There’s an article in today’s New York Times called “New Poll Finds Mixed Support For Wiretaps. Majority Accepts Them To Combat Terrorism.” Surrounded by “Si Ves Algo! Di Algo!” signage, I read the entire article on the train this morning. If you’re interested in reading, click here. Basically, depending on the way the questions were asked, people are pretty much OK with the Bush Administration monitoring phone calls and email if it’s done to combat terrorism.
Like many topics announced to the public by the Bush Administration, the whole wire tap story is being spun. While the poll given by The New York Times and CBS News wasn’t necessarily spun, I feel it exlemplifies exactly how good this Administration is at spinning something to their advantage.
Here’s how the questions were asked. (The complete polling sample was split; each half was asked one question.
All began this way:
In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing to allow government agencies to monitor the telephone calls and e-mail of…
This is where they split them. Half received this:
Americans on a regular basis?
The other half this:
Americans that the Government is suspicious of?
Here’s how it broke down:
In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing to allow government agencies to monitor the telephone calls and e-mail of Americans on a regular basis?
Willing = 28%
In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing to allow government agencies to monitor the telephone calls and e-mail of Americans that the Government is suspicious of?
Willing = 68%
Basically, the poll illustrates exactly what you’d expect. If one were to listen The Bush Administration puts it, one would be less likely to see it as illegal or, for lack of a better phrase, absolutely wrong. If one were to listen to its critics, one might perceive this as an infringement on civil liberties.
The poll found that 53 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush’s authorizing eavesdropping without prior court approval “in order to reduce the threat of terrorism”; 46 percent disapproved. When the question was asked stripped of any mention of terrorism, 46 percent of those respondents approved, and 50 percent said they disapproved.
It’s been a “heck of a year” for the Republican Party. There’s corruption all over the news. People are resigning left and right (pun intended). Congress is getting blasted for trading votes for bribes. More than 50 percent of our nation believe that Congress regularly “accept bribes or gifts that affect their votes.” Like, I said, it’s been a heck of a term and we’re not even halfway through.
Let’s say the Administration were squeaky clean and they’d gone ahead with wiretaps without a warrant. Had their not been scandal after scandal after scandal, I might be willing to trust that they’re taking care of America. But based on the political climate as of late, I just don’t trust this Administration. I don’t believe it when they say they’re looking out for my best interest. Where this Administration is concerned, I believe that they’re looking out for their own.
I’d love to hear other reactions. How do you feel about the whole wiretap situation? Do you feel they should have obtained a warrant? Please share.