Monday, January 26, 2004

More News About the News

Opinion polls and focus group numbers have gained the sort of sway over our lives that we would not have willingly given up. Stories about the results of political opinion polls substitute for news of events every day. Such desk-bound reporting, for the most part, is news about the news industry itself. In other words, you don't have to go out and search for the news if you can whip it up in your own shop.

All of which leads to the definition of the word “news.” And, in this case the news industry is perfectly situated to establish the most accepted definitions for most of the words that are in the pop political lexicon. The same news industry is the largest player in branding all fresh ideas and positions on new issues as being “liberal” or “conservative.” Which, of course, does much to shape the discussion.

Yet, scoff at polls as we might, such surveys still record an on-the-fly grainy snapshot of a moment that will pass as evidence of a quick and dirty truth. So, we grumble about polls, remind readers of their evil and we watch them avidly. And, we do our part to shape the argument, when we can.

Readers can keep up with the Donkey Derby's latest poll numbers at the pollster's own web site Zogby International.

No comments: