Monday, October 07, 2002

New York Times and Mainstream Opinion Briefly Coincide

The New York Times today ran a breathless front page story reporting the results of a public opinion survey it commissioned showing that if you ask the right questions a plurality of participants will answer in a way that corresponds to the views of the New York Times.

Under the blaring headline, “Majority of Americans Agree With New York Times,” the Times reported that 51% of those surveyed had either vague reservations about conflict with Iraq, very slight reservations, growing reservations, grave reservations or deeply held and unyielding reservations about conflict with Iraq.

When asked if they support enforcing U.N. resolutions against a brutal fascist military dictatorship that is clearly striving to acquire weapons that can kill indiscriminate millions of people, respondents agreed by overwhelming majorities.

But when the Times rephrased the question as “Don’t you agree that massive casualties among innocent Americans like yourself and your family are not worth one drop of foreign oil?” that majority dwindled to the high forties. When asked if millions of America deaths could be justified by “some crazy Bush family vendetta against Saddam Hussein,” respondents said yes only 39% of the time.

“This proves that the Bush Administration’s assault on civil liberties has had a chilling effect on public discourse and that just below the surface lies vast untapped reservoirs of resentment, envy, authority-questioning, nostalgia, patchouli, mind-bending psychopharmaceuticals, tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming,” said a euphoric Howell Raines adding, “either you are with us, or you’re with The Man.”

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