November 6, 2020

Donald Trump’s Joe McCarthy moment?

When CBS, NBC and ABC cut away from President Donald Trump’s news conference at the White House on the evening of Nov. 5, they took pains to explain why they were shutting off the nation’s commander-in-chief. It was a moment that for me, as a journalism historian, carried echoes of the 1954 takedown of another flamboyant populist demagogue, Sen. Joe McCarthy. Making false accusations The…


In age of Drumpf, Tony Clifton claims foul

Editor’s Note: Michael Patrick Welch, renowned New Oreans writer, musician, teacher and friend of The Escondido Grapevine, conducted an interview with the provocateur known to Andy Kauffman and Bob Zmuda fans as Tony Clifton. While others have shunned this outstanding piece of informational journalism, we embrace it and re-print this as a public service. “After a year of chasing Tony Clifton to get his thoughts…


An embarrassing failure for election pollsters

Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting. Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls collectively faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications as to how the election would turn out. And that misstep promises to resonate through the field of survey research, which was battered…


Who invented the Electoral College?

The delegates in Philadelphia agreed, in the summer of 1787, that the new country they were creating would not have a king but rather an elected executive. But they did not agree on how to choose that president. Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson called the problem of picking a president “in truth, one of the most difficult of all we have to decide.” Other delegates, when…