The Associated Press takes an unimportant, insignificant, weekend political poll, dresses it up as hard hitting news, and turns it into a raving leftist editorial talking point laden anti-conservative propaganda sheet that becomes the envy of every PR lacky at MoveOn.org.
AP political writer Ron Fournier must have been watching the ABC News report that aired immediately after President Bush gave a nationally televised address last week on his plan for hurricane Katrina restoration. In the report, ABC’s Dean Reynolds interviewed hurricane evacuees outside the Astrodome in Houston and asked questions that were clearly designed to elicit negative responses harmful to the president. Much to the surprise of Mr. Reynolds and his colleagues at ABC, none of the evacuees said anything bad about Bush. In fact, 100% of the responses shifted blame for the poor relief response effort toward local Louisiana government officials.
Fournier begins his ‘news’ report on the recent poll this way:
Hurricane Katrina and the bungled government response have weakened President Bush, raising questions among Americans about his Iraq and flood-recovery plans and spreading fears among fellow Republicans about next year’s elections.
Wow! One would think that extraordinary research and scientific analysis must have gone into this ‘mother-of-all-polls’ to reflect the questions and fears residing deep within the heart of America. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how accurate the data is. For one thing, the poll was taken over the three days following the address by Bush. That would have been Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Weekend polls are less accurate than weekday polls. The other reason one might be misled by the accuracy of this poll is because the data is completely eclipsed by the editorial bias of the AP and Ron Fournier.
Here are some examples:
An AP-Ipsos poll says nearly six in 10 people disapprove of Bush’s job performance, unchanged from the record-low rating he had before last week’s televised address from the heart of New Orleans.
That underscores why GOP leaders fear Bush could be a drag on GOP candidates in 2006.
Oh really? Which GOP leaders would Mr. Fournier be talking about? We don’t know because he doesn’t provide a quote or a name of anyone who could be considered a GOP leader.
He goes on:
Given a choice in the survey, 42 percent favored cutting spending on Iraq to pay for relief efforts on the Gulf Coast, and 29 percent wanted to delay or cancel Republican tax cuts. That’s a whopping 71 percent backing options that Bush doesn’t even have on the table.
Now that’s some creative math. Fournier adds the answers to two completely different questions to come up with a high negative percentage against Bush. And Ron didn’t even have to use his Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator to come up with that result. Brilliant!
A variety of polls suggest voters expected the president to act more quickly in the aftermath of Katrina. He’s no longer considered a strong, decisive leader by many voters, a reversal from the 2004 presidential campaign when the wartime incumbent successfully cast himself in those terms.
“This is the most important intersection of his presidency,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican.
Now the AP goes from quoting its own poll to analyzing a variety of polls (which ones?) to justify a ‘feeling’ that Bush is no longer a strong, decisive leader. Furthermore, Fournier labels Bush a fraud who masqueraded as a leader among men throughout the 2004 presidential campaign.
And then we have the quote from Newt, appearing magically without regard for any contextualization. We don’t even know when Newt said this. Bravo Ron – that’s some kinda reporting!
With nearly all Democrats and two-thirds of independents soured on his presidency, Bush needs to keep Republican voters happy to avoid a collapse of his ratings. More than eight in 10 Republicans back Bush, but GOP strategists worry about a decline in enthusiasm as the next year’s midterm elections draw near.
Fournier reports feelings as facts and attempts to convince us that although 8 in 10 Republicans back Bush, unnamed GOP insiders fear that a majority of these supporters will flip sides, that they’ll become supporters of Democrats and vote accordingly. Talk about reaching!
For the first time, senior Republican consultants and lawmakers are warning the White House that Bush’s base is perilously close to deserting him. The poll underscores their concerns: By an 8-point margin, voters are more likely to call themselves Democrats than Republicans; there was no gap in self-identification a year ago.
Perilously close to deserting Bush. Didn’t we just read that 8 in 10 Republicans support the president? Oh, and about that 8–point margin identifying voters as Democrats rather than Republicans – how easy it is for Ron to report this ‘fact’ when he leaves out the leading question or questions that elicited the respondents answer.
Though the president has not specified how he would pay for Gulf Coast recovery projects estimated at $200 billion and more, the public has little interest in two options put forward by the White House: cutting other government spending and adding to the $333 billion deficit.
Just 11 percent of respondents favored reductions to other domestic programs like education, welfare, transportation and health care. A slightly higher number, 14 percent, said they favored adding to government debt and gradually paying it back.
Fournier concludes with a small ounce of reality (Democrats struggling to find a unified voice), but then doubles back to give a shout out to his homies.
Bush’s best hope may be that Democrats miscalculate as they struggle to find a unified voice post-Katrina.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., gave a blistering critique of the president on Monday.
Another presidential prospect, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., has called for an independent commission to investigate the government’s initial response.
Her husband, former President Clinton, dropped any veneer of impartiality Monday, criticizing the Bush administration while still helping the president and his father raise money for Katrina’s victims.
And there you have it. Another example of accurate truth filled unbiased non-partisan news reporting from the ‘professionals’ at the AP. One can only imagine the amazing examples of MSM journalistic dexterity that await us when an actual political campaign is underway.
I get all tinglely just thinking about it.