We are the 99%

June 18, 2009

Your "Liberal" New York Times At Work

From Mediamatters:
A June 17 New York Times article headlined "Poll Finds Unease With Obama on Key Issues" reported that according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted June 12-16, "A majority of people said his [President Obama's] policies have had either no effect yet on improving the economy or had made it worse, underscoring how his political strength still rests on faith in his leadership rather than concrete results." However, the Times article did not report that according to the poll, a majority of respondents -- 57 percent -- approved of the way Obama is handling the economy. Nor did the Times article report that when respondents were asked if they thought "Obama's policies have made the economy better, made the economy worse or haven't ... had any effect on the economy yet," only 15 percent said that Obama's policies have made the economy worse. According to the poll, 32 percent thought his policies have made the economy better, 15 percent thought his policies have made the economy worse, and 48 percent thought his policies have not yet had any effect on the economy.
Here's the article and the paragraph cited:
A distinct gulf exists between Mr. Obama’s overall standing and how some of his key initiatives are viewed, with fewer than half of Americans saying they approve of how he has handled health care and the effort to save General Motors and Chrysler. A majority of people said his policies have had either no effect yet on improving the economy or had made it worse, underscoring how his political strength still rests on faith in his leadership rather than concrete results.
But here is the text of the question they're using as a foundation for that second sentence:
So far, do you think Barack Obama's policies have made the economy better, made the economy worse or haven't his policies had any effect on the economy yet?
  • Better 32%
  • Worse 15%
  • No effect yet 48%
  • DK/NA 4%
Which is somewhat different in tone from how the Times ever so subtly mis-characterizes it. Note that the question offers three distinct options; better, worse, no effect. The "no effect" part did not ask whether his policies had any effect at improving the economy, just whether they'd had any effect yet at all. The numbers also reflect a feeling that they've also had no effect yet on worsening the economy. The Times could just as easily have written that a "majority of people said his policies have not yet had an effect on the economy nor have they made it worse." Which would have been just as true. And just as misleading.

Needless to say, the Times ignores its own poll data on whether Americans think the country is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction (51/39 percent) or how well Obama is handling the economy (55/24 percent).

Fun with numbers.

1 comment:

Heir to the Throne said...

New York Times changed the headline and is back in the Obama tank.
Get Me Rewrite: NYT and WSJ Both Change Headlines to Spin for Obama on Poll
"Obama Poll Sees Doubt on Budget and Health Care"
So you can remove the quotes around Liberal.