The concluding, take-this-away-as-your-final-thought, paragraphs of a BBC article on the reaction to Obama’s support for the Ground Zero mosque:
“It was a bold decision – Obama could have stayed out of what is ostensibly a local matter,” wrote polling analyst Nate Silver on the political website FiveThirtyEight.com.
“But a careful evaluation of the polls reveals it to be less politically risky than it might at first appear.”
That would be the same Nate Silver who admitted recently his participation in Journolist, the controversial exclusive email list for Democrat-supporting hacks:
Almost always, I made exactly the points in these discussions that I made on FiveThirtyEight. Sometimes, I used the phrasing “we” when participating in these discussions, which I would not ordinarily use on the blog. I’ve disclosed from the first day of FiveThirtyEight’s existence that I’m usually a Democratic voter, and Journolist’s membership consisted of mostly Democrats, so this seemed fairly natural.
The anonymous BBC journalist’s description of a “polling analyst” from a “political website” doesn’t really do justice, does it? One of the new intake, perhaps, or just an old BBC hand? Same difference either way, I guess.
Hat tips to commenters David Preiser and Craig, the latter adding this:
That article’s use of polling evidence leaves a lot to be desired too:
“While polling suggests a majority of Americans oppose plans to build the mosque, a Fox News poll released on Friday suggested 61% supported the developer’s right to build the mosque.”
That poll comes in two parts, and the second part (the one the BBC quotes) needs to be seen in context:
36. A group of Muslims plans to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center a few blocks from the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Do you think it is appropriate to build a mosque and Islamic center near ground zero, or do you think it would be wrong to do so?
37. Regardless of whether you think it is appropriate to build a mosque near ground zero, do you think the Muslim group has the right to build a mosque there, or don’t they have that right?
61% Yes, they have the right
34% No, they don’t have the right
All in all, quite a tendentious piece of Obama back-covering. Still, what’s new?
Update 20.00. I think we have our answer as to which BBC journalist is trying hard to spin this story in Obama’s favour – former Newsweek political correspondent (and Twitter follower of Nate Silver) Katie Connolly.