Bloggers Weigh In on Exit Poll Blackout

Somewhere in undisclosed locations in New York and Washington, D.C., representatives from the major news organizations pour over data from exit polls around the country. The representatives have willingly quarantined themselves to prevent unwanted infiltration. Bloggers Arianna Huffington and Ken Layne weigh in on the Election Day exit poll lock down.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails. A week ago we remembered Red Auerbach, the man who created a basketball dynasty in Boston and helped to build professional basketball into a major sport. Chuck O'Kelley(ph), a listener in Nashua, New Hampshire, e-mailed to tell us that the game is but part of his legacy.

Red Auerbach taught my father to have the courage to stand up for what was decent and correct when he saw at first hand racial discrimination. My father actually quit a job he could ill-afford to when a black man was denied the same rights as a white man. Red was a great human on so many levels. His legacy went way beyond the game, to the core of life itself.

Last Wednesday after our discussion on Muslim women and the veil, Susan Tank(ph) e-mailed from Sisters, Oregon to suggest: If men are so unable to control themselves, maybe they should be the ones to wear blinders instead of women having to cover themselves and limit their freedom of movement. To me, it's an issue of control by patriarchal leaders.

Another listener disagreed. I am a Muslim woman, wrote Mirvat Yousef(ph), and I chose to start wearing the hijab when I was 13. I take it as a sign of being liberated from having to follow fashion. Women should have the choice to wear it if they wish, but no one should judge if someone is better simply because they cover their face or their hair.

We ended last week with a look at the buying power of women. In 80 percent of homes, they're the ones who make the decisions on major household purchases -power tools, dishwashers, cars and houses.

Theresa Gresaber(ph) chimed in with what she called the Spanish Armada syndrome. My husband, she wrote, just bought a new coffeemaker while I was out of town. Our old one had a simple on/off switch and worked fine. The new one has a clock that glows an annoying bright green at night, allows you to select the strength of the brew and designate when you want to turn it on and off. It looks like an airplane cockpit and requires a user's manual to operate.

And a week ago on Monday, Francis Slay, the mayor of St. Louis, objected after his city was identified as the most dangerous city in America. The mayor called the ranking, quote, "bogus."

The report was issued by the Morgan Quitno Press, and the president of that company, Scott Morgan, e-mailed to ask for the opportunity to present his side of the story. And he joins us now on the line from his office in Lawrence, Kansas. Nice to have you on the program today.

Mr. SCOTT MORGAN (President, Morgan Quitno Press): Thank you, I appreciate it.

CONAN: And bogus would not be accurate, you say?

SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER

Mr. MORGAN: Well, I give it points for clever. But I mean ultimately it's just numbers doing the talking. I mean the messenger is fun to knock around but St. Louis is a great city, but it does have high crime. It's got the highest violent-crime rate in the country. The last five years it's gone up 10 percent, while the country has gone down 7 percent. So I mean maybe it shouldn't be the most dangerous, maybe it's the third-most, but I don't think the mayor would like either one of those.

CONAN: One of the things he questioned was your methodology, comparing apples to oranges. Some cities of course have large outlying areas, depending on zoning and that sort of thing, while St. Louis is a fairly compact, urban center.

Mr. MORGAN: No, and it's valid. Out of the 371 cities we looked at, any city with more than 75,000 in population, there are quite a few that are affluent bedroom communities that are not comparable to St. Louis. But there are also -every city, which I presume St. Louis does view itself as comparable with, and even whatever subset that is, St. Louis is still on the bottom of it. Whether it's Cleveland or whichever other core, urban cities there are, they are in our ranking, and unfortunately St. Louis still does worse.

CONAN: Some criminologists, and indeed the FBI, warn against making city-to-city comparisons.

Mr. MORGAN: Well, they do. It's unique among all the things that we do rank. Our whole business, odd that it is, is comparing states and cities in a host of areas, whether it's high-school graduation or infant mortality. In all those areas, the experts view comparisons and rankings as part of a valid review of how someplace is doing. But unique to the criminology world, they hate them, they loathe them, they don't think that the average person can understand why St. Louis would have higher crime than an affluent bedroom community. It does tell only part of the story, but it's an important part to tell.

CONAN: So as far as you're concerned, the methodology is valid and the rankings are accurate.

Mr. MORGAN: I think. I mean it is not rocket science. But having done this particular one for 13 years, I'm very comfortable putting it out. And, you know, ultimately, it's up to the people of St. Louis or whatever city to decide what, if anything, they want to do about it. It's up to that community to determine what level of crime is appropriate and acceptable and then move on. We don't really matter at the end of the day. What matters is the people of St. Louis.

CONAN: Scott Morgan, thanks very much for your time today.

Mr. MORGAN: I appreciate it. Thank you.

CONAN: Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press, and he joined us from his office in Lawrence, Kansas.

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