Friday, June 01, 2007


Lies of the Times

Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post, provides a perfect illustration of how the New York Times intentional distorts fact in their reporting in service to their partisan agenda. Few examples of media deceit are this obvious.

Here’s the Times dishonesty to which Krauthammer refers. (He uses the gracious word mendacity, but the rest of us know it as lying. Liberals and Democrats of course reserve that term of art to political disputes in which honest people disagree as to what facts mean or indicate, and only when it suits their politics.)

But the campaign for legalization does not stop at stupidity and farce. It adds mendacity as well. Such as the front-page story in last Friday's New York Times claiming that "a large majority of Americans want to change the immigration laws to allow illegal immigrants to gain legal status."

Sounds unbelievable. And it is. A Rasmussen poll had shown that 72 percent of Americans thought border enforcement and reducing illegal immigration to be very important. Only 29 percent thought legalization to be very important. Indeed, when a different question in the Times poll -- one that did not make the front page -- asked respondents if they wanted to see illegal immigrants prosecuted and deported, 69 percent said yes.

I looked for the poll question that justified the pro-legalization claim. It was Question 61. Just as I suspected, it was perfectly tendentious. It gave the respondent two options: (a) allow illegal immigrants to apply for legalization (itself a misleading characterization because the current bill grants instant legal status to all non-criminals), or (b) deport them.

The other dishonesty revealed in this example is the widespread phenomena of partisan and political agenda driven pollsters intentionally devising polls with ambiguous or loaded questions like these, that they design precisely to pre-salt an inevitable result. That gives them a guaranteed result that appears to lend objective truth to the lie they construct. That’s deceit, and the editors at the Times know it.

Is deceit too strong a word for what the Times tried to pull off? I don’t think so. They and their editors no doubt read through the results of the poll in question. They knew what they wanted to find out of the results, they knew what they didn’t like. So they twist the most unrepresentative finding of a single horrendously written poll question to frame a story they want to tell, contrary to overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

All the news that’s fit to print, not. Rather, news made to fit, any which way we can.

(Via Memeorandum)

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