THE BLOG
06/03/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bogus Polls and Misinformation Fuel Unrest and Discontent

50% don't think President Obama deserves re-election
65% think most members of Congress don't deserve re-election
28% say they support anti-big government 'Tea Party' movement

Read those polling numbers on the front page of USA Today this week, and hear them echoed over the mainstream television airwaves. If you heard or read them, one is convinced that we are on the brink of major government change, civil disobedience, and even revolution. We must be headed to ruin, and a massive sea of change in government. Obama has obviously sacrificed his Presidency in passing sweeping health care reform. Comparisons are made to the elections of 1994. Tables are shown with statistics. Obviously, the "people" have spoken - NOT.

Yikes, these grandiose predictions are based on a statistical sample was from 1033 people with an error margin of 4 percent. And this is what made the top front page of USA Today. Definitively, it must have been a slow news week. After all, Congress is on recess and it is Spring vacation, Passover and Easter holidays. So let's' make a little trouble, stir the pot, and create a story where there is none.

Shame on all of you! Gallup, you know better. This is hardly an accurate predictive measure for a population of over 300 million, albeit it has been done before we recognize that. Second, the error margin is way too high for such importance. Frankly, if any of my colleagues in the university had pulled this stunt we would have been booted out on our proverbial behinds. We deserve better than sweeping misinformation that screams across the page one of a popular, national, daily newspaper only to be repeated across the mainstream television airwaves.

This harkens to the mythologies spewed by the Karl Rovians that manipulated this country going to war in Iraq. It was enough that the Republicans and their Tea Baggers spewed bogus facts during the health care reform legislation about death panels and their likes. But, now we have our mainstream newspapers and news broadcasters doing the same thing. Gag me now! President Obama compared them during the health care debate to sportscasters, and he put them on notice. A lot of good that appears to have done because the bad behavior continues at the expense of the country.

Certainly, there is unrest and misery in this country. People are suffering and it not getting much better fast enough. Unemployment is at an all time high in many states and regions. The economy is not good. Credit card companies have raped and pillaged consumers. Health insurance premiums are skyscraper high. Bankruptcy filings are continuing. And sadly, our elected officials don't seem to be able to work together. What we don't need is any more over simplified misinformation inflaming our collective vulnerabilities. Fox TV soliloquies are legal under freedom of speech -- as folks like Glenn Beck spew a new kind of religious fervor together with Ann Coulter and her whips and chains. USA Today, Gallop and mainstream television media - again, we deserve better and expect it from you.

 USA Today 4/1/2010