September 24, 2006

VegasBlogging 3: Bush Popularity Was Once At Its Lowest Point!

Hatched by Dafydd

Let us all join hands, bow our heads, and read this AP article; and let us ask ourselves, anent the very first sentence, what is wrong with this picture?

Since President Bush's approval rating sank to the lowest level of his presidency in May, nearly six in 10 of his appearances helping Republican candidates have been closed to all media coverage.

Well, how about this for starters: according to the Real Clear Politics round-up of polling on President Bush's job approval, and looking just at the USA Today/Gallup poll (because I don't want to calculate averages), Bush hit his low point on the poll conducted from May 5-7 this year: 31%.

The most recent instance of the same poll -- USA Today/Gallup, September 15-19 -- has his job approval at 44%. That's an increase of 13% in raw numbers, or a 42% improvement over his low.

Yet somehow, AP thought it best just to leave it lying there, like a kippered herring: "since President Bush's approval rating sank to the lowest level of his presidency in May"... as if it sank and just stayed there!

Welcome to the exciting land of Propagandia, where image is everything. The intro sentence tells more in subtext than text: Bush is a failure! Everybody hates him! He's got the lowest approval rating of any president ever! Nobody wants to campaign with him (that's the thrust of the article)... so why not just go ahead and punish the bastard by voting for your local Democrat, eh?

But the actuality of Bush's current job approval makes mincemeat out of the entire premise of this article -- which is titled "GOP Candidates Keeping Bush Under Wraps." Here is the summing-up graf:

Overall, from the first political event Bush headlined in March 2005 through the end of September, 47 percent of Bush's 68 political events - for candidates, the national GOP, several state counterparts and the campaign arms of House and Senate Republicans - will have been private. Before May's approval-rating slide, the percentage of closed events was 34 percent; since, it is 59 percent.

But of course, AP doesn't mean merely "since;" they mean "because of," as in, 'because of the ratings slump in May 2006, now GOP candidates want Bush money, but they don't want to be seen with him.'

But lo! Bush's job approval prior to May 2006, according to USA Today/Gallup, tended to range from 34% to 39%; earlier in the year, there were some low 40s... but going all the way back to September 2005, there was not a single USA Today/Gallup poll that had Bush's job approval higher than 45%.

To find the last time his job approval was significantly above the 44% it is right now (that is, higher by more than the margin of error), you have to go all the way back to July 22nd-24th, 2005, when it was 49%.

In other words, Bush's job-approval rating is as high today as it has been in well over a year. But if that is the case, then clearly any disinterest among some GOP candidates in having Bush openly campaign with them can have nothing to do with his poll numbers.

Besides, the evidence that candidates are "keeping Bush under wraps" is scanty, to say the least. For example, here is the campaign of Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH, 56%) when asked directly about this very point:

DeWine's campaign stresses that all the senator's fundraisers are closed and that there is no attempt to shun the president. "Not at all," said spokesman Brian Seitchik, who added that DeWine plans to appear with Bush during a tour, open to reporters, of a business earlier Monday.

Remember, here in Propagandia, nobody cares whether Bush is a drag on candidates or whether candidates are actually ducking him: all that matters is that readers are led to believe that is the case.

Many of us do not appreciated being led around by the nose by a batch of people more motivated to "save the world" (from Republicans) than to get at the truth; we would do well, when we encounter such a story, to stop and ask, does this claim match the reality of what I see and hear around me? Is this really what my Republican representative, senators, and the odd GOP challenger or two are doing?

Or is it just so much cud chewing by the "elite" media, a filler article... like the one yesterday gloating over the fact that more solidiers died fighting the terrorist enemy than the terrorists killed in one particular terrorist attack.

Enquiring minds will demand to know.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 24, 2006, at the time of 4:30 AM

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The following hissed in response by: MTF

We can all agree the news-meisters at AP, NYT, and Reuters are maniputlating the news reported, so that they can propagandize for their political beliefs or world view.

What to do about it?

I cut off my subscription to the Times and have encouraged others to also do so. And my action, along with others taking similar actions is having an effect as the Times is rapidly sinking into straightened financial circumstances.

But what's really most pleasing is to see the administration becoming more articulate in their attacks on these biased reports and news producers, because I don't think it's good politics to leave some of their wackier assertions unchallenged. Could it be that Tony Snow is the MVP of the Bush WH right now? I think so.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2006 11:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu

Someone really needs to remind the AP that propaganda doesn't work well when people can easily check things out for themselves.

It doesn't even come off as a half-way decent attempt to fool the masses. It sounds to me like it was just a case of the news desk needing some filler for the weekend, so they dusted off a premise from a few months ago and ran with it.

The above hissed in response by: Nuclear Siafu [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2006 5:16 PM

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