Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 30, 2005
By: Christina Larson

GOODBYE, 2005 ... As the year winds down, the Pew Research Center has released its list of the Top Ten Opinion Trends of 2005:

1. Presidential popularity plunge
2. Hurricane blowback
3. Iraq disillusionment
4. Pump shock and economy anxiety
5. Inward [isolationist] turn
6. Domestic issues ascendant
7. Schiavo backlash
8. Evolution devolution
9. Social Security missteps
10. Feds out of favor

What's also interesting is to look at what major news did not grip public attention -- or what expected consequences never materialized. Among such non-trends of 2005:

* The Democrats did not gain much ground in public opinion polls, even as the GOP lost ground. Yet in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll from Dec 18, respondents said they trusted Democrats over Republicans, 47 to 42 percent, to handle "the main problems the nation faces over the next few years."

* The London subway bombings did not trigger much change in Americans' views of Islam or Muslim-Americans. Further, the number of poll respondents who believe that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence has declined over the past two years, from 44 to 36 percent.

* Americans do not generally regard the mainstream media as a four-letter word, though you wouldn't know it from listening to the talk shows. 80 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of their daily newspaper; 79 percent and 75 percent had a favorable opinion of local and network TV news. Christina Larson 9:09 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Which is interesting, considering it is in response to the earthquake that triggered the tsunomi

Posted by: Rook on December 30, 2005 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that the one major issue that is going to affect EVERYONE in the coming years, global climate change, doesn't even get mentioned. Oh, well, it's probably too late to do anything about it anyway. At least we can say that we didn't try, but if we had, dadgummit, we would've knocked that "global warming" back to the Stone Age before it did the same to us.

Posted by: josef on December 30, 2005 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Finally, I'd like to nominate one overhyped year-end story that's recently consumed hours of air time: the extra second that's being added to the atomic clock.

Christina Larson

Unless you are technologically challenged adding or subtracting a second to the Atomic clock is a big deal. I don't think it was over reported just not explained very well. Accuracy in time as a reference point is very important and everyone should be concerned when changes are made.

In navigation systems, weapon guidance systems and a lot of computer programs a one second change can be critical to the operation and accuracy of these systems.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on December 30, 2005 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Number 1 is related to the trends that follow, all of which tell me that our government is being grossly mismanaged. Regardless of the politicians involved, how can anyone honestly look at the way the American government is being run and say that this is a well-run enterprise?

To paraphrase Molly Ivins: If this isn't bad governance, for God's sake, what does it look like?!?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on December 30, 2005 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Screw the one second added to the atomic clock.

That extra two seconds added to the clock at the end of our game against Michigan cost us an undefeated season.

Posted by: Joe Paterno on December 30, 2005 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

OT:

so let me get this straight....

the president has known for more than a year...

that someone leaked the nsa wire tapping story to the nyt...

but the justice department is launching an investigation into that leaker...

beginning today? 12/31/05?


.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on December 30, 2005 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Today is actually 12/30/05, but besides that there is arguably a legitimate reason for that -- if the material is so ultra-secret that knowledge of it in government is narrowly compartmented, until it became public knowledge, the security risk from revealing information to the people who need to investigate the leak -- and the information that would be revealed in any criminal prosecution to additional people -- could be seen as a greater risk to secrecy than the few non-cleared people who seemed to know but be willing to sit on it. That doesn't mean no prior investigation was done, but whatever prior investigation was done would have been a non-criminal investigation within the group of people cleared to attempt to identify the leaker not so much for prosecution but to compartmentalize information; if it failed to do that, there was probably extra caution within the program, but outside investigation was held off until there was no prospect for containing the information that had leaked.

Aside from whether the actions leaked were proper or whether the leak was wrong and if so, how, the decision to withhold a DoJ investigation isn't entirely suspicious, though certainly the temptation to label it a response to the political embarrassment rather than the security risk because of the delay is there.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 30, 2005 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats did not gain much ground in public opinion polls

Given that ALL TEN of the Pew trends listed were basically anti-Bush/anti-GOP, all I can say is BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Posted by: Al on December 30, 2005 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

c.m.

thanks for the perspective

(cant believe i got the date wrong...hit preview.....always hit preview)

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on December 30, 2005 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Christina,

I'll have to check on those stories - Must have missed them - Gretta never mentioned them on her show, "Aruba 24/7" - nor did Nancy Grace - Are there any other news outlets out there somewhere?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 30, 2005 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

80 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of their daily newspaper; 79 percent and 75 percent had a favorable opinion of local and network TV news.

There's an obvious difference between the Smallville Bugle and the Wall Street Journal. The poll in question refers to bhe Bugle, not the Journal.

Posted by: Thinker on December 30, 2005 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

In navigation systems, weapon guidance systems and a lot of computer programs a one second change can be critical to the operation and accuracy of these systems.

It's a Christmas Miracle! I not only agree with FWG, I have his back on this one. Throw everything off my a second, and a lot of things we take for granted on the gerid would become erratic at best, and simply stop working at best.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 30, 2005 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

***erratic at best, or simply stop working at worst.

preview is my friend...prieview is my friend...preview is my friend...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 30, 2005 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

And thanks for that insight, hardware products, but getting back to the subject at hand: I note that "Americans do not generally regard the mainstream media as a four-letter word." I say that's probably a good thing since it suggests that Americans can count.

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