Common Sense

Perception Versus Reality

It was just a quick blurb in a newspaper TV column today, highlighting what's on, including Florida Congresswoman Katherine Harris talking about her "floundering" campaign for the Senate on ABC's "Nightline."

Why is it floundering? The last time I checked, no one's voted. So the floundering is based on polls.

I see this kind of stuff all the time. Perception becomes reality. And we print that perception "as" reality, based on polls that oftentimes are far from reality.

Polls back in early 1976 told you Jimmy Carter's campaign was floundering and that front-running Washington Senator Scoop Jackson was soaring.

Those polls were wrong.

Early polls in 1980 said a not-yet-nominated Ronald Reagan was floundering in matchups with Carter.

We now know how that matchup went.

All I know is today's reality is tomorrow's fiction.

Just like all the experts who said Bode Miller would sweep the Olympics. He didn't.

Or that the U.S. baseball team would march to the world championship. It didn't.

Be very careful using words based on data that is specious and a consensus that is questionable.

Especially when no one's voted, or raced, or hit so much as a single pitch.

That's not me, of course, saying that. That's history, proving that.

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