Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Lipstick on the Pig

By now, everybody’s got an opinion over a new Pew Research Center poll of various attitudes and opinions of American Muslims. Some express outrage at the results, others criticize the outrage as misplaced, overblown, or hysterical. Clearly, the majority of major media outlets are spinning more positive interpretations of the results.

Victor Davis Hanson writing at The Corner makes the best argument, in my view. However much critics of the outrage want to make all kind of claims about people saying anything in polls, or comparing these results to other polls, or Muslims in other countries, none of those complaints stand upo against the simple logic of Hanson’s alarm:

Despite explanations from academics and religious figures—youth sound off, war is increasingly acceptable to Americans, Black Muslims may be a different subset of the polled, etc—one could interpret this as very bad news: the US just recently welcomed in tens of thousands of Muslims from the failed states of the Middle East, offering them an opportunity for a vastly different life, which apparently they embraced with open arms. And the views of some of that community to the most devastating attack on American shores in its history apparently include that 25% of its youth approve of suicide tactics, and only 40% on the entire community accept that Arabs carried out the mass murder.
Polls are unreliable. But one cannot praise them on the one hand for showing real signs of Muslim success, and then not be more candid that well over 1 million Muslims here don't believe Arabs were involved in destroying the World Trade Center, and several hundred thousand apparently approve in theory of the generic tactic of suicide bombing.

The Ace of Spades catalogs a dizzying amount of spin employed by major media in reporting the poll results.

ACE quotes directly from the Pew press release:

The Pew polling organization itself: Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream

"Mostly." Except for the 1-in-4 males of military age who support terrorism.

How far down does Pew bury its own lede? Well, in "Key Findings," we have to wade through five bullet-points, including ones about such scary-important factoids as "a large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society" and "Roughly two-thirds (65%) of adult Muslims in the U.S. were born elsewhere" -- before coming to this:

“Muslim Americans reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries. However, there is somewhat more acceptance of Islamic extremism in some segments of the U.S. Muslim public than others. Fewer native-born African American Muslims than others completely condemn al Qaeda. In addition, younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified. Nonetheless, absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are quite low, especially when compared with Muslims around the world.”

Note Pew does not report the actual percentage of young male Muslims who support terrorism -- only noting the percentage is higher than among older Muslims. It then immediately reassures us that the number is quite low, "especially compared with Muslims around the world," but refrains from telling us what this number actually is, so that we can decide if it's "quite low" or not.

26%. "Quite low"? I'd say it's rather high, but then that's me. I have this weird touchiness about being killed by religious maniacs.

I'd say that Pew worked pretty hard to slap some lipstick on this pig, but that might be considered Islamophobic.

Pew betrays an obvious partisan slant in much of what it does, aside from whatever amount of pig lip-sticking they do here.

Via, which also links to lots of other commentary:

Glenn Greenwald / Salon:   Large number of Americans favor violent attacks against civilians

Margaret Besheer / Voice of America:   Poll: US Muslims Feel Post-9/11 Backlash Despite Moderate Outlook

Brian Knowlton / International Herald Tribune:   Muslims assimilate better in U.S. than Europe, poll finds

National Review:   The New U.S. Muslim Poll

Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:   American Muslim Youth And Suicide Bombing

Lawyers, Guns and Money:   Polls that actually matter

Mark Steyn / National Review:   "Potentially disenfranchised youth"

Jeff Goldstein / protein wisdom:   BREAKING: AP unable to unearth party affiliation of "Minn. Lawmaker …

USA Today:   Poll: American Muslims reject extremes

Karoun Demirjian / Chicago Tribune:   U.S. Muslims more content, assimilated than those abroad

Ewen MacAskill / Guardian:   US Muslims more assimilated than British

Thoreau / Unqualified Offerings:   Pew Polls Muslims

Robert / Jihad Watch:   WaPo: "Survey: U.S. Muslims Assimilated, Opposed to Extremism"

Douglas Farah / Counterterrorism Blog:   A Look at the Polls, Some Good News, Some Scary

Salon:   BREAKING!  Loud noise heard in parking lot at Topeka Wal-Mart!


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]