More Spin about Voters' Motives last Week?

More discussion of the voters' polling data from the election last week. Big article over at the New Republic. It supports my earlier analysis that people voted a bit out of confusion and anger (perhaps lack of knowledge) about the economy and what Obama's government has done to help improve it. However, a majority of voters said their financial situation was the same OR better than two years ago. A majority of the MINORITY (41%) who said their situation was worse voted Republican. The authors of the article spin it the other way. What to say about those 60% who feel better or at least don't feel worse off? That statistic causes problems for the quick inference that voters voted against Obama.



60% disapprove of Obama's job performance


60% say same or better off financially than two years ago


80% say very concerned about the economy


25% blame Obama for economy


Blame Obama and Democrats and vote Republican??


(Oh, and 20% think he's muslim, and and another 30% who just aren't sure. Figure that in)


Nov. 2 "The People" Didn't Speak; They Grunted

Americans awoke November 3 to more headlines and soundbites about "the people's voice." I'd call it more of a grunt.

We The People by self
"The American people's voice was heard at the ballot box," declared Speaker-of-the-House-to-be John Boehner. Soon variations of "the people's voice" echoed around traditional news and Internet. Obama has to say, "I hear you, and then, I heard the people speak last night," parroted columnist Mark Shields on PBS's News Hour . "The people have spoken" framecontinues to dominate analyses of what happened and thus what must follow. Seems clear, actually misleading.

And more


"Bye-Bye Public Option"? Dangerously Misleading News Frames

So I awoke to Facebook link-posts this morning to news that "The White House Appears to Drop 'Public Option,'" or even "'Public Option' Proposal Dead". Sure enough my mailing of political headlines from Slate Magazine reconfirmed the supposedly irrevocable: Obama had given in to the astroturf mobs and Rightwing Rumor Bombers. "Bye-Bye Public Option," Daniel Politi wrote in Slate. Looking further into those articles, I realized that this was a dangerously misleading frame/interpretation/emphasis of some comments made by Administration officials.

The most widely circulated article about the alleged Obama dropping of the Obama healthcare hot potato was by the AP. "Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public," the AP wrote, "President Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system." Okay, "ready to abandon." That's strong stuff, considering all the Town Hall hoopla of the last week.

Still not getting to the real kernel that allowed this defeatist inference, the article frames the public-option as a "liberal" (real universally positive label) initiative, the dropping of which could allow Obama the option of compromising with "GOP" (not "conservative or right-wing) lawmakers: "Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers."

There's more...

Obama 2.0: The Look of Direct Democracy

Like many people, I am excited about the possibilities for change that the Obama presidency embodies. As in his campaign communication, Obama's transition communication has been cutting edge and fabulous at producing a consistent image. Take, for example, the excitingly accessible transition site his team has produced:

Access. This site symbolizes democratic access and community.

First it is simple, a two column structure with nine tabs line the header:home, newsroom, blog, learn, agenda, America Moment, America Serves, Jobs, About. On the home/arrival page, you find yourself staring at and being stared at by Obama, who is poised to address you thanks to Youtube. The newsroom, or press releases from Obama, actually appears on the home page, below the video.

The blog encourages you to  "Watch Your Weekly Address now," and true to the participatory genre and thus expectations of blogs, it asks the visitor to "then send us your questions or ideas about how to fix the economy." It sounds right, except you can't post comments. And cynics who have tried to write legislators in the past, will be wary of the sincerity of the suggestion. It will probably be considered like focus group and survey information in order to craft more scientifically messages to mass and niche markets--I mean, uh, voters.

There's more...


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