Well, blaming him for Katrina didn’t take.
Neither did predicting a civil war in Iraq.
Turns out President Bush is pretty responsive and competent on most of the issues, so what’s an MSM hit man to do?
Make up a crisis, of course, which brings us to the ‘Oil Shortage Scare’ poll from CNN/USA Today/Gallup, complete with blame game and worst case scare tactics.
The CNN story was big on noise, but thin on facts, so I paid a visit to the Gallup site to see what the hubbub was all about. No mention of the oil poll on the front page, which twitched the old antennae. You see, I generally have a lot of respect for Gallup and its methods, but not so for the Hairpiece Media at USA Today and the Contemptible News Network. I began to suspect Gallup was not all that proud of this latest offering. I did find a poll with the title “Energy”, but it’s locked up as “Premium Content”, which is also a way to keep cheapskate nosey bloggers like me from peeking at the poll. Being a sneaky sort, I used their search function under “Oil” and found the following questions:
“Have recent price increases in gasoline caused any financial hardship for you or your household? Now, thinking about the cost of gasoline, do you think the current rise in gas prices represents – [ROTATED: a temporary fluctuation in prices, or a more permanent change in prices]?” Question from the March 17 2006 poll
“Do you think Congress should hold an investigation into the profits that oil companies have made in the past few months, or do you think an investigation is not necessary?” Question #15 from an October 2005 poll
“How much do you blame - Oil companies in the U.S. - for the recent increase in gasoline prices - A great deal, A moderate amount, Not much, or Not at all?” Question #24 from an August 2005 poll
“On another subject, for each of the following business sectors in the United States, please say whether your overall view of it is Very positive, Somewhat positive, Neutral, Somewhat negative, or Very negative. How about - Oil and gas industry?” Question #38 from an August 2005 poll
“How much do you blame each of the following for the recent increase in gasoline prices -- Oil companies in the U.S. -- A great deal, A moderate amount, Not much, or Not at all?” Question 38 from an April 2005 poll
“How much do you blame each of the following for the recent increase in gasoline prices -- Foreign countries that produce oil -- A great deal, A moderate amount, Not much, or Not at all?” Question 38 from a May 2005 poll
There were literally dozens of simlar questions in the Search results, and a lot of them focused on blame and displeasure. I did not see a single question which asked respondents whether they understood the oil & gas markets, knew how much oil was available or how it was processed and delivered. I did not see a single question which presented the present situation in historical context, which examined the possibility that last year’s hurricanes or this year’s geopolitical situation might be factors in the supply or price of oil.
I can’t speak conclusively, since I don’t have all the data. But what I saw leads me to the preliminary conclusion, that someone allowed a troll to choose the questions and wording, and if the ingredients are trash, the results are predictable.
(ht Joseph Somsel)