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More Right-Wing Rhetoric and the Spinning of Poll Numbers

Reported by Janie - August 17, 2005

Yesterday (8/16) on Dayside, guest-host Juliet Huddy conducted a short segment degrading Frank Rich's article in the New York Times on Sunday (8/14) in which he compared the situation in Iraq to Vietnam. Huddy interviewed Rich Masters, a Democratic strategist, and Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President Bush.

JH: "...I want to read you a quote: ‘what lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson’s March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam’. That’s pretty harsh, especially the Vietnam references. Let’s start with you Brad, your reaction to that.”

BB: “Absolutely ridiculous. But let’s consider the source, the New York Times, what would you expect? (applause) The same pundits said that we couldn’t turn Iraq over to the interim government. We did and we did it early. Then they said there is no way Iraqis could have free elections, there will be too much chaos. There was, people voted for the first time. Now they’ve said there’s no way the factions can get together in Iraq to draft a constitution, and they are. So things are going well in Iraq. There are going to be some good days, there are going to be some bad days, but the question is, is the end game worth it, a free, independent, democratic Iraq, is a good thing for the United States, good for the region, and good for the world.”

Comment: "good for the United States, good for the region, and good for the world"? And what about what's good for the Iraqi people?

Blakeman doesn't bother to take the time here to answer the question that was posed to him. He decided to rather spout right-wing rhetoric and insinuate that the New York Times is a liberal paper, not to be listened to. By attacking the source and evading the answer, he simply spouted party-line and completely ignored the topic at hand.

Huddy continued: “Another quote, ‘…the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost’. The approval rating for the President’s handling of Iraq is at 34%, his supporters would say his approval rating for his handling of Iraq isn’t the same thing as support for war in Iraq. Do you feel that way, that the handling is the same as support? How many of you support the war at this point? (not much applause) How many of you think that them President’s handling of the war has been shaky recently? (much louder applause) Ok, so it’s about 50-50. You’re thoughts on that?”

Comment: "Shaky"? What a delicate way for this question to be worded. None of the polls have been asked in this manner, and it is clearly asked in such a delicate matter to protect the president.

Huddy explains that the President's poll numbers on his handling of the war is at 34% and claims that this number has nothing to do with the public's support of the war. She makes a comparison of the differecne in these views, yet she does not bother to mention what the poll numbers were in regards to how people feel about the war itself. According to the latest Gallup Poll, 56% of Americans believe it was a bad idea to send troops into Iraq in the first place.

When Huddy asks the audience their opinions on the war, she began by asking if they supported the war, and there was brief applause which was not very loud. Clearly, not many in the audience supported the war. She then asked if they felt the President's handling of the war is shaky, to which there was a much louder round of applause. Huddy claimed it was about 50%, when it was quite obvious that more than 50% of the audience felt that the President's handling is shaky.

What once again gave me hope, was a comment voiced by an audience member. He stated: “Just a comment, the impression I’m getting, I’m not sure that the Iraqis want democracy as much as we want it for them.” It was refreshing to be able to hear this view presented on Fox from one of their very own audience members.

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