May
02
2012

NYT Reassures Afghans That the Troops They Want to Leave Are Going to Stay

The New York Times' Alissa Rubin (5/2/12) reports of President Barack Obama's trip to Afghanistan: The trip communicated something of vital importance to the Afghans: reassurance that the United States is not in an all-out scramble to get away. It's not clear what the basis for Rubin's claim that "reassurance" that the U.S. is in no hurry to leave Afghanistan is "of vital importance" to Afghans. A poll taken in 2010 on behalf of the Washington Post, ABC, BBC and the German broadcaster ARD found that 55 percent of the Afghan public supported the rapid withdrawal of foreign troops (GlobalPost, […]

Feb
15
2012

NYT: Okinawans' 'True Views' Aren't What They Say

That a majority of people living on the island of Okinawa want the U.S. Marines gone seems a well-established fact. A plan to build a new airfield on a different part of the island in the town of Henoko is even more unpopular. One recent poll found 84 percent opposition to the new base. And yet the New York Times tells readers today that it knows better. The headline alone over the piece by Martin Fackler tells youthat those polls–not to mention the massive demonstrations against the base–shouldn't be believed: "Amid Image of Ire Toward U.S. Bases, Okinawans' True Views […]

Nov
16
2011

WaPo and Occupy 'Infestation'

All right, which newspaper posed this question about the Occupy protests today: Is this an occupation or an infestation? Has to be the New York Post, right? Nope–they wouldn't include a question mark. That's the Washington Post, which went on to report that "recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter." And that Post's Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch explain that they're not the only ones who feel this way: In the wake of so much controversy, the Occupy movement–which began as a populist uprising to represent all but the wealthiest 1 percent–has begun to lose some […]

Nov
14
2011

Michele Bachmann and Made-Up Media Bias

The Michele Bachmann presidential campaign–formerly treated as atop-tier juggernaut by Beltway media–has been floundering for weeks. Which makes right now as good a time as any for them to grab some headlines by shouting about liberal media bias. The Bachmann campaign was furious about email correspondence concerning a possible Bachmann appearance on a CBS Web show after the Saturday night debate. The network's political director, John Dickerson, was lukewarm on the idea, mentioning that Bachmann's poll numbers are quite low and that she wasn't likely to be much of a factor in the debate. Even though Dickerson is correct, these […]

Nov
09
2011

Tom Friedman: Wall Street Will Save Us From Wall Street

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (11/9/11) went to India in order to appreciate how the grassroots movement to stamp out political corruption there is superior to Occupy Wall Street. Still, he sees a common thread: The world's two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grassroots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal–a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal–a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the […]

Oct
26
2011

Iraq, Finally Learning to Ride Its Bike

Richard Engel on NBC Nightly News (10/21/11), speaking about the end of the Iraq War: The training wheels off, Iraq will have to succeed or fail without American troops on the ground to guide the way. That's quite a metaphor–invading and occupying a country for eight years as "training wheels." Engel's report includes this reference to the death toll: Iraqi deaths, almost 150,000, but many Iraqis believe it's a million. Of course it's not just Iraqis who believe this–the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB), which has worked for the BBC, the British Conservative Party and the International Republican […]

Oct
26
2011

NYT Misses News in New NYT Poll

The New York Times has a fascinating new poll out today (10/26/11); too bad the paper doesn't emphasize the most newsworthy findings. The headline is: New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government That's based on the poll's finding that the public doesn't have much faith in government. But paragraph four offers a more striking finding: With nearly all Americans remaining fearful that the economy is stagnating or deteriorating further, two-thirds of the public said that wealth should be distributed more evenly in the country. Seven in 10 Americans think the policies of congressional Republicans favor the rich. Two-thirds object […]

Oct
18
2011

Inevitable Presidential Nominees, Then and Now

With all the chatter about the inevitability of Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination, it might be useful to recall the last time the media were sending the same message about an early favorite, at least according to the national polls: Democratic Nomination Preferences Oct. 4-7, 2007 Gallup Poll Candidate % Support Hillary Clinton 47 Barack Obama 26 John Edwards 11 Bill Richardson 4 Joe Biden 2 Dennis Kucinich 1 Chris Dodd 1 Mike Gravel * Other 1 No opinion 5

Oct
14
2011

Time: Public Oddly Unfazed by Bongo Drums

The new Time poll that found the public more favorably inclined towards Occupy Wall Street protesters than the Tea Party has been making the rounds. From the magazine's write-up of the poll: A new Time/ABT SRBI poll finds 54 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the new protest movement, despite the images of bearded and shirtless youth playing bongo drums, rolling cigarettes and painting their bodies in Zuccotti Park. Huh. Perhaps when the public looks at a protest movement, it pays more attention to substance than the media, who aremore focused onlocating shirtless bongo players.

Oct
10
2011

NYT Finds the Guy Who Wants You to Cut His Jobless Benefits

Leave it to the New York Times (10/7/11) to find a guy collecting unemployment who opposes the extension of unemployment benefits. He's "Dan Tolleson, a researcher and writer with a Ph.D. in politics…whose last good job was working for a group that aims to replace the income tax with a national sales tax." But don't think reporter Shaila Dewan picked some unrepresentative oddball to highlight just to make a political point about "how divisive the question has become of providing a bigger safety net to the long-term jobless." Oh no–quite the contrary: Even among those struggling to find work, Mr. […]

Aug
26
2011

Ron Paul Top Tier Shakeup!

There is little reason to care about what the polls say right now about who's leading in the Republican presidential nomination. But the media obviously think otherwise, hence this headline in the Washington Post yesterday (8/25/11): Romney Loses GOP Front-Runner Status The "news" is that Rick Perry is leading in a new Gallup Poll. But read a little further: The survey showed Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) at 13 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) slipping to 10 percent. No other candidate registered in the double digits. So this means Paul's in the "top tier" now, right? This is a good […]

Jun
13
2011

June 2007 Flashback: The Clinton/Giuliani Election

I noticed a few stories in today's USA Today (6/13/11) about supposed Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. There will be plenty more of this to come–horserace commentary based on polling that's being done in order to give journalists a reason to talk about one candidate more than another, which candidate has "momentum" and so on. It's worth remembering that the polling at this stage of the race is useless. Actually, it's probably worse than that, since the political press corps obsesses over this trivia at the expense of doing any actually useful reporting about the candidates. I wanted to find a […]

Apr
26
2011

Public Unsure Trump Was Born in United States

Today the Drudge Report (4/26/11) screams: SHOCK POLL: ONLY 38% SAY OBAMA 'DEFINITELY' BORN IN USA The all-caps headline links to a USA Today story that quotes that 38 percent figure, courtesy of a new Gallup poll. For the record, the poll also asked respondents the same question about Donald Trump. Forty-three percent say they are definitely sure he was born in the United States.