“What’s Going On Here?”: The Rasmussen “Production Error”

What the hell?

In 2016 around this time I took Ethics Alarms to the woodshed for using unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton, like these.

It’s a dirty trick, essentially. Photos capture a split second of life and falsify it by freezing it forever. The news media has been using this tactic against Donald Trump with wild abandon, having essentially given up any pretense of fairness and objectivity. However, the Rasmussen graphic above wasn’t a photograph, and it was employed by the supposedly conservative-leaning polling service. Yet it could have been designed by the Democratic National Committee at its most nasty, portraying the President as a snarling, vicious threat, and Joe Biden as a calm and professional statesman.

Rasmussen was quick with a retraction that raised more questions that it answered:

  • Why did Rasmussen have the snarling Trump graphic at all?
  • What kind of “production error” would cause that?
  • If the company is so careless with its tweets, what else is it careless about?
  • Was a “rogue employee” the culprit? Again, this does not speak well for the company’s management, trustworthiness or culture.
  • Any organization that sends out tweets without a vetting and review process is incompetent. Yes, that includes the White House. Especially the White House.
  • Is Rasmussen really blaming the social media criticism of its botch? Or Trump supporters who have seen enough flagrant anti-Trump bias for a lifetime, and who expressed their anger at this example? The company needs to apologize, not blame the victims of its own system breakdown  ineptitude.

________________________________

Pointer: Althouse

14 thoughts on ““What’s Going On Here?”: The Rasmussen “Production Error”

  1. What’s going on here?

    They don’t like Donald Trump. They’re Never Trumpers, possibly. They let the image get through because they wanted that image to be the one associated with the President. They went too far and now they’re backpedaling telling us that it isn’t what it is.

  2. A poorly or unsupervised woke employee or even an unpaid college student intern. These people are EVERYWHERE. Certainly in every single newsroom of any and all media in the country

    • And in any number of restaurants and stores, too. You’re right, of course. If a cashier can think nothing of refusing service to a police officer or MAGA hat wearer, there are plenty of obnoxious cubicle dwellers who would throw their employers under the bus to send a message.

  3. To be fair though, couldn’t we expect that Trump probably likes having that facial expression(part of his brand) out and about in the media, so much so that if the media did not recycle it he would use it more himself more often?

  4. In 2016 around this time I took Ethics Alarms to the woodshed for using unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton, like these.

    And yet you managed to find an excuse to post them again. Six of them.

    • Because 1) They are still real photos 2) There is no harm in doing so. Hillary’s not running for anything. 3.The issue was that such pictures create bias and are unfair when there is an argument that she has behaved unethically 3) It is necessary to illustrate the point. The photos are used in this case to show the context of the question at hand, not to harm Hillary. The post isn’t about her.

      I must say, its amazing how many awful photos of her are out there.

          • We are each a minority of one. That is one of the things that we discovered long ago. That is why, for so long, we sought to treat people as individuals, not as members of a group. Today, forces are trying to undo that to erase our status and rights as individuals and treat us only as groups. However, the groups subdivide as more criteria are added: hispanic, non-white hispanic, non-white hispanic female, non-white lesbian hispanic female, non-white left-handed lesbian hispanic female, non-white left-handed brown haired middle-aged short green-eyed moderate, but for Bernie, Democrat physical anthropologist lesbian hispanic female New Yorker. Eventually, you get enough groups that everyone is a minority of one again. Only by destroying education could they get us to forget that we had already learned this lesson. Only by destroying education could the bigots make us forget the essential lesson we learned about bigotry. Is it any wonder that Richard Spencer rapidly became disillusioned with Trump and went back to the Democratic Party and endorses Joe Biden?

  5. Wouldn’t surprise me to learn that this was intentional all the way. Get the unflattering comparison out there, knowing it will be criticized, and then do a retraction. Production error?? Yeah, right.
    It is well-established that the first information has a good chance of sticking. We’ve seen it recently with cases like Floyd and Blake where the factual information coming out days and weeks later doesn’t have much impact on belief in the initial narrative. And, it’s been a pattern in the media, where nearly every correction on a Trump story has been more favorable to the administration than the initial story. It’s a long-standing tactic of propaganda.

  6. Sheesh! Honestly: I could be a Biden partisan, and defend a completely flipped impression of those POTUS candidate images. I could be just as sincerely pissed-off and say, “reading” left-to-right:

    1) Trump looks like a driven, passionate, animated, uncompromising critic of many “bad things” that he wants more time in office to nudge and budge toward un-bad,
    VERSUS
    2) My Dear Joe, who looks like a clueless, vacantly staring sap, with all the fake gravitas of a senile zombie (if there is even such a thing as senility among the undead).

    “Production error,” indeed! I am repulsed by that particular photo-stylizing algorithm.

  7. I’m willing to give Rasmussen the benefit of the doubt here. Stuff like this often falls to junior-level employees, and is sometimes even outsourced. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the CEO of the organization, but just as Trump cannot reasonably be blamed for failures in, say, the State of New York with regard to its own pandemic preparedness and policies, the buck does indeed stop in the Oval Office.

    True story from eight or ten years ago, and arguably my favorite online error of all time: Chrysler Motors issued a tweet on its official stream one morning that read “I find it ironic that this is the so-called Motor City, yet nobody here knows how to fucking drive.”

    How’d that happen? Chrysler had contracted out its Twitter stream to an online marketing agency. That agency had assigned responsibility for sending pre-written copy to a junior employee, who accidentally posted that tweet to Chrysler’s stream instead of his own, as intended.

    Needless to say, that tweet was shared exponentially, and fast – it was positively hilarious to all but a very small number of people: the junior employee (sacked immediately); the agency (sacked a day or two later) and Chrysler.

    There will probably be accountability at some point, for somebody, for the graphic. But IMO, this is a case in which Hanlon’s Razor comes into play.

  8. Jack: Why did Rasmussen have the snarling Trump graphic at all?

    Tom P: It wanted to portray President Trump negatively. What kind of unintended “production error” would cause that? Oops we got caught

    Jack: If the company is so careless with its tweets, what else is it careless about?
    Tom P: It wasn’t careless if it was deliberate!

    Jack: Was a “rogue employee” the culprit? Again, this does not speak well for the company’s management, trustworthiness or culture.
    Tom P: If it was the actions of a rogue employee then the assertion is correct.

    Jack: Any organization that sends out tweets without a vetting and review process is incompetent. Yes, that includes the White House. Especially the White House.
    Tom P: If the picture was deliberate, then we don’t know if the organization is incompetent.

    Jack: Is Rasmussen really blaming the social media criticism of its botch? Or Trump supporters who have seen enough flagrant anti-Trump bias for a lifetime, and who expressed their anger at this example? The company needs to apologize, not blame the victims of its own system breakdown ineptitude.
    Tom P: If an individual or entity says or does something that results in a negative response AND they value their relationship with the respondent. They need to acknowledge the error and apologize for the action it is immaterial if was deliberate or a mistake. I have found the most effective response is: “I agree with you” or “I see your point. It won’t happen again.” Or “I was wrong, I’m sorry.” Any weasel words or excuses to minimize your offending action is self-serving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.