Feb
04
2011

A Tough Call: Daily News Media Bias Poll

Hmmm… can I get two votes? For the record, the results are currently 94 percent for liberal control, 1 percent for conservative-pandering and 5 percent for control by the rich.

Jan
24
2011

NYT Disappears Public Support for Military Spending Cuts

Today the New York Times reports on the debate over spending, deficits and the State of the Union (1/24/11): The public itself seems split, or perhaps confused. Americans overwhelmingly say that in general, they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll published last week. Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch millions of lives and are the biggest drivers of the long-term deficit. Social Security is not […]

Jan
21
2011

NYT Hits Deficit Panic Button (Again)

Big news in the New York Times today (1/21/11): According to their new poll, Americans overwhelmingly support slashing military spending. Wait–that's not the news. According to the story by Jackie Calmes and Dalia Sussman (headlined "Poll Finds Willingness to Cut Spending, Just Not Medicare or Social Security"), the real story is that people don't like the idea of cutting these entitlement programs, but arereally worried about the budget deficit: While Americans are near-unanimous in calling deficits a problem–a "very serious" problem, say 7 out of 10–a majority believes it should not be necessary for them to pay higher taxes to […]

Jan
07
2011

Liberal Media Slams Boehner!

The Washington Post's account(1/6/11) of John Boehner's first day as Speaker of the House could have been a press release from Boehner's office. The headline was "A Modest Boehner Takes Congress's Most Powerful Office." Post readers learned that"Boehner tends to shun big moments such as these. He's more at home on the golf course with his rank-and-file buddies." He's just one of us! The Post adds: About 500 of Boehner's constituents, including family friends from the Cincinnati area, came to see him sworn in. Many of them, as well as some D.C. lobbyists, came through his office late Wednesday morning […]

Jan
03
2011

Bogus Net Neutrality Poll

I was struck by this December 30 headline at the Huffington Post: "Only 21 Percent Of U.S. Voters Support Net Neutrality." Really? Well it turns out the poll was conducted by Scott Rasmussen, whose polling has made him afavorite at Fox News Channel. The real story here is that the poll question was clearly cooked up to achieve the desired outcome. As Amy Lee noted near the bottom of the piece, Rasmussen asked this question:"Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?" But the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules do not at all resemble […]

Aug
31
2010

Deficit Panic Continues at NYT

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes today (8/31/10) about the possible steps Obama might take to bolster the economy: With voters angry about government spending, and economists divided about just what approach is the correct one, such aggressive steps are by now out of the question. "There's a deep frustration among economists that they simply don't know what to do under these circumstances, at least in terms of fiscal policy," said Bruce Bartlett, an economist who advised Republican presidents. "I think there are a lot of economists who, in principle, would support some new fiscal stimulus, perhaps a […]

Jul
30
2010

USA Today: Americans Continue to Support Afghan War–in 2001

A USA Today story by Susan Page (7/27/10), on the impact of the WikiLeaks revelations, reports that despite some erosion, "Most Americans continue to support the war in Afghanistan." To back up this assertion, Page cites Gallup poll findings (7/8-11/10) that 58 percent of Americans think it was "not a mistake" for the U.S. to have sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001. Clearly, though, it's possible to believe that U.S. troops should have been sent to Afghanistan in 2001 without thinking that they should still be there almost nine years later. Much more to the point was the July 11 […]

Jul
02
2010

Another Latin American Left President Under Fire?

The new Oliver Stone documentary South of the Border israisingawareness of the often shabby U.S. media treatment of Latin America. A recent example is a June 24L.A. Times piece by Alex Renderos headlined "El Salvador President Under Fire." The president is former FMLN leader Mauricio Funes, who waselected last year. According to the Times, things are going poorly for him: Crime and corruption are still problems, he is facing an"avalanche of criticism," and "Salvadorans are growing impatient." The paperadds: Funes' failures have hit the poor and working class especially hard. After two decades of one-party right-wing rule, they greeted the […]

Jun
18
2010

We're All Deficit Hawks–Not

Senate Democrats are having trouble passing a spending bill that would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits and deliver much-needed financial aid to cash-starved states. Today the New York Times (6/18/10) explained the legislative logjam this way: The spending and tax measure has become caught up in intensifying politics around deficit spending as members of both parties, reacting to rising public concern, have grown reluctant to vote for measures that add to federal red ink. Reacting to public concern? As we've noted before, there is far more public concern that the government is not doing enough to stimulate job growth. […]

Jun
16
2010

L.A. Times on the Afghanistan 'Debate'

Today's Los Angeles Times (6/16/10)has thisheadline: Debate Grows Over Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan The lead: Recent setbacks in Afghanistan have intensified debate over the wisdom of the Obama administration's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. military forces next summer and highlighted reservations among military commanders over a rigid timeline. Debating the war– let's have at it. Onone side are U.S. military officials, who are portrayed as having "reservations" about a withdrawal timeline. On the other side: Sen. John McCain, who… well,has serious reservations aboutwithdrawal timelines. Not part of this debate: the 53 percent of the U.S. public (ABC/Washington Post, 6/3-6/10) who say […]

May
19
2010

Citizens Revolting… Over the Deficit?

The Washington Post has a story today (5/19/10)that leads with this: With voters up in arms over the mounting federal debt, congressional Democrats are growing increasingly queasy about adding to the nation's tab,with some arguing that additional spending to prop up the economy and help the unemployed should be paid for or abandoned. The headline–"Democrats Queasy About Deficit Spending"–seems true enough, in the sense that reporter Lori Montgomery quotes some Democrats saying as much. But are voters really "up in arms" over the debt? That's not borne out by polls of voters' concerns. If you check the recent surveys at […]

Apr
23
2010

It's Hard to Make a Flat Line Sound Sexy

A New York Times article (4/23/10) by Peter Baker and David Herszenhorn remarks of Barack Obama: With his poll numbers sagging, the choreographed confrontation seemed aimed at tapping the nation's antiestablishment mood as well as muscling financial regulation legislation through Congress. While Obama's confrontation with the financial industry was no doubt choreographed, are his poll numbers really sagging? This chart from Pollster.com, averaging out all the major national polls, reveals instead that opinion on Obama's job performance is remarkably steady (and remarkably evenly divided, too). It's hard to turn a line like that into exciting news, which isn't to say […]

Apr
06
2010

Distorting the Polling on Tea Party Supporters

Is theTea Party movement actually more politically diverse than the "liberal media" would have you believe? Andrew Malcolm, a blogger for the L.A. Times who used to be Laura Bush's press secretary, thinks so. He wrote yesterday (4/5/10) about a pair of polls that came out about the Tea Party movement: For upwards of 12 months now members of the so-called Tea Party protest movement have been stereotyped, derogated and often dismissed by some politicians and media outlets. They've been portrayed variously as angry fringe elements, often inarticulate, potentially violent and merely Republicans in sheep's clothing or disgruntled pockets of […]