I agree with Sidney Blumenthal:
The politics of piety were transparently masked by Republicans in their attempt to make capital over the fate of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman who has been locked in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years and whose feeding tube was ordered removed by a Florida state judge at the request of her husband. At last, the case that had been considered by 19 judges in seven courts and appealed to the Supreme Court three times, which refused to hear it, seemed resolved. But Republican congressional leaders and President Bush seized upon the court ruling as the moment for “a great political issue,” as a memo circulated among Senate Republicans put it. The Democrats, it declared, would find it “tough,” and the conservative “pro-life base will be excited.” The president, who had hesitated for three days before making a statement on the tsunami last December, rushed from his Crawford, Texas, ranch back to the White House to sign the legislation…
Terri Schiavo cannot speak or gesture, but to true believers, she is making sounds only they can hear. They see what they want in order to believe and they believe in order to see. For the first time, public policy in the United States is being made on the basis of pitting invisible signs vs. science.
As in some tribal cultures, a confederacy of shamans — Bush, Frist and DeLay — have appeared to conduct rites of necrophiliac spiritualism. Only the shamans can interpret for the dying and control their spirits hovering between heaven and earth. Public opinion polls show overwhelming disapproval of the Republican position. But these polls are just so much social science. In this operation, for the tribe, there is no way of proving failure.
I feel sick. And if you want more on the anti-science front, read the Mystery Pollster, who is in a real snit about the charges that the network polls about Schiavo were biased, and he unloads on the hucksters
deluded into thinking pretending lying asserting that these were “push polls”:
First, a plea for reporters, editors and bloggers of all ideologies: Can we please stop using the term “push poll” to describe every survey we consider objectionable? Yes, complain about bias when you see it, but the phrase push poll belongs to a higher order offense. To summarize the definitions posted online by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), The National Council on Public Polls (NCPP) and the Council for Marketing & Opinion Research (CMOR): A push poll is not a poll at all but rather a form of fraud – an effort to spread an untrue or salacious rumor under the guise of legitimate research. “Push pollsters” are not pollsters at all. They do not care about collecting data or measuring opinions (even in a “bogus” way). They only care about calling as many people as possible to spread a false or malicious rumor without revealing their true intent. Whatever complaint one might have about the wording or reporting of the ABC poll, it was certainly not a “push poll.”
For additional clarification, an example of a push poll might be if a certain group of people supporting a certain candidate in the Republican primaries in South Carolina in 2000, facing strong opposition from another candidate, were to obtain a list of undecided voters, call them, and saysomething along the line of:
Would it change your opinion of [Candidate X] if you knew that he had adopted a black baby?
Would you be more or less likely to support [Candidate X] if you knew that he was gay?
Would it change your opinion of [Candidate X] if you knew that he cheats on his wife?
Would you be more or less likely to vote for [Candidate X] if you knew that he is a crook a liar?
How would you feel about[Candidate X] if you knew that he and was a coward and traitor who renounced the United States during his captivity in Vietnam?
That, folks, is a push poll. In the past, I have chosen to believe the people I have supported would have nothing to do with this sort of thing. I am not so sure anymore. But to assert that wording in a poll you disagree with makes it a “push poll” is absurd. I can excuse basic ignorance of polling and statistics and the methods of data collection, most of the people in my stats classes and reserach methods classes didn’t understand most stats either, but calling the network polls “push polls” is a new breed of stupid. I might add that the new Democratic reliance on the Mystery Pollster is pretty funny, considering they hated him/her when he/she was debunking all the nonsense about the statistical anomolies in Ohio in 2004.
And while I am venting my spleen, let’s discuss Joe Scarborough, someone who I think is normally pretty sane, and his hideous performance last night on Scarborough Country:
FIEGER: But the problem is, they