A Nov. 29 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley noted a poll finding that nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, then added: "One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples."
Motley apparently decided to let the opportunity for a cheap shot trump the facts. As we've explained, the 1996 poll that fount 89 percent of reporters who cover the federal government voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 (the poll didn't ask about the 1996 vote) was a rather small sample -- only 139 journalists responded. Only 20 percent of the questionnaires sent out went to national news organizations, while the bulk were sent to regional daily papers or even smaller papers with next to no influence in Washington or national journalism.
In ranting about the Iraq survey, Motley sneeringly referred to "these professional seekers of truth and accuracy" who "believe that things are worsening," adding, "The story does not mention if Pew inquired as to their belief in Santa Claus." Motley also attacked the reporters for "esting comfortably in Baghdad's Green Zone, and dispatching the locals to do the heavy lifting," smearing them as "cocoon-conditioned journalists."
Motley overlooks one crucial point: The reporters saying this are or have been in Iraq. Funny, we don't see Motley or anyone else from the MRC trotting over to Iraq to report from there. If the Green Zone is such a cushy "cocoon," there should be no trouble finding an MRC staffer to go, right?
Motley has a definite disconnect like the one we've previously documented the MRC suffering from. In a Nov. 27 Human Events article (posted on NewsBusters), Motley bashes "journalism-by-poll" as done "by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup." As we noted, the MRC has a double standard on polls, refusing to complain about poll results it likes even when the methodology is questionable, though it's quick to attack (falsely or otherwise) the methodology of polls whose results it doesn't like.
Who the heck is Motley, anyway? The MRC director of communications. That explains a lot.