Bad Numbers, Part II

As Deacon mentioned last night, President Bush’s falling poll numbers among Republicans are due mostly to the Dubai ports controversy. But how much of that controversy was due to lousy reporting?
Two items from today’s news raise that question. The first is a correction in the New York Times:

Two articles on Saturday about the management deal for six American ports and its political fallout referred incorrectly to the role to be played by Dubai Ports World. It would run some of the terminal operations; it would not own the ports or take over all operations.

How is it possible for reporters to make such an elementary mistake about the central fact on which they were reporting? At a newspaper that put priority on getting the facts straight, not advancing the interests of the Democratic Party, such reporters wouldn’t have jobs. But the Times was only one of many newspapers that misreported the facts of the ports transaction.
The second item comes from the Washington Times, where Donald Lambro writes that Republican Party state chairmen say the ports controversy has died down as party activists have learned more about the facts of the Dubai company’s role:

Grass-roots Republicans reacted angrily to a deal that would transfer the management of six U.S. ports by an Arab-owned company in Dubai, but that anger subsided once they learned more about the agreement, state party chairmen said yesterday.
“The more information we got out, and the fact that there has been a cooling-off period for an investigative review, the better the reaction has been,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett.

I think the President’s numbers among Republicans will slowly rebound as people figure out that the ports story is no big deal. By then, of course, the media will have moved on to something else–like the bogus Hurricane Katrina story that the Associated Press trumpeted yesterday, even though it contained key factual errors and added nothing that was new or noteworthy to our knowledge about that event. The one thing we can be sure of is that the daily barrage of anti-Bush headlines in the mainstream media will continue.


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