Brent Bozell

It has become almost amusing, watching how the so-called "news" media are manipulating their own polls to keep the political weather sunny for their hero. The Washington Post kicked off President Barack Obama's European trip with the headline "Blame For Downturn Not Fixed on Obama." Of course, what was "fixed" was the poll itself.

They did the usual tricks for a more liberal sample of "public opinion" -- they polled on the weekend and oversampled Democrats (36 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican). By themselves, these things are shameless -- but expected. And still that wasn't enough of a slant. Check out the way this question was asked by the Post pollsters.

"How much of the blame do you think [fill in the blank] deserves for the country's economic situation?" The choices were corporations, banks, consumers, the Bush team and the Obama administration. There's a built-in pro-Obama bias in there already: assigning blame to Obama for the current economy when he's been in office for nine weeks just seems harsh to most people. But just because they (correctly) don't blame him as the primary cause for our current woes, this doesn't mean for a second that the public endorses his "solutions," as the Post suggests.

But the Post questioners traveled beyond natural polling for politeness. They wanted to know why we fault these sectors. Is it the corporations "for poor management decisions"? Is it the banks, for "taking unnecessary risks"? Did consumers take on "too much debt"?

These are fair descriptions, I think we can say. But now check how they identified the problem when it was a politician: Should the public blame Bush for "inadequate regulation of the financial industry"? Or is Obama to blame for "not doing enough to turn the economy around"?

What kind of left-wing pollster wrote these questions? Is Obama "not doing enough"? We're being buried in trillion-dollar Obama proposals, and he should be faulted for "not doing enough"? How about the crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, he's doing too much? This question makes sense only if the goal is to assist Obama politically.

The Post drew the numbers they wanted: While every other politician and group was blamed "a great deal or a good amount" for the downturn by at least 70 percent in the poll, Obama was only blamed to that extent by 26 percent.


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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