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.
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.