Friday, December 17, 2004

If you click on this story at MSNBC, you'll see the headline:

"Poll shows U.S. views on Muslim-Americans
Nearly half of those surveyed say some rights should be restricted"

then the first sentence:

"Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict
the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide poll."

obviously, this is the most important nugget of information to be derived from this story, right?

but if you keep reading, to the 9th sentence in this story, you find out that

"The survey found 44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans.
Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way."

Oh. I don't suppose this is what Lakoff has in mind when he talks about framing, is it? Anyway, along the way you find out that those who are self-described as either republican or religious are more likely to be in favor of restrictions on the rights of Muslim-Americans--hey, how about that. The Cornell researchers were also surprised to see a fairly high correlation between people getting their news primarily from teevee and being more likely to fear terrorist attacks and supporting limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans. Clearly they haven't watched much cable news.


'James Shanahan, an associate professor of communications who helped organize the survey, said the results indicate “the need for continued dialogue about issues of civil liberties” in a time of war.

While researchers said they were not surprised by the overall level of support for curtailing civil liberties, they were startled by the correlation with religion and exposure to television news.

“We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding,” Shanahan said.'

may I suggest this as exhibit A?
"The end of the world: a brief history", from the Economist
(thanks to Eric Alterman)

see also: