Thursday, March 22, 2007

More media bias: ABC’s strange and questionable Iraq poll

Post below lifted from Dinocrat

ABC has a poll of Iraqis that it positions as highly negative, and of course that is partially true. However, the story is more complicated, and far better than ABC represents, if you are not a Sunni. Here’s the ABC spin from its story, “Voices from Iraq 2007: Ebbing Hope in a Landscape of Loss” — a heck of an objective title for a news article by the way:

A new national survey paints a devastating portrait of life in Iraq: widespread violence, torn lives, displaced families, emotional damage, collapsing services, an ever starker sectarian chasm - and a draining away of the underlying optimism that once prevailed…the sharpest deterioration is in Baghdad, where the number of Iraqis who say their own lives are going well has dropped by 51 points. But it’s also down by 26 points in the rest of Iraq. And even outside of Baghdad, just 32 percent of Iraqis feel “very safe” where they live, compared with 60 percent a year and a half ago.

The poll is quite bizarre in some respects. For example, it features touchy-feely data like this chart below, showing that the poor Iraqis feel “stress” in their transition away from decades of cruel, totalitarian rule towards, perhaps, something better:


We look at the chart above and we wonder how the Western world, the United States of America, and our attendant freedoms, blessings, and wealth were ever created. Did the American Revolution or Civil War, or maybe World War I or World War II, or even Desert Storm, cause “trouble sleeping” among Americans, we wonder? Should we have canceled our own Civil War or opted out of World War II to prevent “feelings of anger” or “difficulty concentrating”? Indeed, is “stress” in the pursuit of freedom a vice?

Leaving aside the fatuousness of the chart above, let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty: do Iraqis feel safe in their environs and are they happy that we liberated them? The way ABC spins the poll, you would say no, since in many cases ABC averages the results of Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites, and the purported nearly 100% negativity of Sunnis weighs down the averages. So you can’t believe the story; you have to look to the poll’s internals to find some truth. Powerline summarized these findings, which show a high level of satisfaction among Shiites and Kurds on these issues:

when asked to rate “today's conditions in the village/neighborhood where you live” with respect to security, by a 61% to 39% margin, Shia respondents rated their local security “good” rather than “bad,” and by an even wider 89% to 11% margin, Kurds rated their local situation “good.” The average is dragged down by the Sunnis, who said 7% “good,” 93% “bad.”…When asked whether it was right for the coalition to invade Iraq and depose Saddam, 70% of Shia and 83% of Kurds say Yes. On the other hand, Sunni responses were 2% Yes, 98% No…

So Kurds and Shiites rate their local security good by wide margins, and they are darned happy that the Americans decided to free them from their torment and bondage. Sunnis, on the other hand, are understandably upset by their loss of power, and the subsequent acts of reprisal against them.

But — and this is our point about the methodological problems with this poll — is it possible or plausible that 98% of Sunnis are virtually unanimous in their disapproval of the deposing of Saddam Hussein? Is is possible that only 2% of Sunnis (a result that could go below zero, since the margin of error is 2.5%) are happy that the US deposed Saddam? Are there no Sunnis in Iraqi government or getting US government contracts or largesse? Are there zero freedom-loving Sunnis in Iraq? Do 98% of any group ever agree on anything at all? Furthermore, as we said, the 2% of Sunnis who are reported to think that liberating Iraq was a good idea is even below the margin of error of the poll:

The survey had a contact rate of 90 percent and a cooperation rate of 62 percent for a net response rate of 56 percent. Including an estimated design effect of 1.51, the results have a margin of sampling error of 2.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

We wonder if the poll’s methodological problems come from the difference between the “contact rate” of 90% and the “cooperation rate” of 62%. What tests did ABC’s pollsters perform to determine that there were no systematic biases among the Sunnis who did and did not cooperate, for example? Might we find an answer to ABC’s counter-intuitive findings of unanimity there?

The ABC poll and story flunk the tests of common sense in at least a few ways: (a) ABC’s relentlessly negative story on its poll, which ignores the regional and confessional differences in results, itself calls into question the objectivity of the poll; (b) the touchy-feely nature of some poll questions are such that any war whatsoever, including the American Revolution, the Civil War and World War II would give the same negative results on certain issues; (c) it is highly suspect that only 2% of Sunnis approve of the US’s removal of Saddam Hussein; and (d) any poll about any issue that results in statistical unanimity among a large group of those polled ought to question the validity of its own methodology. In summary, it’s hard not to conclude that there was an agenda behind both the poll and the reporting of the poll.



The latest Leftist hero going down the same old path of economic destruction: "While Barbara Walters is busy sucking up to Hugo Chavez, I wonder if her inquiring mind is even aware of the damage this wonderful and passionate guy is doing to Venezuela's economy? Venezuela is knocking three zeros off the bolivar, its currency, and renaming it the "bolivar fuerte" (strong bolivar). This is an effort to cope with rising inflation. Inflation has spiked in recent months due to Mr Chavez's very expansive fiscal policy, and capital flight following recent nationalisations. Ahhh. The wonders of socialism! You would think that this "charming", "passionate", and "intelligent" man might have learned from the economic debacles that socialism wrought in the 20th century. You would think he could look around the world and grasp that a country's embrace of socialist and communist principles is directly proportional to its level of poverty and misery. And that even in the so-called "advanced" and "enlightened" European Union (socialism lite), life is deteriorating."

The rich already pay most of the tax: "The IRS just released some data. One of the most interesting reported facts is this: "For tax year 2004.... Taxpayers with an AGI [adjusted gross income] of at least $328,049, the top 1 percent of taxpayers, accounted for 19 percent of total AGI, representing an increase in income share of 2.2 percentage points from the previous year. These taxpayers accounted for 36.9 percent of the total income tax reported, an increase from 34.3 percent in 2003"

Another charming Muslim: "A man who ripped out his wife's eyes in a fit of rage was sentenced by a French court to 30 years behind bars today. Mohamed Hadfi, 31, tore out his 23-year-old wife Samira Bari's eyes following a heated argument in their apartment in the southern French city of Nimes in July 2003 after she refused to have sex with him. Ms Bari, who had demanded a divorce before the attack, was permanently blinded. Hadfi, a Moroccan, initially fled to Germany. He was finally arrested and sent back to France, where he was indicted for "acts of torture and barbarity leading to a permanent disability". Prosecutor Dominique Tourette demanded that Hadfi be sentenced to 30 years in prison, two thirds of which must be served in full, calling the defendant a "diabolic torturer". Once his sentence is served, Hadfi will be deported and barred from ever returning to France."

Scientist "Silenced" By Bush Gave 1,500 On-The-Job Media Interviews In Recent Years: "A NASA scientist who said the Bush administration muzzled him because of his belief in global warming yesterday acknowledged to Congress that he'd done more than 1,400 on-the-job interviews in recent years. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who argues global warming could be catastrophic, said NASA staffers denied his request to do a National Public Radio interview because they didn't want his message to get out. But Republicans told him the hundreds of other interviews he did belie his broad claim he was being silenced. "We have over 1,400 opportunities that you've availed yourself to, and yet you call it, you know, being stifled," said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican."



"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

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