M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘politics

The Reader’s Guide to Journalists (Cont’d)

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Rule No. 42: Any lobbying group with a phone number is “influential.” If it has a letterhead, it is “powerful.”

Read all the rules.

Written by Alex

March 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

Can you scientifically quantify social media opinion?

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Over at NBCNews.com, we’ve started publishing daily charts tracking what people are saying about the presidential and vice presidential candidates on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s today’s for the weekend (click here for the full-size version):

Full social media chart Aug 26 2012

In my analysis, I write:

In recent weeks, Obama has generally led Romney by two to seven percentage points in national polls, which carefully select their samples to reflect Americans most engaged in the election and registered to vote.

The picture is different among Americans who have gone online to talk about the election, however — NBCPolitics.com’s analysis indicates that that narrower but more diverse sample of the country prefers Romney by 36 percent to 32 percent overall and by 51 percent to 49 percent when they’re compared head to head:

'Intent to vote' sentiment Aug 26 2012

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Development of a story idea: Rooting for the home team? There’s a PAC for that

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Over at msnbc.com, where I hang my professional hat, I have a piece today examining the intersection of big-time sports and political activism in Washington:

If you’re among the many Americans who believe lobbyists are part of what’s wrong with this country, you should know this: If you’ve ever gone to a football, baseball, basketball or hockey game — or even watched one on TV — you have your own special interest groups pushing your agenda in Washington.

Even Ralph Nader is working for you. …

Leaders of the groups push a number of different agendas — fighting soaring ticket prices, league lockouts and television-rights deals that black out some fans, among others — but they come together on one issue: what they see as the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s exploitation of athletes and fans for profit.

Many believe the answer is to scrap the Bowl Championship Series, which purports to pit the two best college football teams in the country for the national championship, even though its postseason matchups are determined by pollsters and computers, not by on-the-field competition.

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Written by Alex

October 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

Reporting: Romney campaign again puts Mormon faith in spotlight

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Cross-posted from msnbc.com, where it originally appeared

Infobox: Mormons and evangelicals

By Alex Johnson

Four years ago, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took time from his Republican presidential campaign to talk at length about the role of religion in America and in his life.

It is entirely appropriate to ask “questions about an aspiring candidate’s religion,” Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a sober, here’s-what-I-believe address in College Station, Texas, in December 2007.

This time around, the same questions are being asked: Are Mormons really Christians? Should evangelical Christians refuse to even consider voting for them?

But this time, Romney’s response is very different.
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Written by Alex

October 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Reporting: Conservative student group becomes a lightning rod beyond campuses

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Barely three years old, Youth for Western Civilization has attracted a small but fast-growing following with its anti-multicultural, anti-illegal immigration message. It’s also drawn the scrutiny of critics who say it’s white nationalism with a fresh young face. Thanks to its discipline in advocating a small number of simply stated positions and a new-media-savvy communications strategy, YWC may be radically refreshing the template for political organizing in American higher education.

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Biden vs. Biden?

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Did somebody get to Joe Biden?

In an interview Thursday on msnbc TV, the vice president essentially pooh-poohed the WikiLeaks dump of classified State Department cables, saying that at worst, they were “embarrassing”:

“I don’t think there’s any damage,” Biden said. “I don’t think there’s any substantive damage.”

(Here’s the full transcript.)

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Written by Alex

December 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Decision 2010: We voted against Obama, Pelosi, voters say

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For Democrats, Election Day was judgment day, with the jurors standing up and convicting them of guilt by association with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

November 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Decision 2010: Divided Congress on tap as Republicans take House

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Americans who insisted they were tired of partisan divisions elected a divided Congress on Tuesday, giving Republicans control of the House of Representatives but handing Democrats a razor-thin hold on the Senate.

Full story (Alex Johnson/msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

November 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm