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Hyping Double Digit Polls

Reported by Eleanor - September 5, 2004 -

The Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (Sept.5, 5:00 p.m.) panel spent some time looking at the Newsweek poll - stating that the results concerning terrorism play to the strengths of the president, and assessing the "double digit" lead for Bush.

Brit Hume stated that those who see us as really in danger and who need to fight back are Bush people. Those who think we're not at war; who depend on perfect intelligence, law enforcement and alliances are Kerry people. Wallace quoted Gephardt as saying that Kerry would fight the war; and Hume repeated the "more sensitive war" Kerry statement, as well as Bush's "if you're not for us, you're against us," remark, and we go after them. (This conversation was dripping with RNC talking points.)

Juan Williams made a couple of weak points for the democratic position, but Mara Liasson took them back when she said that Kerry's turf is domestic issues, and Bush's turf is Iraq and the War on Terror. (At least she separated them as two different issues.)

Wallace asked, after the 4:45 break, how much to make of two polls showing a double digit lead for Bush? (I have heard a "double digit lead" twice since Fox News Sunday went off the air, with no other polls mentioned.) Liasson obliged the republicans again by stating that it's safe to say the president is in the lead, but we don't know if it's eleven points. Democrats are worried, shaken, and fighting back. Hume said the "theory of the race was proved wrong" that the country wants to make a change, or if they do, they haven't made a decision about moving to Kerry. Then he said there's "a great deal of air in the polls." (But he didn't explain where that air is coming from, like for instance, that most of the polls show a tight race.) Juan Williams mentioned the numbers showing the country going in the wrong direction; as well as the swift boat ads, and the negative distortion of Kerry's record as influencing the polls. Kerry is fighting back and making changes in his campaign. Kerry on Thursday night was " more engaged and not windsurfing." (Thus, reinforcing the media spin that Kerry was unengaged, which is not true.) Kristol called the republicans the "9/11 party" and the democrats the "9/10 party."

This segment ended with some serious gloating over the high Fox viewing numbers during the convention by all parties, calling it astonishing, and the broadcast networks are "drifting away" from hard news and "turning out the lights." Lots of democrats and independents watched Fox during the convention because Fox has "more interesting TV." (It didn't occur to them that a lot of people might have been watching to see how "unfair and unbalanced" they might be in hosting the convention.)