To hear the establishment media tell it, the American public is unanimously against U.S. troops being in Iraq and the war against terror. We hear about every ragtag, fly-by-night anti-war group’s activities, no matter how small the turnout or ineffectual the impact.
Conversely, three Conservative activist groups unite to announce that they’ll converge on Washington, D.C., Sept. 22-23 to show their support for the war in Iraq and the soldiers fighting it, and it’s virtually impossible to find media coverage of the event.
Thursday’s off-lead story in the New York Times on a new CBS/NYT poll, “9/11 Polls Find Lingering Fears in New York City,” dwells on the fears that remain five years after the terrorist attacks in Manhattan and at the Pentagon.
But the national poll itself (the consortium also conducted a separate poll of just New Yorkers) found some interesting responses to three questions not mentioned in the story, perhaps because they conflicted with one of the Times’ irresponsible security scoops -- its revelation of the National Security Agency’s program to monitor communications between terror suspects without warrants
There was more bad news for President Bush during the 4pm EDT hour of Monday's "The Situation Room." In two separate reports from Bill Schneider and Dana Bash, the President was labeled "clueless" on his handling of Hurricane Katrina and Democratic talking points on the subject were repeated yet again.
Schneider’s piece focused on the toll Hurricane Katrina took on President Bush’s poll numbers. CNN’s senior political analyst argued that the President took two hits from Katrina:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush’s self-declared image as a compassionate conservative also took a hit. The public saw a remote, even clueless, President after Katrina struck."
Katie Couric has not said one word on the CBS Evening News, but she's already more famous than her future competitors, NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charles Gibson. She's also perceived as more "liberal" and more "biased" by conservatives.
Reports USA Today:
Incoming CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is more familiar to viewers than her competitors are: 66% of people have an opinion of the former Today star, compared with fewer than half for NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charles Gibson.
But a new Pew Research Center poll of 1,506 people also shows that although she's more widely known, Couric has more negatives.
NEW YORK Traditional media brands like newspapers and television are far more trusted by the public than Web sites and blogs, accordign(sic) to a survey this week by British interactive marketing company Telecom Express.
1000 respondents were asked what percentage of the information they received fro mvarious(sic) sources was accurate, true and unbiased, according to Telecom Express.
Telecom Express? You mean that neutral polling organization that didn't put the polling data on line? Or the one that makes it's living off of .... newspapers, radio and TV? Below are two examples of their other recent press releases they don't want you to direct link.
On this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS, Tracy Smith, co-host of the "Saturday Early Show," served as a substitute co-host. Ms. Smith interviewed Evan Thomas, assistant Managing Editor of "Newsweek" magazine regarding the potential political impact the foiled London terror plot may have. As such, Smith suggested the Republicans are losing ground on the issue of terrorism and seemed hopeful that Democrats would be able make it one of their own issues, and even pounded her fists on the table to emphasize her point.
After talking with Mr. Thomas about airport security measures and how another terrorist attack can be prevented, Ms. Smith changed the subject to the politics and noted that President Bush hasn't received a bump in the CBS poll after the London terror arrests:
As many anticipated, Senator Joe Lieberman lost his bid for renomination to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut yesterday. This morning, as reported here by MRC analyst Geoff Dickens, all three network morning shows interviewed Mr. Lieberman and in essence told him to quit the race. And as reported here by Lyford Beverage, Harry Smith, co-host of the "Early Show" questioned the Senator from the left.
However, some important points have been neglected regarding Mr. Smith’s questions. As to Smith’s point:
"Incumbents do not get turned out of office, especially in primaries in this country."
Harry Smith makes it seem as this is something that has never happened before, that is an incumbent Senator losing a primary. Quite the contrary. In 2002, New Hampshire primary voters defeated incumbent Republican Senator Bob Smith in favor of then Congressman John Sununu. In 1992, Illinois Democrats threw out then Senator Alan Dixon and nominated Carol Mosely Braun. And in 1980, Alaska Democratic Senator Mike Gravel lost his bid for renomination to Clark Gruening, the grandson of the incumbent Senator that Gravel himself defeated in a primary in 1968. But if Smith needs further evidence that incumbents in fact do lose primaries, two other incumbents went down to defeat yesterday, Georgia Democrat Cynthia McKinney (who also lost a primary election as an incumbent in 2002) and Michigan Republican Joe Schwartz.
For the last decade or two, the Big Three network news ratings have declined and their once-iron grip on public opinion has loosened, prompting this debate: is this decline merely a sign of increasing 24-7 media availability (cable news, Internet sites) or is the liberal tilt of the networks driving conservative viewers away from these networks in favor of alternative outlets?
Network news executives have consistently chosen the former, denying a liberal bias and denying that the ratings decline means they should have to change their modus operandi in any way. They are in denial of the obvious. A new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press proves the point. It shows a dramatic decline in nightly network news viewership in the last four years among the Republican viewers they polled. While the number of Democrats saying they regularly watch network news increased from 35 percent in 2002 to 38 percent in 2006, the number of Republicans who say they view major TV newscasts declined from 34 percent in 2002 to 24 percent in 2006.
A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released today discovered, by “by a margin of 50 percent to 34 percent, Americans think that news organizations have hurt rather than helped the interests of the American people” with “news reports that the government has been secretly examining the bank records of American citizens who may have ties to terrorist groups.” However, “an even larger 65 percent to 28 percent majority believes that these news accounts told citizens something that they should know about.”
Republicans are much more upset with the media than Democrats, the poll, conducted July 6-19, found: “While nearly seven in ten Republicans (69 percent) believe the press reports have hurt the interests of the American people,” with a piddling 17 percent of Republicans contending it helped, “relatively few Democrats agree (38 percent). Instead, a 46 percent plurality of Democrats regards the press reporting as beneficial to the public's interest.”
A week after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that a much higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans prefer to get their news from the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, a new Gallup Poll released today provides additional evidence that Democrats look more favorably upon the "mainstream media" as Gallup showed how “Democrats are more favorable than Republicans in their views” of eleven of 17 news personalities respondents were asked to assess. Dan Rather had the greatest net difference -- 38 percent -- with 86 percent of Democrats viewing him favorably, compared to just 48 percent of Republicans. Only two of the 17 news personalities (Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera) got more favorable evaluations from Republicans than Democrats. (Hat tip to Romenesko)
Others with a significant Democratic versus Republican approval gap include the incoming CBS Evening News anchor and the new co-host of NBC's Today: 17 points for Katie Couric (68% vs. 51%) and 15 points for Meredith Vieira (45% vs. 30%). Some others: Anderson Cooper (49% vs. 36%); Matt Lauer (65% vs. 53%), Barbara Walters (71% vs. 59%), Diane Sawyer (86% vs. 74%), Larry King (62% vs. 53%) and Bob Schieffer (54% vs. 47%).
Dontcha love it when liberal media members are confounded by poll results that don’t fit their view of the world? It drives them so batty that they suddenly start espousing all manner of absurd rationalizations they believe explain why so many Americans disagree with them.
Such was the case during the 7PM installment of “The Situation Room” Friday when Jack Cafferty shared with his viewers recent poll statistics showing that half of the country believes that Saddam Hussein had WMD before America invaded Iraq in March 2003. This didn’t sit well with Cafferty, who, true to form, blamed the public’s sentiments on Republicans.
This is really wonderful stuff necessitating the reader to be careful with drinking vessels (video link to follow):
Liberal media critics dismiss FNC as biased to the right, pointing to how Republicans prefer to watch it, but a new poll completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that by the same margin that Republicans choose to get their news from FNC, Democrats prefer to learn their news from the broadcast networks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, CNN and NPR. In the survey released Sunday, 34 percent of Republicans reported they watch FNC regularly, compared to 20 percent of Democrats -- a 14 point spread. As for the broadcast networks, Pew reported: “The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38 percent of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24 percent of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22 percent of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13 percent of Republicans.” A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans watch CNN, MSNBC, network morning shows, Sunday morning interview programs and TV news magazine shows. Other than FNC, Rush Limbaugh is the only measured news source to which more Republicans than Democrats turn.
Defending his recent mockery of FNC's Bill O'Reilly that included a Nazi salute, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his appearance on Tuesday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno to defend his actions, implying that he was inspired to do so at the suggestion of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to "do something creative," and also by viciously smearing O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis: "On the air in the last year, Bill O'Reilly has defended the Nazis from World War II on three separate occasions. ... Yes, I wish I were making this up." An ironic statement coming from Olbermann, who last year scolded public figures who use Nazi references, saying, "There's no place for the reference in this culture," and that the analogies are "wrong, offensive and deeply hurtful." (Transcript follows)
Video clip #1 (1:00) NBC runs Countdown promo of Olbermann slamming Ann Coulter, then he quips about Al Gore: Real (1.6 MB) or Windows Media (1.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (280 KB)
Video clip #2 (1:52) Olbermann explains why he did a Nazi salute while holding up a Bill O'Reilly mask: Real (3.1 MB) or Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (550 KB)
Over at National Review, Richard Nadler reports the results of a comprehensive poll of Iraqis. They don't see things as negatively as the American press it seems:
The International Republican Institute’s “Survey of Iraqi Public
Opinion,” released July 19, 2006, provides a useful reality check to
these assumptions. The survey records that Iraqis overwhelmingly reject
sectarianism and national division; and that they widely support the
government they have elected. Moreover, most Iraqis feel safe in their
poll is the latest addition to a series that the Institute has
sponsored for the past three years. The surveys were conducted June 14
through June 24 this year—a time of high sectarian violence,
particularly in the Baghdad area. The pollsters conducted 2849
interviews in Arabic and Kurdish, balanced for geography, ethnicity,
sex, and age.
The February 22 bombing of the al-Askari shrine
marked a turning point for the insurgency in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq,
led at the time by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, implemented a long-discussed
plan to target Shiite civilian and religious targets. The object was
not to kill all Shiites—an obvious impossibility—but to generate a
cycle of revenge killings by Shiite militias and police that would
alienate and radicalize the Sunni populations in the most integrated
parts of the country, particularly Baghdad.
In effect, Zarqawi
chose to feed the anti-democracy insurgency in Iraq by narrowing its
base. This paid immediate tactical dividends in both the Western and
pan-Arab press, which covered the daily slaughters. But it was
strategically counterproductive to al-Qaeda. The movement alienated
ever-growing segments of the Iraqi population, and even of the
insurgency, driving them toward the new government rather than away
A story in The Washington Post yesterday contained some survey data that bolster an argument the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) has made for years now: the media's negativism on the economy has a strong influence on the public:
The paper sponsored “a survey-based experiment”
of “more than 2,500 online respondents” who were “shown a brief news
clip before being asked to reply to a series of questions.” The views
of respondents on their personal economic well-being were wildly
different between survey-takers shown a story on gas prices and
respondents shown a story on job growth.
The Washington Post puts Hillary Clinton on the front page today, a story by Lois Romano headlined "Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton." This could be read as a bad-news story for Hillary. But it's mostly just a forgettable speculative bubble about 2008. Here's what sticks out to me in the Post poll:
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll highlighted the paradox. Fifty-four percent of those responding view her favorably, and a significant majority give her high marks for leadership (68 percent), strong family values (65 percent), and being open and friendly (58 percent). At the same time, only 37 percent of Democrats in the poll say they would definitely vote for her for president.
New York Times TV writer Alessandra Stanley reviewed George and Laura Bush's Thursday night interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" as a desperately needed chance for a softball interview. "The standoff with North Korea over its missile tests, the war in Iraq and ever-sliding ratings in the polls have given the president little reason to celebrate. Mr. King gave the president a chance to defend his policies without risk of interruption or follow-up."
This adjective, "ever-sliding," may be what Miss Stanley wishes and hopes for, but it could not be described as accurate. Bush fans would look silly to describe Bush's poll ratings as good. But they have been creeping upward since the killing of Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The PollingReport.com summary shows that several polls have him up a bit since a low point in early May:
In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
In the past week, President Bush has visited Iraq, had his top political operative cleared of wrongdoing, and presided over the elimination of the terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. NBC’s Today show took note of this fact and the June 16 edition featured a segment on Bush’s upturn in fortunes. But if conservatives expected the media to be happy about Bush’s "good week," they were sadly mistaken. Today reporter Norah O’Donnell began her piece, which aired at 7:13AM EDT, by stating that the Bush administration hoped the current string of positive events would become more then "just a fleeting bit of good news." She also implied that the President’s trip was a political stunt:
"And the President may get the most mileage...literally and figuratively, out of his drop-in to Baghdad...with secrecy both necessary and adding dramatic effect."
Here's a lovely example of liberal media bias: A CBS poll finds that 60% of Americans say it's likely "that the United States will ultimately find success in Iraq," and more than 50% say "Iraq will eventually become a stable democracy."
So is the headline, "Majority of Americans Foresee Success in Iraq"? Nope, it's "Poll: Zarqawi Death Has Little Impact." [Subhead: "Despite Zarqawi Death, Most Americans Say War's Going Badly."] CBS chose to play up this finding:
A new ABC News poll found that by a 22-point margin -- 58 to 36 percent -- a solid majority of Americans believe “same-sex marriage should be illegal,” yet, on Monday’s World News Tonight, ABC anchor Charles Gibson declared that “the polls show Americans are fairly evenly split on this issue.” ABCNews.com headlined its story, “Most Oppose Gay Marriage; Fewer Back an Amendment,” and reporter Jake Tapper pointed out how “forty-five of fifty states have passed either constitutional amendments or laws banning same-sex marriage, including in Democratic-leaning states Oregon and California.” Nonetheless, a seemingly befuddled Gibson asked George Stephanopoulos: “Why does the White House think this is a political winner for the President if indeed we're split?" Stephanopoulos explained that “the number of Americans who are strongly opposed to gay marriage is more than twice the size of the number who are strongly for it, and that group of voters who want to block gay marriage is three times as likely to vote on the issue.”
Gibson next relayed what Stephanopoulos characterized as the Democratic spin. Gibson inquired, “why, if the votes are not there for this constitutional amendment, does the Senate spend three days on this issue when there are a lot of issues that perhaps they could do something about it?" Stephanopoulos answered, “The Democrats think their best issue is misplaced priorities, and they say exactly what you say: The Senate shouldn't be spending their time on this when you have high gas prices and a war raging in Iraq." (Transcript follows)
While NBC's David Gregory described the marriage-amendment battle as a move to placate conservatives on Monday morning, ABC's Claire Shipman's story on "Good Morning America" highlighted opposition to the amendment within the White House. MRC's Brian Boyd found the labeling imbalance was here, too:
Shipman: "He's wading into one of the nation's most divisive social issues again today...Restating his position in the hopes of driving his conservative base to the polls in November." Liberals were unlabeled: "Both pro- and anti-gay marriage forces have been pushing their agendas in state legislatures and courts. Thirteen states have passed bans on gay marriage. Only Massachusetts has made gay marriage legal. The public is divided. Half of Americans, 51 percent, oppose legalizing gay marriage.
All the networks got a few minutes Thursday afternoon with President Bush at an outdoor setting along the Arizona-Mexico border, and while ABC's Martha Raddatz, CBS's Bill Plante, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and FNC's Carl Cameron all stuck, as least as aired, to immigration questions, NBC's David Gregory compared Bush's approval to Nixon's, suggested the public has reached a “final judgment of disapproval” and pressed Bush to name more “centrist” policies he'll adopt. And when Bush named tax cuts, Gregory made clear he didn't consider that centrist.
MSNBC's Hardball carried the entire interview while viewers of the NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown only saw a few excerpts. In the NBC Nightly News/Countdown piece, David Gregory reported: "The President brushed off the fact that his poll ratings are now similar to Richard Nixon's when he resigned the presidency." Gregory featured this question he had posed: "Do you think it's possible that, like Nixon and Watergate, that the American people have rendered a final judgment of disapproval on you and your war in Iraq?" Those watching the 5 and 7pm EDT Hardball heard all that, as well as how Gregory proposed: “You've said and have said in this immigration debate that you want to find 'rational middle ground' on this issue. What other areas can the American people expect you to urge a more centrist approach to policy?" Bush replied that “cutting people's taxes is rational.” To which Gregory retorted: "But is that middle ground?" (Transcripts follow)
Testing the theory that if you repeat something often enough, it’s bound to become true, AP writer Will Lester offers up another edition in his Cell Phone/Political Polling anthology. This time, he finally tells readers what he’s been dying to say since the first article… that polls are being tilted in favor of conservatives, because cell phone users who are out of reach of pollsters are generally more liberal. Got to give the guy credit, he’s been working on this angle, repeating this same story, for several years now… and he’s finally delivered the dramatic climax.
Cell-Phone-Only Crowd May Alter Polling
Currently, 7.8 percent of adults live in households that have only a cell phone, according to research released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. And that group is growing at about 1 percentage point every six months.
In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos aired on Sunday's This Week, First Lady Laura Bush rejected the notion the media are “unfair” to her husband, but citing how the press puts low approval polls on the front page and how those she meets around the nation aren't nearly as downbeat as the media portray, she charged that “I think they're maybe enjoying this a little bit. I mean, that's what it seems like.” To which Stephanopoulos, surprised by the suggestion, exclaimed: "Enjoying it?" Mrs. Bush elaborated: "That's what it seems like a little when I read it in the paper. Because it isn't really what I see everywhere. I mean, I travel all around our country. I go to every part of our country, and what I see is that Americans are standing with our troops. They want them to succeed. They want them to be successful. They want the Iraqi people to be successful. They want the people in Afghanistan to be successful, and they want to rebuild the Gulf Coast. I mean, that's what I see everywhere in our country."
As Rich Noyes pointed out yesterday, the morning shows jumped on the "USA Today" story about the NSA having phone records of ordinary Americans. This morning, CBS’s "The Early Show" continued with the coverage, and used the story to revive one of their favorite terms, "Domestic Spying." In covering this story this morning, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Delaware Senator Joe Biden, a critic of the NSA program, and asked softball questions. With the exception of 2 short clips of President Bush and 1 clip of General Michael Hayden, the President’s nominee to be CIA Director, viewers did not hear from any supporters of the NSA’s actions.
Harry Smith opened the broadcast with the following tease:
"Good morning I’m Harry Smith. The heat turns up again on the domestic spy scandal as members of Congress call for an investigation into a report that the government collected the phone records of millions of Americans. We'll have the latest."
Bob Schieffer led Tuesday's CBS Evening News by heralding “bad news for the Republicans”in a new CBS News/New York Times poll and suggesting the new poll portends “a dramatic shift in the political landscape” with approval of Congress at only 23 percent, its lowest since 20 percent in 1994. But reporting on that low number 12 years ago, just six days before Republicans took control of the House and Senate, Bob Schieffer didn't see disaster ahead for Democrats. Back then he maintained: “It's hard to gauge who'll be helped or hurt by all this gloom come Election Day.”
This year, Schieffer led with the bad news for the GOP poll: "Well, are we about to see a dramatic shift in the political landscape? If the findings of a new CBS News/New York Times poll are accurate, the answer may well be yes. President Bush's ratings have hit another all-time low” at “only 31 percent” approval “and the Republican-controlled Congress gets even lower marks, an approval rating of only 23 percent. That's just a little better than 1994 when dissatisfaction was running so high that Republicans wrested control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years from Democrats.” Gloria Borger chimed in with how “our new poll shows just why Democrats are starting to believe, as opposed to simply hope, that change is in the air. By wide margins, the public says Democrats would do a better job of handling most all issues” and, “overall, Democrats are viewed favorably by 55 percent of Americans. Just 37 percent favor Republicans. That's a complete turnaround from 1994 when Republicans dominated public opinion just before taking control of the Congress."
Reporting the survey back in 1994, however, Schieffer did not inform viewers of how the GOP "dominated" issues, never referred to the Congress as “Democrat-controlled” and didn't bother to mention how 54 percent viewed Republicans favorably, ten points above the 44 percent who viewed Democrats favorably. (Transcripts from Tuesday and 1994 follow.)
The May 8th issue of "U.S. News and World Report" featured an article about high gas prices. Now, the fact that a news magazine would look at the rising cost of gas is not a surprise. But, that a magazine would dedicate a section to interviewing someone who served in the gas line plagued Carter Administration about what the solution to high gas prices is, does come as somewhat of a surprise. Does U.S. News and World Report forget the oil shortages under the Carter Administration. Does the magazine forget the "odd" and "even" licence plates?
The article in question appeared on page 26 and was entitled "Why a Gas Tax is Good For You." The article contained three softball questions at gas tax proponent Philip Verleger, who served in the Carter Treasury Department.
CBS and NBC on Monday night couldn't resist reminding their viewers of President Bush's “Mission Accomplished” speech. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer announced: "Today marks the third anniversary of what many thought at the time was one of the cleverest photo-ops ever, even opponents of the Iraq invasion were impressed when the President flew on to an aircraft carrier decked out in a dashing flight suit and then spoke beneath a banner that said 'Mission Accomplished.' But it turned out not to be.” Citing another CBS News poll which surveyed significantly more Democrats than Republicans, Schieffer proposed to Jim Axelrod: "With the President's approval down to another new low, 33 percent, I take it this is one anniversary the White House did not want to talk about today." Axelrod highlighted how “three years ago when the President appeared on the deck of the USS Lincoln, 74 percent of those polled approved of the way the President was handling Iraq. But contrast that to the latest CBS News poll, just 30 percent now approve of the way the President is handling Iraq. That's 44 percent, Bob, in three years."
"Today marks the third anniversary of President Bush's so-called 'Mission Accomplished' speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln," NBC anchor Brian Williams intoned. "On that day he declared, 'the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.' Today the message was less upbeat." Williams gratuitously added: "By the way, the U.S. death toll in the war is nearing 2,400." (More on the poll and partial transcripts, follow)