IS THERE SUCH A THING AS JOURNALISTIC MALPRACTICE?

…And, if there is, what would the appropriate penalty be?

Anyone who ever doubts the depth of the shock Donald Trump delivered to the political system (and the supposedly no-longer-extant Establishment behind it), would do well to read this analysis of the 2016 election–delivered a few weeks before election day by the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza.

For those who may not want to read the whole thing (and my still bleeding eyes are strong evidence it may not be good for your health so consider yourself warned) here are the key points that got my interest, all these months later:

Over the past 72 hours, polls have come out in AlaskaTexas and Utah that show Trump narrowly ahead of Hillary Clinton. That comes on top of data that suggests Republican-friendly states likes Arizona and Georgia are already a jump ball between Clinton and Trump….

Simply put: Trump is not just in danger of losing, he is in danger of causing a fundamental reorganization of the electoral map that could set back Republicans for a number of future elections…..

The problem for Trump is that the group of people who support him is not now and never has been large enough to get him anywhere close to the 270 electoral votes he needs….

Cilliza nicely sums up established thinking, as of Oct. 14, 2016. But there’s no need to pick on him. If one were to decide that journalistic malpractice included substituting wishful thinking (bordering on delusion), for reportage, then he should have been fired the day after the election (more on that in a moment). Only problem is–you’d have to fire his entire support system as well. All the editors and publishers who supported him–and the dozens of like-minded “journalists” who spouted similar pablum (and who accepted polls that were designed to bring them the results they wanted as “news”).

That would have meant just about everybody–including the bulk of the actual pollsters who provided the underlying mush that could then be reported as news, and half the talking heads Fox News (the only place where there was something of a bloodbath, though, even there, everyone was careful to pretend it was for different, completely unrelated reasons).

And how mushy was the underlying mush? How delusional was Cilizza’s reporting?

This mushy. This delusional:

Cillizza identified five “shocker” states, where Trump could lose historical Republican advantages, and five “purple” states, considered true swing states (with Arizona, oddly, placed in both categories), which, by definition would fall Clinton’s way if the “realignment” he was effectively predicting–and encouraging his ideologically pre-selected readership to embrace as a hard truth (the bit where he reminds folks it’s not a done deal yet is the kind of weasel-tongue I was taught to avoid the first week of my junior college journalism course–and every week thereafter).

Here’s how the election held twenty-five days later actually played out in those “toss-up” states which were going to “cause a fundamental reorganization of the electoral map.”

First, those where he “narrowly led”:

Alaska–Trump by 15.2%
Utah–Trump by 18.6%
Texas–Trump by 9.2%

Next, the “jumpballs”:

Georgia–Trump by 5.7%
Arizona–Trump by 4.1%

Then, finally, the swing states that were practically guaranteed for Clinton by Cilliza’s logic:

Florida–Trump by 1.3%
North Carolina–Trump by 3.8%
Ohio–Trump by 8.6%
Arizona (again)–Trump by 4.1%
Nevada–Clinton by 2.4%

Hey, one out of nine ain’t bad!

But we shouldn’t forget that states Cilizza and the world within which he remains safely ensconced didn’t even put Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin in play. Trump won them all.

And, as of today, there is no credible evidence Democrats can flip even a single state in 2020.

Outside the polls, of course.

No wonder so many people done gone crazy.