The Fine Art of Slant

Thanks for tracking down the original poll. (And extra credit for spanking the Yokels.)

Posted by sammler at March 3, 2005 8:26 AM

It certainly slanted, not to mention poorly written.

"Utilized" any nukes lately?

Posted by Old Dad at March 3, 2005 8:53 AM

There are few/none real journalists left...if there ever were any. The best that I can remember was the McNeil/Lehrer newshour of old...although even then Lehrer would let one slip now and then.

Posted by Barnabus at March 3, 2005 10:41 AM

"And as music is an art defined by the silences between the notes,"

I compose music. Simple or complex. It is very good, and I have never considered the silence between the notes when composing. It is a cliche and quite meaningless. In fact, when you play "legato" there is no silence between the notes.

This is something that a famous guy said for the heckuvit and it sounded profound, but it's not.

As another said, there are only two kinds of music -- good music or bad music. It has nothing to do with silence.

Posted by mark butterworth at March 3, 2005 2:20 PM

Oh there is always silence between notes. We just can't listen fast enough.

Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at March 3, 2005 2:27 PM

But I agree that good music and bad music has little to do with silence. Unless it is bad music, in which case silence is profoundly to be wished.

Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at March 3, 2005 2:29 PM

The funny part is "tracking down the poll" is now a simple matter of going to Which leads one to ask: what are news stories like this for? I've been asking myself that a long time now.

By the way, this phenomenon is hardly unique. News reporters have every incentive to sensationalize with the most scary spin they can.

For example, just ask yourself or any average American this:

1) In the last ten years, has violent crime gone up or down?

2) How about auto fatalities over the last ten years?

3) How about teen pregnancy and STDs?

4) How about drug and alcohol use?

5) As a percentage of the average American's annual income, or wealth, has the national debt gone up or down over the last 50 years?

6) Is church attendance up or down over the last couple of decades?

7) Are casualties in Iraq higher than Vietnam, lower than Vietnam, or about the same as Vietnam?

8) Has the air been growing more polluted or less polluted over the last 10 years? How about over the last 50 years? Or the last 100?

Go on. Take a guess at what the answer to all of those is.

Okay, I'll just tell you:


1) Down. Way down.

2) Down.

3) Down. Way down.

4) Down.

5) Down. Way down.

6) Up.

7) Much, much, much lower.

8) Less polluted. Less polluted. Less polluted.

In all these cases, if you go to the news media, you will likely believe that almost all of those (except maybe auto fatalities) have worsened over time. If you go to the original sources where they get their data, however, you will find that they've gotten better over time.

Shaking yourself into that realization takes work, but it's one of the wonderful things blogs can help with.

Because the news media wants to scare you. It's how they make their money.

(I think I'm going to post this on my blog.)

Posted by Dean Esmay at March 4, 2005 3:20 AM

Factually, the numbers Mitchell quoted matched the survey for 2005 in which 27 % of those surveyed stated as the headline to the article said:

One in Four Americans Would Use Nukes Against Terrorists, Gallup Finds

The first sentence of article states:

“More than one in four Americans would go so far as to utilize nuclear bombs if need be in the fight against terrorism, according to a national survey reported today by The Gallup Organization.“

That matches the data from the charts. There are no lies there. Mitchell didn’t lie. He didn’t slant things.

Where’s the slant ? He didn’t quote the figures from 2001 which were higher ?

Somehow this post falls flat on its face.

Anyone can have an opinion and call another writer slanted but it would help if there were some concrete data to back up those assertions other than wishful thinking.

The Fine Art of Slant----that’s a nice title

Posted by ellen at March 4, 2005 6:17 PM

If you can't see it you are, "factually," beyond repair.

Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at March 4, 2005 10:29 PM

There's an additional subtle slant in the survey itself. The first question asks if you would favor assasinating KNOWN terrorists.

But what is a known terrorist? We thought everyone we put in Guantanamo was a know terrorist. Hell, we captured them right on the battle field.

But it turns out we were wrong. We've admited that hundreds of them pose no threat to the United States and have no useful information. Many of them have been released. None of them have been charged with a crime.

But we were wrong again when we released some of them. A few of those released have gone on to take up arms against the West again. They were terrorists after all.

Given the tremendous uncertainty in positively identifying terrorists, a more appropriate question might be:

"Would it be OK for us to assasinate a terrorist even it it turned out we were wrong?"

That might have less blood thristy results

Posted by anonymous II at March 5, 2005 5:09 PM

Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens.

Posted by Armaud-Amaury at March 5, 2005 6:30 PM

On top of slanting the poll, Mitchell misinforms us about nukes themselves. What would we do without experts? "Experts agree that the power of today's weapons, their range of damage and the peril of drifting radioactive fallout far exceeds the bombs used against Japan."

Today's nukes are smaller, because of the accuracy of our missiles is such, that we don't need big messy bombs. Second, if Jimmah Carter hadn't stop funding for the neutron bomb, we'd have an even better option, with minimal blast and rapidly dissipating radiation. Of course, Mitchell would oppose that too, no doubt. So, radiation, really isn't the issue, America defending herself is. For the Mitchells of this world, America ought not defend itself.

Posted by Jabba the Tutt at March 5, 2005 7:15 PM

Anyone notice the words "if the government thought it were necessary", or as Mitchell revised it as "if need be"?

The poll's question makes the respondent aware that this is a no-alternative situation - a sort of doomsday scenario.

What I find shocking is that 3/4 of those asked would oppose, possibly digging their own graves and those of their loved ones.

But there's enough ambiguity here to confuse the average citizen on the street. Stupid polls!

Posted by Cup Of Joe at March 5, 2005 11:20 PM