REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Are You in the New American Center?

POSTED BY: GEEZER
UPDATED: Friday, November 8, 2013 23:45
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 4395
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Monday, October 28, 2013 11:06 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Take the NBC News/Esquire magazine survey and find out.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/center-interactive-quiz

You might also look at the national results...

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/new-american-center-1113

And their breakdown of the new ideological spectrum.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/ideological-spectrum-1113#slide-
1


Even if you don't agree, it's interesting stuff.

I'm an "MBA Middle", btw.

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Monday, October 28, 2013 11:50 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


I'm officially a bleeding heart. The only thing that keeps me from being pegged on the left-hand side is my views on gun ownership. But you prolly already knew that!

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Monday, October 28, 2013 1:16 PM

STORYMARK


No big shock that Im a Bleeding Heart. Interesting breakdown though.




"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 9:08 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Was hoping more folks would try this.

I was thinking that the divide in RWED isn't so much Left vs. Right as WAAAAY Left vs. Center. The categories the survey shows seem to confirm this, but it'd be interesting to get actual results to verify.


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:39 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by G:
Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
I'm an "MBA Middle", btw.



Buddy! Me too :) though I bet we had many opposite answers.
Some of the wording is weird, and "Legalize Prostitution" eh? Where does that come from?



"Legalize Prostitution" could have been phrased better, but I suspect it was put in to check your attitude about "victimless crimes". It did sort of leave out caveats I'd have, like employee rights and health protections.


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:11 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Rappy, jongsstraw and zit can hardly be called "center". (Well, maybe YOU could call them "center" but they seem pretty far-right tea-party-ish to me.) I noticed that none of our righties tried this, and if they did I doubt they would be honest about the results. I think what we have here is left-of-center to far left versus right of center to far right. I don't see many centrists here.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:13 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
Was hoping more folks would try this.

I was thinking that the divide in RWED isn't so much Left vs. Right as WAAAAY Left vs. Center. The categories the survey shows seem to confirm this, but it'd be interesting to get actual results to verify.



And you don't think guys like rappy of jong qualify as waaaaay right?

Aren't you just adorable.


You like.... read the article, didn't you? They fit the "Talk Radio Heads" to a tee. The center favors covering birth control in all cases, and raising taxes on the wealthy... you you think the rightwingers here fit that?

Again... did you actually read it, or did you just make up a wishlist and hope the article conforms to it...?





"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:16 PM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:
I noticed that none of our righties tried this, and if they did I doubt they would be honest about the results.



I wish they would take the survey, and doubt they'd lie about it. Why should they?


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:22 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:
Rappy, jongsstraw and zit can hardly be called "center". (Well, maybe YOU could call them "center"...)



Its strange, isn't it. Those on the left, have no problem admitting to being so. Those on the right seem obsessed with claiming the middle, in complete defiance of all actual evidence.

And because those on the right see themselves (falsely) as the middle, they assume everyone to the left of them is some wild-eyed librul socialist.

Geezer being a particularly amusing case, denies he's a right winger, while perpetually defending everything done on the right, and excoriating everything done on the left (and reliably sticking his fingers in his ears and saying "Nuh-uh" any time he's confronted with this pattern of behavior).




"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:06 PM

AGENTROUKA


Bleeding Heart.

But then, I'm European. Even our Centrists are likely to the left of the American Center.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:33 PM

WISHIMAY


Middle!

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:42 PM

BYTEMITE


(Reads the breakdown article, can't get the poll to work as had to block too many dubious/malicious scripts)

...My bullshit-o-meter is going insane with most of these answers and the questions themselves. I see ulterior motives in all the wording.

Suffice to say, it's doubtful I am ANYWHERE on this political spectrum they're selling. I am the orange-purple to this stark blue and red.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:17 PM

FREMDFIRMA



Lemme simplify it for you.

Golden Mean Fallacy, Fallacy of Moderation
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html

By false attribution of their opposition as extreme, and their own position as moderate, the hope is to "normalize" their insanity and validate it to themselves and others as not-bugshit-insane.

Guess what, Rightwingnuts ?



-Frem

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:46 PM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:

Lemme simplify it for you.

Golden Mean Fallacy, Fallacy of Moderation
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html



So NBC and Esquire are rightwing?


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:20 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
Quote:

Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:

Lemme simplify it for you.

Golden Mean Fallacy, Fallacy of Moderation
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html



So NBC and Esquire are rightwing?


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."









"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:40 PM

CHRISISALL


I'm a Pickup Populist? WTF does that mean?

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:16 AM

MAGONSDAUGHTER


What a load of old bollocks

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:09 AM

KPO

Sometimes you own the libs. Sometimes, the libs own you.


Lol, why Magons?

It's not personal. It's just war.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:38 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by FREMDFIRMA:

Lemme simplify it for you.

Golden Mean Fallacy, Fallacy of Moderation
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/middle-ground.html

By false attribution of their opposition as extreme, and their own position as moderate, the hope is to "normalize" their insanity and validate it to themselves and others as not-bugshit-insane.




Yes, apart from attribution of this solely to right wing political maneuvering, as this stinks of specifically straight up neo-con/ neo-liberal manipulation, I agree.

This is some new manner of ugly along the same lines as the neo-groups previously trying to unify both segments - much like how various forms of fascism were so far right they fell off the spectrum and picked up some left wing stuff. Once again they're trying to create a "merger" of right and left and call it "moderate" and "center" and I think it's going to be about as successful as the other historical attempts.

Very slick try though. I'm especially appalled by how they worded the question about the constitution. One step closer for them convincing people to do away with the Bill of Rights completely. Which is what some of them have always wanted.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:44 AM

RAHLMACLAREN

"Damn yokels, can't even tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it." - Jayne Cobb


Well, I was aiming for something like lefty-middle-left and came out Bleeding Heart.

Looking at the national results page, a lot of the questions I didn't see on my quiz. I feel jipped.
Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I'm a Pickup Populist? WTF does that mean?


Maybe it means you're just to the right of Bleeding Heart? I don't know, what color was it? And does it itch?



Find here the Serenity you seek. -Tara Maclay

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 2:23 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by RahlMaclaren:

Maybe it means you're just to the right of Bleeding Heart? I don't know, what color was it? And does it itch?


Only when I scratch.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 2:31 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I'm a Pickup Populist? WTF does that mean?



It means, according to this well-intentioned, scientific, and completely honest "research poll," that you flirt with too many women and that there were a lot that had tribal tattoos on their lower back.

*tsk*

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 2:33 PM

M52NICKERSON

DALEK!


I end up in the middle.

I do not fear God, I fear the ignorance of man.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 6:11 PM

KPO

Sometimes you own the libs. Sometimes, the libs own you.


Bleeding heart. There's nothing further left of me? That tells me that this test is pretty crude in how it puts people into categories.

It's not personal. It's just war.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 6:20 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Quote:

Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
Yes, apart from attribution of this solely to right wing political maneuvering, as this stinks of specifically straight up neo-con/ neo-liberal manipulation, I agree.

This is some new manner of ugly along the same lines as the neo-groups previously trying to unify both segments - much like how various forms of fascism were so far right they fell off the spectrum and picked up some left wing stuff. Once again they're trying to create a "merger" of right and left and call it "moderate" and "center" and I think it's going to be about as successful as the other historical attempts.

Very slick try though. I'm especially appalled by how they worded the question about the constitution. One step closer for them convincing people to do away with the Bill of Rights completely. Which is what some of them have always wanted.


Well yeah, but I had to dumb it down for our resident rightwing fuckwits.

-F

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Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:03 AM

MAGONSDAUGHTER


Quote:

Originally posted by kpo:
Bleeding heart. There's nothing further left of me? That tells me that this test is pretty crude in how it puts people into categories.

It's not personal. It's just war.



Yup.

And it's manipulative. It puts the right in the centre, probably knowing many America's shock horror response to the term 'left winged' as the mediaof course attributes 'left wing' with stalin's death camps.

Its stupid.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:00 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I'm a Pickup Populist? WTF does that mean?



Whom we're talking about: Ideological moderates whose views are dictated by economic self-interest and their worry that the economic system is becoming increasingly unfair.

Who they are: Predominantly white, low-income, living mostly in the South and Midwest in rural areas.

What they believe: A majority feels the government should do more to help meet the needs of people while offering various protections (such as guaranteeing equal pay). They also strongly support expanded domestic oil exploration and a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

Pet causes: Domestic oil exploration; requiring voters to show ID; covering contraception; balancing the budget; raising taxes on millionaires.

Their guy in '12: Obama, 56 percent

TV avatar: Phil from Duck Dynasty




"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Friday, November 1, 2013 9:19 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by Magonsdaughter:
Quote:

Originally posted by kpo:
Bleeding heart. There's nothing further left of me? That tells me that this test is pretty crude in how it puts people into categories.

It's not personal. It's just war.



Yup.

And it's manipulative. It puts the right in the centre, probably knowing many America's shock horror response to the term 'left winged' as the mediaof course attributes 'left wing' with stalin's death camps.

Its stupid.



So, is it that you think that Esquire and NBC News, neither of which are hotbeds of rightwing thought(as far as I'm aware), skewed the survey to make the Right look more centerist? If so - why?

Or do you think that most of the Rightwingers who took the survey purposefully answered the questions in a way that would inflate the centerist numbers? And again - why?

Maybe the survey just didn't deliver the answers you wanted?


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Friday, November 1, 2013 10:32 AM

STORYMARK


Im very amused at how determined rappy is to avoid this thread.

And how determined grampa is to avoid anything that challenges his blanket statements.




"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Saturday, November 2, 2013 7:32 AM

KPO

Sometimes you own the libs. Sometimes, the libs own you.


Quote:

Originally posted by Magonsdaughter:
Quote:

Originally posted by kpo:
Bleeding heart. There's nothing further left of me? That tells me that this test is pretty crude in how it puts people into categories.

It's not personal. It's just war.



Yup.

And it's manipulative. It puts the right in the centre, probably knowing many America's shock horror response to the term 'left winged' as the mediaof course attributes 'left wing' with stalin's death camps.

Its stupid.



It seems to make an effort to insult you in how it labels you at the end. All the categories that I've heard beside 'centrist' are insulting. Like Chrisisall's 'Pickup Populist' (which I don't think describes him well at all).

But keep in mind that what's right-wing for the rest of the world IS centrist for America...

It's not personal. It's just war.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013 11:57 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

All the categories that I've heard beside 'centrist' are insulting
Yep. OTOH, I wear the term "bleeding heart liberal" with pride, altho I don't consider myself one. (There are groups further to the left of "bleeding heart liberal".) I think Geezer is hoping to redefine his brand of "propertarian libertarianism" away from the corporate-created cover that it is, and find that there are people on this board (or in the greater American population) who potentially agree with him.

Because, yeah, we're all equal in that we all get to own property, it's just that some of us are more equal than others. Right, Geezer?

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Saturday, November 2, 2013 2:59 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
Take the NBC News/Esquire magazine survey and find out.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/center-interactive-quiz

You might also look at the national results...

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/new-american-center-1113

And their breakdown of the new ideological spectrum.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/ideological-spectrum-1113#slide-
1


Even if you don't agree, it's interesting stuff.

I'm an "MBA Middle", btw.




"IT'S OFFICIAL. YOU'RE ONE OF THE TALK RADIO HEADS.

You're part of the 14% of the electorate that resents government intrusion into the private sector and private lives. You are not part of the New American Center."


I do find this quite shocking, and I actually resent being shown that I'm pretty much as far to the right on the scale that you can be. Notable reasons for this are because:

1. I stated I was pro-choice on one of the only A-or-B questions.
2. I stated I abortions should be legal during the first trimester.
3. I stated that civil-unions should be legal and they should get the same tax breaks/benefits. (Furthermore, I don't have a problem with a church recognizing gay marriage. I don't believe Government should be able to force a church to recognize it. This was not a choice).
4. I stated strong support that if somebody is disabled they should be able to live at an acceptable standard of life.
5. I stated that I made less than 20k a year (less than 12k wasn't an option).
6. I stated i was on food stamps.

Most of my other answers were either just right or left of center or hitting the bullseye.

The only notable exceptions would be my conservative stances on firearm ownership and that the government should not be allowed to tap our phone lines and internet activity. I'm assuming the fact that I voted for Romney in 2012 plays a factor as well.

Oh well... I've already thought about this WAY too long and I have better things to do. After taking the quiz, Esquire was nice enough to give a list of "What to read next" with Scarlett Johannson being the sexiest woman alive in 2013. Exit, stage right....


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Saturday, November 2, 2013 6:50 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
I'm assuming the fact that I voted for Romney in 2012 plays a factor as well.


And juuust when I thought I couldn't possibly lose any more respect for you as a human being, this - at best you could have simply picked none of the above, but you went and voted FOR one of the primary sumbitches *responsible* for the fucking horrors I've fought all my life ?
What the fuck is WRONG with you ?
What's next, running fundraisers for Prosecutor McDade ?
*hissss*

-F

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Saturday, November 2, 2013 9:55 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

I'm assuming the fact that I voted for Romney in 2012 plays a factor as well.


Jesus christ WHY

Meet Obama version 2.0, only with more juvenile hellcamps! Yayyyyy

I mean considering Romney is against most of the things that you consider distinguish yourself as an independent, and you VOTED for one of those fuckwits?!

Holy damn! Vote for neither because the system is gonna burn anyway! What on EARTH compelled you to VOTE for one of them?

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Saturday, November 2, 2013 10:17 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by kpo:
Like Chrisisall's 'Pickup Populist' (which I don't think describes him well at all).

Thanks. I consider myself solidly in the centre.
I consider most people HERE in the centre (or thereabouts).
RAPtoid is a rightwingnut, obviously, and Geeze is strange amalgam of Socialist/Capitalist confusion.
But, centre is the NEW extreme Left, clearly, and Fascist Right is attempting to fill that fictitious void.
What crap.

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Monday, November 4, 2013 12:12 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Okay Frem (and Byte)... do that then.....

Bastardize my admittal to voting for the lesser of two evils as a means to disregard everything else I said.

I'm glad you voted for Ron Paul and Daffy Duck, and I wish I had since my vote meant nothing, but Obama is just that bad and I voted the other way.

My bad...


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Monday, November 4, 2013 12:29 PM

BYTEMITE


THERE IS NO LESSER EVIL! THEY'RE BOTH THE SAME BRAND OF SAME EVIL!

What the hell does it take to get you to realize that both parties are complicit in all the bullshit that makes our lives miserable?! They pad, cooperate, negotiate, and compromise to that end! To take from us, and give to their elitist friends!

Jack, you say that you're an independent, that you've been burned so many times, but you fall back into the same patterns and psychological investments and voting preferences you always have.

You actually think one side is more evil than the other, and that you have to vote for the "lesser" of two evils. You buy the spin and fear dished up by one side hook line and sinker, just as the people on the other side eat up their own spin. It is the motivating force, the fear of the "greater evil" that keeps the country divided on meaningless wedge issues, so easily manipulated while the fat cats laugh all the way to their banking buddies.

And THAT is why the results here of an admittedly biased poll were so shocking to you, and yet not at all to ANY of the rest of us.

The people who made this poll do not care what you think you are. They only care that you continue to believe them and act the way they want you to. Whether they see you as a Talk Radio Head, a Bleeding Heart, or a Pickup Populist, be assured they have plans for how they will use you to further their own ends.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 4:21 AM

FREMDFIRMA



Took em longer, but Alternet also called bullshit on this one.
Beware: Huge Media Companies Are Selling Corporate Ideology as the 'New American Center'
http://www.alternet.org/media/beware-corporate-ideology-being-sold-hug
e-media-companies-new-american-center?paging=off¤t_page=1

Quote:

The false ideology of Beltway-insiderism can also be found in this Esquire paragraph:

“To be sure that its findings were as far removed from the prevailing political interests as possible, the poll was designed and conducted in ecumenical fashion, by both the Benenson Strategy Group, President Obama's pollster, and Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the polls for Governor Romney.”

The impartial observer might be more likely to conclude that hiring not one, but two pollsters for mainstream political candidates might be a way to ensure that its findings reflected “the prevailing political interests.”

But that’s corporate-centrist ideology in a nutshell: One politician is a partisan. Two politicians are the American people incarnate.

Neil Newhouse, the Romney pollster who seems to have been something of a silent partner in this enterprise, became known for two things during the 2012 election. He insisted that the Romney campaign “would not be dictated by fact-checkers” after it was criticized for deceptive advertising. He also insisted that Romney would win.


*slow golf clap*
Called that one.

-Frem

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 4:31 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


I'm a Yankee fan, does that count?


SGGsmiling


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:
Take the NBC News/Esquire magazine survey and find out.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/center-interactive-quiz

You might also look at the national results...

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/new-american-center-1113

And their breakdown of the new ideological spectrum.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/ideological-spectrum-1113#slide-
1


Even if you don't agree, it's interesting stuff.

I'm an "MBA Middle", btw.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 4:44 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Truth be told, I'm probably a bleeding heart...............unable to get the link to work.


SGG

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 8:33 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:
I think Geezer is hoping to redefine his brand of "propertarian libertarianism" away from the corporate-created cover that it is, and find that there are people on this board (or in the greater American population) who potentially agree with him.



Yeah. Right. I paid NBC News and Esquire to run this survey so I could convince the multitude of folks on RWED to be libertarians. This despite the fact that "Libertarian" never appears in the article.

I think you're complaining about the survey because it doesn't make anyone who disagrees with you politically out to be a raging ultraright-wing Tea Partier.


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 9:00 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


What you guys aren't noticing:
Quote:

Beware: Huge Media Companies Are Selling Corporate Ideology as the 'New American Center'

“IT’S OFFICIAL,” the box on my screen announced in capital letters. “YOU’RE ONE OF THE BLEEDING HEARTS.”

To examine the Esquire/NBC News “New American Center” is to enter a Beltway consultants’ dreamscape, a perceptual interspace where real Americans’ opinions dissolve and are replaced by a chimerical creature whose secret language is only understood by certain insider politicians, corporations and consultants.

That creature’s name is “The Center.”

The survey commissioned by these two news organizations tells us very little about American public opinion. But it tells us a great deal about the insular worlds in which certain journalists and consultants reside.

Pop Quiz

Although there were some interesting nuggets of data in the study, overall it was an ill-conceived venture whose main purpose seemed to be reinforcing a prevailing article of faith inside the Beltway: that there is an undiscovered “center” to American politics, and that finding it will spell success for savvy corporations, candidates and consultants.

I tried to review the poll’s methodology with an open mind. But we’re not told how the study identified the “American Center,” and its architects at the Benenson Strategy Group failed to respond to requests for information.

That organization’s founder, Joel Benenson, became something of a polling legend when he defied the hackneyed pseudo-wisdom of his former mentor Mark Penn and helped guide Barack Obama to an upset victory over Penn’s client in the 2008 primaries. It’s unfortunate, then, that this particular study is packed with the kind of zingy and vacant language for which Penn became notorious. It labels Americans on a left/right axis of Bleeding Hearts, Gospel Left, Minivan Mods, MBA Middle, Pickup Populists, #whateverman, Righteous Right, and Talk Radio Heads.

By comparison, Penn’s “soccer mom” lingo seems almost profound.

Reviewing the raw data only added to the confusion. Why, for example, did many of the raw-data entries list the leftmost category as “Young Libs” rather than “Bleeding Hearts”? We don’t know—and they’re not saying.

The Unhidden Persuaders

Esquire and NBC News don’t report this study so much as hype it. Disturbingly, these journalists use the same marketing language employed by the consultants who wrote the report. Esquire tells its readers that the “New American Center” is “passionate, persuadable, and very real.” NBC News informs visitors to its website that “the center is real, passionate and persuadable.” (The NBC News piece carries the byline of a “senior staff writer.” The Esquire piece is credited to “The Editors.”)

Meanwhile, over at the Benenson Strategy Group website, project leader Daniel Franklin is quoted as saying that “the Center is dynamic and persuadable”—there’s that word again—“creating an opportunity for politicians and businesses alike to reevaluate how they communicate and connect with the American public.” That sounds like a pitch for corporate clients. Benenson’s past and present clients include Toyota, major drug companies, Shell Oil, and Verizon.

Esquire, in particular, crosses the line into naked huckstering for both this survey and centrist ideology. All the “centrist” buzzwords and catchphrases are there: We're told we must get past the “meaningless labels,” transcend our obsolete “culture war,” conquer the “extreme partisanship of Washington” (no particular party’s held responsible for that), and reconnect with “the actual national mood and values.”

The editors sneer at what they call the “hoary conventional wisdom” that “we as a people are now hopelessly polarized in our culture, our values, and our politics”—an odd stance when promoting a study which slices the public into separate (and rather clichéd) social divisions.

That, too, comes straight from the corporate-centrism playbook: before idealizing your mythical “center,” you must first compartmentalize and trivialize people of both the left and the right. Esquire even offers a “Warren/Cruz scale,” as if popular Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose opinions on banking regulation and economic justice poll well with the general public, were somehow comparable to the far-right senator from Texas whose government shutdown crusade has caused a disastrous plunge in his party’s popularity. That isn’t social science or journalism, it’s propaganda.

The sense of marketing hype and political spin is only heightened by the fact we’re told that the Center is allegedly “persuadable,” but is also a majority. That’s right: we’re told that the “New American Center” constitutes 51% of the electorate. That sounds like a corporate-funded centrist’s dream—and a consultant’s meal ticket.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Sometimes the trick is in what you don’t ask.

We’re told that “a majority of those in the center agree with a mix of Republican and Democratic ideas.” But this survey’s respondents were only asked about Republican and Democratic ideas. Pollsters excluded a number of popular, nonpartisan ideas not yet embraced by either party.

A case in point: a recent poll from Lake Research reaffirmed numerous previous studies which found that a vast majority of Americans oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The numbers were overwhelming: 82% of Republicans. 83% of Democrats. 78% of independents. Another survey by the National Academy of Social Insurance found that strong majorities of Americans, across the political spectrum want Social Security benefits increased, and would accept an increase in payroll taxes for themselves as well as the wealthy to pay for it.

But that idea isn’t supported by “centrist” leaders in either party right now, perhaps because it might require higher rates of taxation for the wealthy. Its absence from the public debate is a rebuke to our democratic process, and a sign of big-money corruption.

In short, there’s no basis for claiming that voters want the kind of “Republican/Democratic” hybrid the survey is pushing. The survey attempts to spin dissatisfaction with both parties into a yearning for a hybrid of both parties. Beltway insiders have made that leap of faith before, to disastrous effect. Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democratic hedge funder Erskine Bowles were paired up to pitch budget cuts to the American people. But their proposal only won the support of a whopping 6% of the electorate when it was introduced. Other such “ecumenical” attempts met with similar failure.

Esquire’s War

The absence of entitlement questions is especially surprising considering Esquire’s long record of concern-trolling on the subject. First there was its hokey “Esquire Deficit Commission,” which the magazine put together under centrist MSNBC Democrat Lawrence O’Donnell. Then there was the magazine’s widely discredited claim to have discovered “the real war on American youth.” (We reviewed both at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/the-real-war-on-youth-esq_b_141
3716.html
.)

Esquire’s long-standing intergenerational hostility was evident in 2007, when consultant Heather Smith wrote in the magazine about her experience getting out the youth vote. Smith wrote that young voters “want to see campaigns and politicians or government address … jobs and the economy, health care, affording college, economic issues —things that Washington thinks of as the concerns of the middle-aged middle class.”

That’s a useful insight into the interests and goals which Americans share across the generations. But this was the subheading chosen by Esquire’s editors: “Stop pandering to the geezers and stop ignoring young voters.”

Yet, for all its expressed concern about rapacious geezers, Esquire didn’t request a single question about Social Security. Maybe that’s because Esquire already knows what it thinks.

And maybe that’s why Esquire, in particular, went so far over the top in pushing style “centrism”—a push which begins with the editors’ first sentence and its sneering reference to Jim Hightower as “the legendary hellion populist out of Texas,” adding, in parentheses, “yes, such a beast once roamed the earth.”

In fact, the economic populism represented by Hightower (who is very much alive) can be partially found in a cohort the Esquire study labels “Pickup Populists.” But it’s de rigueur when giving a “centrist” pitch to contemptuously dismiss all that might be considered “left.”

Esquire’s editors overhyped the study, too, making claims even the consultants don’t dare to assert. They even claim that studying their conception of the "Center” provide previously unseen insights about public opinion, adding that this is “precisely what we mean when we talk about the Center: what most Americans actually believe.”

What most Americans actually believe.

That’s quite a claim. And it’s presumably purely coincidental that this undiscovered majority is so sympathetic to the Esquire agenda.

Both Sides Now

The false ideology of Beltway-insiderism can also be found in this Esquire paragraph:


“To be sure that its findings were as far removed from the prevailing political interests as possible, the poll was designed and conducted in ecumenical fashion, by both the Benenson Strategy Group, President Obama's pollster, and Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the polls for Governor Romney.”

The impartial observer might be more likely to conclude that hiring not one, but two pollsters for mainstream political candidates might be a way to ensure that its findings reflected “the prevailing political interests.”

But that’s corporate-centrist ideology in a nutshell: One politician is a partisan. Two politicians are the American people incarnate.

Neil Newhouse, the Romney pollster who seems to have been something of a silent partner in this enterprise, became known for two things during the 2012 election. He insisted that the Romney campaign “would not be dictated by fact-checkers” after it was criticized for deceptive advertising. He also insisted that Romney would win.

Newhouse is a top Republican consultant. Benenson has been described by GQ as is one of “the fifty most powerful people in DC,” a fact his company website proudly proclaims, alongside a similar accolade—if that’s the right word—from Newsweek. So this piece may merely reflect the biases of longtime insiders. The Benenson Group has done excellent work in the past. We certainly hope this doesn’t reflect its acquisition by a multinational named WPP, whose website says that “WPP companies exist to help their clients compete successfully: in marketing strategy, advertising, every form of marketing communication and in monitoring progress.”

After all, polling is not advertising or “marketing communication.”

Raw

The raw data don’t easily lend themselves to this centrist interpretation. There’s no space here to go through all the issues, so let’s take just one: government regulation. Most Americans are ambivalent about it. The conservative American Enterprise Institute think-tank captured that ambivalence effectively in its 2011 review of public opinion on the subject.

The Pew Research Center found in 2012 that most Americans (63%) agree with the statement that “a free-market economy needs government regulation in order to best serve the public interest,” a figure that was essentially unchanged from its 62% level in 2009. But Pew also found that solid majorities believe that government regulation of business “usually does more harm than good” (a finding we would argue is the result of decades’ worth of marketing).

The Esquire/NBC News poll shows that 42% of respondents said they agreed with the statement that “financial reform should only be used to curb abuses, and shouldn’t interfere with banks’ and investors’ ability to make profits.”

That’s a slanted question. A “yes” does not necessarily mean Americans think the government is doing too much regulation, although there are times when Americans do think that. The operative word is still “ambivalence.” But Esquire’s editors nevertheless state unequivocally that the “Center wants the Federal government…to go easy on regulation.”

Other phraseology is equally dicey. Esquire tells us, for example, that “the Center believes that the government should help only those who really need help.” What does that even mean? Who supports helping people who don’t need help? It’s like the old Henny Youngman joke about the Boy Scout who helped old ladies across the street “whether they wanted to cross the street or not.”

Even a “bleeding heart” like me wouldn’t go for that.

The Center and I

Which brings us back to my experience with the online test. Was I really on the leftmost periphery of American public opinion. And “un-persuadable” not worthy of attention? I have no problem being on the leftist vanguard, but in this case it seemed hard to believe. After all, those Lake Research findings showed that 82% of Republicans agreed with me on Social Security, just one of many policy areas in which my own economic views seem to reflect the mainstream. Others include taxing the wealthy, doing more to fight poverty, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, taxing corporations at a higher rate, and having the government do more to create jobs.

We don’t seem that different, the Center and I. “The Center doesn’t think of itself as the ‘center,’” we’re told. Same here.

“The Center doesn’t much like how things are going,” say the editors at Esquire. Well, I’m not too thrilled either.

The chimerical “Center” and I would both like to see guns brought under control, and neither of us is thrilled about the role religious institutions are playing in politics. When it comes to the right to choose, the right to choose partners, or the right to burn one down at the end of a hard work day, we pretty much feel the same way: it’s none of our business.

Off-Center

More credible polls suggest that a new economic consensus is forming in this country, one that isn’t very accommodating toward the ideology reflected in this survey. But this new “center” has been divided by social issues. It has been excluded from political decision-making by a Beltway worldview that ignores their needs and their preferences. It’s been stymied by the kind of clichéd thinking which slices up the American people into demographic groups like “Bleeding Hearts” or “Pickup Populists.”

There are nuggets of good data here. It’s helpful to be reminded that Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the future, although that’s not a new finding. It was interesting to see confirmation of a growing populism in the white working-class, and to be reminded that it has stayed aloof from Democrats over social issues. That’s not new information either, but it’s useful for activists and politicians.

It’s time to stop searching for a nonexistent center and start reflecting the needs of a very real majority instead. That majority is inadequately represented in Washington, which is a failure of our democracy. Rather than spin or justify that failure, it’s time for even the most insider-ish analysts and journalists to report the unvarnished truth. Even their clients will eventually thank them for it.

In the words of Esquire’s editors, journalists and advisors “better be substantive” and “leave their hobbyhorses at home.” Sorry to say, this study fails on both counts. http://www.alternet.org/media/beware-corporate-ideology-being-sold-hug
e-media-companies-new-american-center?page=0%2C0




I haven't followed this thread so I don't know what you guys have been arguing about, but you might want to take whose trying to convince you of what into consideration before thinking this "study" represents the end-all/be-all.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 9:08 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Ahhh, I read the thread; am glad to see many of you questioned the "study", and I hail Byte for her perspicuity: "My bullshit-o-meter is going insane with most of these answers and the questions themselves. I see ulterior motives in all the wording."

And I'm glad to see Frem found the same analysis I did--I'm leaving mine up because it's there in its entirety, if anyone's interested.

I'm also gratified to see that

A) What are considered "lefties" here were more than happy to take the quiz, and smart enough to question the results, while the "righties" here, aside from Geezer and his consistent attempts to justify the study, weren't even willing to bother, and

B) Few people bought into the propaganda.

Good on you guys.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013 10:28 AM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:

So, is it that you think that Esquire and NBC News, neither of which are hotbeds of rightwing thought(as far as I'm aware), skewed the survey to make the Right look more centerist? If so - why?

Or do you think that most of the Rightwingers who took the survey purposefully answered the questions in a way that would inflate the centerist numbers? And again - why?

Maybe the survey just didn't deliver the answers you wanted?






Just because NBC news and Esquire are the ones reporting the survey results doesn't mean they designed it, it just means they're the ones SHILLING it. Even left wing media is corporations and business, and their interests aren't information OR the public, it's power and keeping power. Just as it is with right-wing media.

Further research into the origins of this survey indicates it was designed by manipulators from both the democrats and the republicans, with an agenda that is neither left-wing or right, but generally detrimental to the public that it claims to represent. The questions and answer options given are dishonest, full of loaded question unstated premise fallacies and false dichotomies, and just so worded to return exactly the answers wanted by the pollsters.

That is why it is misleading, and that is why a lot of us here picked up on it and are calling foul. This poll is entirely not representative of anything, beyond how desperate the powers that be are to make sure we stay in our labels like good little citizens and think and act and vote exactly how they tell us - for their benefit. And not ours.

I don't think you realized this when you posted. My suggestion is to be a little more discerning and skeptical in the future. Don't take questions and answers in a poll at face value, ask why the questions are being asked and pay attention to how both questions and answers are phrased. You will begin to spot manipulation when you feel a slimy sensation like someone is breathing down your neck, trying to placate you with meaningless meaningful words.

I for one am running the hell the other way. I'm not even curious what label this poll might think I fall under - that is part of the manipulation.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:50 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Quote:

Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
Just because NBC news and Esquire are the ones reporting the survey results doesn't mean they designed it, it just means they're the ones SHILLING it. Even left wing media is corporations and business, and their interests aren't information OR the public, it's power and keeping power. Just as it is with right-wing media.



As I noted in the original post in this thread, even if you don't agree with the survey, it's interesting.

I got no problem with folks finding fault with the survey, but when they start proposing that I have some nefarious purpose behind posting it... Well, that gets into the realm of the recent "The U.S. is trying to take over the world using Halloween" and "Thanksgiving is just the rich showing off" conspiracy theories that have shown up in other threads.

It's unfortunate that you can't post anything here for general discussion any more without getting personally attacked for it or being accused of having an ulterior motive.


"When your heart breaks, you choose what to fill the cracks with. Love or hate. But hate won't ever heal. Only love can do that."

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 9:18 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


I call bullshit. You "legitimized" the "survey" in your very first follow-up post with
Quote:

I was thinking that the divide in RWED isn't so much Left vs. Right as WAAAAY Left vs. Center. The categories the survey shows seem to confirm this, but it'd be interesting to get actual results to verify.

then went on trying to legitimize it with "So NBC and Esquire are rightwing?"

When people began questioning the "survey", you came back with
Quote:

So, is it that you think that Esquire and NBC News, neither of which are hotbeds of rightwing thought(as far as I'm aware), skewed the survey to make the Right look more centerist? If so - why?

Maybe the survey just didn't deliver the answers you wanted?



We answered clearly how and why the "survey" was skewed, and quite eloquently and astutely on Byte and Frem's part, and that pissed you off. You never addressed the problems we had with it, just came back with this snark. All that shows you obviously DO have a "problem with folks finding fault with the survey". I for one don't think you have any nefarious purpose, merely that you have a bias and the study "verified" your bias for you, you took it at face value and didn't like that others didn't as well.


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:46 AM

BYTEMITE


From the Thanksgiving Hater to the Pollster Guy: You'll stop being personally attacked when you stop making personal attacks.

I was one of the people who wasn't accusing you of ulterior motives, only questioning the survey itself, but you just had to make a jab at me. Not okay with that.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 11:27 AM

SERGEANTX


Yep... they're still trying to cram everyone into the left/right puppet show. Too bad, that.

MYOB

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 11:51 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Geezer:


It's unfortunate that you can't post anything here for general discussion any more without getting personally attacked for it or being accused of having an ulterior motive.



Seriously? You got discussion - and you got a little push-back for your entirely one-sided opening, (that this proves that the board is "far left vs. middle).

You opened with a contentious position, and still got better conversation than you deserved - and now you're whining.

Need a tissue little girl??




"Goram it kid, let's frak this thing and go home! Engage!"

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 1:48 PM

ELVISCHRIST




Bleeding heart.

No surprise there.

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