This week you’ll read a great deal about the latest Newsweek/Daily Beast poll (also, embedded below,) titled, “America the Angry,” “Angry Americans,” “Anger In America,”Â or even, “Anger In America: Could The Arab Spring Happen In The U.S.?” And you should immediately discount it as a work of, if not fiction, then arrogant media wrangling. This, surely, is what Sarah Palin means when she says, “the lamestream media’s gotcha journalism,” right? Shame on you, Newsweek/Daily Beast EditorÂ Tina Brown and shame on you, Douglas Schoen, author of the article and presumably the one responsible for the so-called “poll.”
By the way, the title, “Anger In America: Could The Arab Spring Happen In The U.S.?” comes from reading the URL of the page the “poll” is published on. Obviously, given all the different names, it looks like some Newsweek/Daily Beast editor was just dying to grab some Google traffic off of “anger,” angry,” “America,” and “Americans” keyword searches, with “Arab spring” thrown in for good measure.
Schoen introduces his “poll” by setting you up with the “fact” that “reality is beginning to break down Americans’ normally optimistic attitude. Three-quarters of our respondents think the country is on the wrong track. A majority say the anxiety wrought by this recession has caused relationship problems and sleep deficiency. Two-thirds even report being angry at God,” Schoen claims.
I say “Schoen claims,” because while he writes in his Daily Beast article, “two-thirds even report being angry at God,” somehow that “fact” doesn’t even show in his “polling data” he embeds on the site (also, below.) Curious, no?
Schoen, to be fair,Â is a political analyst for Fox News, and got his start in his extensive polling career working for Dick Morris in high school. Schoen also is a founding partnerÂ in the political pollingÂ firm of Penn, Schoen & Berland. And (big surprise!) Schoen just wrote a book with Scott Rasmussen (as in the notoriously right-wing slanted Rasmussen polls that the Tea Party and Fox News love so much) titled, “Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.” Schoen did not respond to a request for comment on this article Sunday evening.
All this said, aÂ couple of points first you probably already know about polls.
First, any reliable pollster will publish the complete results of a poll.
Second, any reliable nationwide survey generally will poll at least one thousand respondents, especially if it is a broad poll where anyone who answers the phone — if that’s the contact method they used — is a fit respondent.
Third,Â any reliable nationwide poll will publish not only the answers to the poll, but the exact questions asked, with any variations, and in what order asked.
Fourth,Â any reliable nationwide poll will publish complete methodology, including who they polled. Americans? Likely voters? Registered voters? Age ranges. Political affiliations. Sometimes religious affiliations…
Fifth,Â any reliable nationwide poll generally will reach an odd number of respondents. 600, for example, is a strange number to reach, especially over a period of four or five days.
Sixth,Â any reliable nationwide poll will tell you how they got responses: telephone? Landline? cellular?Email? Internet?…
I suppose I could go on, but all I need to do at this point is to tell you that the latest Newsweek/Daily Beast poll on “Angry Americans” does none of the above.
All Doug Schoen (again, presumably the one responsible for the poll,) does is offer some nice graphics (actually, not really even that nice, but they are in color!) and frame the results without telling you the question. Nice work if you can get it.
Schoen’s “poll” says “This survey was conducted with a representative sample of 600 American adults across the country on April 29th â€“ May 1st, 2011.” What is “aÂ representative sample of 600 American adults?” He doesn’t say.
Schoen claims, “By almost four-to-one, Americans say government is not solving our economic problems.” Really? Is government supposed to solve our economic problems? What was the question asked that brought Schoen to this realization? I don’t know, do you? How was it phrased? Who answered it?
Schoen says, “Respondents say our economy is not delivering the jobs we need by 81% to 12%.” News? Not at all. But the number spread there looks great! (Makes it sound like a lot of Americans are really pissed! That should get The Daily Beast a lot of hits!)
Schoen’s polls proclaims, “while Americans are very concerned about the economic and fiscal issues facing the country, they do not feel that neither President Obama nor the Republicans are addressing these issues.” Huh? So, Americans do feel Obama and the Republicans areÂ addressing these issues? Who writes like that? And what Republicans? House? Senate? Local? State? And why don’t we know how Americans feel about Democrats? What was the question, Mr. Schoen?
Schoen continues: “They say Obama does not have a real plan to cut the deficit, 55% to 33%, and that he does not have a real plan to cut spending, 46% to 42%.” So, 42% of Americans believe Obama does have a plan to cut spending, is that what this says? That’s actually pretty impressive.
More: An actual question! “Do you think that Obama has a real plan to cut the deficit, or does he not have a real plan?” Wait. I take that back. That was a question? Doug, you picked up the phone (well, I assume these people were contacted by phone, and this isn’t some World Net Daily online poll…) and asked 600 people, “Do you think that Obama has a real plan to cut the deficit, or does he not have a real plan?” I amazed they answered and didn’t hang up on you.
Gotta love that “real plan” language, implying there is a fake plan that maybe Obama has…
Did anyone ask these 600 people if the deficit was important? What order did this question come? What questions did you ask before it? Were they, “Is the deficit out of control and responsible for the huge and unprecedented unemployment numbers we are seeing under President Obama after two years in office?” Was there a question in the poll about Obama’s birth certificate too? I wouldn’t be surprised…
Schoen writes, “Given that Americans are concerned about the countryâ€™s economic issues and feel that neither party is adequately addressing these issues, it makes sense that they feel frustrated and upset.” How do we know this? Where’s the data? And when have Americans not been “concerned about the countryâ€™s economic issues,” and when have Americans not felt “frustrated and upset?”
Schoen continues: “Over half (52%) say their personal economic situation makes them nervous. 48% say it makes them anxious,Â 44% say it makes them upset, and 30% say it makes them angry.” Really? Is this normal? Can you compare it to a year ago, a month ago? A decade ago?
How about this priceless example of putting words in people’s’ mouths?
“Generally speaking, does your personal economic situation make you nervous, anxious, upset, angry?” (Based on the graphic, we assume this was the question, but have no way of knowing because Schoen did not publish the question or the order of questions.)
How about including, “happy,” “hopeful,” “enthusiastic,” “calm?” Could Schoen lead the jury any more that this?
Or let’s look at this one: “70% of Americans are nervous about their retirement because of their personal economic situation,” and “45% are nervous about being able to put their children through college, 31% are nervous about starting a family, and 29% are nervous about being able to afford to buy a home.”
So of course we know that all 600 of Schoen’s respondents have two or more children, based on the answer to the unidentified question. Oh wait, but then we see that some of them haven’t started families yet… And do they even want to? Look at the home-buying portion and make your own deduction. Do 81% of Schoen’s respondents already own a home? Do they want to?
Schoen “finds” that 42% of Americans answered “no,” to the question, “Would you say that you feel stagnated in terms of your income?” I’m amazed it was that low. Who doesn’t feel “stagnated in terms of your income?” This is America! “More, more, more!” is our rallying cry!
But seriously, again, that’s an actual question? Leading, much? Same goes for Schoen’s “Do you feel like you don’t make enough money to live your life the way you want to?” Amazing that only 44% said “yes.” What’s more amazing is the way the data is presented: “54% disagree.” Really? That means that a majority of Americans — despite being asked a leading question, in a poll clearly designed to obtain negative responses — feel that they do make enough money to live their lives the way they want to!” Given the level of unemployment, underemployment, and people on welfare and food stamps, that’s news! But they way it’s presented is simply sleazy and shameful.
How about, “27% say their familyâ€™s economic situation has impacted their health, and 26% of those married say it has impacted their marriage”? So, were all 600 married? How many are married? What percent? We have no idea.
Let’s look at this one: “Of those who say they are angry about their personal economic situation, 13% say their anger has impacted their sex life. 78% say it has not.” America the angry? Really? only 13% of Americans say money — assuming lack thereof — is negatively impacting their sex life? This is America! Americans are pissed whenever anything gets in between them and sex! 13%? The title of this “poll” should be, “America — getting enough, thank you very Â much.”
There’s this little thing called journalism that is under attack in America. Journalism, and facts, and fairness. Let’s be honest. I’m about as liberal as they come. Despite the fact that Schoen is a political analyst for Fox News,Â Schoen, has worked for many Democrats. Schoen, you should know, was named Pollster of the Year in 1996 by the American Association of Political Consultants.
I could easily parrot this study and write about something else an hour from now. But what America thinks is really, really important to me. Presenting facts and reality properly and accurately is really, really important to me. Thst’s why Sarah Palin sends me into a tailspin. So does Fox.
Perhaps Americans are really just angry about being lied to, and having “facts” presented with such slant and arrogance that they are not meaningless but so meaningful as to tell people what to think, not what they are thinking?
Like I said, there’s this little thing called journalism. It’s a little too near and dear to my heart to let it suffer any more without my speaking out once in a while. Doug Schoen, this “poll” is irresponsible and in my opinion, has zero credibility. And Tina Brown, shame on you! Hand in your press pass — you just lost all rights to it.
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Pete Buttigieg Nails Trump for His Ugly Comments About Wounded Vets
During his Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Donald Trump over reports he told military leaders he didn’t want wounded vets to be seen by the public while he was president.
In a recent Atlantic profile of General Mark Milley, the retiring military office recounted the former president telling him “no one wants to see” wounded soldiers, with Milley adding he found Trump’s attitude to those serving their country “superficial, callous, and, at the deepest human level, repugnant.”
Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan during his 8 years while in the Naval Reserve, was asked by CNN host Dana Bash about the former president’s apparent distaste for service members.
“I want to ask you about a new Atlantic profile that says that then President Trump complained to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley after an Army veteran who lost a leg in combat sang at an event at the Pentagon,” Bash prompted her guest. “Trump reportedly told Milley, ‘Why do you bring people like that here, no one wants to see that, the wounded.'”
“After that article came out, Trump attacked Milley on social media, kind of a rambling post, but suggested that milley deserved the death penalty. You’re a veteran– what’s your response?” she asked.
“It’s just the latest in a pattern of outrageous attacks on the people who keep the country safe,” the Biden administration official replied.
After pointing to fellow vets who suffered horrific injuries, he added, “These are the kind of people that deserve respect and a hell of a lot more than that from every American, and definitely from every American president.”
“And the idea that an American president, the person to whom service members look at as a commander in chief, and the person who sets the tone for this entire country could think that way or act that way or talk that way about anyone in uniform, and certainly about those who put their bodies on the line and sacrificed in ways that most Americans will never understand, and I guess wounded veterans make president Trump feel uncomfortable.”
Watch below or at the link.
‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert
Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.
Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.
As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”
According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.
“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.
“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”
“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”
Watch below or at the link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
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