December 11, 2017 Last Updated 10:47 am

New polls show Moore pulling away in Alabama Senate race; News Corp Australia to no longer publish audited data

Morning Brief: President calls on a Washington Post reporter to be fired for a quickly deleted tweet about his event crowd, rather than for calling Rush, Marillion or Styx progressive rock bands

The citizens of Alabama head to the polls tomorrow to elect a new Senator to replace Jeff Sessions, who was named Attorney General. Polls people believe show Roy Moore well ahead of his Democratic challenger, while polls want to believe show Doug Jones having a chance in a state that would rather drink turpentine than elect a Democrat.

Already supporters of Jones are pointing to Alabama’s voter ID law as a reason why many African-Americans may not vote on Tuesday. That law, which became effective on June 3, 2014, requires a voter to produce one of several different forms of photo ID: a driver’s license, Alabama Photo Voter ID, a US passport, Military ID, and a few others. Like other voter ID laws, it is not meant to stop voters en mass from voting, just to make it harder for a few who when thinking about voting or not voting, will decide to just skip it.

Of course, had the two political parties worked to register more voters, and insure they had the proper ID, this might not be an issue tomorrow. Until at least one party makes making voting easier, and then puts its money where its mouth is, it is hard to sympathize with a party when it finds its voters do not actually show up at the polls to vote.

Update: Fox News has just come out with a poll that shows Doug Jones up in the race. Make of it what you will as we can ignore all the polls starting tomorrow and just count (we hope) the votes.

The Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II:

What’s Missing From Reports on Alabama’s Black Turnout

Part of the story of the Alabama special election is how resilient Moore has been with white voters. The Washington Post-Schar School poll shows him retaining the support of 63 percent of likely white voters in the state, including 57 percent of white women. While these numbers show that the onslaught of allegations of crimes against women have hurt him somewhat—recently, Republican presidential candidates in the state have garnered upwards of 70 percent of the white electorate—they also show that there appears to be nothing that can entirely stop the dominance of any GOP candidate with white Alabamians.

Jones’s path to victory is less complicated than before, but it still relies on the same dynamics as any Democrat in Alabama. As headline after headline attests, he’ll likely have to see decent turnout among the 26 percent of voting-age citizens who are black, and who largely live in the “black belt” of counties spanning the width of Alabama through the east and west of Montgomery.

AL.com, Leada Gore:

Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones latest polls: Moore’s lead widens day before election

Republican Roy Moore has widened his lead over Democrat Doug Jones, according to the most recent polls in the Alabama Senate race.

Two polls – the first by the Trafalgar Group and the second by Gravis – show Moore leading by as much as 5 points. The polls come just ahead of Tuesday’s election and weeks after allegations surfaced that Moore had sexual contact with several teenage girls in the 1970s. The allegations led to calls for Moore to exit the race though he denies the charges.

The Trafalgar Group poll shows 48 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for Moore with 3 percent saying they are “leaning” towards the GOP nominee. Forty-one percent said they plan to vote for Jones with 5 percent “leaning” that way. Slightly more than 3.3 percent said the plan to vote for someone else.

The Daily Beast: Shadowy Facebook Ads That Pushed Trump Are Back in Alabama
The Hill: Alabama newspapers urge conservatives to write in Republican Senate candidate



There was a time when newspapers and magazines battle each other with sheets of paper in their hands — circulation audits, reader profiles, marketing research.

In B2B, the size of your BPA audit was nearly as important as the thickness of your issues. Magazines would not only audit the number of subscribers they had, but would audit for their authority to buy or spec equipment and other goods and services.

But when times got tough, about a decade and a half ago, owners started to slash the amount of money they were willing to spend on their audits, even though those costs were basically trivial. Some decided to dump their audits altogether.

One reason it was easy to decide to toss their audits was they knew so much of their circulation was phony anyways. Discounted subscriptions, verified subscriptions, outright forged authorizations, so many ways to maintain a reader as a subscriber if it is important to do so. I still get lots of magazines today that I neither have renewed, or ever paid for.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Jennifer Duke:

News Corp to stop publishing newspaper distribution data

News Corp Australia’s decision to no longer publish audited data of how many copies of its newspapers are circulated comes amid speculation it is looking at cost cutting by getting rid of “unprofitable distribution”. The news organisation stopped the independent auditing of its print titles’ distribution and circulation by the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA), instead making Enhanced Media Metrics Audience (EMMA) its sole provider…

…But the decision could signal the start of the company’s move to slash its unprofitable distribution, where newspapers are given out for free or very low prices at a financial loss.

The AMAA has been the provider of circulations data for 80 years and has two audits – one measuring paid-for distribution and one measuring circulation, which includes titles provided for free. And if News did decide to cut back on free copies given out to the public, and continued using these metrics, the data would report a drop in the newspapers’ distribution figures.



There was another of those ‘fake news’ kerfuffles this weekend. This one involved Dave Weigel who writes for The Washington Post.

Weigel posted a picture on Twitter of a near empty Pensacola Bay Center ahead of the president’s event there with the snarky caption “Packed to the rafters.”

After Weigel was informed that the photo was wrong he deleted the tweet and apologized for the mistake. That didn’t, of course, stop the president from calling it all ‘fake news’ and calling on Weigel to be fired.

This isn’t the first time the president has called on a journalist to be fired, but one still finds it an odd sight.

As for Weigel, he has recently published a book entitled The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock which in honor of the kerfuffle I have ordered via Amazon. I wasn’t going to actually do this until the president’s attack mainly because the subject of music genres is always controversial. In the case of prog rock what is truly “progressive” and what is simply pop with solos, what is adventurous and what is safe music meant to sound OK in a large arena? Still, buy his book if only to piss off the president.

The Washington Post, Emily Yahr:

President Trump calls for Washington Post reporter who apologized for inaccurate tweet to be fired

On Saturday night, The Washington Post released a statement. “Dave Weigel relied on an inaccurate image in tweeting about President Trump’s rally in Pensacola,” the paper’s vice president of communications, Kristine Coratti Kelly, said. “When others pointed out the mistake to Weigel, he quickly deleted the tweet. And when he was later addressed by the president on Twitter, he promptly apologized for it.”

Trump has frequently lashed out at media figures in very personal terms. It was not the first time the White House had called for a journalist’s firing: In September, after ESPN commentator Jemele Hill called the president a “white supremacist” in a tweet, his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a White House press briefing that it was a “fireable offense.”

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