Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Big News Blackout

It was only days ago that conservative Websites were pulling out any statistics from the housing market, U.S. Labor Bureau or opinion polls to prove to their followers that the policies of Bush were somehow working. Now that increasingly bad poll and other numbers are coming out, there is a conspicuous absence of any new data on the conservative Websites.

It is quickly becoming a case of no news is good news, as there is no possible way to put a spin on increasingly bad data and poll numbers.

Within the last couple days new poll numbers put the job approval of Bush down to just 40%, with 56% disapproving. And another poll found that support for his Iraq War is down to just 37%. And new statistics on consumer confidence took a sharp slide during July thanks to the sky high fuel prices.

It is entirely likely that the housing boom may be over due to increased interest rates from the Federal Reserve Board, and because of a 50% inflation rate in gasoline prices since January, consumers are entirely likely to sharply cut back spending at U.S. retailers and a new recession may even be looming if gasoline prices are not reined in.

Just like how the Iran crisis reminded voters of problems such as the economy during the Jimmy Carter Administration, the high fuel prices and the failure of Bush to meet with Cindy Sheehan days ago are quickly souring the U.S. public and unwinding not only Bush, but the long-term prospects for continued Republican majority rule in the 2006 elections.

The American public is not always able to fully understand many complex issues, but a simple straight-forward issue like paying nearly $3.00 a gallon for gasoline is an issue that every consumer can understand in those terms. And this has become the straw that has broken the camel's back for Bush. This issue has brought about a rapidly sagging approval for the Iraq War and Bush's approval both. And the failure to meet with Cindy Sheehan, and the poorly advised efforts to counter protest against her or to denounce her for her politics fail to understand that most in the public view her as mother who lost a son, rather than a purely politically moltivated figure. Even if most Americans or politicians may not agree with the politics of Cindy Sheehan is not the issue at hand, but the fact that she lost her son is. And the highly partisan nature of some of Bush's supporters to attack her reinforce an image of particular nastiness that is not at all helpful to Bush. And his continued failure to meet her, while making constant speeches related to Iraq is beginning to reinforce a growing public perception of arrogance by Bush. This is a highly destructive public perception to take root, and along with the seeming Bush Administration inaction on high fuel prices, the freefall for the bush Administration in public opinion polls has begun in earnest.

The Democrats cannot take full advantage of this public opinion freefall without being viewed by the public on the positive side of popular issues. Without a public perception of this role for Democrats as offering a worthwhile alternative, the election prospects for a huge Democrstic resurgence in the 2006 midterm elections are far more limited.

On the flip side of this equation, with a shrinking positive public perception for Bush on Iraq and other issues, some conservative Websites are increasing involved in junk journalism with an increasing level of highly personal and juvenile attacks on leading Democrats, compared to the more substantial issue journalism that is to be expected of Websites operated by adults, and not by school age children. This highly partisan cheerleading may attract those with a limited view of politics who are merely superficial Republican partisans, but for those interesting in more sincere political discussions and exchanges, probably acts as a true negative and a turnoff.

As usual, it seems that left-leaning progressive, liberal, and Democratic Websites are far less organized than those by right-leaning conservatives and Republicans. Yet the failure of Democratic Websites to promote a true alternative agenda, and for the Republicans to promote what is seen as an increasingly unpopular agenda, as well the increasingly nasty nature on some Websites is hardly helpful either.

Both political wings could stand some real organizational and leadership skills. But for now those who are supporting Bush are attempting to maintain support in the face of increasing bad news. This is the reason for an increasing blackout of real news to report and the growth industry of political trashtalk on some sites. One trend is inevitable to follow a downfall in public opinion, while the second is a regrettable defensive consequence.

32 Comments:

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