National Public Radio released a poll recently with some rather startling results that the media are likely not going to share with the public. After months of focusing America’s attention on “scandals” surrounding Valerie Plame, I. Lewis Libby, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Bill Frist, the nation’s mainstream press outlets must have been very disappointed to see the following numbers concerning the citizenry’s view of politics and ethics. The pollsters asked 800 Americans the following question:
"Now I would like to read you a list of issues and for each one please tell me whether you think George W. Bush or the Democratic Party would do a better job handling that particular issue. Improving ethics in Washington, D.C."
The results? 43 percent answered “George W. Bush,” while 41 percent said “the Democratic Party.”
"When it comes to ethics in Washington, D.C., do you think that the ethics and corruption issues with the current Congress are more than usual, about the same as usual, or fewer than usual?"
The results? 27 percent said “more,” 7 percent said “fewer,” while 63 percent said “same.”
"In Washington, D.C., today, do you think the problems with ethics and corruption are more with the Republicans or more with the Democrats today or about equally with both parties?"
Results? 19 percent said “more with Republicans,” 14 percent said “more with Democrats,” 65 percent said “about the same.”
"Thinking more about ethics -- I am going to read you two different viewpoints on ethics and after I read them please tell which statement comes closest to your own opinion.
"Democrats say that Republicans have created a culture of corruption in Washington today, with lobbyists winning favors as never before. The number of lobbyists has doubled in five years, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate are under indictment or investigation, and up to ten Republican members of Congress are also under investigation for taking lobbyist-paid trips and favors. Democrats say it is time to clean up this corrupt Congress. While, Republicans say there are a few individuals in both political parties who have been caught up in scandals. Republicans say Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have ethics problems of their own. Republicans say ethical problems are the fault of the individual in both parties who do wrong, not the fault of one political party or the other. Republicans say individual congressmen should be punished, but the election should be decided on issues, not a few bad cases.
"Which statement comes closest to your own point of view?"
The results? As amazing as it might seem, after months of mainstream media representatives writing and speaking about “a culture of corruption,” only 38 percent of those polled expressed such an opinion. By contrast, 56 percent said that what is going on in Washington today represents “a few bad cases.”
Once again, the media’s views represent a minority opinion.