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Good points made by Eric Alterman:
The new ABC News/Washington Post poll, here, shows 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing overall, reports ABC News’ Polling director Gary Langer — the most in more than 75 ABC/Post polls since his presidency began. His approval rating is 48 percent…
George W. Bush’s approval rating is now a full twenty points lower than Bill Clinton’s was on the day he was impeached. Dear media, that means you gotta stop referring to him as a “popular president,” and no less important, stop treating him like one.
I don’t trust opinion polls, but mainstream journalists and pundits tend to take them at face value. At face value, Bush’s numbers have been hovering just below midpoint for weeks. Now, I’d love to jump the gun and declare him “unpopular” because his negatives outweigh his positives; sadly, that would be dishonest. But if you believe the poll numbers, then it would be just as dishonest to claim that he was popular.
One of the most insightful books about the press that I’ve ever read was Robert Parry’s “Fooling America” (which is out of print, unfortunately), which depicted the Washington journalists like any other group of insecure gossips, aspiring to be top of the Kool Kid pile, but fearful of falling into the depths of the uncool. This kids want to be right in the middle of the pack, not too far ahead of or behind the trend curve. And although we think today that journalists are the ones who like to get the scoop before anyone else, Parry showed how this clique only wanted to get the scoop just before anyone else did; if you were too far along the cutting edge– even if it turned out that you were right– your peers saw you as a nutcase.
How long till Bush’s popularity puts him in their sights? How long till it’s cool to go after the president? Maybe someday we get to see the flesh chunks flying.
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