Survey shows lies that permeate Republican thinking; how it’s distributed symbolizes the death of print.

The news media was full of a very scary Louis Harris poll yesterday, a poll, by the way, that wasn’t supposed to be officially announced until today.  Some examples of stories about the survey:  “Poll: Most Republicans think Obama is a Muslim” and “‘Scary’ Harris poll: 24% of Republicans think Obama ‘may be the Antichrist’

First let’s consider the survey itself, which evidently demonstrates that a stubborn streak of ignorance has corrupted the Republican Party.  According to the poll of 2,230 people taken during the height of the “health care debate,” Republicans hold some very mistaken ideas about President Obama:

  • Two-thirds of all Republicans think the President is a socialist.
  • 57 percent think he’s a Muslim.
  • 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist.”

Whether or not President Obama is the Antichrist is a matter of opinion (and a very weird question for Louis Harris to include in a poll), but it is factually inaccurate to label our President as either a socialist or a Muslim.  His handling of the financial bailout, his choice of big bankers as his primary policy gurus, his deference towards industry groups and his foreign policy decisions all speak to a reformist capitalist, that is, a capitalist who believes in government regulation of industry to create a fair set of rules and government investment to guide and grow the economy.  In short, a centrist Democrat in matters of economics.

By the way, the large number of Republicans who believe that Obama is Muslim reflects not just distrust of the President but an irrational hate of the Muslim religion.

All in all, a very disheartening survey because it’s never any good when large portions of the electorate hold false notions that will affect how they vote and what positions they will take on key issues.  Now I’m not that upset that these people hate Obama, but it’s frightening that they believe so much nonsense about the President which both forms and feeds their hatred.

As scary as the poll was, the way it has been disseminated is fascinating.  It symbolizes a new pattern of information and idea distribution.  Instead of the good old days in which the announcement of a Louis Harris poll first appeared in a news release that immediately became Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg wire stories, the news of the survey broke in a an article by John Avlon in an online tabloid called “The Daily Beast,” which is a U.S. news reporting and opinion website published by Tina Brown former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Avlon recently published a book called Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America,” and he uses his column about the Louis Harris survey in yesterday’s “Beast” overtly to publicize his new book.  Avlon even goes so far as to say that the poll was “inspired in part” (his words) by his book, which investigates the beliefs of today’s fringe right.

Although I appreciated having the information in the survey a day early, I found that the overall direction of the article was a little bit too self-serving.  (FYI, I like Avlon, I just think he hit the wrong note in this particular article.)

My question is how did Avlon get the survey a day early?  It wasn’t on the Louis Harris interactive website yesterday.  Could it be that the Harris honchos decided that they could get the most publicity for the survey and firm by leaking the story to Avlon and letting him break it early in The Daily Beast.  What does that say about the old-fashioned practice of giving an exclusive to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post or a national TV news operation?  And did Louis Harris know that Avlon would make self-serving use of the information? Didn’t this crass and explicit commercialization bother them?

9 comments on “Survey shows lies that permeate Republican thinking; how it’s distributed symbolizes the death of print.
  1. Wendling says:

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  8. aetna says:

    Our major issue in this country is our two political parties. Our forefathers knew that a two party system would be our downfall and took steps to try to stop this type of politics, and thus anyone who seriously thinks that politics isn’t corrupt or slaves to Corporate America hasn’t not been paying attention. George Jr. will go down in History as one of the worst administrations in history and I could go on for hours showing why, but my point is that the Obama administration has offered nothing different (besides health reform, granted) and has in fact continued nearly every single Bush program. Obama has almost the same political donors and thus has the same pressures as Bush did. Health reform will turn out to be the most expensive and destructive waste of tax payer money ever. I just wish I could offer a better alternative for other frustrated people, but I can’t and those that think that the tea partiers are the future, remember that Sarah Palin is an important figure to them.

  9. Tom Snyder says:

    This is baloney. Castro just praised Obama-Care. And, he wants Obama’s cap and trade bill and amnesty for illegal aliens passed. Finally, there is indeed a notation on Obama’s school records showing his step-father considered him a Muslim. According to Islam, you cannot renounce the Muslim faith once you accept it. And, the fact that Obama went to a heretical black liberation church for 20 years proves that he’s not really a Christian. There is no one Anti-Christ, but Obama’s big government, pro-abortion policies reflect the national socialist policies of the Beast in the Book of Revelation, who IS an Anti-Christ.

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