Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bill Schneider Falls into All-Too-Popular Habit of Mindless Commentary

Did you see where the pollster, Bill Schneider, who generally does such a good job bringing, and interpreting for us, the latest poll data, committed that same conventional wisdom faux pas over the weekend when he closed his oral report by saying (I paraphrase slightly): "...but no one has offered a plan for Iraq." 
This is lazy commentating that just grabs hold of some convenient (but woefully wrong) conventional wisdom instead of doing some homework to get it right. As most of us know, that statement is simply flat wrong on its face, since there are many examples of politicians, experts and commentators who have done just that - think Brzezinski, Senators Murtha, Kerry,  and I bet Sen. Hagel, Rep. Slaughter, etc. But most ironic of all is the fact that on that very day I happened upon a current (March 2006) edition of Reader's Digest and guess what the cover story was about?
It featured interviews with Senators Biden and McCain in which each gave his recipe for what to do next in Iraq. Like their plans or hate them, there they are in print, for all to see across the USA. What is Reader's Digests circulation these days?
As the late Senator Moynihan famously reminded us:  we're entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. So, old Bill, I think you need to stick to your polling facts, where you have the hard numbers right in front of you.
I am fighting this little item because it contributes to public cynicism, which might be OK if and when it's based on truth, but in this instance it is clearly not. Besides, I'm just damn sick and tired of commentators who take the easy way out by falling back on old, standby slogans instead of doing some original work on an issue, not to mention giving it some original thought.