Dean and CNN's Intolerance of Dissent
by Chris Bowers, Tue Aug 03, 2004 at 04:01:38 PM EDT
CNN's hawk hack job on Dean is a another example of the intolerance the media has not only has for Dean, but but for non-official, anti-war, left-wing positions in general.
CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll"Do you think the war with Iraq has made the U.S. safer or less safe from terrorism?"
Yes No 6/21-6/23/04 37 55 12/15-11/16/03 56 33 11/14-11/16/03 48 43The notion that expressing an opinion held by a fairly substantial minority of the country (now a healthy majority) is a gaffe disgusts me. A poll analyst tells us that Dean made a gaffe disagreeing with hawks supposedly because it annoyed people who were feeling "relaxed and satisfied?" What really happened to Dean after this remark was that stations such as CNN, along with his pro-war primary opponents, represented his statement as a gaffe rather than as a serious position held by at least one third of the nation that deserved serious consideration and discussion. That is why Dean's favorables started to decline. They did this because they did not believe that Dean's position, or any left-wing position on the war, was worthy of serious discussion during their triumphalism over Saddam capture. As Schneider's comment shows, even though a majority of the country now agrees with Dean, CNN would probably still pile on anyone would made that statement now.
Then again, what else should I expect from a representative outlet of the television news media that went through the entire run up to war while massively under-representing and basically ignoring the views of those opposed to invasion:Looking at two weeks of coverage (1/30/03-2/12/03), FAIR examined the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The study began one week before and ended one week after Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation at the U.N., a time that saw particularly intense debate about the idea of a war against Iraq on the national and international level.
More than two-thirds (267 out of 393) of the guests featured were from the United States. Of the U.S. guests, a striking 75 percent (199) were either current or former government or military officials. Only one of the official U.S. sources-- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.)-- expressed skepticism or opposition to the war. Even this was couched in vague terms: "Once we get in there how are we going to get out, what's the loss for American troops are going to be, how long we're going to be stationed there, what's the cost is going to be," said Kennedy on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03).Here is a Los Angles Times poll taken at the start of the two weeks the FAIR study examines:
The Los Angeles Times Poll, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2003. N=1,385 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (total sample). "Suppose President George W. Bush decides to order U.S. troops into a ground attack against Iraqi forces. Would you support or oppose that decision?"
Support Oppose ALL 57 38 Democrats 40 52 Independents 57 38 Republicans 84 14 Men 65 31 Women 49 45Although it is not mentioned in the FAIR study, I have to wonder how many of the official sources interviewed by network news programs were men. Clearly, at the start of the time period that FAIR conducted its study, support for the war among women was split, while men favored it more than 2-1 (they must have been taking their Viagra). CNN is an example of the nearly absolute intolerance of not only left-wing and pacifist minority dissent, but also of the opinions of women. Support for the war nationally was only 57-38, but on the news, among official US sources, it was 266-1. As far as CNN and other outlets of televised news both were and still are concerned, the only thing they are less willing to tolerate than Howard Dean are the left-wing positions on terrorism and the war to which he speaks. This latest "outburst" is just another example of the general rule.