Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pop Quiz: What Percentage of Americans Oppose The War In Afghanistan?

CNN:
Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll. Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission.

57% of Americans oppose the war.

57% of Independents oppose the war.

But that's not exactly the picture you get from the media, is it?

On yesterday's Meet the Press, which was devoted in large part to "debating" the war, 100% of the panelists supported it. (The other half of the show was devoted to "debating" health care, in which 75% to 100% of the panelists opposed the public option. A majority of Americans support the public option.)

Liberal media, my ass. Not only are liberal views not represented even when a majority of Americans hold them, they're not even treated by the media as "serious" or "legitimate" views to hold. To be taken seriously by the media, you have to be a hawk and a fiscal conservative. Socially, you can be a little more liberal. As long as you favor war and limiting social spending, of course.

Greenwald:
Yesterday, Meet the Press hosted a panel discussion to debate two primary issues: (1) foreign policy -- specifically, the war in Afghanistan, and (2) health care. The panel: Rudy Giuliani, Tom Friedman, Harold Ford, Jr., and Tom Brokaw (as Jay Rosen often notes, Meet the Press is doing a fantastic job of fulfilling its pledge to present "fresh voices" in its discussions).

With regard to Afghanistan, there is a major debate currently taking place about whether we should stay in that country. A majority of Americans now opposes the war. But there was not a single participant there who shares that view. All of them believe that it is imperative we remain, and put on their little General hats to exchange deeply Serious analyses of how we need to adjust our strategy and tactics for greater mission success. Of course, all of three of those whose views were known about Iraq -- Friedman, Ford and Giuliani -- were vehement supporters of the invasion. As always, not only does support for that war not produce shame or even impair one's credibility and Seriousness, but the opposite is true: having supported it is a prerequisite for being considered credible and Serious, which is why those are the only people -- still -- from whom we hear when it's time to convene Serious discussions of foreign policy. What an odd filtering standard for The Liberal Media to use.

On health care, the same dynamic repeated itself. The prime controversy in that debate is over the inclusion of a "public option," with large numbers of Americans supporting it. Yet once again, not a single member of the panel advocated it (though David Axelrod was interviewed before the panel and paid lip service to the public option on his way to clearly signaling it would not be part of the ultimate plan). Guiliani warned there would be no health care with a public option; Ford told his "liberal friends in Congress" that they will have to be disappointed by the outcome; Friedman insisted that Obama adopt the proposals of Mitt Romney and John McCain and ensure he has the support of centrist Republicans (Brokaw offered some mild pushback against the attempt to demonize the public option). The words "single payer" were never spoken.

What you had with the health care discussion, just as was true with the Afghanistan debate and the lead-up to the Iraq War, is one that -- by design -- completely excluded any views to the "left" of DLC Chair Harold Ford, even where such views are held by large numbers of Americans. With very rare exception, that is the spectrum of opinion typically allowed on Liberal Media shows like Meet the Press. The Liberal Media doesn't even pretend to include liberal views.

15 comments:

apikores said...

I don't know WTF Obama is thinking these days. Why is he trying so hard to please the Republicans when their base is largely made up of those who think he is a Kenyan grandma-killing communist? They wouldn't support him even if he got rid of taxes, outlawed abortion, attacked Iran, and renamed the country "The United States of Jesus-merica". Doesn't Obama realize that he is pissing off his base? I always knew he wasn't as liberal as I would like, but I thought we'd at least get heath care reform and some firm time line on withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. He'd better give a damn good speech on Wednesday.

Holy Hyrax said...

The other option is that they are objective overall or slanted to the right. Which is it?

Sadie Lou said...

"Not only are liberal views not represented even when a majority of Americans hold them, they're not even treated by the media as "serious" or "legitimate" views to hold. To be taken seriously by the media, you have to be a hawk and a fiscal conservative."

What?!
I mean, WHAT???!!!
Every single time the American Society of Newspaper Editors does it's annual survey, the statistics are overwhelming. In 2004 it was 61% of all reporters surveyed were liberal.
On;y 15% were Republicans and the rest were undecided or Independent.
Zogby polled voters during the last election and a whopping 83% of everyone surveyed strongly believed that the media, newspapers and TV was biased to the left.
~S

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie:

Yes, but 61% of all commentary isn't anti-war, is it? 61% of all commentary isn't pro-public-choice-option, is it?

Obviously, most journalists are going to lean liberal. Most members of every profession requiring education and not focused solely on the bottom line leans liberal. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, as Mr. Colbert quipped. Most doctors are liberal. Most scientists are liberal. Most professors are liberal. Most economists are liberal. Most lawyers are liberal.

But most commentary on the networks and in the major papers is hawkish and fiscally conservative. Because why?

Because journalists don't get together and vote for the columnists they think are most fair and attuned to reality. No, some suit at the NYT or at NBC or CBS decides that Tom Friedman gets to be the prominent "liberal." Coverage of the run-up to the war is tightly controlled from the top-down so as not to appear too liberal (i.e. factually-based.)

What journalists believe in their hearts of hearts isn't relevant if the guardians of what gets into the media are constantly tilting the scales to "correct" for the alleged liberal bias.

What's your explanation for why "debates" in the major MSM outlets are always between the right-wing and the center-right?

Holy Hyrax said...

oy oy oy JA

Seriously. This is where you kvetch best.

>What's your explanation for why "debates" in the major MSM outlets are always between the right-wing and the center-right?

What do you mean always? How about some links to programs? Like debates you find with Mathews?


I need sleep. Final due tomorrow.

Random said...

JA, you're making a common mistake here, namely you're assuming that just because the media are to the right of you therefore they're right-wing. Sorry, but that logic is flawed to put it mildly - look, you're a smart guy and I like you a lot, but there's a heck of a lot of Left left between you and the centre, easily enough to fit in CNN, MSNBC and all those guys.

Also, as far as Afghanistan is concerned you're making a mistake in that support/opposition for the war isn't a right/left issue. Obama supports the war (indeed, campaigned on it) and there are plenty of conservatives opposed to it. This is an issue that crosses party lines.

Sadie Lou said...

"Obviously, most journalists are going to lean liberal. Most members of every profession requiring education and not focused solely on the bottom line leans liberal. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, as Mr. Colbert quipped. Most doctors are liberal. Most scientists are liberal. Most professors are liberal. Most economists are liberal. Most lawyers are liberal."

Wow, if that isn't the most arrogant drivel I've read in a long time.
:)
I don't understand why believing you're right and conservatives are wrong, entitles you to be an @ss.
I'd rather be poor and stupid than lump myself in with self proclaimed geniuses. Holy Sneakers.

Anyhoo,
"What's your explanation for why "debates" in the major MSM outlets are always between the right-wing and the center-right?"

I don't have an explanation because I don't even agree with the assumptions in the question.

Random, can I have your email again?
lollishops@gmail.com

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

JA, you're making a common mistake here, namely you're assuming that just because the media are to the right of you therefore they're right-wing.

Not at all. I specifically chose issues where the media are to the right of a significant majority of Americans. And I think those issues represent entire very import areas where the media are to the right of a majority of Americans -- war and social spending.

Also, as far as Afghanistan is concerned you're making a mistake in that support/opposition for the war isn't a right/left issue.

That's an interesting claim with perhaps some merit. However, I think you're overstating it. 75% of Republicans support the war while 57% of Dems (and Independents) oppose it. You're right that Obama supports it of course -- believe me, that bothers me (and always has bothered me) more than the media's slant.


Sadie:

Wow, if that isn't the most arrogant drivel I've read in a long time.

If it's drivel, why don't you refute it? If it's true, how is it arrogant?

Sadie Lou said...

JA-
Your assumption, boiled down, is that most educated people grounded in reality are liberals.
This is to say that conservatives are mostly not educated or grounded in reality-because both parties can't claim to be the "most". So that's where you are being arrogant and the burden of proof lies with the person pushing the sauce--not the person rejecting it.
Would you agree that humility is a virtue or a weakness? Just out of curiosity?

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie:

Your assumption, boiled down, is that most educated people grounded in reality are liberals.

Yeah, it's probably hyperbole a bit, but there's more than a grain of truth in it. 2/3s of all Republicans don't even believe in evolution, so I think it's pretty clear that they don't count as "grounded in reality."

Would you agree that humility is a virtue or a weakness? Just out of curiosity?

False humility is a weakness. True humility -- i.e. recognizing that you are no smarter or better than you actually are -- is a strength.

Random said...

"Obviously, most journalists are going to lean liberal. Most members of every profession requiring education and not focused solely on the bottom line leans liberal. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, as Mr. Colbert quipped. Most doctors are liberal. Most scientists are liberal. Most professors are liberal. Most economists are liberal. Most lawyers are liberal."

Not wishing to answer for Sadie, but yeah - this is drivel. To take a couple of points -

" Most members of every profession requiring education and not focused solely on the bottom line leans liberal."

This is simply untrue. The police and the military for example both trend heavily conservative and certainly for any sort of leadership role they require a level of educational achievement far more demanding than that required for, say, a journalist or liberal arts major. But then both groups have to clean up the mess left behind by liberal social policy, so it's probably not terribly surprising they trend conservative.

Also, what's with the "not focused solely on the bottom line" exemption? What on earth do you achieve by excluding from your dataset the hundreds of thousands of graduates a year who leave university to either join private industry or set up their own businesses? Of course, if you are determined to exclude from your dataset everybody who contradicts your theory it becomes easy to say that the data supports your theory. It doesn't stop both your theory and the data cited to support it from being, well, drivel.

"I specifically chose issues where the media are to the right of a significant majority of Americans."

I wonder, how does your theory of the right-wing media fit with this amazing article in the New York Times bemoaning the fact that the United States is not a communist dictatorship?

“There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

" And I think those issues represent entire very import areas where the media are to the right of a majority of Americans -- war and social spending."

Latest opinion poll from Associated Press (extracts):

"Obama's approval rating on handling specific issues breaks down as follows:

Health Care: 42% approve (-8), 52% disapprove (+9)
Afghanistan: 46% approve (-9), 40% disapprove (+8)"

And

"In general, do you support, oppose or neither support nor oppose the health care reform plans being discussed in Congress?

Support 34%
Oppose 49%"

Your assertion that the media are failing to reflect majority opinion does not appear to be supported by the facts.

Sadie Lou said...

JA-
"2/3s of all Republicans don't even believe in evolution, so I think it's pretty clear that they don't count as "grounded in reality."
- - - - - - -
Evolution is a theory. There are holes in the theory that are wide enough to drive a bus through. I am 100% convinced that there is a God of this universe, that He alone is responsible for creation and that he is the same God of the Holy Bible--however, I would never, ever belittle or think less of any other people group based on what I perceive to be true. Your arrogance on these issues is so startling to me.
Basically, and this is for you too cyberkitten, you have seared your mind against all the information out there. You have taken in what you believe to be true and you go around cherry picking stories and articles that support your beliefs and you discard or bypass all the rest of it. Even if you actually take a look at the opposing information, it's with a critical-judgmental attitude and nobody could presume to learn anything like that.
Even though I am 100% confident in my beliefs, what separates me from you is that I am not critical or judgmental towards other people's opinions. I actually listen to the opposing arguments.
Therefore, I am making choices given the whole scope of information, while you make choices based on a very limited amount of data--and that's not going to serve you very well and that's why your arrogance is staggering--because knowledge is power. Humility is strength.

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

Hmm, I've seen (and linked to) different polls. Regardless, my post is about a talk show where the two allegedly liberal guests are to the right-of-center on the relevant issues.


Sadie:

I'm sorry, but you are really, really wrong on evolution. I grew up religious. There is just no legitimate debate there. I don't know how I can convince you of that, so I'm not going to bother, but I will say that even the frickin' pope believes in evolution. I honestly believe that if you really, truly investigated the matter with an open mind, you would believe in it, too. It's not a question of faith; it's a question of overwhelming evidence.

You call me arrogant, but you are clearly far more confident in your beliefs than your knowledge and understanding warrants. You say you're "100% certain" that the God of the bible exists, but that's just crazy -- what could you possibly base that 100% certainty on?

As for your lack of a college degree, I certainly don't think you're a lesser person or anything like that because of it... but I think you should really reconsider your confidence in your ability to decide what's true about these things. Lots of people are "100% certain" that Obama was born in Kenya or that they were abducted by aliens or that homeopathic medicine works. Feelings of confidence are not trustworthy, and that's more true the less knowledgeable and intelligent you are. You might want to believe that the truth is equal opportunity -- that the high-school dropout with an IQ of 100 is just as qualified as the PHD scientist with a 150 IQ to figure out what's true. But "common sense" is not reliable. Science is the most reliable technique for finding the truth ever invented.

Talk to some really smart and educated people who share your religion and politics -- I bet a lot of them even will tell you that evolution is just plain true.

Sadie Lou said...

JA,
"...but I will say that even the frickin' pope believes in evolution."
- - - -
*laughing*
Why would I care if the Pope believes in evolution? The Pope and I differ on much greater issues than evolution.
- - - -
"It's not a question of faith; it's a question of overwhelming evidence."
- - - -
You never asked if I believe in the theory of evolution. There are parts of it that I know are true and then there are parts that don't make sense to me at all. In reference to the human species, Natural Selection doesn't make sense to me.
--"natural selection, a process that causes helpful traits (those that increase the chance of survival and reproduction) to become more common in a population and causes harmful traits to become more rare."

I don't see this played out in humans. We still carry about traits that are indifferent or harmful to survival. Is it because we're too new of a species? Wait, that can't be true either because there are animals that have shown properties of natural selection at a rapid pace.
This is just one of the problems I can't get my mind around.
- - - -
"You call me arrogant, but you are clearly far more confident in your beliefs than your knowledge and understanding warrants."
- - - -
I'm not arrogant about my convictions. You are. I don't say insulting things to you or hint at your stupidity.
You like me, but you think I'm a moron.
Take this to it's logical conclusion and suddenly, you're surrounded by morons--what a lofty position to be in and how judgmental! I don't think you're idiot because you don't believe but let's not parse words, you would feel comfortable thinking I am an idiot because I do.
There are millions of "smart" people that could show you up on your IQ score that believe in God.

"but I think you should really reconsider your confidence in your ability to decide what's true about these things."
- - - -

Funny, I think the exact same thing about you. You can't prove me wrong. You can say there is not a God all you want but you can't know it for certain. Your arrogance is out of denial.
- - - -

Your examples of what others are confident about is out of ignorance. Surely you're not saying I'm ignorant?

- - - -
"Talk to some really smart and educated people who share your religion and politics -- I bet a lot of them even will tell you that evolution is just plain true."
- - - -

Maybe you should talk to some of the really educated people I know that are lawyers, doctors and rocket scientists (yes there actually is a rocket scientist in my church) and ask them if evolution is true?

Jack said...

Greenwald is a semi literate monkey who makes up for ignorance with vitriol. Aside from that I hear he has a tremendous singing voice.