Writing for media commentary site Mediaite, Obama apologist Glynnis MacNicol is pissed about the ABC News / Washington Post poll that finds the public to be more critical of the Federal response to the Gulf Oil Spill now than they were of the Federal response to Hurricaine Katrina in 2005.
A month and a half after the spill began, 69 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll rate the federal response negatively. That compares with a 62 negative rating for the response to Katrina two weeks after the August 2005 hurricane.
Always primed to explain away Obama’s disasterous performance on any subject, MacNicol continues.
ABC’s headline misleadingly suggests the premise of their poll was a present day comparison between the two catastrophes. It was not. Some digging reveals that ABC instead asked participants to rate the government’s reaction to the BP spill after which they independently compared those results to poll numbers taken back in 2005 two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Back in 2005. Let’s pause for a moment and recollect what sort of media the public did not have at its disposal back in August 2005: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (at least to the widespread extent we do today), or for that matter the same obsessive interest in politics that has overtaken the nation since 2008. To say it was a different world in 2005 is putting it mildly. Moreover to rank side by side poll results taken 5 1/2 years apart, in two wildly different media environments, without taking any of this into consideration and then present them as a reliable comparison strikes as wildly misinforming and somewhat irresponsible.
MacNicol is right, of course. The media barely touched Katrina back in 2005, and when they did they certainly had a “hands off” attitude toward President Bush. In fact, because MacNicol had barely heard of YouTube back then, we all had trouble getting access to images from Katrina and were all basically in the dark about the Federal response to that disaster.
Someone call Gallup and tell them that all the polls they do tracking the public’s opinion on a variety of issues over a number of years are invalid because MacNicol didn’t have Twitter when the polls started.
OK, back to reality. The ABC News / Washington Post poll was done in exactly the right way. They caught the public’s attitude about the respective disasters at the height of public outrage about them.
MacNicol should be careful what she asks for. I’m sure if the public was polled right now, 5 years after the media firestorm has subsided and since the events of 2005 have been put into perspective, less than the 62% found in the 2005 poll would have a negative rating of Bush’s response to Katrina. Obama’s response would look worse in comparison to Bush’s.
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