Way back in 2007, long before most of us had ever heard of Kellyanne Conway, the talented truth twister used to own and run a polling firm. The firm was known as “The Polling Company.” They advertised as conductors of rigorous research and marketing polls.
The big supermarket on the scene at the time was Whole Foods, which wanted to buy out its earthy, crunchy, organic competitor, Wild Oats. The planned buyout was opposed, however, by the Federal Trade Commission, who feared that it would create a monopoly.
Whole Foods hired Kellyanne Conway’s firm to get some good data for them. What the big market wanted to show was that shoppers who went to Whole Foods or Wild Oats also shopped at other stores. They hoped to prove that there would be no artificial raising of prices if the two stores were merged.
So Kellyanne had her people conduct some market research. They were supposed to be contacting shoppers who lived within the zip codes where the store mergers would be happening.
It doesn’t sound like rocket science.
Nevertheless, Conway and her company managed to screw it up.
After Whole Foods paid out $250,000 dollars for the polling, a District Court Judge from Washington, DC threw the whole thing out. The data had been challenged by experts from the FTC, who said that it was so complicated and so poorly designed that it was basically useless.
Kent Van Liere was the expert witness for the FTC who testified about Conway’s results. He told the court:
“My overall opinion in this matter is that Ms. Conway’s survey methodology and procedures are fundamentally flawed and render her data and results unreliable. In addition, it is my opinion that her survey does not provide a reliable basis to assess the issues associated with consumer perceptions of the substitutability of products and services across food retailers.”
Van Liere said that some of the people who answered the survey lived in the wrong towns, while other replies came from people who didn’t understand the questions.
The whole survey was a big mess, and the quarter of a million dollars was a complete waste.
Even back in the days before she became a professional apologist for the liar in chief, Kellyanne Conway was obviously making her living by concocting “alternative facts” to support her version of reality. Or more accurately, to support the reality of whoever happened to be paying her at the moment.
It shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that she is so comfortable repeating complete fantasies as if they were indeed facts. It shouldn’t have been a surprise when she was completely at ease using the idea of “alternative facts” to explain away Mr. Trump’s first big lie of the Presidency.
You have to wonder if Trump actually went out looking for good liars when he hired his staff.