Friday, January 03, 2003

Eric Boehlert does something that I, frankly, didn't bother to do when I posted the scan of the TIME/CNN poll last week: read the article that went around it (I rarely read establishment press anymore and certainly not of the TIME/Newsweek variety). Doing so, Eric picked up on something I and most everyone else missed: the article presents a glowing picture of Bush and Cheney that is completely at odds with the results of Bush's own poll.
The box highlights the latest results of a CNN/Time poll of 1,006 American adults taken on Dec. 17-18. Among the questions they were asked was whether Cheney "is a leader you can trust." A majority of those polled, 51 percent, said they did not trust him; just 42 percent said they did. For some reason, nowhere in Time's endless, breathless encomium to Cheney can that little detail be found.
Instead, Time wrote that for American anxious about war, "it's not enough for people to like Bush; they have to follow him, and for many, that's easier when he has Cheney marching at his side." Why people would feel better about marching to war behind Cheney when most Americans don't trust him is a knot Time doesn't bother to untangle. Cue "The Star-Spangled Banner"!
As for Bush, his trust ratings are only slightly better. According to the same CNN/Time poll, just 50 percent trust him, while 48 percent do not. Basically it's a tie, given the poll's margin of error of 3.5 percent. But that doesn't stop Time from insisting, "Most Americans are inclined to give Bush the benefit of the doubt; they trust his motives and approve of his performance." Most Americans?
What is apparent from this is that TIME decided to write a year-end love letter to Bush and Cheney. Meanwhile, someone else decided that the story should be accompanied by a graphic showing their latest poll results. The mistake was that no one bothered to compare the content of the article with what the graphic below it showed. A finer example of establishment media disconnect has rarely been seen.

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