Back in the days when I was writing political advertising--in the pre-Internet, pre-War Room era--the single most coveted piece of information we tried to ascertain was the polling research done by our opponents.
Not the answers so much, but the questions. Because we saw the questions were sort of a Rorschach test: They gave us a view into what the opposition was thinking, what they were worried about, and how they might frame their campaigns.
Last week, I clicked on a link from Drudge to a New York Times story about Bill Clinton's current standing in Harlem. That brought up a pop-up window at the Times site, asking if I wanted to take a survey concerning readers' attitudes toward the paper.
More as a lark than anything else, I agreed to take the survey; I assumed that it would probe the effects of the most recent price hike on subscribers to the national edition. (I'm now paying almost $700 a year to get the Times delivered in LA. With everything free on the web, I don't know how they're going to maintain these subscriptions, or sell new ones.)
In any case, as I began to take the survey, the questions became curiouser and curiouser, with specific inquiries about Judith Miller and W.M.D.'s, the MoveOn.Org "General Betray Us" ad, the Times' coverage of Israel, and questions about the impact of Jayson Blair, along with the paper's decision to publish information about the domestic wiretapping program against the wishes of the Bush administration.