A big headline today is this poll: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/03/us/03cnd-poll.html?ei=5065&en=150c88cced5c5f4a&ex=1207886400&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print , that laments and bewails just how many Americans think things are going off track in our country (and, natch, the number one reason given is “Iraq”).
Gimme a break! Why are we so obsessed with polls? What do they mean? What do they prove? There’s no guarantee that the respondents are informed, or that their views are accurate.
Are newsrooms really so slow that they have to fill time with numbers that, themselves, aren’t actual news? Are we so narcissistic that we enjoy having our own pallid opinions shoved back in our faces for us to adore?
Apparently so, or there wouldn’t be any polls on the news.
Still, will anyone stand with me in ignoring the tide of worthless polls that parade around in their Emperor’s New Clothes, pretending to be important? Who else will agree that polls are pointless distractions from actual reporting of significant events, and expose the Emperor’s bony, naked shame?
Besides, most polls are wrong, as is this one. Iraq, our biggest problem? Puh-leeze. This story actually inspired me to spend the afternoon penning a 2000-word diatribe about our real worst problems, which I’ll favor you with in the next post.