ABC Touts Good News From Iraqi Poll, Downplays Bad News for U.S.

The ABC network, in conjunction with the BBC and Japan’s NHK, has repeatedly polled Iraqis about the state of their country and the U.S. occupation. On Monday night (3/16/09) they aired a report that featured findings from the latest poll. Anchor Charles Gibson reported:

Every year we have taken an extensive look at where things stand. Polling Iraqis and sending reporters across the country, both at times dangerous undertakings. But this year, extraordinary change, real optimism. 59 percent of Iraqis now say they feel very safe in their communities. And 65 percent say things are going well in their own lives. Both numbers up dramatically.

Reporter Terry McCarthy also cited the poll: “84 percent of Iraqis now say their neighborhood is safe, almost double the level in 2007.” But neither Gibson nor McCarthy mentioned some of the poll’s other striking findings, which were outlined by Editor & Publisher‘s Greg Mitchell (3/17/09):

Last year, 70 percent of Iraqis in the same survey said we were doing a bad job there. This year that dropped all the way to…69 percent. And that includes the always more favorable views of the Kurds.

That means 90 percent of Sunnis are negative (remember, they are supposed to be “awakening” towards us), and two out of three Shiites agree–largely unchanged from 2008….

Fifty-six percent now say the U.S. was wrong to invade, actually up (despite the cooling of violence) since last year’s 50 percent.

Mitchell quoted an ABC News online piece (3/16/09) that gave a more balanced account of the poll than that night’s broadcast:

Just 27 percent [of Iraqis] are confident in U.S. forces (albeit nearly double its low). Just 30 percent say U.S. and coalition forces have done a good job carrying out their responsibilities in Iraq. Still fewer, 18 percent, have a positive opinion of the United States overall. Barely over a third think the election of Barack Obama will help their country.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.