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Grapevine Whine - Spying on Americans Isn't Really Spying

Reported by Nancy - December 29, 2005 -

Last night (12/28) on Special Report, Jim Angle substituted for anchor Brit Hume. Angle doesn't have the same sneering delivery as Hume, but he nevertheless delivers the same talking points & uses the same euphemisms to excuse the Bush administration's law-breaking. As noted elsewhere on this blog (by Donna & by Ellen. among others), the word "eavesdropping" is routinely being used by both Fox staff & by guests rather than the more accurate word "spying," in an effort to minimize & obfuscate the spying issue. Angle used "picking" #1 on the Grapevine to repeat this theme, adding results from one poll that seem to indicate that Americans don't care if the Bush administration broke the law.

Here's how Angle led off the Grapevine:

The National Security Agency program to eavesdrop on terrorists calling or e-mailing people in the United States may be controversial in Washington, but far less so across the country. A new Rasmussen poll reveals that 64% of Americans believe the National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept such conversations, including 51% of Democrats & 57% of independents. Fewer than 1 in 4 actually opposed the idea. What's more, 48% believe President Bush is not the first president to authorize such actions.

Comments: First, note the language (emphasis added):

1) the spying on Americans program is identified as The National Security Agency program rather than as the Bush administration program to distanace Bush from it

2) the euphemism " eavesdropping " is used instead of the more accurate " spying " to obfuscate what is really involved

3) the statement is made that the spying was done on terrorists when in fact it was allegedly done on suspects

Second, note the built-in excuse in the last sentence. Aside from issues like the accuracy of the statement or respondents answers to the question, apparently no one ever told the reactionary noise machine that just because "everybody else is doing it" doesn't mean it's okay for you to do it too.

Finally, note that only one poll is cited. None of the many polls from places like Polling Report are included. Angle didn't mention the current summary highlighted at RealClear Politics (Hume's choice only a week ago, when it was favorable to Bush), also dated Dec 28, that summarizes Bush's approval/disapproval ratings in 5 polls & shows that 50.8% disapprove while only 46.0% approve..Nor did Angle mention the Rasmussen poll currently highlighted on that website's home page, showing that only 26% strongly approve of Bush's job performance, while 37% strongly disapprove.

Polls are funny things, & you can generally find one to support almost any argument you want to make. Fortunately, the issue of whether Bush's spying program broke the law won't be decided by polls.

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

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (how Fox is using euphemisms like "eavesdropping" to change the topic of the Bush admin spying on Americans). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.