President Obama’s State of the Union speech was marked by civility, bipartisanship, boredom, lack of applause, and low ratings for credibility. But oh, the spin that is going on in the establishment media.
I am amazed at how CBS News has handled the aftermath of this speech. Here’s a post-speech conversation between Katie Couric and Anthony Mason:
Katie: “CBS News and Knowledge Networks assembled a scientific sample of Americans to watch the speech, then respond to our poll questions online. Anthony Mason has the results. Anthony, what are people saying tonight?”
MASON: “Katie, the response of more than 500 viewers we polled immediately after the speech was overwhelmingly positive tonight. Ninety-two percent of those viewers said they approve of the proposals the president made in his speech tonight.”
What do they take us for, trying to create the impression that 92% of us liked the speech?
Ask me those questions:
Q: Do you believe in civility? A: Well, uh, yes – you got me there.
Q: Do you believe the federal government needs to live within its means? A: You know, I guess I do.
Q: Do you believe there need to be changes to the Obamacare law? A: Absolutely – like, abolish it.
Q: But you DO agree there should be changes? A: Yup!
Q: Guess what – YOU agree with what the president said tonight! A: Shazam! You’re right.
But you folks at CBS news, the problem is in the questions you’re asking. And there might be a problem in your sampling. When you said you had a “scientific sample of Americans” that you polled, there’s a lot of room in that statement for all kinds of craziness and shenanigans. Since you DIDN’T say that this was a balanced cross-section of voters, I’m going to reserve the right to be suspicious. But even if you did get a political balance in your sample, your question stinks: “Do we agree with the proposals he made?” Try the question Frank Luntz asked: “He does say that he wants to cut spending. How many of you by a show of hands believe him? One, two, three, four.”
Folks, that’s four out of a focus group sampling of 29, that DO represent a cross-section of voters. My calculator shows that to be just under 14%.
Earlier he had asked, “I want to see a quick show of hands of everyone in this room, did he exceed or fall short of your expectations? Who would say he exceeded them, raise your hands? Two people. Who would say he fell short? A lot of you.”
And then there’s Jon Meacham, from PBS. Here’s his quote:
MEACHAM: “Its lack of applause was a good thing. I think people are not interested in that level of showmanship at this point.”
Thank you, Jon, for drawing attention to the lack of enthusiasm for the speech. But give me a break on the interpretation here!
The disconnect between what we hear in the establishment media and reality is growing wider, not narrowing. I think these media folk are sensing that they are losing the people of the country to the conservative movement, and they’re deperately trying to mold public opinion. I don’t think it’s working. I certainly hope not.