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Grapevine Whine - A "Happy Iraq" Poll? And A Quiz!

Reported by Nancy - December 13, 2005 -

On Monday (12/12), Brit Hume used "picking" #2 on his Grapevine segment of Special Report to reinforce the Bush administration talking point of how everything's just peachy keen in Iraq. Needless to say, limiting mention of this poll to a 30-second blurb allowed Hume to "highlight" only selected data & to mumble at the end about how "removal of US-led forces from Iraq" is just one of poll respondents' priorities.

Here's how Hume read "picking" #2:

Despite looming concerns over security, the majority of Iraqis are optimistic about the future, according to a new survey released today by the BBC. Seventy-one percent of the Iraqis surveyed say their lives are very good, & 64% believe their lives will improve in the next year. And while 53% say the overall situation in Iraq is bad, 69% of the people interviewed expect things to improve. And although establishing democracy is important to Iraqis in the long run, there is a sense of urgency to have a single, strong leader after Thursday's elections. Improving security topped the list of post-election priorities, which also included the removal of US-led forces from Iraq.

Comments: Here's the BBC article about the poll, Analysis: Degrees of optimism in Iraq; there are links on that page to pdf documents with polling data & background (internal linking like this is something the foxnews.com website doesn't do, although similar documents are available on the website)..

If Hume or Fox truly cared about being fair & balanced, they could take a lesson from that BBC article:

The figures will provide evidence for supporters of the invasion and occupation to argue that the international media have got it wrong - that, despite everything, most Iraqis are wedded to a democratic future in a unified state and have faith it will come. The findings are in line with the kind of arguments currently being deployed by President George W Bush. In a recent speech, he referred to reconstruction and, as an example, this survey shows the rapid growth of consumer buying in Iraq, led by mobile phones and satellite television.

However critics will claim that the survey proves little beyond showing how resilient Iraqis are at a local level. They will argue that it reveals enough important exceptions to the rosy assessment, especially in the centre of the country, to indicate serious dissatisfaction.

Here's a graphic that accompanies the BBC article:


And here's the quiz! From the BBC article:

Optimism prevails at the individual or family level. Most - 71% - said their lives were very good or quite good. This is the same result as in the poll last year. Part of this may reflect the fact that, for Iraqis, family life is so important and they have managed to cling to their families during these times. The narrow confines of their lives are suggested by the finding that 89% say they have to be careful what they say. The level of trust in society is very low. However, this finding is balanced by the results of the very first question, which asks about the state of the country, not the state of the individual. And here the picture is gloomier. _____ percent say the situation is bad and _____% that it is good. The country is split.

Whoever guesses the correct numbers (within 5, it doesn't have to be perfect) to fill in the blanks in that last sentence wins a free subscription to our free weekly digest! Warning: you might be surprised by what those numbers really are.

There is clearly both good & bad news to be had from Iraq, & to emphasize one or the other is neither fair nor balanced.

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Fox's penchant for selectively reporting poll results). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.