Don’t Be Deceived

It seems everyday there is another example of media deception in America. With the Fourth of July approaching, it is well worth remembering why the founding fathers gave the press special privileges. They wanted journalists to report honestly—to give the folks accurate, unbiased information so they could make informed decisions about who should hold power. Many of the founders like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams didn’t much like the press, but they well understood that, for a democratic Republic to work, voters need honest information.

Unfortunately, the vision of a free and honest press is fast disappearing in America. Let me give you yet another vivid example. This week a poll by the New York Times asked, “Would you be willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans have health insurance… ?”

57% said they were willing, 37% not willing, and 6% said “no opinion.”

So, according to the Times, overwhelmingly, Americans want government-financed health care. That’s what the poll says, right?

But if you read all the way down to the bottom of the poll, you see another question. “Who did you vote for [in the presidential election]?”

48% said Obama; just 25% answered McCain. The rest, 19%, did not vote. Wow, that’s almost two to one for Obama.

But the popular vote tally in the election last November was 53% for Barack Obama, and 46% for John McCain. Wait a minute. That’s a lot closer than two to one. So apparently the New York Times skewed the polling by offering the questions to mostly Obama voters. I’m shocked they supported higher taxes for federal health care, aren’t you?

This kind of dishonesty is not uncommon in the media. The Times says its poll is “scientific.” Sure it is—scientifically stacking the deck.

I believe very few people read the entire poll before digesting the health care headline. The result is a flawed perception of what the American public really wants. The folks may, indeed, support Uncle Sam paying some heavy medical bills, but this poll is not a reflection of anything other than a New York Times deception.

By the way, CBS News also had its name on that poll.

As a media guy who wants accurate information, that kind of stuff tees me off. As soon as the pollsters learned most the respondents were Obama people, they should have thrown the results out. But the Times ardently favors national health care and a huge federal government. So the con played out.

The most frustrating part about this is that nothing can be done. The Times has an ombudsman, but he’s a joke, and no outside agency has any power over the paper. It can pretty much do what it wants, and does.

It is true that the Times and some other media outlets, most on the committed left, are on the brink of bankruptcy. The liberal papers say the Internet is to blame, and that’s partly true.

But the folks are beginning to understand that the informational fix is in. What good is “all the news that’s fit to print” if the news is bogus?

The Times might want to poll that question.