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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

 
Madder Still

Jane reports on Richard Morion pollster for the Washington Post actually had the temerity to write this drivel yesterday in an online chat:


Naperville, Ill.: Why haven't you polled on public support for the impeachment of George W. Bush?

Richard Morin: This question makes me mad...

Seattle, Wash.: How come ABC News/Post poll has not yet polled on impeachment?

Richard Morin: Getting madder...

Haymarket, Va.: With all the recent scandals and illegal/unconstitutional actions of the President, why hasn't ABC News / Washington Post polled whether the President should be impeached?

Richard Morin: Madder still...

[...]

[W]e do not ask about impeachment because it is not a serious option or a topic of considered discussion --witness the fact that no member of congressional Democratic leadership or any of the serious Democratic presidential candidates in '08 are calling for Bush's impeachment. When it is or they are, we will ask about it in our polls.


Jane points to this Media Matters report:

A January 1998 Post poll conducted just days after the first revelations of Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky asked the following questions:

"If this affair did happen and if Clinton did not resign, is this something for which Clinton should be impeached, or not?"

"There are also allegations that Clinton himself lied by testifying under oath that he did not have an affair with the woman. If Clinton lied in this way, would you want him to remain in office as president, or would you want him to resign the presidency?"

"If Clinton lied by testifying under oath that he did not have an affair with the woman, and he did not resign, is this something for which Clinton should be impeached, or not?"


Morin was the Post's polling director at the time, and he wrote the January 26, 1998, article reporting the poll results.


I just have to expand on this a little because this is a truly unbelievable example of media bias. In an impeachment story in the Washington Post written the same day as the poll was released, January 26, Ruth Marcus breathlessly reported:

In the whirlwind five days since the story first broke, nothing has been conclusively proven about the truth of the allegations that Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky, urged her to lie about it in an affidavit in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, and then lied about it himself under oath when questioned by Jones's lawyers.

But it is a measure of the political and legal explosiveness of the allegations that they immediately provoked discussions of impeachment, a prospect raised the morning the story broke by former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos and discussed at length on yesterday's TV talk shows.


It was discussed on all the talk shows because useful idiot George Stephanopoulos brought it up five days before and the Republican Borg immediately fanned out across the airwaves and pretended that this sexual affair was a threat to the Republic. And the Washington post ate it up with a spoon, sending out their pollster post-haste to take the public's temperature on this trumped up piece of tabloid garbage.

Today, the same pollster gets mad when people bring up the idea of impeachment in the context of a hugely unpopular president lying about national security. He gets madder still at regular Americans who annoy him with mass e-mails which he obviously considers less legitimate than a gaggle of paid GOP shills marching in lockstep on Press The Meat. This, even though the current polling already shows that 52% of the public believe that Bush deliberately misled the country on Iraq and 56% think that it is very important for congress to question the Bush Adminstration about the way the intelligence was used. (Clinton had a 59% approval rating in that 1998 poll.)

Media Matters asks:

Please explain WHY a question asking if President Bush should be impeached if he lied to the country about war is "biased".

Please also explain how this is consistent with polls the Post ran -- under your direction, I might add -- in 1998 asking whether then-President Clinton should be impeached if he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Do you now believe those questions you asked -- and reported on -- throughout 1998 were "biased"? If so, do you believe you and The Post owe Clinton an apology?

Why does The Post think it is appropriate to raise the spectre of impeachment when there is a Democratic president, but not when there is a Republican in office?


Because the beltway press corps has conditioned itself to respond only to Republicans. They've trained themselves not take Democrats seriously, either the rank and file who inconvenience them with e-mails they do not want to read, or the leadership they simply disdain. Unpopularity obligates them to criticize Bush at least mildly, but the relief they feel when his numbers edge up a bit is palpable. They don't seem to know this about themselves.


And although they will likely continue to choose to avert their eyes, impeachment is on the table.



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