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"Special Report" Doesn't Just Spin Domestic Polls

Reported by Janie - February 1, 2007 -

WorldPublicOpinion.org released a poll this month that took a look at Iranian's opinions on various topics including terrorism, Bin Laden, relations with the United States, and attacks on civilians. Overall, Iranian and American citizens fall on the same spectrum for many of the topics. During last night's (1/31) "Special Report" host Brit Hume spent a portion of his "Two Minutes of Hate" (AKA "Grapevine") segment discussing the poll, and neglected to mention some of the most important differences in opinion, because they were unfavorable to the Bush Administration.

During the "Two Minutes of Hate", Hume said,

"A new survey of Iranian and American attitudes about terrorism reveals people in Iran have many of the same opinions as folks in the U.S. The survey published on worldpublicopinion.org says 70 percent of about 1,000 Iranians questioned felt international terrorism was an important threat to their country's vital interests. 76 percent said attacks against American civilians in the U.S. are never justified. And 74 percent view Usama bin Laden unfavorably — all sentiments in line with majority opinion in the U.S.

One big difference, though — Iranians giving approval ratings of 75 percent to Hezbollah and 56 percent to Hamas — groups viewed unfavorably by huge majorities in the U.S."

Comment: Hume mentions only one "big difference" in the poll, and leaves out everything unfavorable to the Bush Administration, including the following findings:

* “'US foreign policy' was seen as an important threat by 77 percent, including 59 percent who called it a critical threat."

* "83 percent replied that the bases threatened Iran to some degree, including 44 percent who called them a major threat, 29 percent some threat, and 10 percent a minor threat. Only 11 percent thought these bases did not threaten Iran.

Similarly, large majorities of Iranians think US bases in the Middle East are destabilizing the region and oppose them. In order to evoke a much longer time frame than that of the ongoing Iraq war, respondents were reminded that 'for decades, the US has had military forces in long-term bases in the Middle East.' Then they were asked whether they thought these bases 'have a positive or negative effect on stability in the region.' Four out of five (79%) said the bases’ effect is negative (59% very). Only 10 percent described the bases’ effect as positive. Even more (89%) said they opposed the presence of US bases in the Middle East (80% strongly)."

* Very few Iranians believe that the primary goal of the “the war on terrorism” is to protect the United States from terrorist attacks. Most believe that the United States’ goals are to dominate the region to control its resources or to undermine the Muslim world. Respondents were asked what they thought was 'the primary goal of what the US calls the war on terrorism' and given three options. One was 'to protect the US from terrorist attacks'; a second was to 'achieve political and military domination to control Middle East resources'; and a third was to 'weaken and divide the Islamic world, the Islamic religion and its people.' A plurality of 47 percent thought the war on terrorism’s primary goal was to achieve domination in the region. A substantial minority of 29 percent, however, chose the 'clash of civilizations' position, saying that the primary US goal was to weaken Islam. Only 10 percent thought the primary goal was self-defense."

* "Views of the current US government are even more negative. Ninety-three percent of Iranians said they had an unfavorable opinion of the US government, including 84 percent very unfavorable. This is quite similar to the 92 percent with an unfavorable opinion of President Bush (86% very)."

While the overall results of the survey are excellent, and show that diplomacy is something worth working towards with Iran, Hume neglected to mention anything that would put the Bush Administration in a negative light, once again spinning poll numbers (by leaving out important information) to help the White House.