IF A MILITARY TIMES POLL FALLS IN A FOREST…. Following up on an item from the weekend, the Military Times newspapers published a massive new poll after questioning 6,000 randomly selected active-duty members of the Armed Forces. The results ran counter to much of the conventional wisdom — barely one in three service members approve of the way the president is handling the war; a majority believe it was wrong to go into Iraq in the first place; and a plurality reject the notion of sending additional troops into the war.
For reasons that are unclear, the media seems to have missed the poll entirely.
Greg Sargent noted on Saturday the dearth of news coverage of this story, and I followed up this morning by doing a Nexis search to see just how many outlets reported on the story. Given the results of the poll and the importance of the troops’ opinions, I was surprised at just how little coverage the Military Times survey received.
In terms of newspapers, the San Jose Mercury News and the Seattle Times were the only U.S. papers to run stories of their own. Reuters and UPI mentioned the poll in wire stories, which were not widely picked up. That’s it. That’s all the print coverage the poll received.
Broadcast outlets were a bit better, with CNN and ABC mentioning the poll on the air, but that’s still not exactly widespread coverage.
It’s common for outlets to downplay poll results from rival news sources; papers and networks don’t want to give free publicity to competing news organizations. I get that. But the Military Times newspapers aren’t rivals to the major dailies. So why not mention a poll that highlights the fact that many troops disapprove of Bush, don’t support an escalation, don’t see Iraq as part of the war on terror, and don’t believe that success in Iraq is likely?
It sounds kind of newsworthy.