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Clearing the Media Smokescreens - Elections and Economics

I’ve written a few of articles in the past entitled, “Clearing the Media Smokescreens,” which listed various myths propagated by the liberal media — especially the abortion issue. In this one I want to focus on the presidential polls and the failure of government run mortgage lenders.

Propaganda is the art of influencing public opinion. Although the term has negative connotations, that is what media does. All media outlets are propagandists. Our job is to influence how you think and feel. The ones that claim to have “journalistic integrity” and to be “neutral” or “unbiased” are either lying to themselves or they are consciously deceiving the public. Without a doubt, the largest media outlets have an agenda to influence public opinion. Two of the biggest media smokescreens of recent times concern the current election coverage and the economic crisis.

Myth #1:— Barack Obama has such a big lead that it is unlikely that John McCain can make up so much ground in only one month.

There are several things wrong with this statement. First, polls do not give us the answer as to who will win an election. Polls are only a snapshot in time. We see some polls this week with Obama up by as many as eight points nationally. We also hear from the pundits that the vice presidential debates did nothing to sway opinion toward McCain. The liberal media has done all but eulogize McCain’s candidacy. Yet lo and behold, no less than four polls released today — Hotline Tracking, Zogby, CBS News, and Democracy Corps — had John McCain trailing by 2 or 3 points — well within the fabled “margin of error.”

Those who think John McCain cannot overcome a deficit in the last four weeks of the election campaign do not understand presidential elections. I spent a few hours studying the history of presidential polling from July to November going all the way back to 1960. A few things were immediately apparent.

The poll leader in a competitive election who “peaks early” more often than not loses the general election. The Democrat often begins with a big lead at the time of his convention, yet the Republican more often than not gains ground in the final weeks. Most likely this is due to the large number of “undecideds” and independents in rural areas who trend toward the GOP in the last few weeks.

Poll leads often criss-cross in the last few weeks. In 1980, Carter was ahead by three percentage points in October, but lost to Reagan in one of the greatest electoral college landslides in history.

In 2000, most pollsters had George W. Bush well ahead in the last week of polling, and yet Al Gore won the popular vote.

Then in 2004, John Kerry was ahead by 7 points in July and was tied or held a lead several times in September and October. A final Gallup poll on the eve of the election had Kerry up by a point, yet he lost handily to Bush.

The only poll that really matters is the one taken on election day. Even then, early returns can be deceptive. Remember 2000 when all the major news outlets announced that Al Gore had won Florida? I’ve been predicting that McCain could wind up with an electoral college landslide one month from now. But to hear the media outlets tell it, he’ll be lucky to win narrowly.

Myth #2:— The current eonomic crisis is due to deregulated capitalism and greed.

This one is so simple that even a child ought to understand the basic fallacies here. (I am reminded of Groucho Marx’s ageless joke: “Someone run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can’t make head or tail out of it!”) The reason for the confusion is the intentional dissonance offered up by the media. We hear the mantra of “deregulation” and “capitalism” repeated endlessly by the pundits. Maybe it is due to their neo-Marxist worldview, or worse, maybe they are manipulating the data to bolster their flawed presupposition that capitalism is evil, but this explanation doesn’t fly when we look at some basic facts.

Unregulated capitalism did not cause Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fail. These are government founded institutions who bought up billions of dollars of low interest loans in order to “cook the books” so they could qualify to give out even more loans. In other words, unbridled capitalism is not the practice of government programs lending money created out of thin air to unqualified individuals. This sounds more like failed socialism to me. Yes, greed was involved, but it was corruption fostered by big government, not the free market.

The ridiculous inflation of the past few years of housing and oil prices was not driven by real dollar worth, but by speculation. When lenders and mortgage brokers discovered they could get almost anyone into a house they could not really afford, money started flowing like water. It wasn’t only the demand that drove prices through the roof, but the creation of fiat money that flooded into the real estate economic system. Most of what was leant was not even real money, but credit given by the federal reserve to lending institutions, who in turn doled out billions of invisible credit dollars to people who could not afford to repay their mortgages.

The inflation at the gas pump was likewise driven by speculation. It was not due to the typical law of supply and demand, but due to the fact that people once again began to pull money from loans falsely bouyed by an insane housing market in order to invest in the stock market. Oil futures were the financial bubble this time around. Now with the collapse of readily-available hyper-inflated credit, oil prices are plummeting. We may even see gas at its real cost by the end of the year, which is about $2.50 a gallon.

When that happens, people will scratch their heads and wonder why with such deflation of prices that a government bailout was needed.

And this is the myth I’ll cover next:

Myth #3:— A trillion dollar taxpayer bailout is needed to save America from another Great Depression.

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