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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Is this the most patently false, biased and dishonest headline the Washington Post has ever run?

Look at this home page headline in today’s Washington Post:

Is Obama the most polarizing president ever?”

When you click to go to the column, the question is flatly answered in the affirmative:

Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever.

But now read what the text of the column actually says:

Out of the ten most partisan years in terms of presidential job approval in Gallup data, seven — yes, seven — have come since 2004. Bush had a run between 2004 and 2007 in which the partisan disparity of his job approval was at 70 points or higher.

As a chart that accompanies the article makes clear, Bush had the highest partisan gap in 4 of those 7 years. Moreover, in the three years where the partisan disparity was over 70 points, It was Bush and not Obama who was president.
As the article then notes:

“Obama’s ratings have been consistently among the most polarized for a president in the last 60 years,” concludes Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones in a memo summing up the results. “That may not be a reflection on Obama himself as much as on the current political environment in the United States, because Obama’s immediate predecessor, Bush, had similarly polarized ratings, particularly in the latter stages of his presidency after the rally in support from the 9/11 terror attacks faded.”

In addition, as the article also notes:

Democrats will point out that Republicans in Congress have played a significant part in the polarization; the congressional GOP has stood resolutely against almost all of Obama’s top priorities. And Obama’s still-high popularity among the Democratic base also exacerbates the gap.

In fact, the only way the article manages to slice the data to support the headline is by comparing presidential first year to first year, second year to second year and so on – a Bush vs. Obama comparison that just happens to include the huge national rally behind Bush after 9/11.
This is really outrageous. Some headline writer over there at the Post oughta get fired over this. It’s not only blatantly and dishonestly biased against Obama but it does not even pass the standards for a tenth grade high school journalism class.

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