I read Broder's apologia yesterday, which he bolstered with a study by a study by something called the Project For Excellence (PEJ). I didn't have time to read the study, but the summary given by Broder seemed counter-intuitive enough that it might actually be true (that's one thing about us social science people; we tend to accept studies that sound as if they are turning accepted wisdom on its pointy head). Yet, today's Daily Howler takes up Broder's piece and dissects it, and the study upon which it was based, and discovers, lo and behold, not only that Broder didn't seem to read the report, but the report itself is a mire of confusion and poor methodology. In other words, Broder managed to sift from a summary (if he even did that) that the notion that the press has been unkind to Sens. Obama and Clinton is a fable.
Yet, as Somerby notes, Broder misrepresents the methodology of the study, and the study itself is a morass of confusion. Since Broder defends his position with an inaccurate representation of a confusing piece of "research", what conclusion can we make? Can we conclude that basing an entire column upon an inaccurate reading of a flawed study might not be the best way to support one's views? Can we conclude that the study itself might not actually make any significant conclusions? Can we even, perhaps, make the argument that Broder is happy to grasp any straw that keeps him from sinking in to the depths of wankerdom?
My guess is that, in all likelihood, all three conclusions are correct. In other words, we are back to square one.