Posted on | December 17, 2013 | 37 Comments
OK, maybe the headline is exaggerating a bit, but Obama’s poll numbers have definitely cratered in the past ten weeks. These two headlines were an interesting contrast of how the polls get spun:
Obama’s Current Approval Rating
Is The Ugliest Since Nixon
– Business Insider
ABC offers the “glass half-full” interpretation, viewing the dead-cat bounce as good news for the President, although we don’t actually know whether the situation is “stabilizing,” because future events could make things even worse for the White House.
Show of hands: Who remembers ABC News doing this kind of upside spin for George W. Bush during his second term? Anybody?
No, of course not. Whether or not the ABC interpretation is accurate, it takes a lot of digging in the poll numbers lately to find any encouraging news for Obama. Yet ABC’s Gary Langer was willing to do that kind of digging, because . . . Yea, Democrats! Go team!
It’s as simple as that, really. The media reports poll data according to their own hopes and expectations, and what they want is the same thing Democrats want, i.e., for this to be a short-term decline in the President’s numbers as a result of the problems related to the HealthCare.gov website, not the policy per se. The media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) are not prepared to accept the possibility that the President’s program is actually unpopular. ObamaCare simply can’t fail, from that partisan perspective, and so the reality of its failure must be explained away as a matter of misperception.
For the past five years, we’ve seen this blatant pro-Obama spin so often, in so many different contexts, that I fear we’ve begun taking it for granted, as if it is normal for journalists to engage in this kind of partisan rah-rah routine. And the stark contrast between the media’s reverential awe toward their idol and Obama’s sinking polls is a phenomenon that the media can only explain by saying that the people must be wrong!