The propaganda media's polling offensive

In 1988, Vice President George H. W. Bush was behind by 19 points in May. Just five months later, he beat Gov. Michael Dukakis by eight points. In those five months, as Americans learned how truly liberal Dukakis was, one in four of his supporters crossed over to support Vice President Bush.

In 1990, on the Saturday before the election, Detroit’s liberal newspaper had John Engler losing to incumbent. Gov. James Blanchard by 19 points. Three days later, Engler won by more than 17,000 votes.

In 1994, virtually no one gave us a chance of winning control of the United States House of Representatives. My personal favorite example of absolute media bias was a headline in mid-October in USA Today. I was walking into a radio station to do a morning show, and on the way in, I saw a page one banner headline that read something to the effect of, “Democrats Gaining on Republicans.” I knew that nothing in our polls indicated that we were losing ground. I was more than a little anxious to see if USA Today knew something I didn’t. Still, I had to spend the next hour explaining the provisions of the “Contract with America” and advocating for our candidates in Idaho.

Then, I came out of the studio and had a chance to read the article. USA Today had just run a poll in which the Democrats had gained ground among people who were not likely to vote. Yet among those who were planning to vote, the Republican lead had increased. The editor had a choice of two headlines and chose the less accurate one because it fit his/her ideological preference. That experience was a real lesson in how the propaganda media can totally distort the facts through careful editing—selecting what to emphasize and what to hide.