Nov 20, 2005 4:59 pm


Anyone in polling knows the importance of the wording of the question and the order in which the possible answers are offered.

Pew asked:"Do you think each of the following is a major reason, a minor reason, or not much of a reason why there is discontent with the U.S. around the world?

Guess what the first possible answer was? If you guessed U.S. support for Israel, you were right. Note that the second alternative was not American support for Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Egypt but"U.S. support for authoritarian governments in the Arab world." Also, while there were numerous questions about China, American support for Taiwan was not posited as a problem nor has American support for India or East Timor (which also irritates Islamists) mentioned. In other words, the idea of scapegoating Israel is firmly planted in the mind of the responder. Positing American support for only one state, the Jewish state, as damaging to the country, is a form of Antisemitism.

The other alternatives did not include such obvious culprits as the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism, Anti-Americanism, media bias, the push for democratization, American lone superpower status. Oh, yes, in the very end, the responder can check"America's wealth and power" as a possible culprit.

Instead, possible blame can be assigned to the US led war on terror, the Iraq war, Globalization, American materialism and American religiosity. Note the absence of the War in Afghanistan.

The results must have been extremely disappointing to the Pew poll designers to discover that of the public considers American wealth and power (60%) to be second only to the Iraq war (71%) as a major irritant. Only 39% of the public considers US support for Israel a problem. In this, as in much else, the elite begs to differ. 64% of them view American support for Israel as a major problem. And do you wish to know where MSM bias comes from? Here it is: 78% of the Journalists blame American support for Israel as the main reason the world"hates us."

Given the importance of polls, it is crucial to point out the bias of their designers as well as to highlight the results they do not necessarily wish highlighted.

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