Monday, August 12, 2002

One of my least favorite things the press does is to respond to voting or polling data that they don't like by attrributing it to some negative emotion. This article in yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a great example. Missouri voters declined a massive tax increase on themselves to fund a transportation department that has failed to demonstrate an ability to set priorites? Why, the voters must be "angry." Surely, they didn't thoughtfully decide that this tax wasn't in their best interests. No, they must be voting out of "anger," because obviously if they were thinking clearly, they would agree with us.

Why are voters angry? Well, because of the economy, and the accounting scandals. But they're so blinded by their anger that they'll take their anger out on anyone, even if there's no conceivable connection between accounting scandals and transportation funding. It doesn't matter, voters are angry, and they'll get their pound of flesh from someone!

It's amazing that the Post-Dispatch thinks it can get away with showing such open contempt for its readership. It's also notable that this article is not labelled as an op-ed or "News Analysis." It's just news, carried on the front page of the Sunday newspaper.

At least we were spared the "angry white male" profile we were treated to in the mid 90's when Republicans were winning elections. The subtext there was that not only were people voting out of anger, but that anger was unjustified because white males had all the power and money. Perhaps the demographic data isn't in yet.

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