While discussing President Obama's sinking approval ratings with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill did her best to make lemonade out of lemons for the Democratic Party: "But in the end, could losing the House ultimately be good for the President? Because it certainly helped Bill Clinton."
Schieffer was the rare voice of wisdom, replying: "You know, Erica, I don't think it is ever good to lose. I think you're always better off when you win." Though he did try to downplay the potential Democratic losses by suggesting both parties were in danger: "I think this is just a symptom of the greater problem, and that is until this economy gets better, everybody in elected office better look out because they could be in trouble." Hill agreed: "Be very careful, no one is safe at this point."
The majority of the segment touted Obama's supposed policy achievements and wondered why he wasn't more popular with the American people. At the top of the broadcast, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Congress approves sweeping changes in financial regulations as President Obama takes on Wall Street and wins. So, why are his poll numbers so bad?" Hill later proclaimed: "It's another legislative victory for the President. His poll numbers, however, are worse than ever."
In the last two days, CBS has reported on its latest poll, emphasizing that Americans are pessimistic about an improving economy, with a little emphasis on how their measure of Barack Obama’s approval rating (44 percent) has tied his lowest number in their poll. But none of the CBS on-air stories have mentioned the poll’s findings on how the approval of ObamaCare has shrunk by seven points. Stephanie Condon reported for the CBS News Political Hotsheet:
Americans continue to be more likely to disapprove than approve of President Obama's sweeping health care reforms, a new CBS News poll shows. While approval of the law is slightly higher than it was when the reforms were signed into law in March, support for the measure has dropped seven points in the past two months.
Forty-nine percent of Americans now disapprove of the health care reform measure, according to the poll, which was conducted July 9-12. Thirty-six percent support the law.
CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to attacking conservative talk radio on Wednesday's Rick's List program, lamenting that "a lot of people in this country...think that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are legitimate news organizations." Sanchez also brought on liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin to do the same: "The Glenn Becks of the world...use the race-baiting...Rush Limbaugh and his racist language" [audio clips available here].
The left-leaning CNN anchor brought on Martin and Memphis, Tennessee Tea Party founder Mark Skoda just after the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour to discuss the NAACP's recently-passed resolution condemning the tea party movement's "racism." As you might expect, Sanchez singled out two isolated examples of racially-tinged signs at tea party rallies: a birther tea party protester who held a "sent Obama back to Kenya" sign while carrying a stuffed monkey, and a sign from the 9/12 rally in Washington, DC in 2009 that depicted President Obama as an African witch doctor.
Martin treated Skoda in a confrontational manner from almost the beginning. The Memphis tea party leader brushed aside Sanchez's citation of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which apparently found that "49 percent of Americans saying that they believe the tea party movement is based in some part on racial prejudice." The pro-Obama contributor then pounced: "Well, actually, he didn't actually answer your question. He danced around your question because I don't- he obviously did not want to answer it. So I will let him have a second opportunity, Rick, to actually answer the question."
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd cherrypicked a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll to dismiss the possibility that Republicans will regain control of Congress in the November election. He did this despite evidence within the same poll that the political landscape in 2010 resembles 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats to take control of the House.
On the July 13 "Morning Joe," Todd emphasized the finding that 72 percent of the country has either "just some" or no confidence at all in the ability of congressional Republicans to "make the right decisions for the country's future."
"This wild card about this election cycle which makes it different from '06, which makes it different from '94, is this issue of the public's view of the Republican Party," insisted Todd.
The Washington Post announced bad news for its largely liberal readers in its poll Tuesday morning. The headline said "6 in 10 Americans lack faith in Obama: Congress still held in lower esteem, but poll shows gap narrowing." Those who read the story would wait until the end of paragraph six (just before the jump) to get this liberal-haunting number: "Those most likely to vote in the midterms prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 percent to 41 percent."
But if the Post reader skipped the gray text and went just for the graphics, they’d get the impression that Republicans are worse off than the Democrats: they’d see asked "how much confidence do you have" in the parties, they showed Obama’s "lack faith" number at 58 percent, Democrats in Congress at 68 percent, and Republicans at 72 percent.
But wait: in parentheses it says "percent of voters saying 'just some' or 'none'". (That wasn't bolded in the paper, as it is on the website.) Here’s the rub: deep in the Post's data (question 3), it shows Republicans "just some" number was 43 percent and "none" was 29 percent, while Democrats "just some" number was 35 percent and "none" was 32 percent. So portraying the Republican standing as "worse" than the Democrats (complete with trouble-red emphasis) is misleading at best.
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Chuck Todd touted President Obama's "swiftness" in dealing with the controversy surrounding General Stanley McChrystal comments in Rolling Stone magazine as a "commander-in-chief moment," and hinted that it was a blessing in disguise, given the executive's tanking approval ratings.
Todd led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President appointing General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal, who was relieved of command following the Rolling Stone interview. The NBC White House correspondent remarked that with the Petraeus appointment, "the President signaled to his team, no more firestorms like this one will be tolerated." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama stating that he "won't tolerate division," he continued that "the President's aides don't expect there will be much division in the Senate, either, where some are predicting Petraeus will have the fastest confirmation in history, and the praise is bipartisan."
Later in the report, Todd used his "commander-in-chief moment" term as he emphasized the apparent good timing of the controversy and detailed the public's decreasing confidence in the President, according to NBC's own poll:
A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds most Americans (51%) say the average reporter is more liberal than they are, and nearly as many (48%) think the media are “are trying to help” President Obama pass his left-wing agenda. Perhaps as a result, the poll finds an astonishing two-thirds of the public (66%) say they are angry with the media, “including 33% who are very angry” with the press.
Most Americans seem to have a low view of journalists’ integrity and professionalism. Rasmussen discovered that “68% say most reporters when covering a political campaign try to help the candidate they want to win,” vs. 23% who think most reporters “try to offer unbiased coverage.” At the same time, “54% of voters think most reporters would hide any information they uncovered that might hurt a candidate they wanted to win, up seven points from November 2008.”
The legacy media love to paint steadfast conservatives as "far right" "ideologues" who are destroying the GOP's "big tent" and "purging" moderates. The notion that the Republican Party has drifted too far to the right, however, is contradicted by a new Gallup poll showing that Americans are more concerned about Democrats' fringe elements.
About half (49%) of poll respondents told Gallup that they thought the Democratic Party is too far left. Forty-two percent said the GOP is too far right. The former number is the highest it has been since 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate.
Of course most journalists probably don't share that sentiment--indeed, a number have bemoaned President Obama's supposed refusal to move even further to the left. Since those journalists are well outside of the nation's mainstream, center-right political outlook, they will inevitably see Republicans as too far right and Democrats as moderate and centrist.
Media bias often shows itself in which organizations journalists choose to cite or ignore. A very prevalent form of this bias is selective reporting on polling data--polls that show results friendly to the liberal position like are touted while those that show the opposite are buried.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd, pictured right, is the latest reporter to demonstrate such a bias. He took Rasmussen Reports to task on Twitter yesterday, claiming it is "has a horrible track record and us [sic] proven to be unreliable" and is really "[n]ot a serious polling firm." Todd said he would only report on "numbers from a more reliable pollster."
Apparently one such pollster, in the mind of Todd's cable network at least, is Research 2000. But R2K was recently rated one of the least reliable major polling firms in existence by liberal statistician Nate Silver. R2K was not even accurate enough for the Daily Kos, which officially dropped the firm on Wednesday.
CNN tried to downplay poll results it released on Wednesday which indicated continuing opposition to ObamaCare, while emphasizing how the poll also found "growing support" for the President's call for increased federal regulation of the financial institutions. The network and its partners at Opinion Research also took two weeks to publish the results of only two questions from the poll.
Catching up on an item from ABC’s The View from Monday, April 26, as the group discussed the new immigration law in Arizona that attempts to enforce federal immigration law, co-host Joy Behar invoked Nazi Germany and suggested that those who oppose the law should be inspired by the story – which is apparently just a legend – of King Christian X of Denmark and other Danes wearing the Star of David on their arms during World War II to make it difficult for Nazi occupiers to discern who was Jewish. After making her first Nazi reference of the day by asserting that "this smells very much of, ‘May I see your papers?’" she soon continued:
During World War II, in one of the countries where the Nazis were occupying – I believe it was Denmark – the king of Denmark also wore the Jewish star. So then everybody had the star, and the Nazis did not know who was Jewish and who wasn't. I suggest that the people in Arizona all get out there and protest this and get some kind of thing to show that they don't like this.
After co-host Barbara Walters pointed out that 70 percent of the people of Arizona "like" the new law, Behar looked for a silver lining in the poll numbers:
While Republicans were the most supportive, a full 45 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents polled supported the law. When broken down to the particulars of the bill, there was even broader support. For example, 65 percent of Democrats and and 73 percent of independents favored "requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status," the portion of the bill that has been derided as allowing the police to demand, "your papers please!"
These poll numbers are absolutely astounding, especially considering the media's non-stop campaign to denounce the law and paint it in an unfavorable light. Yet true to form, the media continue to downplay the results. A search this morning of the Web pages for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today found no links to articles about the poll numbers.
It doesn't seem like this exercise should be that tough.
The government issues Daily Treasury Statements telling everybody what went in and out on a given business day. At the end of the month, the last Daily Treasury Statement has a record (admittedly jumbled and larded with lots of bureaucratic excess) of all receipts and disbursements for the month.
The folks at the Congressional Budget Office look over the final Daily Treasury Statement and estimate what the totals for receipts and disbursements (or "outlays") will be. The difference, obviously, is their estimate of the month's reported deficit. The only remaining items should be error corrections (if any), or accounting entries resulting from the government's ill-advised choice to account for "investments" in banks, car companies, and other entities on a "net present value" basis.
On the eighth business day of the following month, the Treasury Department releases its Monthly Treasury Statement.
On Friday, the CBO estimated that the April's deficit would be $85 billion. The press (as covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) virtually ignored its report. That's bad enough, but when reporters went out to economists for deficit estimates, their predictions were significantly lower. For starters, here's what the Associated Press carried this morning:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, working for its project partner the Associated Press, conducted a poll from March 3-8 about Americans' car preferences and perceptions. The poll's results were released earlier this week, and the wire service's Dan Sewell reported on the results yesterday.
Why the 40-day delay? I'll suggest the possibility that the poll was timed in hopes that the detailed results would hurt and humiliate Toyota at the height of its safety recall problems. But just as the poll was completed, Toyota revealed that its sales had rebounded dramatically, while the evidence that the expense of a full recall was necessary had seriously weakened under closer examination (the degree of need is separate from the issue of whether the company notified the government of the possible problem, concerning which the company has apparently agreed to pay a stiff fine).
Further, the poll's detailed results contradict AP reporter Sewell's sunny-side up contention that American carmakers in general have improved their perceived quality. It's really only a certain American carmaker, as the graphic coming later will show.
But first, here are the opening paragraphs from Sewell's sterilized statements:
“Fifty-five percent (55%) of U.S. voters continue to think that media bias is a bigger problem in politics today than big campaign contributions, identical to the finding in August 2008,” Rasmussen Reports found in a survey of 1,000 “likely voters” released on Tuesday.
Suggesting that perception of bias is of liberal bias, Rasmussen determined “sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans and 62% of unaffiliated voters say media bias is the bigger problem in politics, a view shared by just 37% of Democrats. The plurality (46%) of Democrats says campaign contributions are a bigger problem.”
Was Gayle King kvetching about polls when candidate, then President, Obama and the Dems were riding high? Doubt it. But now that tide has turned, King pooh-poohs polls, and even asked Mika Brzezinski not to read one on the air. But never fear, "every time he speaks I get inspired all over again" proclaimed the editor of Oprah Winfrey's O magazine.
King's hear-no-evil moment went down on today's Morning Joe, as Mika was about to read a poll showing a preference for Republicans in the generic congressional ballot.
On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
By a 12 point margin, those asked, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, called “Barack Obama’s health care plan” a “bad idea” (48 percent) over a “good idea” (36 percent.) Yet, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday evening skipped that verdict as he declared “people are evenly split” on “the President’s health care reform plan.” From the accompanying graphic, viewers could learn Williams was referring to what people say about enacting it: “pass” (46 percent) vs “don’t pass” (45 percent).
The actual question presented a stark alternative of endorsing the status quo: “Do you think it would be better to pass Barack Obama’s health care plan and make its changes to the health care system or to not pass this plan and keep the current health care system?” Yet the one-point gap was the closest-ever in the poll as “better to not pass this plan, keep current system” grew to 45 percent from 39 percent last September, a trend neither Williams nor Chuck Todd pointed out.
Williams did highlight how “most people tell us they don’t approve of the way President Obama has handled the health care issue, but,” he couldn’t resist adding, “they disapprove of how Republicans in Congress have handled it by an even wider margin.” (This post updated below with response from Todd.)
One thing you can say about the Apparatchik Press -- er, the Associated Press -- is that it's leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to prop up their guy Barack Obama.
In the tenth paragraph of an AP report today by Ben Feller on President Obama's stack of priorities ("For Obama, big agenda and small window for results"), the wire service's Ben Feller bitterly clings to an AP-GfK Roper poll result that is sharply at variance with others, and assumes that it gives Obama a level of clout that doesn't exist outside the grounds of the White House:
Obama has a key edge in setting the agenda: public approval. His job-performance rating is holding mainly steady at 53 percent, while a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that fewer people approve of Congress - a mere 22 percent - than at any point in Obama's presidency.
Well, of course his approval is 53% in AP-GfK la-la land. The poll's sample, as you can see at the top right (found at Page 31 of the 42-page PDF, consisted of 33% declared Democrats and 23% declared Republicans.
Earlier this afternoon, NB's Tim Graham noted how NPR's Robert Siegel and Pew Research pollster Andrew Kohut spoke approvingly of "Millennials" as being "less 'militaristic' and less religious" than their elders.
At end of his post, Graham noted that Siegel and Kohut "somehow" forgot to discuss the key political finding in the poll, namely that the demographic's 32-point favoritism towards Democrats (62% to 30%) has declined by more than half (to 54% to 40%) in just one year of living in Obamaland. Shoot, if that trend continues for another nine months, it will be almost all even by Election Day in November.
Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found top journalists are much more liberal than the rest of America. At the same time, public opinion polls show Americans see the media as politically biased, inaccurate and an obstacle to solving society’s problems. The numbers document a credibility crisis for journalism that only a swift move towards professionalism and fairness can fix.
The MRC has now created a one-stop online resource, “Media Bias 101,” detailing more than 40 surveys revealing journalists’ liberal opinions and the public’s attitudes about bias. The report also contains page after page of quotes from top reporters discussing media bias — most denying the problem, but some admitting it.
In a story primarily about President Obama's plan to campaign on behalf of incumbent Democratic senators in Nevada and Colorado, Washington Times reporter Joseph Curl did not name Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's opponent.
That oversight would ordinarily be defensible if the Bennet's primary competitor were polling weakly. But he is most decidedly not, at least where it ultimately counts -- in general election match-ups against the current Republican primary front-runner.
Give the New York Times points for nerve, anyway. Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney managed to take the paper's new poll, full of bad news for President Obama and Democrats, and to change the subject, twisting the findings to suggest that Republicans were the party in trouble, in Friday's front page story: “Obama Fares Better in Poll Than G.O.P." The online headline is similar: "Obama Has Edge Over G.O.P. With Public."
Nagourney, with co-writer Megan Thee-Brenan, entirely passed over several interesting tidbits from the poll (you can read a .PDF version here) which reflected badly on the prospects of Obama and the Democrats. The negative stuff that was brought to light was buried, while positive but irrelevant trends for Obama were placed up high, in paragraph three.
That's where Nagourney gave Obama credit for being on the popular side of the issue of gays serving openly in the military, an issue that wasn't even on the national agenda before Obama's State of the Union address two weeks ago. Meanwhile, deep public opposition to Obama's long-time signature issue -- his health care plan -- wasn't addressed until paragraph 10, and then only lightly.
Touting the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer concluded that Americans were upset with President Obama and Congress simply over the influence of "special interest groups," without mentioning massive government spending or ObamaCare as other possible reasons.
After reporting that 70% of Americans were "dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in Washington," Smith focused on the poll question about special interests: "8 in 10 say Congress is more interested in serving the needs of special interest groups rather than the people they represent." Schieffer explained: "In order to raise that money you've got to sign off on so many special interest groups before you get to Washington that it's very difficult to compromise once you do get here."
However, neither Smith nor Schieffer brought up the part of the poll that showed the desire by a majority of Americans for smaller government: "59% of Americans think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals....56% would choose a smaller government providing fewer services over a bigger government providing more services, up from 48% last spring and the highest percentage in more than a decade."
Salon columnist Max Blumenthal continues to get flak for his slanderous, factually-challenged hit piece on conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe last week. The column, premised on a host of omissions and baseless assumptions, contended that O'Keefe's is a racist.
Blumenthal's latest critic is Columbia Journalism Review, Old Media's paragon of journalistic elitism. CJR has requested that he correct but one of the many errors that comprise his column.
But CJR really has a problem, it seems, that Blumenthal has given ammunition to critics who claim Old Media is rife with liberal bias. CJR contributor Greg Marx lamented that Blumenthal and other quasi-journalists, in ignoring facts to support their agendas,give "ready-made ammunition for that broader campaign."
A poll conducted last week by Public Policy Polling found that among 1,151 registered voters surveyed, Fox News Channel crushed the other networks in trust, with 49 percent of respondents saying they trusted FNC. That's 10 percentage points more than CNN, and 14 points more than MSNBC, the home of Obama-boosting or leftist personalities such as Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz.
The survey-related quote comes from a post at PPP's blog. Tom Jensen, its author, pecked in quite a presumptuous final paragraph there (italics are Jensen's):
These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.
Huh? Surely this must be simply a rogue PPP staffer's uninformed rant. Uh, no. At Politico's coverage of the poll, reporter Andy Barr quoted PPP's President making this putrid pronouncement about what the poll results putatively personify: