Fox News Was Right to Drop Dick Morris

morrisI used to appreciate the Fox News appearances of former Bill Clinton adviser, Dick Morris. I thought he brought a unique and informed perspective to his political analysis. His observations were insightful, his take on events made sense, and his bold predictions were thought-provoking.

Many others clearly felt the same way. In addition to pulling in a lot of domestic and international consulting work during his time with Fox, he also wrote a barrage of books that did quite well thanks to heavy (and routinely over-the-top) self-promotion on the news network.

Morris has an undeniable gift for successful laying out his unconventional observations with logical arguments that strike a chord with people. That gift has made him an intriguing public figure and a regular fixture on Fox News’ prime-time lineup over the years.

With that being said, Fox absolutely did the right thing by choosing not to renew Morris’ contract this year.

In the end, the decision came down to, as Morris inferred on Piers Morgan’s CNN show this week, simple credibility. Morris was being paid by Fox not just for his gift for gab, but also for his expertise. And when you’re being paid for your expertise, you have to demonstrate that the claims you make – especially when you make them with absolute certainty – are ‘right’ more often than not. Sure, you can get away with sometimes being wrong, but Morris’ big problem is that he was almost always wrong.

The final straw was his most recent and now most famous flub: His unabashed insistence that Mitt Romney would not only win the 2012 presidential election, but win it in a “landslide”. His long history of botching forecasts, however, certainly predates last year’s election.

Here are just a few of the more notable examples:

Morris told us that the Republicans would take the U.S. Senate in 2010. Two years later, he told us the same thing, declaring a pick-up of 10 seats including easy victories for candidates that in some cases ended up losing by wide margins.

He told us in 2011 that it was “very possible” that President Obama wouldn’t even run for re-election due to poor poll numbers.

He told us that Donald Trump was going to run for the presidency, had a “good shot” at winning the Republican nomination, and could likely beat Obama in the general election.

He told us that the 2008 presidential race would be between Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. His rationale was that Obama couldn’t beat Clinton, and the Republicans would “never” elect John McCain as their general election candidate.

I could list several more, but you probably get my point.

Sure, lots of reputable people get predictions wrong, but Morris has built his reputation largely on his proclaimed ability to read the electorate, interpret the political tides, and fearlessly predict outcomes – outcomes that he portrays as inevitable. It’s what got him a position in the Clinton White House and it’s what got him a position on Fox News. Morris has marketed himself on that expertise, distinguished himself with it, and has earned quite a living off of it. Such a person should be held to the level of competence that they’ve set for them self. When that person can’t even come close to performing at that level, what exactly is their value as an expert?

I think that’s the question the higher-ups at Fox News finally asked themselves after the presidential election.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me consistently, why are we still paying this guy?”

I figured out a while back that Morris’ predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, and I think many others reached the same conclusion even before the 2012 election. You just can’t be routinely wrong and expect people to keep putting stock in what you have to say.

While some have suggested that Morris knowingly misleads viewers and readers in order to help the candidates and organizations he supports, I’m not all that convinced. He may very well believe in his own prophecies and his own hype. If that’s the case, I wish him luck in his future endeavors. I just won’t be missing him on Fox.

The irony is that if Dick Morris had been right about the Romney “landslide”, his past goofs would have been largely forgotten, and his winning gamble would have certainly propelled him onto the A-list of this country’s great political minds. But as any good capitalist knows, risk doesn’t always lead to reward. When someone puts themselves as far out on the edge of a diving board as Morris did, they have to understand that the big splash they’re about to make might just come in the form of a belly-flop.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • http://1389blog.com/ 1389AD

    Newt’s take on how it all went bad – with my comments. I agree that vote fraud played a HUGE part in the outcome, but the national GOP and the wealthy country-club-Republican contributors deserve most of the blame.

  • John Daly

    No, the big difference is that Rove wasn’t predicting a GOP landslide, and certainly wasn’t promoting those GOP victories as an inevitability. Most of his polling analysis during the campaign had to do with paths to victory, not “you can take that to the bank” prophecies.

  • Steve

    Actually Morris proved to be an excellent predictor of future outcomes… if you consider the opposite outcome to what he predicted. Should be a keeper!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.gill.980 Brenda Gill

    No one could have predicted this election unless they were willing to believe that such a fine, upstanding man as Obama would STEAL the election as I firmly believe he did. Sarcaism admitted. No one can win something witha 140% outcome and no one can win something in something like 50 places with a 100% outcome. It is simply not possible. If the Republicans had some courage they would have held the results up and asked for recounts all over the country but as usual their courage went begging as they have none. Obama cheated and stole this election and everyone knows it in Washington and the people on all the networks know it also.
    Too tell you the truth I like Morris better then Carl Rove. Carl Rove is a leader of the establishment part of the Republican Party and his war against the Tea Party and conservatives will come back to bite the Party on the behind. If the Republican Party keeps going the way that Carl Rove and others like him intend to then the Party will go down. This is why they are losing votes and not for the stupid reasons they are saying.

  • chief98110

    Conservatives need better intel, Morris always sounded so sure of himself but in the end her was way off the mark.

  • http://www.facebook.com/demetris.voudouris Demetris Voudouris

    Morris one predicted that Howard Dean would NEVER become DNC Chairman because he was not the Clintons’ choice. I stop listening to him ever since.

  • bsb

    Right…….he was let go due to his lack of credibility, making room for them to bring Mr. Kucinich onboard.

    • John Daly

      lol. Don’t ask me to explain that one. ;)

  • Wheels55

    Whacky Dickie had a good run. Now all the air time he will get is on shows that thrive on inaccuracies.

  • David Chowes, New York City

    DICK MORRIS came to my attention as one of the punditd President Bill Clinton used to bolster his administration. Then, it was reported that Morris who was married at the time, was with a prostitute — not unusal for Washington types and called Clinton to brag about his indescretions.
    He then morphed into a Clinton basher and then assumed his role as a “pundit” for the Fox News Channel.
    So far as his history suggests, Dick Morris’ amount of integrity would smaller than the navel of a flea.
    I don’t understand how anyone can defend him. I believe that his future is: fin.

  • John Daly

    And you are calling Fox a shill? lol.

    Despite what you hear on MSNBC, Fox was never following Morris’ model. Only Morris was following Morris’ model. They just gave him the air-time to spread his word, and everyone who interviewed him was at least suspicious of what he was saying.

    And seriously man, did you even watch the Rove bit on election night? There was no melt-down – just a guy with legitimate expertise on county electorates who was suspicious of a state being called earlier than he felt it made sense to. I liked it. I wish more people would challenge media consensuses if they honestly believe there’s a problem.

  • lLOYDL333

    HE WAS ENTERTAINING HOWEVER, HE WAS ALWAYS SUSPECT OF BEING A BACK STABBER. i WOULD NOT TRUST HIM WITH ANY SECRET.

    KIND OF REMINDS ME OF WHITE HORSE LEE. LOOK HIM UP ON YOUR HISTORY OF OUR WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

    • Sheila Warner

      Why are you shouting? All caps is rude, you know.

  • jazzdrums

    so it is time all the sunday shows start changing the same few dozen blabbers who blab on a rotating basis and right or left they say the same thing. the hosts have gone from ref/umpire to player especially george s…on this week. he has the wh talk points down pat…when their point is weak …they start to talk over the next speaker..they are like 2nd graders wanting to get a gold star…there has to be a better model but in the meantime these folks are all…ALL commentators….a HAR. Hardly a Reporter notwithstanding their delusion that they are objective

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RQZSCQR2ZG2EXP4RNNHVOAITJA peterk

    Why do they still pay for anyone’s insight on elections, they are all wrong? No one is very good at predicting. The news always turns to polls or whatever the dumbest person in the room thinks. People don’t remember what someone said 5 minutes ago and if they do they just are high. Another non-story from a reporter just telling us the obvious. All of Barry’s supporters said he would win when the polls were the worst for him, then he wins, so they’re smart or do we have millions of “Rainmans” out there. Pointless article, author must be bored.

    • John Daly

      The problem isn’t with people making wrong predictions. The problem is with credible new organizations paying for the political expertise of people who have proven that they, themselves, aren’t credible. No one forced Morris to repeatedly say a Romney landslide and a 10-seat Senate pickup for the Republicans was eminent. The point of the column was to praise Fox for recognizing the problem and taking measures to fix it. I wish other news organizations followed their lead.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/RQZSCQR2ZG2EXP4RNNHVOAITJA peterk

        How is it a problem? How do you think they fixed it? Fox has problems and this is not one of them. There is data that is changing polls and predictions, not mention the general statistics throwing everything off larger and larger %’s. There was not any credible expertise, even Obama was surprised, now that is what the story should be. But again the media is blind. SO who will they replace him with or maybe they won’t. It does not matter either way , because next time they have experts it will have to be an uneducated uneducated guesser (I meant to put unedu… twice) who will want the idiot like Obama to win no matter what the election taking place is and they will guess right. Not that Romney was my guy, but what he said about the 47% is right more than people can start to comprehend, explaining how the experts were so wrong.

    • Peep

      Because the news media people don’t get off their butts and find out what regular people really think. They go from big city to big city and look at data.

  • Brhurdle

    While I agree with the thesis of damaged credibility, I tend to be more tolerant since he may have been trying to encourage voters and develop enthusiasm for the Romney candidacy. I also thought that given the absolutely dismal economic performance during Obama’s first term, he would never be elected again. It has become apparent that people did not vote their self interest but instead were motivated by the race element – something I would have wagered against.

    • John Daly

      But Morris wasn’t being paid to cheer-lead Romney. That’s the point I’m making. He was being paid to give honest, expert political analysis. And what he proved was that he was living in a bit of a fantasy world.

      • JmThms

        Yes, but the other side – the MSM types – supposedly get paid to give HONEST political analysis as well. And they don’t. They don’t in a sometimes snake-in-the-grass way, and sometimes, as in the case of MSNBC, in an overt way. But they don’t. To my thinking, Fox news, talk radio, etc. is the necessary counter to generations of MSM ideological corruption. The thing with Morris is not his bias. Its his inaccurate predictions. If ideology created that then OK. But there are ideological types who are not so wild with their predictions.

  • Tim Ned

    Years ago a favorite college professor told me it is appropriate for people to be opinionated. But form that opinion only after the research, not before. For those that do the latter, will only see the facts that support their opinion. Morris
    is an advocate and his research and opinion is skewed by his political position.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RQZSCQR2ZG2EXP4RNNHVOAITJA peterk

      Really! Wow!Just like red lights, I just noticed them myself, last week

    • John Daly

      I agree, Tim.

  • gbandy

    I know dozens of people who also predicted Obama could not possibly win a second term based up his poll numbers, his total failures, the economy, and Obama’s lies. We were all wrong too.

    • John Daly

      Were those people being paid for their political expertise, and saying repeatedly that a Romney landslide was an inevitability despite the available evidence all suggesting otherwise?

  • Paul Courtney

    John: Ordinarily we don’t want you to kick a man when he’s down, but in this case….Morris is an interesting mix of keen insight with wild predictions and always self promoting. I probably listened to him more in past 2 yrs because I liked what I heard. Now feel let down, won’t miss him, hope his next book is “Dubs Goes on my Leg, I Predict it’s Raining”.To Mallet Head, Rove was more accurate and is not in Morris’s league as self-promoter, few are (no coincidence D Trump name comes up).

    • John Daly

      The column certainly wasn’t meant to be a personal dig against Morris. I just think it’s important for companies to hold the individuals they’re paying accountable, especially when those individuals are routinely discrediting themselves. I certainly wish Morris the best in the future. I’m sure he will find a new home somewhere.

    • John Daly

      Excuse the triple-post. Some weird website things going on yesterday.

  • JazzWolf

    After his fatuous presidential prediction last year, I figured maybe Fox had arranged to have him placed in the witless protection program.

  • Mallet Head

    Soo … uh … why did they sign Karl Rove to a new contract. It’s not like he was anymore accurate or any less of a self promoter or made any less money from his association with Fox than Morris. Doesn’t matter I can’t even watch Hannity anymore he’s such a sellout, only the evening show with Bret.

    • John Daly

      Rove didn’t guarantee a Romney ‘landslide’ for the better part of a year. He instead believed Romney would pull out a slim victory in a very close election, as did several others.

      The point isn’t that Morris merely predicted the wrong outcome. The point is how absolutely adamant he was that all of the national polls were fatally flawed, and that a huge Romney victory was a forgone conclusion.

      I have no problem with people getting things wrong from time to time, but Morris made an art-form out of it.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Mallet: I don’t know that Hannity is a sellout so much as that he’s boring. I agree about Bret Baier’s Special Report, the best hour on Fox.

      Burt

    • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.gill.980 Brenda Gill

      Yeah I’ve wondered this myself. Carl Rove was wrong too and he even held up Fox News on election night. Is Fox News selling out to the Liberals and the Rino’s or do they have too much influence from the Muslems who own parts of the Newwork? I am not watching as much of Foxnews as I once did. I am not trusting them as much as I did. Their addition of Dennis Kucinex and the lose of Sarah Palin made an unfavorable impression on me.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    I first began to be aware of what a goofball Morris was in 2010 when he insisted on The Factor that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina would easily trounce Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. I tried to reach him in order to get a bet down, but he proved to be far too elusive. The fact is I really believed that Romney was going to defeat Obama…until I heard Morris say the same thing.

    Burt

    • John Daly

      lol. Yeah, I must admit that Morris’ prediction of a Romney win felt like the kiss of death for me as well.

  • artlouis

    I began to doubt Morris in 2010, when he predicted that the GOP would win many more seats in the House than they actually did, and they won plenty! I figured at the time that he was too optimistic about Romney last year, but I think that if Romney had won by some small margin, Morris could have been forgiven. Without the predictions, however, Morris is still worth hearing. He is best when telling us how to interpret the actions of politicians. He knows how to read between the lines. He has as much ability to do that as Limbaugh does, which is saying a lot. If Morris would just deep-six his predictions, I would still be willing to tune him in.

    • John Daly

      You may be right, but it’s hard for me to buy into anything he says with his track record.