NY Times outrageous spinning of poll results
see "New Poll on Iraq, Troop Buildup Strategy" (NY Times web site, 9/9/07)
and detailed poll results at:
In their online political blog, The Caucus, NY Times writer Megan Thee misuses statistics to help her political position. It's typical liberal MSM work, but usually their numerical idiocy and their deceitful intentions are not this obvious. Indeed, even someone who is anti-war would probably find Ms. Thee's representation of the poll results to be misleading if not simply stupid.
In a piece on the most recent NY Times/CBS News poll about Iraq, Ms. Thee says "A majority of Americans say...the increased numbers of troops in recent months has either made things worse or had no impact at all."
But further down in the article, she gives us this information: "While a plurality of 45 percent say the increase in troops had no impact on the situation in Iraq, 35 percent of Americans say it made the situation better, up from 29 percent in May."
Looking deeper at the poll numbers which were not included in The Caucus piece, it turns out that only 12% said the surge was making the situation worse and 7% did not give an opinion.
Therefore, while Ms. Thee is technically correct to say that most people said the surge has had no impact or made things worse, a substantially larger majority say the surge has had no impact or made things better. Of course, when the "no impact" number is 45%, then putting that group together with either the "better" or "worse" group will give a majority! So, claiming a majority for either group plus the "no impact" group is statistically speaking, irrelevant. We just need to compare the size of the "things are better" group to the size of the "things are worse" group. In this case, the "better" group was 35% while the "worse group was only 1/3 the size at 12%.
Somehow, Megan Thee decided the appropriate headline would be to say that a majority (of 57%) thought the surge was neutral or negative, instead of saying that 80% thought the surge was neutral or positive. And she also neglected to mention that the "better" category got its highest poll numbers since the beginning of the surge and the "worse" category got its lowest numbers.
While I am not arguing that the public's view on whether the surge is helping or not really matters, this is one of the more shockingly transparent attempts I've seen by the anti-war media to spin a number that is obviously not what they wanted to hear. Ms. Thee simply couldn't bear to report that the "better" group is larger than the "worse" group (and by the largest margin since the surge started) so she found a way that she can claim to have reported the poll results "accurately" while still deceiving the public about them. The Times should be embarrassed by such shoddy work, but of course they won't be.
It just goes to show you that, as Mark Twain reputedly said, "There are three types of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." Looks like the NY Times is full of all three.
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