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Filibluster

Reported by Nancy - April 29, 2005 -

This will surprise no one who is a regular viewer of Special Report, but on 4/26 Brit Hume showed himself to be an integral part of the reactionary right-wing echo chamber.

At 6:10pm (ET) Major Garrett reported on GOPs dismissing a Dem compromise re judicicial nominees (ok Griffiths, nix Brown, Owens & Pryor). According to Garrett, Sen Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "accused" GOPs of turning their backs on a deal & also "attacked" KRove. Garrett said that MoveOn ads compared some GOPs who support the concept of the filibuster to the lone Tienanmen Square protester & showed a clip of Sen EDole threatening that Dems will be ones who suffer. Garrett concluded that Dems "will now focus" on individual nominees (as though that hadn't been the focus all along).
Comment: Garrett's report set the tone -- note the battle-related words & allusions.

Then at 6:31pm (ET), Hume led off his "Grapevine" segment by slamming the Washington Post for an article based on an ABC/WaPo poll that showed the public opposes changing Senate rules on the filibuster. Hume complained that the poll question "makes no mention of filibusters whatsoever" so it wasn't suprising that 66% said no to changing the rules.

Here's the Washington Post article, Filibuster Rule Change Opposed.

And here are some tidbits from earlier that same day, from other members of the same noise machine:

*Media Research Center had a headlining on its main page: ABC/WPost Word Poll Question to Get Desired Result on Filibuster); the story included this sentence:

ABC and the Washington Post touted how a new poll found two-thirds opposed to a rule change to end Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees, but the language of the question led to the media's desired answer.

*Powerline's article, More Bad Poll Data, expanded that idea:

But here is the question the pollsters asked: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" That is an absurd question, to which I would probably answer "No," too. The way the question is framed, it makes it sound like a one-way street, as though the Republicans wanted to change the rules to benefit only Republican nominees. If they asked a question like, "Do you think that if a majority of Senators support confirmation of a particular nominee, that nominee should be confirmed?" the percentages would probably reverse.

*National Review started out neutrally -- The Interesting Stuff In This Morning's Washington Post Poll -- but had the same message:

The headline in the Washington Post says the public is opposed to ending the filibuster. The phrasing of the question is fascinating: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" Unsurprisingly, when portrayed as a power grab, only 26 support, and 66 oppose. One wonders if the response would be different if the respondents were asked, "Do you support a minority of Democrats preventing Bush's judicial nominees from being voted on, when a majority of senators have indicated their support for those nominees?"

*Michelle Malkin, of course, did her usual over-the-top "analysis" with MORE MSM POLLING BIAS:

The same folks that gave us a misleading poll about Terri Schiavo are now reporting the results of a poll that asks, "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for Republicans to confirm President Bush's judicial nominees?" Not surprisingly, given the wording of the poll, a huge majority of respondents said they oppose the Republicans.

Comment: Ignore, if possible, the supreme irony of anyone at FNC (which routinely touts the results of Fox/Opinion Dynamics polls without addressing possible issues of poll bias) complaining about bias in poll questions. Within hours of the article's publication, the noise machine was revving at full throttle, with the same message. Hume, Malkin et al would undoubtedly have been much happier with this kind of wording: "As a patriotic American, I'm sure you'll agree that any rule change proposed by our glorious GOP leaders should be instantly & unquestioningly approved by all right-thinking Americans."

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume & Special Report as tools of the reactionary noise machine). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.