Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Blogs, polls and the Battle of the Bulge
For all the talk about rise of blogs and the demise of the Mainstream Media, there's really no contest in original reporting, writing and editing. The MSM is still far ahead, and many blogs thrive only thanks to links to established news sites. Most media-oriented blogs (including this one) focus on analysis and commentary, not reportage. This post at Talking Points Memo, however, shows that bloggers who dig where the MSM do not can strike gold, or at least silver.

Liberal blogger Joshua Micah Marshall decided to look into the recent claim by the White House regarding polls during World War II and the Iraq war. Press secretary Tony Snow asserted that warfare by survey was a bad idea and that if the United States had fought the Battle of the Bulge that way, the Allies may not have prevailed. Snow suggested that it was good that public opinion research didn't exist then as it does now.

Marshall and a history professor at the University of Chicago did some digging and found that indeed such survey research was done during World War II, at least internally, for FDR. Marshall wrote about the findings and even posted a fever chart from the time that traces U.S. opinion on the war. To his credit, Marshall doesn't use this nugget to say "gotcha" to Snow, but to illustrate a broader point. It's also an interesting historical footnote for those of us into such things.

The Huffington Post, however, did use Marshall's blog as a "gotcha," with an italic-laced headline: "Tony Snow Caught Making False Claims Again: Polls Were Taken During Battle of the Bulge." Some sites just can't resist the urge.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 9:23 PM | Permalink |