Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, August 16, 2007

CNN Skews Its Patreus Poll

To hear CNN tell it, Gen. Patreus' report to the President and Congress on the progress of the war in Iraq is DOA -- and who cares if it is, because most of us don't care what it says.

Of course, their Opinion Research poll tells a different story entirely -- but that's hardly what they're reporting.

The real story is that almost half of the American population has decided that Iraq is a lost cause and nothing -- no progress, no success, no amount of changed circumstances is going to make them change their mind.

The other real story is that CNN, like nearly all the paleo-media, are hard at work creating negative story lines on the war.

To the first point, the poll tells us that 47% of us admit that they are utterly close-minded about the war, inflexible in that belief, and totally unrepentant about believing that way. There's another word for that kind of thinking: bigot.

From the survey instrument, here's the question that tells us this:
Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Iraq? Is your mind made up about the war in
Iraq or do you think you could change your mind?

Favor/mind made up 21%
Favor/could change mind 12%
Oppose/could change mind 17%
Oppose/mind made up 47%
No opinion 3%
Keep that number, 47 percent, in mind. They say "Shut up! Na-na-na-na! I can't hear you!" Then, consider this question, which gave CNN it's nasty story:
As you may know, in September the top U.S. commander in Iraq will report to the President and Congress about how the war is going. Do you trust him to report what's really going on in Iraq without making the situation sound better than it actually is, or don't you feel that way?

Trust him to report what’s really going on 43%
Do not trust him to report what’s really going on 53%
No opinion 4%
When you consider that 47 percent said nothing will convince them that Iraq will turn out all right -- and another 21 percent say nothing will change their mind that things are going well -- then having 53 percent saying Patreus may juice his report is really no big deal at all. A true believer in the war could say he doesn't trust Patreus to report what's really going on, but that would have no effect on his support for the war.

To the second point, the deliberate creation of negative story lines, look at this question, one that will probably get a lot of flawed interpretation from the paleo-media:
As you may know, in September the top U.S. commander in Iraq will report to the President and Congress about how the war is going. If he reports that the U.S. is making progress, would that make you more likely to support the war, or would that have no effect on your view of the war?

More likely to support the war 28%
No effect on your view of the war 72%
No opinion *
Can you see the headline? "Patreus report useless, says 72%!" This is a question designed not to inform, but to bias. The bias is creates -- that people don't care what Patreus has to say -- has been cynically created in advance to protect the anti-war media and anti-war movement from a positive report.

The bias was created by the deliberate dearth of options. There isn't a "Less likely to support the war" option to the question, so that group of folks has no choice other than going into the "no effect" column along with many of the 33 percent who support the war -- obviously many of them would say good news would have no effect on them, because they already support the war.

CNN and Public Opinion Research know how to create polls and they could have easily made this question a fair one if they wanted to, but they simply didn't want to. All they wanted was to be able to say most everyone wouldn't be impacted by Patreus' report, so when a positive report comes out, they could dismiss it with an effete "So what?"

Mark my words: You'll see that 72% again when CNN reports on the Patreus report.

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