In politics and media, opinion polls are everything. Constantly surveying public opinion allows politicians to tailor their rhetoric to appeal to the majority of their audience.
But things get difficult when politicians are being paid by lobbyists to support something that is generally unpopular with their constituents. Then they have to twist and distort the data to try to make people more receptive to it.
And that’s what the media are for. They’re there for the politicians, hammering in their mindless viewers’ brains exactly what to think. They’ll run segments on their shows “exposing” general “misconceptions” about said controversial issue. They’ll have their expert panels discuss how it’s not that people are actually opposed to the issue; it’s that they’re misinformed. And then they’ll proceed to “inform” their opposing viewers on the actual data so that they’d come to be in favor of it.
When that isn’t working, they’ll say that people will eventually “learn to like it.” That’s what Jay Carney said in reference to the opinion polls showing that people don’t like Obamacare, that people may think they don’t like it now, but once it’s implemented, they’ll “learn to like it.”
If all else fails, media personalities will just flat out lie. After all, if you repeat a lie often enough, it will become the truth.
On CBS’s Face the Nation hosted by Bob Schieffer, guest Congress(wo)man Marsha Blackburn stated that Obamacare only has partisan support. Schieffer interrupted and “corrected” her, stating, “Well now Congresswoman, that’s not entirely true. The polls don’t suggest that. Polls say that most people favor it.”
Except that they don’t. How ironic that a poll released recently by CBS and the New York Times shows that most people still don’t like Obamacare:
Opinions of the health care law overall continue to be negative. With health insurance exchanges set to open up for enrollment on Oct. 1, 39 percent of Americans now approve of the health care law, but more – 51 percent – disapprove, similar to views in July. Since the law was enacted in 2010, more have disapproved than approved of it. Some Americans express concern about the health care law’s impact – on themselves personally and on the U.S. economy. While most say the law has not personally affected them so far, 39 percent expect the law will eventually hurt them – twice as many as say it will help them. Nearly half also see an economic downside. Forty-nine percent think the health care law will hurt the national economy, while 26 percent think it will improve it. Eighteen percent say it will have no effect.
If Scheiffer had bothered to read that poll released by his own employer, maybe he wouldn’t have balked at the congress(wo)man’s statement. Of course, maybe he was very familiar with it but decided that it’s better to lie about it.