"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, May 12, 2006
Americans by nearly a 2-1 ratio call the surveillance of telephone records an acceptable way for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, expressing broad unconcern even if their own calling patterns are scrutinized.
Lending support to the administration's defense of its anti-terrorism intelligence efforts, 63 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the secret program, disclosed Thursday by USA Today, is justified, while far fewer, 35 percent, call it unjustified.
Indeed, 51 percent approve of the way President Bush is handling the protection of privacy rights, while 47 percent disapprove -- hardly a robust rating, but one that's far better than his overall job approval, in the low 30s in recent polls.
It gets worse. According to the article, the wholesale collection of calling data is acceptable to 60% of independents, and 45% of Democrats. Sixty percent of "moderates" (the article doesn't specify, but I presume this is based on self-identification) support the NSA data mining and collection operation, as do over 40% of "liberals!"
Now, this is just one poll; I will want to see some additional data before I give it too much credit, but even if the numbers for Democrats and liberals (not to mention the population in general) are overstated by a factor of two, it's still shocking and saddening news. The possibility that a majority of Americans approve of this administration's protection of privacy rights tells me that either Americans no longer value their privacy at all, that Americans in general are completely clueless about what's going on in this once-free nation, or (perhaps most likely) both. I fear that the battle is completely lost.
Update: Perhaps people aren't as moronic as I thought. Jane Hamsher notes that this particular poll was conducted by a man with a well established reputation for wankery.