NPR Plays Down Support for Censure

Friday night on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”, host Michele Norris introduced a story and interacted with political correspondent Mara Liasson in a segment titled “Calls for Censure Show a Divide in Democratic Party” that followed a piece by David Welna on the Senate Judiciary committee hearing on Senator Russ Feingold’s resolution to censure President Bush. These transcript excerpts are my own, from the audio on NPR’s site.

NORRIS: The muted reception that Sen. Feingold’s censure resolution is receiving from Democrats points to a serious divide in the party. Among liberal activists, censuring Pres. Bush is a very popular goal. Many would go further, saying he needs to be impeached. But as you heard in David Welna’s piece only two Senate Democrats are co-sponsoring Feingold’s resolution.

LIASSON: Among liberal activists in the base of the party and certainly in the blogosphere, censure is very popular. And censure even gets lots of support in polls of registered Democrats, not just activists.

In fact, according to a mid-March poll by American Research Group, 70% of Democrats support censure of the President for “authorizing wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining court orders”. With only 26% opposed, that’s not simply the liberal activists in the party, that’s nearly a 3:1 majority. 61% of Democrats polled support impeachment, with 30% opposed, a 2:1 majority.

LIASSON: Just because the President’s policies and performance are unpopular doesn’t mean the public wants him censured or rebuked, and on this particular issue, which is about the NSA warrantless wiretapping program, the President’s policies are not that unpopular. Polls show the public either split or a small majority are actually in favor of them.

The same poll showed that more voters supported censure (48%) than opposed it (43%). That’s not just Democrats, that’s all voters. 42% of independents and 29% of Republicans polled were in favor of censure.

NORRIS: Back to the Democrats, is the split between the liberal base and the suits in the Senate a big concern for the party?

70% of the Democratic party is in favor of censure. 71% of the GOP is opposed to or undecided about censure. In other words, censure is splitting the parties in a complementary manner. Certainly there is a disconnect between Democratic Senators and the party’s voters, but that’s not how NPR framed the issue, choosing instead to give the appearance of a minority of “liberal activists” and bloggers who support censure when, in truth, most of the people who make up the party agree with Russ Feingold. As do nearly half of all voters.

GDC2006 Post X: Round-Up

Here’s the round-up of my posts from the last couple of days on the Game Developers Conference 2006:

The Good News About the Good News

An ABC News article written up at AMERICAblog (via Firedoglake) makes much of a figure from a poll stating that “31 percent of Americans believe the media make things in Iraq sound worse than they are”. The story on the ABC site makes no mention of which poll this figure comes from, nor does it mention that the other 69% of those polled either have no opinion, agree with the coverage, or think it’s being sugar-coated.

The video report accompanying the article interviews several people from the minority of respondents who believe there’s not enough “good news” coming from Iraq, paying scant lip service to the majority (more than twice as large) who don’t share their view. So I thought I’d try to track down the actual poll.

In the video segment, the 31% figure has an attribution of “Source: CBS News, Mar 9-12, +/-3”. A quick Google search for “‘31%’ makes things worse” and you come up with a PDF of the poll. At the bottom of page 8:

Most Americans are skeptical of the President’s 
description of the situation in Iraq. 66% think 
President Bush makes things in Iraq sound better 
than they are – the highest number to date. 23% 
think he describes things accurately.

                           Now   1/2006   1/2005
   Better than they are    66%     58%      55%
   Worse than they are      6       5        6
   Accurately              23      31       35

Views on how the media explains the situation in 
Iraq are more mixed. 35% say when the media
talks about Iraq they describe the situation 
accurately, but almost as many – 31% - say they 
make things sound worse in Iraq than they really 
are. A quarter of Americans say the media makes 
things in Iraq sound better than they area.

   Better than they are           24%
   Worse than they are            31
   Accurately                     35

By my count, that leaves 10% undecided. A clear 59% of the respondents think that the picture coming out of Iraq is accurate or actually worse than the media is reporting (that’s 65% of the decided respondents). But both CBS and ABC make special note of the 31% which — by the way — is barely more than the number of people who think the media is describing things as better than they really are.

More egregiously, ABC’s report highlights only the 31% figure, without noting that that is a decided minority of the repondents or providing a reference to the poll in their Web article, which is already being picked up on the right blogosphere as some sort of proof of vindication. Can’t they do math over there?

[UPDATE 2006/03/26 17:30]

This is the party breakdown from page 11 of the poll:

q47 When the news media talks about how things 
are going for for the United States in Iraq today,
do you think they are making things in Iraq sound
better than they really are, making things sound
worse than they really are, or are they describing
the situation in Iraq accurately?

                                 *** Party ID ***
                               Total  Rep  Dem  Ind
Sound better                     24     8   30   31
Sound worse                      31    57   14   26
Describing accurately            35    30   43   31
DK/NA                            10     5   13   12

[UPDATE 2006/03/28 08:30]

Looking at the party ID figures again, it’s sort of interesting that a higher percentage of Democrats than independents think the media is giving an accurate picture in Iraq. The percentage of Republicans who think the media’s assessment of Iraq is correct is equal to percentage of independents with the same view. The number of independents who think the media is making things sound better than they are is equal to the number who think it’s described accurately (with those who don’t think the good news is getting out coming in close behind).

Crossposted to Daily Kos for comments.

GDC2006 Post IX: Faces From the Minna Mingle

Aside from wanting to see what’s going on in the game world, the Game Developers Conference offers one of the best opportunities to get together with Director developers. Like, what else is there?

The IGDA Casual Games SIG and the Casual Games Association organized the Minna Mingle Wednesday night, and a number of Director game developers met up there.

Tom Higgins (Macromedia) shares a beer with Sulka (“The Game Designer who ran out of cards” it says on his cards) Haro and Tomi (Tom, in Finnish), both of Sulake, the Habbo Hotel folks.

A face not seen on these shores for too long, Mauricio Piacentini of Tabuleiro joins the group to talk to Tom.

Ten years ago this spring, Gary Rosenzweig‘s first book (The Comprehensive Guide to Lingo) was published by Ventana. Also published by Ventana that spring: Shockwave! by Darrel Plant. Gary’s gone on to do marvelous things. Ventana went out of business the next year. About me, the less said the better!

Osma — also of Sulake — with the aforementioned Tomi. Why I don’t write down Finnish surnames before I drink is beyond me.

We ran into Gene Endrody, the creator of Maid Marian, lurking around the table.

Peter Glover, VP Games at came through with invitations to their party the next night.

I’m not sure of the message adveractive’s Steve Bullock was trying to get across to this photographer while talking to Gary. Just kidding!

While this photo is not technically from the Minna Mingle (it’s from the next night) it does have a couple of notable Director programmers in it. That’s yours truly on the left; Brian Robbins, the new Director of Games at Gametrust in the middle; and Rett Crocker of 3Dsolve on the right.

Thanks to Steve Bullock for taking the photo.

Maybe this construction at San Jose airport isn’t semi-permanent, but it sure wasn’t doing much for the airplane topiary.

GDC2006 Post VIII: Applying Torque to Shockwave

I didn’t see this at the GDC, but Berndt Garbotz ( posted it to the dirGames list yesterday: “TGE Plugin now working in IE 6.0”. That’s the Torque Game Engine from Garage Games for those of you needing an expansion of the acronym. Neil Marshall’s got a Windows plugin enabling playback of games developed with Torque within a browser, and is looking for people to help with ports to Mac and Linux.

What I did see at GDC was a new book by Edward F. Maurina III (from A K Peters, Ltd.) called The Game Programmer’s Guide to Torque.

Got a copy.

GDC2006 Post VII: Booth Babes

Before I left for the show, someone asked me if there were “booth babes” at GDC. I replied that I really hadn’t seen many in my previous visits — certainly nothing like you hear about at car or boat shows — mostly women who worked for marketing or HR departments within the companies they were representing. And truth to tell, I didn’t see many in evidence at this year’s show, except for the booth at S3 Graphics, which was promoting its rendering technology with a Quake 4 tournament and a bevy of women in black dresses, some of whom had tattoed designs on their shoulders. Another company providing animation services had what looked like Japanese schoolgirls in French maid outfits, but I felt that taking a picture of them was just too pervy.

On the other end of the spectrum was +7systems. It just looks like he’s holding her hand.

Disaster Management: Compare and Contrast

The April issue of National Geographic has an article marking the 20th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

By April 1986, despite the fantasies of Tom Clancy and the scrying of Sovietologists like Condoleezza Rice, it was obvious to anyone with a clue that the Soviet Union was on the ropes. They’d been fighting a losing battle in Afghanistan for six years. Stories of long lines for people in Moscow to buy basics like bread and toilet paper didn’t give the impression that the worker’s utopia was just around the corner.

Still, despite all of the Soviet Union’s many, many problems, this is how author Richard Stone describes what happened in Pripyat, a city of 50,000, two miles from Chernobyl (my emphasis):

In a radio broadcast the next morning, officials announced that there had been an accident and the town would be evacuated. That day, 1,100 buses from across Ukraine lined up in Pripyat. By 5 p.m. the city was empty.

Even with that kind of organization, the Soviet Union was gone five years later. Does not bode well.

GDC2006 Post VI: The Tortoise and the Turtle

Bunnies and turtles abounded at the GDC this year. Seemingly inspired by the PLAYBOY logo, I saw at least five variations of the white rabbit silhouette on a black backgound, of which this poster was but one (the text under each of the pairings reads: “Multiplayer / Matchmaking / Cross-Platform). Of course, with a name like DemonWare, you don’t need to worry if someone’s offended by outlines of copulating bunnies and turtles.

It’s that last pairing that intrigues me, however, as at another booth for a rendering product called Turtle, I made an obvious joke about the mismatch of a rabbit’s head with the name of the product, only to be put promptly in my place by a young man mentioning that it was an allegory to the fable with the moral “slow and steady wins the race”. Too much of a literalist I; when I learned that fable it was a hare and a tortoise, not a rabbit and turtle. No poetry award for me.