Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Deceptive headlines cause misperceptions if not fact checked

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:50 AM Permalink

I read The Vidiot's posting below this morning about allegedly 52% of America now supporting a war with Iran and my very first thought was who took the poll, how the questions were asked, and what the responses REALLY were, 'cause one thing for sure in America anymore is that we have a lying pack of warmongering cowards running this country, supported by a press not at all opposed to presenting propaganda to help bush push for more war.

I found, once again, that the facts and numbers are being manipulated and incomplete information presented. This is the article that kicked it off:
Despite President Bush's perpetually abysmal approval ratings, it appears his increasingly hostile rhetoric against Iran has drummed up enough fear of a "nuclear holocaust" or a World War III that a majority of Americans are in favor of a US strike against the country aimed a curtailing its apparent nuclear ambitions, a new poll shows.

The Zogby International survey shows 52 percent of Americans would support a strike on Iran, while 53 percent expect President Bush to launch such an attack before the end of his second term. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is voters' No. 1 choice to deal with Iran, with 21 percent saying they would like to see her take on Tehran from the White House. Republican Rudy Giuliani was voters' second choice, with 15 percent. […]

"It is utterly stunning that, after the great difficulties we have clearly faced in Iraq (a situation far from finished, by the way), that an absolute majority would favor a strike on Iran at this time," writes Dr. Steven Taylor at PoliBlog. "Even if we assume that the die-hard 25%-30% who still approve of the way the President is doing his job also are in favor of such a strike, where do the other 27%-22% come from to get the pro-strike total to 52%?"
Here is what Zogby actually reported:
A majority of likely voters – 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election, a new Zogby America telephone poll shows.
Quite a different interpretation when you finish the entire opening sentence, which would predicate an Iran attack "to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon…" and says NOTHING as to how many people would favor an attack ABSENT PROOF of the POSSESSION of nuclear weapons.

So wherefrom does the 52% number come?:
…Republicans, however, are much more likely to be supportive of a strike (71%), than Democrats (41%) or independents (44%).…
So I go yer 52% right here. And, as everyone knows I never sensationalize, I cannot interpret this "more likely to be supportive" as "we want to attack."

So I call BS on this. Now, onto other recent polls, which, since they are in a table format I can't duplicate I will just give the name of the poll, the dates taken, and the OPPOSING number only, since the question here is of support or lack thereof. I won't go back more than a month or two:
.CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Oct. 12-14, 2007. N=1,212 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"If the U.S. government decides to take military action in Iran, would you favor or oppose it?" OPPOSE: 68%
FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Sept. 25-26, 2007. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"If diplomacy fails to convince Iran to end its nuclear program before President Bush leaves office, which of the following actions would you prefer? Do you think President Bush should take military action to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities before his term ends, or let the next president, whoever that may be, deal with Iran?" LET NEXT PRESIDENT HANDLE: 54%
CBS News/New York Times Poll. Sept. 4-8, 2007. N=1,035 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Which comes closer to your opinion? Iran is a threat to the United States that requires military action now. Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy now. OR, Iran is not a threat to the United States at this time." DIPLOMACY NOW: 59% NOT A THREAT: 24% [I know I promised to not go back too far, but the next one below was one I couldn't resist. Bill]
CBS News/New York Times Poll. March 7-11, 2007. N=1,362 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"As you may know, members of the Bush Administration have accused Iran of supporting Iraqi insurgents by supplying them with weapons to use against American forces. When members of the Bush Administration talk about Iran's involvement in Iraq, do you think they are telling the entire truth, mostly telling the truth but hiding something, OR are they mostly lying?" HIDING SOMETHING: 56% MOSTLY LYING: 24%
The polls further back than this have much closer numbers so it would appear that, much like with Social Security, the more bush talks, the less people believe him and believe instead that he is lying and/or hiding something.

I urge everyone to investigate any information coming from the MSM, even when you find it on a site that is usually quite good, as is the case with Raw Story and the original article that started this rumor of greatly exaggerated support for another bush war.

In the meantime, I rest my case.

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At 5:37 PM, Blogger The Sailor said...

I wondered about those numbers too, thanks for the clarification.

Great work Bill!

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Bill Arnett said...

I had commented on The Vidiot's post that I believed the numbers were lies, damn lies, and I had a very good (though exhausting) time writing this one!


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