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Freedom of the Press

Freedom of Manipulation? Truth be told…

Last Thursday (May 5, 2011), the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll reported that Obama’s approval ratings are unchanged since the raid. The same day, the New York Times sent out news bulletins via email that the President’s ratings have gone way up since the raid, according to their New York Times /CBS News poll.

Why the possible difference? Rasmussen only talks to who they deem to be “likely voters”, while the latter polls adults “randomly sampled by a computer.” Most people don’t have time to research the methodology of various polls or examine how their questions are written to get their results. Instead, popular opinion rules the day with what gets batted about over Facebook and Twitter.

These are the same “pollsters” and reporters we are supposed to rely on for news and information in the upcoming Presidential election. So if we look at polls and how they are reported, coupled with how popular opinion affects individual choice, we must ask ourselves whether these media outlets aren’t trying to influence the game. Where are the honest brokers in the reporting world?

More evidence of the same on Friday May 6th. I received more alerts from the New York Times stating that employment numbers were higher than expected, and that unemployment also rose. On the same day the Wall Street Journal reported the same fact about employment being higher, but added that unemployment rose to 9%, and most importantly, that the employment increase is still insufficient to turn the economy around. Sometimes what is not reported is even more important than what is reported.

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