The Patriot Post® · The Demo/MSM Propaganda Machine
“Public opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.” –James Madison
Today’s 24-hour news recyclers have given rise to an endless political cycle as the talkingheads drone about the next election mere nanoseconds after the previous one has been decided.
More than 18 months before the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic Party and their leftmedia conglomerate are advising conservative candidates to take a cue from the electorate and be more “centrist” in their views. But is the Demo/MSM’s estimation of “the political center” the same as that of the electorate? Just how biased are the political metrics the media relies upon to analyze electoral contests?
The current banter about this political center has its origin with Bill Clinton’s political strategist Dick Morris, who fabricated the 1990s technique of “triangulation” for his client. He did so on the bet that a centrist straddle, or at least the appearance of one (fake right – run left), would lift Clinton above liberal and conservative partisanship. Indeed, Clinton won his presidential bids in 1992 and 1996, but it is worth noting that in both campaigns, he failed to collect a majority vote against very weak Republican opponents.
So what does the media mean by “political center” now – as they call for greater moderation and bewail the loss of civility due to the major parties’ divisive political views?
The Demo/MSM’s political center rests on several assumptions that don’t survive scrutiny. One such assumption is that the most ardent politicos on the left and right are equally extremist, equally distant from the vast collection of more reasonable centrists. Fact is, however, that the media’s center is far left of the electorate’s center.
Further, what, exactly, is a “centrist” approach to our war with Jihadistan? Thwarting onejihad terrorists plot for every terrorist attack that succeeds? Funding American troops one month but not the next?
Where’s the middle ground on redefining marriage to include same-sex pairs? Approving half of all applications for homosexual marriage licenses? Or, perhaps, for those “states may do whatever they please” adherents, would this mean 25 states permitting gay “marriage,” while 25 recognize only traditional husband-wife matrimony?
What’s a moderate position on abortion? Would that be the infamous but widespread obfuscation, “I’m personally opposed, but…”? How about allowing abortions only until the child is 4.5 months from birth?
What about the 2nd Amendment? Should its guarantee apply only to every other citizen? What about tax increases? Only levied on every other taxpayer?
Obviously, most of these contentious issues aren’t amenable to a halfway or middling resolution of deeply held polar views.
Statisticians use certain measures of “central tendency” to identify various centers for a given information set: the mean, or average, for quantifiable scores that can be meaningfully added and divided; the median for ordered data, which is the midpoint at which half the scores are more, half less; and the mode, which is the most frequent score of all.
Political beliefs cannot be meaningfully scored, so they cannot be averaged. A mean solution, if it could be found, would make half the people pleased, half displeased – not a prescription for an enduring policy. The statistical mode, though, is most appropriate for assessing the “center” of American opinion, which addresses the question of what most Americans believe on any given matter.
Contrary to what the media would have you believe, the statistical mode is firmly planted to the right of the media’s perceived center. This is a stable finding that has been replicated extensively.
One such comprehensive survey of U.S. voters’ views evaluated 19 conservative-defining issues. On 14 of the 19, a conservative majority or plurality view represented most Americans; that is, on most positions, most American views align with those on the conservative side of the political spectrum. Of the remaining five issues, only two of recent vintage found most Americans holding a position more in line with the Left: global warming and government funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, though rational debate on global warming is turning that tide.
The media are, by and large, creatures of the Left. Thus, when they employ the typical voter-sampling heuristic of gauging opinions of people they know, reporters tend to overestimate the popularity of Leftist views because that is mostly what they are steeped in for the course of their careers. Conservative philosophy and principles are both enigmatic and anathema to most journalists.
So, is the center a place … or a ploy? Left-elites in the media endeavor to substitute their ostensibly enlightened policy preferences for the benighted views of most Americans, and they are astute at propagating these views. One of their most effective and subversive tools is the use of media polling to drive, rather than reflect, public opinion.
Ronald Reagan understood that the Demo/MSM’s zeitgeist, the belief system providing the lens through which they perceive reality, was dark. Thus, their notion of centrism was badly skewed; so Reagan talked over the top of political and media talkingheads, addressing the American people directly. That was his genius.
In his Farewell Speech to the Nation in 1989, President Reagan said, “I won a nickname, ‘The Great Communicator.’ But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.”