error:

  • Bernie Sanders was +5 in this poll, not -5 (11% -> 16%).

You can quickly confirm this for yourself by visiting Real Clear Politics and comparing Quinnipiac poll results from 4/26 – 4/29 to Quinnipiac poll results from 5/16 – 5/20.

The Graphic: July CNN/UNH New Hampshire Poll Results

CNN UNH july 2019
“Campaign Adviser On Sanders Being In Third In New NH Poll”

Errors:

  • Warren and Sanders are tied at 19% in this poll. Here are the full results.
  • The margin of error is 5.8%. Even if a small number of respondents said they prefer Warren, the two candidates would be statistically tied.

MSNBC must know that Warren and Sanders are tied in this poll, considering they aired two separate graphics accurately representing the results.

new hamshire results msnbc

The Graphic: June UC Berkeley Poll Results

june uc berkeley poll

Error:

The Graphic: June Change Research Poll Results

june change research sc

Error:

The Graphic: Post-Debate Morning Consult Poll Results

post debate morning consult july

The Errors:

  • 6% of respondents, not 3%, said they support Pete Buttigieg in this poll.
  • If Pete Buttigieg had dropped from 6% to 3%, the third column should’ve said -3.
  • The resulting error led MSNBC to place Pete Buttigieg below Cory Booker in a poll showing Buttigieg has twice as much support as Booker. Whoops!

In Summary

Is it too much to ask of a major news organization to double-check the data they put in their graphics? These errors are easy to spot and could be easily fixed.

Did I miss something? Leave me a comment down below if there’s a graphic that needs to be added!

7 Comments

  1. There’s also the segment Maddow did on how Sanders has the least amount of women donating bc she was using Open Secrets as her source, and they can only count donations above $200.

    A bunch of people tagged Open Secrets online, and they didn’t exactly apologize but made it clear that yes, they their stats don’t include contributions below $200. No retraction or apology.

    We need to do something bc the errors keep piling up. Why doesn’t Bernie make a video about this if his campaign is unable to contact the press?

  2. Biden is considered a neoliberal. Sanders is considered a socialist. Someone in their hierarchy doesn’t like socialism. The neoliberalist wants the left vote but don’t want the left’s policies.

    • Comcast owns MSNBC. Their CEO held a big fundraiser for Biden right as he was getting into the race. This is why they are misrepresenting the numbers.

  3. This is SO disheartening and it really makes me mad! This is the same old crap they’re doing to Bernie as they did in the last election. I am SO disappointed in MSNBC. I used to think they represented me. Obviously, they don’t. It’s so pathetic that they feel they have to lie about the facts in the name of kissing up to the corporate.

  4. i don’t know how consider MSNBC to still be the most left. they lost that claim to fame when they fired Ed Schultz for covering Bernie Sanders. Since they started championing Russiagate they have become Neoliberal Central. they are using the same tactics they used in 2016 to discredit or ignore candidates and manipulate data.

  5. I also saw a graphic where the numbers were something like Biden 32%, Sanders 23%, Warren 19%, Harris 16%, but it was laid out
    Biden 32%
    Warren 19%
    Sanders 23%

    ???

  6. Any one who expects truth from the corporate media has not been paying attention. The talking heads shill for the corporate oligopoly because truth means less to them than their next paycheck. Until we break up the six corporations that control the flow of information in this country we need not expect any truthful news.

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