What the public really thinks about Iraq

Last week I made mention of a new poll on Iraq conducted by my colleagues at NCSU, Mike Cobb and Bill Boetchher.  The results of their poll have now made it into Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at Washingtonpost.com (you'll need to scroll down to “Poll Watch”).  Instead of just asking whether we should withdraw or not, Boettcher and Cobb asked about how many more casualties and war spending would be acceptable and what respondents thought our actual goals for the war are.  The key findings:

“When asked to provide 'an acceptable number of U.S. military deaths'
in Iraq, 61 percent of respondents said zero. . . . When asked later in
the survey how much more money the United States should 'spend in order
to complete the mission in Iraq,' 55 percent of respondents said no
additional dollars should be spent. These views are undoubtedly related
to the fact that 57 percent of respondents felt that the United States
'should have stayed out' of Iraq and that respondents were split 50-50
on whether U.S. efforts in Iraq would succeed or fail.”

That's right a solid majority thought we should not spend another dollar or life on the war in Iraq.  Of course, this shows the power of issue framing.  When the frame is withdrawal or not, people are more supportive, yet when forced to focus on acceptable casualties, support would clearly seem to drop.  Cobb has posted a more complete summary of the findings here

Fair and Balanced

Why any reasonably intelligent person is still watching Fox News is beyond me.  In their latest attempts to be “fair and balanced” they repeatedly identified disgraced ephebophile, Mark Foley, as a Democrat.  Courtesty of Bradblog, here's the screenshot:

After they realized what surely was an innocent error (note saracasm here), rather than just replacing the D with an R, they removed all mention of Foley's party altogether.

This, of course, is active disinformation.  The primary reason I tell my students that if they actually want to be informed they should not watch Fox news is the results of a PIPA study that showed that the more viewers watched Fox news the less accurately they actually understood things about Iraq! 

The other best show on TV

i.e., Battlestar Galactica starts its third season on Friday night.  If you didn't listen to me on The Wire, at least give this a try.  I know, I know, you don't watch Science Fiction, but this show completely transcends the genre and has little in common with the 1970's series from which it took its name (on a side note, I still remember that, as a 6-year old, I was watching the original BSG when my first dog, Tammy, died). 

Anyway, the reason you should watch the new show is that it deals with the post 9/11 world in a more direct and provocative manner than any show on TV.  Don't believe me, here's what Rolling Stone had to say:

Civilization is under attack by religious fanatics — and the
fanatics are winning. There are suicide bombers, a clueless
president and prisoners who get tortured by the good guys. No, this
isn't a particularly grim night on CNN: It's Battlestar
, the smartest and toughest show on TV. In its second
season, this remake of the 1978 camp classic has become — no joke
— TV's most vivid depiction of the post-9/11 world and what
happens to a society at war.

Here's what Entertainment Weekly had to say about “the best TV drama you've never seen”:

The series' sophisticated
stories have also attracted a distinctively new breed of fan, one who's
not necessarily a sci-fi buff. ''Some of the smartest people I know are
addicted to this show,'' says McDonnell. ''All it takes is one or two
episodes and you're hooked.'' Though routinely snubbed by the Emmys
(yeah, it stings them), Galactica
recently won a prestigious Peabody award, and the affirmation has the
cast and crew psyched. ''The last thing that I wanted to be doing was
science fiction on cable television,'' says Olmos. ''But this, to me,
is a real gift. I'll be in science fiction every day of my life if they
can give me this kind of drama.''

Still not convinced, try the Salon.com article from last year that persuaded me to give it a try. 

And if you are now thinking, well okay, but I'm two seasons behind, the SciFi network is one step ahead of you.  You can watch a 3 minute recap of the first two seasons, or for the truly intrepid, a 44 minute recap, here.  

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