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Of New Jersey and Nutjobs

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:27 pm - September 17, 2009.
Filed under: Media Bias

Finding a “remarkable level of anger toward Barack Obama in a lot of our recent polling so for New Jersey,” Tom Jensen writes that his outfit Public Policy Polling “decided to go a step further in determining how extreme some people’s feelings are about the President and asked respondents if they think he is the Anti-Christ.

The numbers, he found, were “eye popping:” “8% said yes. 13% aren’t sure. Among Republicans 14% said yes and 15% weren’t sure.”

To be sure, he did point out that “extremism in New Jersey isn’t limited to the right though. 19% of voters in the state, including 32% of Democrats, think that George W. Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11.”   Delving further into the poll, Allahpundit finds “that the split among Democrats on Trutherism is almost a mirror image of the split among Republicans on Birtherism.

All this got me wondering to what extent Jensen and other pollsters explored the extremity of some people’s feelings about the President when a Republican served in the White House.

These numbers threw a few left-wing bloggers in a tizzy, as if this were the proof they needed to show that conservatives really were nutjobs.  Yet, I grant we do have some nutjobs in our midst.  I even talked to a truther at one of the Tea Parties I attended.  But, look, there are nutjobs on both sides, as one left-of-center blogger, perusing the same poll acknowledged, “only 48% of Jersey Republicans who definitively are not Birthers, and 49% of Dems who are officially not Truthers. Don’t you just love our polarized politics?

Indeed, despite the handful of whackos I met at the Tea Parties, I’ve been impressed the overall civility of the crowds.  Yet, it seems that all too many in the media wish to feature the most extreme signs which, at a really with hundreds of thousands, if not a million, participants, you’re bound to find.

While there are, as this poll shows, extremes on both sides of the political aisle, the media does seem to dwell on those on the right and downplay those on the left.

UPDATE: In a good piece on the phenomenon referencing in the concluding paragraphs, Nice Deb offers:

Members of the left-wing media (we no longer call them MSM) go out of their way to seek out the more extreme members of conservative protests, and then those are often grossly mischaracterized as this black gun aficionado was on MSNBC.

Tea party critics in the media are appalled by the Obama/Hitler comparisons which are done primarily by Democrat Lyndon LaRouche supporters.

Where were these critics during the Bush years, when Bush was compared to Hitler on an almost daily basis by the left? What was one of the left’s favorite nicknames for President Bush? Bushitler?

Where was the media when protesters’ signs reflected their demented, violent, deathwishes against the President?

Where was Nancy Pelosi?  Read the whole thing!

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3 Comments

  1. At core, I think it’s just a basic mistrust of the media and of the culture at large.

    Having lived in New Jersey for several years, I can attest to both the staggering corruption and feelings of helplessness by your work-a-day folks.

    That’s not an excuse, mind you. Just an observation. We can all shake our heads in wonder at the opinion polls where a plurality of blacks think AIDS and crack were invented by the CIA. But post-Tuskegee, I can at least see where they are coming from.

    Best wishes,
    -MFS

    Comment by MFS — September 17, 2009 @ 8:06 pm - September 17, 2009

  2. My favorite finding in the NJ poll was that 5% of the people who think that Obama is the Anti-Christ voted for him nonetheless.

    Comment by Tano — September 18, 2009 @ 12:40 am - September 18, 2009

  3. I lived in NJ for almost all of my almost 45 years (except for a 7 year stint in Maryland). Yes, we do have our share of corruption. I live in a county where the parties try to outcorrupt each other, and they’re both winning.

    I am very appreciative of efforts by Chris Christie, the Republican candidate, to root out a lot of the corrupt politicians. Unfortunately, many persons, including Steve Lonegan, his primary opponent, have ethical concerns regarding Christie.

    I am always skeptical about these types of polls, and the conclusions one can reach from them. For example, what does it mean that 32% believe the Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11? It could mean that some of those actually believe Bush was in part of the plot. But how many believe that Bush had knowledge of intelligence that there may have been a plot.* And depending on the wording of the birther question, the results may be similarly inconclusive.

    *This reminds me when one of the airplanes in flight was bombed by terrorists about 20 years ago (Lockerbee?). Our government had intelligence that there may have been such a plot, and even warned State Dept. workers, many of whom elected not to board that flight, but did not warn the general public. While our government may have had prior knowledge, there was no conspiracy on the part of our government to bomb the plane.

    As for the Hitler references, it was wrong when it was done to Bush, and it is just as wrong when it is done to Obama.

    Patrick J. Sime

    Comment by Pat — September 18, 2009 @ 8:19 am - September 18, 2009

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