Response to the PIPA study

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I received a response to my analysis of the PIPA study:

I've never heard of this "Program for Policy Attitudes". It does have a catchy and neutral-sounding name. Kind of like the Peoples Democratic Republican Party of Bulgaria. Did they do any studies on Bill Klinton's relationship with Monica? Or doesn't character matter?

My response follows:

This study was the first I’d seen from PIPA; I’d never heard of them before, either. I sent it out to everyone because the media aren’t exactly about to admit that their job of informing the public has taken a back seat to protecting their owners’ and advertisers’ interests. PIPA’s website has this description:

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) carries out research on public attitudes on international issues by conducting nationwide polls, focus groups and comprehensive reviews of polling conducted by other organizations.

PIPA is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes (COPA) and the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.

They explain their focus as “public attitudes on various international topics,” which seems to correlate with this list of their studies:

The Role of the United States in the World The United Nations UN Peacekeeping Foreign Aid The International Monetary Fund US Defense Spending US Involvement in Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia Global Warming NATO Expansion Transatlantic Issues European Unification

COPA has been around since 1992 and CISSM since 1987, so they could have participated in the 24/7 Monicathon…but I doubt that an extramarital affair really qualifies as an international topic. (Besides, that horse was flogged long past death years ago.) If there’s a study comparing media outlets’ coverage of Monicagate with anyone who doesn’t know every sordid detail of Clinton’s affairs, I’d love to see it. I don’t recall any network lying so repeatedly that their audience believed – for example – that the blue dress contained no DNA, that there was no cigar, or that Clinton was telling the truth when he denied the affair. (I’m still waiting for the once-omnipresent “–gate” suffix to make its return, so we can have around-the-clock coverage of – just off the top of my head - SECgate, AWOLgate, DUIgate, Trifectagate, WMDgate, Iraqgate, Leakgate…)

As far as PIPA’s name goes, an innocuous name veiling a political agenda is a nearly ubiquitous trend among think tanks and foundations. Speaking of “catchy and neutral-sounding,” how about: American Center for Law and Justice, American Family Association, Cato Institute, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Heritage Foundation, Hoover Institution, or Traditional Values Coalition? (Not to mention the Department of Defense, the USA-PATRIOT Act, and other Orwellian misnomers too numerous to list.)

Of course character matters, but the world no longer revolves around Bill Clinton! Far from “restoring honor and integrity” to the White House, Bush has done exactly the opposite. I despise being lied to by anyone, especially by someone who I’m paying to tell me the truth (by way of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution). Deflecting Bush’s lies by reiterating Clinton’s fabrications doesn’t make Bush honest, just as equivocations that Clinton’s lies were less serious than Reagan’s didn’t improve Clinton’s veracity.

(Maybe I should just add a disclaimer to eliminate confusion, something along the lines of: “Criticism of the current administration is not, and should not be construed as, an endorsement of any previous administration.”)

P.S. I don’t know about your keyboard, but “K” is an awfully long way from “C” on mine…

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 7, 2004 8:29 PM.

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