5/25/2007

The silence is deafening

Recent polls show:

* 80 percent of Americans surveyed believe illegal immigrants should have a path to earned citizenship.
* 39 pecent of Americans believe George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be impeached. (This poll showed 41 percent of Independents believe this.)
* 67 percent of Americans want our troops brought home from Iraq.
* Bush’s job approval rating has reached a low of 28 percent in recent polling.

Why then does the U.S. media treat anyone who believes thusly or criticizes Bush’s incompetence as “the lunatic fringe” – when, in three of the four issues cited above, such persons are clearly in the majority?

Because the persons who hold a minority opinion on these same issues are the loudest and most visible.

In a 23 May 2007 New York Times piece, “A New Silent Majority,” blogger Mark Buchanan states, “Something seems a little out of whack between the mainstream media and the American people.”


Buchanan analyzes the differences between what Americans believe, how they perceive themselves and how the media reports their beliefs.

He writes:

“In pluralistic ignorance (a term coined by psychologists in the 1930s), as described by researchers Hubert O’Gorman and Stephen Garry in a 1976 paper published in Public Opinion Quarterly, ‘moral principles with relatively little popular support may exert considerable influence because they are mistakenly thought to represent the views of the majority, while normative imperatives actually favored by the majority may carry less weight because they are erroneously attributed to a minority.’

“What is especially disturbing about the process is that it lends itself to control by the noisiest and most visible.

“Psychologists have noted that students who are the heaviest drinkers, for example, tend to speak out most strongly against proposed measures to curb drinking, and act as ‘subculture custodians’ in support of their own minority views. Their strong vocalization can produce ‘false consensus’ against such measures, as others, who think they’re part of the minority, keep quiet. As a consequence, the extremists gain influence out of all proportion to their numbers, while the views of the silent majority end up being suppressed.”

So, when America’s cable news viewing audience hears such loud and visible pundits as Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs ranting against “amnesty for illegal immigrants” – as they characterize the new Senate “path to citizenship” – and believes themselves to be in the minority, when, in fact, they are “the new silent majority.”

When more than one-third of Americans consider impeachment, the media treat the idea as though it’s unthinkable.

The media do a little name-calling, too. Persons – that 67 percent of Americans – who want our troops brought home from Iraq are labeled “the far-left fringe,” “anti-war activists” or “the MoveOn.org crowd.”

For years now, the media have called any honest and Constitutionally protected criticism of George W. Bush’s policies – foreign and domestic – “Bush bashing.”

And, like Joel Chandler Harris’ ‘the tar baby,’ the new American silent majority “just sits and waits” - a mistake made at other critical times in history.

Isn’t it time to become proactive?

***

“A New Silent Majority,” New York Times blog, 23 May 2007: LINK

4 comments:

airth10 said...

Blogs like this one I think are shaking things up and changing the industry.

Al Gore was on Jon Stewart last night and was saying if blogs had been as prevalent in the 2000 campaign things could have been different. Bloggers may have pushed for a more rigorous vote counting in Florida. He also pointed out the Stewart's show seemed to get the to 'heart' of the story whereas the mainstream media misses it.

Gore was promoting his book "The Assault on Reason" and implied that you got more "reason" from the Stewart show that you go from most of the Media

Anonymous said...

B.J.

I don't know where you found this statistic:

* 80 percent of Americans surveyed believe illegal immigrants should have a path to earned citizenship.

This is in direct contradiction to all the poll results I have ever heard about. Not only do citizens recognize the game played 28 years ago with Amnesty and promises to secure the boarders and punish employers once the Illegals were out of the shadows but LEGAL Immigrants are the most vocal against the new rehash of the 1986 legislation. They are hurt most by lawless leapfrogging over the immigration regulation.

To my knowledge, over 70 percent of the population feel the government should enforce existing laws and detain and deport illegal immigrants. You show me your polls and I'll show you mine.

Sir Cumspect said...

Dear Anon: I hope you got past the first lines of this post, because it really isn't about illegal immigration. Anyway, here goes:

CNN ARTICLE, 24 MAY 2007 ON POLL RESULTS FROM MAY 4-6, 2007, 80 PERCENT FAVOR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP:

“The same thing is true for illegal immigration. A solid majority of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States for a number of years to stay and apply for citizenship if they have a job and pay back taxes. Critics call that amnesty.”

CNN LINK:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/05/09/schneider.poll.issues/index.html

COMPLETE RESULTS OF THE CNN POLL RE. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS:

http://www.pollingreport.com/immigration.htm

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS REPORT ON PUBLIC ATTITUDE TOWARD ILLEGAL IMMIGARNTS:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/05/immigration_reform.html

USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL ARTICLE, APRIL 2007, 78 PERCENT FAVOR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-04-18-illegal-immigrants_N.htm?POE=click-refer

ALSO, USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL, MARCH 2007:

“These sentiments were captured in an early March Gallup poll, which asked: “Which comes closest to your view about what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States? Should the government deport all illegal immigrants back to their home country, allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States in order to work but only for a limited amount of time, or allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U.S. citizens but only if they meet certain requirements over a period of time?”

“Fifty-nine percent think illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in the U.S. and possibly become citizens if they meet “certain requirements,” while 15 percent favor allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. for a limited time, and 24 percent believe all illegal immigrants should be deported.”

Anonymous said...

First, I think Mark Buchanan's term "pluralistis ignorance" equates with what today is termed "herd consciousness." If you run with a herd of cows, wild horses, pigs, etc., then you have the consciousness as the rest of the herd you run with and follow.

Second, I agree with Airth10 that many bloggers are shaking things up a bit. The problem: The pluralistic ignorant aren't going to research the Internet with an open mind. They will look for oink-oinks that agree with their herd thinking. And may the highest powers that be bless John Stewart and Stephen Cobert for bringing us more accurate news than the main stream media, whose herd consciousness parrots the
pluralistis ignorance mentioned by Buchanan. They continue their "Assault On Reason" in order to focus on spewing sleaze.

For example, who gives a fiddlers fart about rude, "Queen of Nasty" Rosey O'Donald's bellicosity? Or who won Idiot Idol? Or the political sleaze polluting our airways. What has that to do with the starving, homeless people in the world? The number of people
slaughtered in Iraq today? The failure of our Politicians who have criminalized our
Constitution and Civil Rights? Stealing people's election votes? Robbing the poor to
profit warmongers and cronies? Where is the real, honest, unbiased news reporting
journalists are supposed to be doing? I think most of them on the air should pack their bags and their high octane hype and make a hasty retreat out of town so that
serious journalists can take to the airways.

When people get off their seat-of-do-nothing and start leading this country as our founders did, then we will have honest leaders who will step up to the plate to be
genuine leaders instead of pimps who are prostituting our Constitution, Civil Rights,
Morals, our military troops, and the people of the United States and foreign countries.
Not a pretty picture at all of our nation on people on the world stage. That's Jan's assessment.