The OWH pushes a bogus poll

Before we dive into the goings-on in Omaha, here is a little piece to keep the local radio stations in business. American Crossroads has a spot out on the Bob Kerrey Kickback. Hear it here:

And this is the low-hanging fruit on Kerrey, folks. We do not doubt that there will be more and more and more to come.

Kerrey is reportedly going up with a week’s worth of ads ($104K) starting today. No word on the contents yet. (Will it feature the bridge???)

Fun, no?


Here on Leavenworth Street, we like to talk politics. That is why we put it in the title of our blog — “the talk of Nebraska politics”. The point being, we are oftentimes more fascinated by the politics of an issue, than the issue itself.

Case in point: the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender ordinance being considered by the Omaha City Council today. Understandably commenters here have taken to discussing the merits of the ordinance and whether it is deserving, etc. Nebraska football coach Ron Brown expressed his opinion on the ordinance, quoting the Bible, and was roundly criticized for being an anti-gay caveman. OK.

In all honesty, we do not feel THAT strongly about this ordinance. Sorry if that is a shock to you. We have stated that we believe this ordinance is poorly written, is too broad, and could have repercussions beyond what is intended with it. But we do not think the idea or goal behind it is bad.

Of course, if you come out against something that someone claims will help the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community, you are automatically labeled a homophobic knuckle dragger who wants to turn America back to the ’50s. The 1750s, that is.

And we get that. That has been the M.O. of the liberals and Democratic Party for years and years and will continue to be so.

But when this all came up, we were wondering, Who is driving this? Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray? Really?

Well, then we looked who Ben Gray and his wife are associated with, and we started connecting the dots.

Gray and his wife work with the organization, NorthStar360. Interesting makeup of the NorthStar360 Board.

You’ve got…

  • Dick Holland — Sugar Daddy to Nebraska’s feature ultra-liberals, Bold Nebraska.
  • Bob Kerrey — former President of the ultra liberal, “New School” in New York City, who apparently has been seen in Omaha lately.
  • Susie Buffett — Daughter of well known social-issue-liberal Warren, and champion of local liberal causes, most recently seen hanging out with Cosmic Bob at a local high school basketball game
  • Ben Gray – Omaha City Councilman who is pushing for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender ordinance.


Now as you probably know, Susie’s dad now owns the local paper, the Omaha World Herald (“OWH”). The OWH has already taken the Editorial position that Omaha should enact the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender ordinance. That is fine. They can, and do, push whatever issue or candidate they want — oftentimes to the contrary position of public opinion.

But when their aggressiveness on an issue comes off the Editorial page, in into the “news”, we take note.
Yesterday the OWH published the headline:

Poll: Plenty of support for anti-bias ordinances

They state, “a new poll showed that a majority of Omaha registered voters who were polled favored such protections. “

Well, that is an interesting poll (see a “summary” here), isn’t it? We are told that it was a telephone poll, of some sort.

But when was the last time you saw a polling group take a sample of more than 500? This one comes up with 1,003 respondents?

And the age skew? In Garry Gernandt’s South Omaha District 4 38% are age 18-29? But then essentially the same number, 40% are aged 30 to 60? And then 60 and over is 21%?
44% college graduates in Franklin Thompson’s District? Hmm.
That is what you are selling, huh? Got it.

Oh and we see Questions are numbered starting with…3,4,5,6,7,8,9…12…2. We hate to go all Sesame Street on you, but The Count may have some issues with that number sequence. What of the mysterious missing questions?

So with NO backup to show the methodology of this poll…and with no further analysis of the “poll” whatsoever… and just a little mention at the end that this pollster works pretty much exclusively for Democrats…the OWH publicizes it as “news”.

Oh, and while we are at it, coincidentally, the Gals at Bold Nebraska also put up an ad on their website, which they state aired in Omaha last night. How about that! Gee, Dick Holland funds Bold Nebraska and they end up with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender TV ad. What a coincidence! We wonder who paid for that???

See their hipster techno-spot here:

So, whichever side you land on this issue, know that the Omaha World Herald is pushing this with all the barrels of ink they own. And Susie Buffet and Warren Buffett and Dick Holland and their guy Ben Gray are driving that ink wagon down Dodge Street.

On the other side of it, the anti-ordinance forces have already said they will look to put this on the 2013 ballot to link it with all of the City Council races, and the Mayor’s race. And do you think the pro-Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender ordinance forces would open up their pocketbooks for that election battle?

The local media salesmen have to be drooling on their spreadsheets — already soaked with thoughts of pro and anti Bob Kerrey ads.

And, as it turns out, this all comes down to Councilman Franklin Thompson today.

Wonder whose info he will bet on…


  1. To First says:

    It’s sad they are going that way. I have lost all respect for that newsroom. David Kotok knows polling very well and in the past the OWH refused to print bad polls. Now Susie Buffet has a printing press it has all changed.

  2. Why is it OK for NU to practice "tuition/pocketbook" discrimination? says:

    Evidence abounds that in NU’s ferocious efforts to “recruit” out-of-state & international students – who pay nearly three times the tuition as in-state Nebraskans – NU is discriminating against those Nebraskans – townies & staties, if you will – who pay less money towards NU’s “Building Boom.”

    In other words, while most qualified Nebraskans are still able to get into NU, increasingly, they cannot get into the NU Departmental Program of their choice. Why can’t these talented Nebraskans get in? Because of tuition/pocketbook/socio-economic discrimination.

    Studies show that American & international students who can afford to attend college out-of-state are overwhelmingly well-off.

    NU recruits out-of-state & international students with promises of placement in “select” and popular programs and in UNO’s case – it offers on-campus housing – that NU then cannot offer to in-state students as there are only so many slots available in these sought-after programs.

    If that isn’t discrimination against Nebraskans, what is?

    In 2007-08, it was brought to the NU Regents” attention that UNO had established a “discriminatory” program – held at the prestigious Lied Lodge in Nebraska City – that was only open to out-of-state students and NU’s Regents swept the problem under the proverbial carpet and slandered the “messenger.”

    Again, if UNO can establish an NU program that is ONLY open to those out-of-state & international students who pay three times the tuition, then again, what is that practice other than “discrimination?”

    Like America’s other federal/Morrill Land Grant Act public universities, NU is out-sourcing its coveted college slots in order to rake in more tuition money. Indisputably.

  3. Macdaddy says:

    First, all things change, especially if you get a new owner. Doesn’t really matter what the OWH used to be like.

    BTW, why not put this on the ballot? Given the level of debate this has generated, don’t you think it would be better if this decision wasn’t left to 4 people?

  4. Anonymostly says:

    Speaking of polls, I see that Pew just came out with a study that shows that political liberals are far more intolerant of other people’s political views on-line. They’re almost twice as likely to unfriend, block or hide/ignore someone they disagree with compared to conservatives.

    Liberals less tolerant. Who’da thunk it? Have we ever seen any evidence of liberal intolerance her at Leavenworth Street? RWP, you seen anything like that?

  5. RWP says:

    They’re almost twice as likely to unfriend, block or hide/ignore someone they disagree with compared to conservatives.

    That’s because the liberals who actually listen to conservative arguments are convinced, thereby removing themselves from the pool. The only real way a liberal has of sustaining his views in the face of contrary argument is to stick his metaphorical fingers in his metaphorical ears and loudly sing “from each according to abilities, to each according to his needs. Lalalalala!”

  6. RWP says:

    BTW, Greg Vistica, in his book (you can buy it for Kindle right here from this site!!!) has some choice things to say about the relationship between David Kotok and Bob Kerrey.

  7. Booo hooo hooo! Those nasty Liberals bought a newspaper and I’m going to pout about it! As I stated the other day, to those crying about the lefties in Hollywood … don’t bitch about it, DO something about it.
    Aren’t there any Conservatives in Omaha, or in the State of Nebraska, that have enough money to buy a printing press and a few barrels of ink? Maybe the Urinal Star could be purchased for a suitcase full of money. Maybe one of the right wing Super PACs could finance it.
    In the meantime, if you don’t like the way the Weird Harold is going, don’t buy it, don’t read it.

  8. Playing with fire says:

    If GOP operatives think putting an initiative question on the 2013 ballot they’re playing with fire. Omaha is on the tipping point and I am convinced that Omaha voters would vote to support LGBT rights. Push the question on the ballot and it could very well backfire on the GOP. Go for it.

  9. GeosUser says:

    What conservative with any money would “invest” in a newspaper that consistently loses money and at an increasing pace??? Warren did it with OPM and his shareholders love him for it evidently. After Warren is gone, I wonder just how long the Weird Harold will remain a Berkshire company…I’m betting not very long.
    With every ultra-leftie editorial position they champion, the faster they lose subscribers. Pretty soon they will join the ranks of the New York Time, Washington Post, etc., asking for Federal government support on the pretense of “serving to educate the public”.

  10. Kortezzi says:

    If the City Council passes the LGBT ordinance and then a petition puts repeal of that ordinance before the voters, that’s not playing with fire at all. There’s no downside to trying to overturn it.

    I suspect the LGBT ordinance proponents’ fall-back plan is NOT to seek a vote of the people, however. Most likely they’ll shop around for some gay-friendly judge.

  11. @Kortezzi says:

    Well, there isn’t one for the Dems. The only downside would be a big pushback against anti-LGBT candidates. The council would stay solidly Dem. Good luck with that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymostly Speaking of polls, I see that Pew just came out with a study that shows that political liberals are far more intolerant of other people’s political views on-line.

    That’s your spin on the poll. I’ve got some right wing relatives that constantly post nonsense completely removed from facts. I could understand why one would block posts of this type, though that doesn’t prove or hardly suggest intolerance. One could also surmise that conservatives live more in a bubble of like minded types, so there are fewer posts they would see that differ with their ideology.

    Another Pew report back in 2008 on the relationship between party affiliation and acceptance of humans causing global warming found that unlike Dems and Independents, the more education that Republicans had the less they believed that human actions had some effect on global warming. Known as the “smart idiots” effect in that more education made Republicans less persuadable and more biased.

  13. RWP says:

    Known as the “smart idiots” effect in that more education made Republicans less persuadable and more biased.

    Actually, it was called the ‘smart idiots’ effect by Chris Mooney, a man whose expertise in climate science consists of a BS degree in English, and who famously wrote a book called ‘The Republican War on Science’. No, no bias there!

    Needless to say, when the Obama administration ignores its own experts’ opinions on drilling, Keystone XL, etc., that’s quite different.

  14. Some Thoughts says:

    Kortezzi may be right about this, but it comes down to whether putting repeal of the measure on the ballot will motivate one side’s voters more than the other. From the GOP perspective, I’d be a little cautious because the group of voters in smaller, city-only elections normally has a higher proportion of older voters. If a repeal vote is taken, it might motivate supporters of the anti-discrimination measure to vote in an election they might not otherwise take great interest in. On the other hand, from the Democratic perspective, the current controversy will be fading from memory by 2013, so the people more likely to vote on it could be those angry enough to want to repeal it, rather than those who now take for granted that the measure already passed.

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