In Poll on the State of the GOP, Wash Post Buries Anger Over Liberal Bias in Paragraph 36
Published: 11/30/2009 1:53 PM ET
In a 10,500 word story on the state of the Republican Party, Washington Post staff writers on Monday waited until paragraph 36 of a 37 paragraph article to highlight the overwhelming belief that the press is biased against Republicans. Jon Cohen and Dan Balz belatedly noted, "One rallying point for the GOP, though, is a broad perception among moderates, conservatives, and younger and older Republicans alike that television news is biased against the Republican Party and tilted highly in favor of Obama and Democrats." [Emphasis added.]
Additionally, the print edition of the paper featured 15 charts about what respondents thought of Republicans in Congress, what issues they saw as important and other topics. Unsurprisingly, the Post did not create a graph to highlight the fact that 74 percent of poll-takers who lean Republican think "television news" is biased in favor the Democratic Party. (It's unclear why the poll question only surveyed the biases of television. Was the liberal paper afraid of what people might say about the Post?)
87 percent of GOP supporters found coverage of Sarah Palin to be unfair. This, too, did not warrant a chart. And considering that many people will not read all 10,000-plus words, these salient points will be missed by many.
Balz and Cohen did manage to highlight, in the second paragraph, one poll result embarrassing to President Obama:
Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are overwhelmingly negative about Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly, with nearly all dissatisfied with the administration's policies and almost half saying they are "angry" about them. About three-quarters have a more basic complaint, saying Obama does not stand for "traditional American values." More than eight in 10 say there is no chance they would support his reelection.Once again, however, this fact did not make it into any of the numerous charts accompanying the article. Instead, both the article and the graphics focused on whether or not the Republican Party is focusing too heavily on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. Balz and Cohen wrote:
About a third of Republicans and GOP-leaners say the party is putting "too little" emphasis on same-sex marriage, but nearly as many say it is spending "too much" time on it. Here, there are big divisions by group, with younger people evenly divided between whether the party overemphasizes or underemphasizes the issue. More than four in 10 moderates say too much, with a similar proportion of the very conservative saying too little.The complete poll results can be found here.