Vae Victus

Classical Musings on a Modern World - Politics, Military Analysis, Dog Training, and More

Location: Chicago, IL

I am a consultant from chicago where I live with my wife, our dog, and two cats

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today's post centers around the Chicago Tribune. In today's world of declining readership and lower ad revenue for newspapers, the Tribune corporation seems to be making a passing effort to appeal to some moderates and even conservatives by adding Victor Davis Hanson to their syndicated editorial rotation. That along with John Kass' excellent daily column make the paper almost readable.

That said, they just can't get away from being a cheerleader for the opposition in Iraq. Yesterday's column by Mary Schmich has to be one of the worst examples. Schmich, a mediocre writer on her best days, outdoes herself in writing that the "tide has turned". Relying on evidence provided from polls and a few forwarded emails. As she states, "Is a forwarded e-mail proof of anything? No. But it's another glimmer of a subtle shift that will eventually be as obvious as a beached whale." The hilarious part here is that the email comes from someone that she "thought" supported the war. The letter itself is described as coming from a, "Republican-leaning businessman", but we never learn whether or not there was a transformation in his views on the war or even if he IS a republican leaning businessman or just another troll setting out to influence public opinion ... (anyone notice how leftists love to portray themselves Republicans in order to criticize Republican viewpoints?)

As for the war itself, I guess we'll see. Personally, I tend to think of Schmich in the same way that I think of Jimmy Carter. If he believes one thing, it takes a hell of a lot of logic and thought for me to NOT believe the opposite.

But let's examine some of the particulars of this article: Is there really a large change in public opinion behind this article?
--Not really, but Schmich doesn't take any time to analyze the polls or the history of what polls supporting the war have shown or any of the internals of the poll itself. For instance, if she had bothered to look, the support for the war has been relatively evenly split since its inception. Just over a year ago, the war got 51% of people polled saying it was the right decision (Pew research center April/May poll)
Without going into the details of the Tribune poll (few details were provided in the article other than that it was a Gallup poll), Gallup has another poll that describes whether or not people think things are going "well" in Iraq:
This poll is more interesting as people have seemed to think that things are going "very/moderately badly" for most of the war. I don't see any evidence of Schmich's "Tide" anywhere in this data. Instead, I see a trend of people who remain pessimistic about the war, but are not in active opposition because of the lack of any better solutions.

What is Schmich's purpose for this poll anyway? We've already seen that she did little or no research for the article and couldn't be bothered to followup on a forwarded email to see if it was a real email or a plant and certainly couldn't be bothered to perform even perfunctory analysis of the polls she cites. Besides the fact that her logic tends to be garbled on the best days, it appears to me that her only real purpose was to add to the cheerleading that was continued in the Tribune today in Steve Chapman's article, "Time for Bush to face bitter choice in Iraq".

Chapman takes several approaches in this artile he mentions Cindy Sheehan, he mentions the polls, he criticizes them for not having enough men, he criticizes the progress of the Iraqi constitution, and criticizes the rationale for the war itself. Almost seems like the full list of talking points from If I have time, I'll work my way through them tomorrow in a different post. On a side note, it is interesting that so many Tribune columnists can talk about Cindy Sheehan, but none can bother to mention that she DID meet with Bush and that her opinions at the time were far different than they are now.

It will be fun to see what happens when the constitution is ratified in Iraq and when we start to withdraw troops (oops, guess we've already done a bit of that). I suspect that many of these cheerleaders of the opposition will conveniently forget what they wrote this past week. I won't, though, and hope that you don't forget either.


Blogger Elle on Wheels said...

You are absolutely right. Mary Schmich's writing is worse than that of 7th graders in the Chicago public school system. Her pathetic attempts at humor are pitiable, and her absolutely illogical and insoluble choice of subjects and her so-called "approach" (if it could even be termed that) are absolutely wretched, if not downright embarrassing to read. The Tribune has its good points and has improved with time, but how can it give a column to a writer who is just so untalented?

2:48 PM  

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