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« Did Bush just give China a pass? | Main | Hugo Chavez: Passing ugly as clever »

September 20, 2006


Mister Snitch!

Well, don't forget: Apple was a company on the edge of bankruptcy, too. The press never called a mea culpa on that either. They wrote stories well after the fact, on 'Apple's amazing turnaround', but if you were waiting for stories on how the press was mistaken in their coverage, well, keep waiting.

It's not as if no one saw it. All though the pre-mortem obituaries for Apple, users and industry-savvy were telling the media that they were dead wrong about the company (which, by the way, was never even in the red!). But they had a story, and more reason to ride it than examine it.

This is another example of why no one trusts the press. Those who demand that they support their POV trust it least of all, whether their demands are met or not.

Good Lt

Great post.


Instalanche, btw. Send Glenn a big thanks. But your comments are dead-on. People are starting to make the connection between the Iraq campaign and the larger global conflict. Too much "exterminate the Jews" from Ahmadhi-Nejad and verbal flatulence from Chavez. Plus, the fact that the Iraqis have actually elected a government helps.

The MSM is pushing an old meme. Well return to a healthier politics in this country when the Party of Harry Truman remembers that it once was the party of Harry Truman, and begins to act like it. Until then, the Serious Party is still the G.O.P., and that's simply not healthy for the country. And I say that as a lifelong Republican.

Both parties need to broadly agree on the war against Islamic Fascism and the need to win it. Democratic elites aren't quite there yet. A quick read of HuffPo should convince anyone of that.


It's very unfair to blame the writers of articles in that August-to-September window for not knowing, before the September poll, that the September poll numbers would be higher.

Good Lt

It is also unfair to the troops and to the American public to characterize a war as "increasingly unpopular" on a daily basis when it is not so.


It's not blame sammler. It's a simple question.


As the stringers collecting the news for the AP in the Middle East found out a long time ago, bad news sells. If wish I had a dime for every veteran I have heard say we are doing a lot of good over there and most of the people love us. Did the story about the Abu Graib prisioners asking for the Americans to come back ever make the MSM?

Frank Warner

Sammler, I don't blame the reporters for not knowing. I blame the reporters for not knowing and yet writing as if they knew.


The media has always published what the elites think about the American People and not so much on what the American People think about things. There is a huge disconnect between what 'elites' think is a reasonable price to pay for war and what the People think about it. That long-term view is something that will hit the 'elites' upside the head for a good long time until they actually learn to *care* about the cost of freedom and liberty... and what the payment on it is worth.


So you're blaming reporters for working off of recent, well-supported data?

First they're bashed for too liberal, now they're being bashed for not posessing precognition. Poor journalists. They can't catch a break.

Frank Warner

The news media certainly aren't too liberal. If they were liberal, they'd support the liberation of Iraq.

As for precognition, that isn't necessary. But after using the phrase "increasingly unpopular war" for a year or two, you'd think it would dawn on a conscientious reporter that there might be a bottom to the "increasing unpopularity."

For instance, between June 19, 2005, and Feb. 12, 2006, opposition to the war dipped from 59 percent to 56 percent. But that didn't stop CNN (in the March 13 example above) from reporting, after Feb. 12, 2006, on the "increasingly unpopular war in Iraq."

Moving from 59 percent to 56 percent is not an increase. And as far as I can tell, that 56 percent poll on Feb. 9-12 was the last poll on favoring-opposing the Iraq war until Aug. 18-20, 2006.

Opposition went up to 61 percent on Aug. 18-20, so CNN gets a reprieve in light of the facts it didn't know on March 13. But opposition dropped to 44 percent on Sept. 12-13.

Opposition and support obviously have been fluctuating for some time, and they will continue to fluctuate. Nevertheless, with the popularity trend unclear, many news stories still relentlessly report on the "increasingly unpopular war."

My guess is, it would be hard to find even one mainstream news story that referred to an "increasingly popular Iraq war," even when that phrase would have been correct.


Here's a table showing the data from the USA Today/Gallup poll you seem to be referring to.

I'm not by any means the guy to turn to for lessons in statistical analysis, but I know enough to say that journalists have been entirely justified in saying that the war has been "increasingly unpopular." Whilst you can cherry-pick most any two data points to show an increase or a decrease in the war's popularity (or, at least, if people think it was a mistake or not, as that's how the question's worded), the general trend line has been downwards during almost any given period. There's been little spikes both ways, but recent data from this year shows a higher opposition to the war (almost always in the mid-to-high 50's) than any time previous. Support for the war, during the entire time you're citing, has been regularly decreasing, and the reporters in question would be remiss to say otherwise.

I don't think you're being disingenous here, Frank, but you are faulting journalists for doing their jobs the right way.

Were there really all these stories referring to the “increasingly unpopular Iraq war”? Were they only nightmares?

Hey, I didn't need to be convinced. :(

Christopher Taylor

Congrats Frank, you got Instanoticed :)

Christopher Taylor

The news media certainly aren't too liberal. If they were liberal, they'd support the liberation of Iraq.

You're using that word again in a sense it no longer means today, Frank.


The media live in their own self-fulfilling echo chamber where Iraq is Vietnam. They report bad news, then report that the bad news they reported has made the war unpopular. Remember the Tet Offensive? It was a terrible military defeat for the Communists that virtually destroyed the Viet Cong, but the MSM turned it into a huge propaganda victory.

Sadly for the self-appointed definers of truth, with the advent of Fox News, the death of the Fairness Doctrine, and the rise of the Internet, they are no longer the gatekeepers they once were. The fact the war is now more popular must be so out of step with their worldview that they cannot process it.

Dwight from IL

"I'm not by any means the guy to turn to for lessons in statistical analysis, but I know enough to say that journalists have been entirely justified in saying that the war has been 'increasingly unpopular.'"

Ah, no. Actually if you look at the table you linked to, you'll see that between 9/05 and 9/06 either there hsa been no real statistical change in unpopularity. There was a slight increase (from 53% to 57% unpopular) in the spring, but then a decline back to the low 50's again.

And at several points, including the latest poll, there was a slight decline (to just under 50% unpopular). But the overall trend of the past year was, in fact, flat (once you remember the +/- 3% margin of error).

So, no, the war is not "increasingly unpopular". Though, throughout almost all of 2005-2006 you would have been justified in saying that it was "unpopular" (if we define "unpopular" to mean that 50% or more disapprove).

Now 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 were indeed different stories. There, "increasingingly unpopular" was quite correct. Though, the amount of change from 2004-2005 was much less than 2003-2004. So anyone actually caring about the trend would have been well advised to lay off the "increasingly unpopular" tagline sometime in the summer of 2005.


The most interesting number is that 51% would like to either take as long as needed or send MORE troops.

Robert Schwartz

"Shouldn’t there be a few red faces in the press corps?"

If they embaressed easily, they would not be members of the press corps, they would be used car salesmen.

Dean Esmay

Frank is using the word "liberal" entirely correctly, and he is not the only one who does.

Only people who think "liberal" means "against taking out mass murdering fascists for force and against spreading democracy" think otherwise.

Glad to meet you, Frank.


A lot of folks in the press corpse don't seem to have enough scruples to be used car salesmen...

Christopher Taylor

Dean: I agree that is the classical thought behind liberalism and is the way the word ought to be used... but it simply doesn't mean that today any more. Look around you and tell me that you're even a small minority in the liberal movement of today.

I'm not saying liberal should mean what it does today, I tend to use the word "leftist" as in "useful idiot post-Communist" but if you look at what liberalism stands for today, it has almost nothing to do with the dreams, ideals, and hopes of Jefferson, Roosevelt, and JFK (well, at least what his speeches said).


Here's another.

"As conditions have worsened for Iraqis, the war has grown increasingly unpopular with Americans, and promises to be the major issue in November's congressional elections."


In fact, "Iraq" is the first result for a Google of "increasingly unpopular."


Oh, and note that the article linked above is dated today.

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