Wednesday, January 01, 2003

CalPundit asks the question, "With all due respect to my fellow liberals, can someone tell me why the lefty blogosphere has been obsessing over this Time/CNN poll showing that Bush's approval numbers have now dropped to 55%?" Here's my attempt to answer that question. Yes, TIME is read by a lot of people. But if there is anything I have learned in recent years is that the emphasis put on information is more important then whether the information is available or not. The TIME poll was printed in the magazine, but has received absolutely no mention anywhere else, while other polls showing higher numbers have been used to show Bush's continuing popularity. Furthermore, when CNN did mention the poll, they did so only in the context of a story about how Bush's advisors were trusted by the American people. Yet, even that was deceptive, since the poll actually sounds more like people are saying his advisors are more trusted then Bush. Furthermore, pollingreport.com has said that CNN/Time sent them the poll results, except the all important approval numbers. Why would they specifically choose to not include that one number? The recent Trent Lott situation shows that the media can dictate the terms of the debate by what they chose not to emphasize. They essentially ignored Lott's comments until the weight of the criticism became to big for them to pretend that it wasn't an important story. One poll does not a trend make of course. But the curious lack of mention of this one poll result does match the trend in recent years of the establishment media trumpeting positive news about the Bushies while burying negative information. To put it simply, the anger over this incident is not over this incident alone but over how it fits into the overall pattern of media coverage of the Bush presidency. I hope that answers some of Cal's questions.

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