Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In the same week that a major Democratic pollster called the mainstream media “the enemy of the American people” for its polling antics, news has surfaced of a pollster who admitted under oath to skewing polls in order to make his candidate look better. Is it any wonder that a majority of Americans now say they don’t believe the pro-Obama polls?
The shocking truth about how the media “spins” polls and otherwise decides what information to present to the American public was all too evident during the testimony of Harrison Hickman, pollster for Al Gore’s presidential bid in 2000 and John Edwards’s in 2004 and 2008, who took the stand earlier this year during John Edwards’ campaign finance violations trial.
According to Politico, Hickman admitted under oath to “cherry picking” public polls in order to make his candidate seem more viable than he was. He also promoted surveys that he knew were inaccurate and sent e-mails to reporters suggesting the Edwards candidacy was still alive even when he knew it wasn’t.
“They were pounding on me for positive information. You know, where is some good news we can share with people?” Hickman admitted. “We were monitoring all these polls and I was sending the ones that were most favorable because [campaign aides] wanted to share them with reporters. We were not finding very much good news and I was trying to give them what I could find.”
Hickman testified that when circulating the polls, he didn’t much care if they were accurate. “I didn’t necessarily take any of these as for—as you would say, for the truth of the matter. I took them more as something that could be used as propaganda for the campaign.”
This testimony did little to reverse a growing trend among the public to dismiss polls that show a commanding lead for President Barack Obama in the 2012 race for the presidency. Even a poll conducted by the far-left Daily Kos and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) found that a majority of voters no longer believe the polls the mainstream media has been trumpeting for the last few weeks.
“Some 42 percent of voters surveyed by Daily Kos and SEIU believe pollsters are manipulating their sample sizes to benefit the incumbent president, while 40 percent do not,” Politico reported.
“An additional 18 percent said they were not sure. That’s evidence that Republican claims that Democrats and minority voters are being oversampled in national polls could be resonating — and potentially undermining the momentum of the president’s early lead.”
Questions about the mainstream media’s behavior during the 2012 campaign, its blatant bias and tampering with both the polls and major news events to favor the president is causing growing outrage among the public and pollsters alike.
Some of the strongest words yet came from Democratic strategist and pollster Pat Cadell while speaking at the Accuracy in Media conference this month.”
“The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power. When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse . . . what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.”
He went on to explain that just 20 years ago the press was despised by both sides of the aisle because of how rigorously it attacked Democrats and Republicans. But the media is no longer an “equal opportunity” harasser, Cadell said. Now they are blatantly towing the line for one candidate and not only skewing poll data, but actually deciding not to cover news that reflects negatively on the president while trumping up even the most minor flubs by GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
Nowhere is this dangerous strategy more obvious than in the September 11 Libyan attack and subsequent cover-up by the Administration. Even after evidence surfaced that the administration knew the attack that killed Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens was a terrorist attack, there has been virtually no press coverage of how the administration spent nearly two weeks floating the idea that the attacks were all due to an anti-Mohammed film. This line was actually touted by the president in front of the United Nations, and yet no reporters questioned him.
The press actually allowed the president to get away with flying off to a Las Vegas fundraiser on the same day that Stevens was killed!
“If a President of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified!” Cadell said. “It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s ‘flying over Katrina’ moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.”
What frightens him about this behavior is what should frighten us all – the idea that America’s free press is not doing what the Founding Fathers envisioned it to do – present the truth to the American people.
“It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view,” Cadell said. “It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know. . . .”
The danger of this situation is what prompted Media Research Center president Brent Bozell to send an open letter to ABC, NBC, and CBS executives taking them to task for covering the news in a way that deliberately manipulates public opinion in favor of Obama. The letter is co-signed by 27 organizations and lawmakers, including Karl Otteson of the U. S. Federation of Small Businesses Inc and Kenneth Blackwell Former, U.S. ambassador U.N. Human Rights Commission
“We the undersigned – representing millions of Americans from our respective organizations – are now publicly urging our members to seek out alternative sources of political news in order to make an intelligent, well-informed decision on November 6,” the letter reads.
“It is time the American people turn you who are offending off, once and for all. You have betrayed their trust.”
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