Wednesday, September 25, 2013
In the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election, there was a lot of talk about prediction markets -- websites where people can bet online about the outcome of any given event. They're useful because they give outsiders a snapshot of what the crowd thinks is going to happen. They're also, in theory, vulnerable to manipulation. If someone were willing to buy tons of stock in an idea they support, they could make it look like a lot of people believe in it too. But no one would really do that. Because it'd be crazy and expensive. Right? From the Wall Street Journal:
"...A single trader lost between $4 million and $7 million placing a flurry of Intrade bets on Mitt Romney—perhaps to make the Republican nominee’s chance of victory appear brighter.
Two economists who studied the data offer various rationales for the trader’s aggressive wagering on Mr. Romney in the final two weeks of the campaign. The anonymous trader placed 1.2 million pro-Romney contracts, some of which were actually in the form of bets against a Barack Obama victory.
The most plausible reason for the betting, the authors conclude, is that “this trader could have been attempting to manipulate beliefs about the odds of victory in an attempt to boost fundraising, campaign morale, and turnout.”
Oof. I never thought I'd feel so much sympathy for an anonymous tycoon.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Buzzfeed reporter McKay Coppins followed Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election. Like Romney, Coppins is a practicing Mormon, although he never actually told anyone in the Romney family that he shared their faith. Brooke talks to Coppins about how his faith and his reporting intersected, and why the Romney campaign saw his religion as a liability.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Political conventions used to be places where decisions were made and delegates truly participated. Now, they are just a series of scripted speeches covered by the media as though they are breaking news stories. Bob reflects on the last two weeks of this modern convention style.
Friday, July 20, 2012
The Obama and Romney campaigns have been slugging away at each other this week about transparency and disclosure. And yet Tuesday, the Disclose Act, which would have allowed you to better know the people behind superpacs was smothered in the Senate by filibuster without earning a single Republican vote. Huffington Post reporter Dan Froomkin explains to Brooke what happened.
Friday, July 13, 2012
This week saw both news organizations and the Romney presidential campaign arguing over the veracity of claims made by the Obama administration about Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, the financial services company Romney co-founded. Political scientist and media critic Brendan Nyhan says that part of the problem is that the media has fallen down on the job in properly reporting this story.
Friday, May 04, 2012
The big political story this week was an argument between the Obama and Romney campaigns about whether or not Romney would have killed Osama Bin Laden, were he president. As the New Yorker's John Cassidy observed, the argument was actually beside the point -- it was a piece of calculated political distraction by the White House. He explains to Bob how it worked, and what news we missed as a result.