The Media’s Obsession With Polls!

I saw Sam Stein from the Huffington Post on Morning Joke last week and I’m just now getting around to commenting on his appearance and column about polls. In full “snark” mode, he belittles Robert Gibbs response about the media’s obsession with polls on a day-to-day basis. As I read his piece, it read like someone obsessed and in denial about it.  Here’s a piece of it…

ABC News’s Jake Tapper sought reaction to the network’s newest poll showing that 51 percent of respondents would rather have Republicans running Congress. CNN’s Ed Henry wanted to know why, in that same poll, “six in 10 Americans have little or no faith in the President to make the right decisions.” CBS’s Chip Reid then pointed to his own network’s poll showing that only 13 percent of respondents thought the president’s economic programs had affected them personally.

Exasperated, Gibbs deployed a classic rejoinder: mocking the polling-obsessed media culture.

“You know, in all honesty, Chip, there isn’t a website in the world that doesn’t have a new poll every day,” the press secretary replied. “And if you spent a lot of time sitting around worrying about polls rather than worrying about the people that you’re trying to help, I’m sure you’d get discouraged. But we’re way too busy to sit around looking at polls.”

Too busy to look at polls? Perhaps. But not too poor to pay for them. While Gibbs routinely chides members of the press for obsessing about the day-to-day temperamental swings of the American public, behind the scenes the White House has poured plenty of money into conducting its own public opinion polls. Through June 9, 2010, the administration, via the Democratic National Committee, has spent at least $4.45 million on the services of seven different pollsters, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. (The Huffington Post looked into only those expenditures that totaled more than $5,000.)

OK, so they’ve spent money on doing their own polls, is that something special? They would be fools not to take their own polls with all the bad methodologies and analysis out in the public sphere. Just because they are taking polls doesn’t mean they are making decisions on a day-to-day basis. If that were the case, where would health care reform be or any of the other unpopular but necessary actions that he has taken over the last 19 months. It is one of the reasons why I like President Obama so much, he is in Washington to do a job, not get re-elected. I’ve said many times that I almost hope he doesn’t run in 2012 just to piss off the prognosticators who like to look at everything through the political lens of “how is this going to affect him politically?” The media IS running a continuous election cycle, it never stops… just keeps going and going and going and going. It’s no wonder the American people are so down on politicians in polls, they are sick of the media talking about it. That is probably why the media ranks right down there at the bottom along with the politicians.

Even though I linked to the Huffington Post, I hope you don’t stay there after reading Stein’s piece, it’s a vast wasteland of Lindsey Lohan, Brittney Spears and misleading headlines.


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