It always happens. When the mainstream media thinks they are on the heavy side of popular opinion they take a poll and run with it. In a recent poll by ABC and the Washington Post, they determined that 80% of America was opposed to the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC. I would have like to seen something much more relevant, like how many people know that the case before the Supreme Court was even called “Citizens United v. FEC?”
Because I’m fairly certain that that few people know anything about the decision. The 80% figure reflects more than public opinion, it reflects how well the mainstream media has been obfuscating the reality of the case.
Not that it’s relevant anyway. Despite popular opinion, America was never intended to be a Democracy. In the immortal words of James Madison: “…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (Federalist #10)
Polls like this are most often used to give the impression that America is broken, and we need a fix. What most people don’t understand, is that our government was designed to run contrary to popular opinion, since popular opinion can be as fickle as Tiger Woods infatuations.
When Bill Clinton was being impeached it was very popular to take polls measuring how many Americans were opposed to the proceedings. Our Founders anticipated that majority sentiment might be in favor of holding onto a bad president, and shopped that job out to the Senate. At the time, the Senate was an appointed body, and immune to the winds of populism.
Strangely, when the Democrats are on the losing side of the poll, they are drawn to Republicanism quicker than an accused felon finds religion. Polls that indicate Same-Sex Marriage and Late Term Abortions are opposed by the majority of Americans, rarelyget published. Nobody seemed to really care that the majority of Americans opposed Roe v. Wade back in 1973.
The question asked by ABC and the Washington Post was: “do you support or oppose the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections?”
No bias there. It sounds suspiciously close to Constitutional Professor Obama’s summation of the case: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.”
I wonder how many realize that the first amendment protections on free speech were at stake in Citizens United? And I’m not talking in a rhetorical sense either. The actual case was based on whether a corporation had the right to distribute a motion picture. The US district Court of DC had decided that “Hillary; the Movie” could not be distributed as a Pay-Per-View” movie, because it said unkind things about a US Senator and was produced by a Corporation.
All movies today are produced by corporations. Why even the Anti-Corporate propaganda film “The Corporation’ was produced by the Big Picture Media Corporation. (Who says “Irony is dead?’) Allowing the Federal Government the power to decide whether or not a movie can be viewed is something the entire nation should rally against. Arguments in front of the Court actually suggested that if this ruling were to stand, that corporations would not even be allowed to print newspapers or books if the FEC determined them to be “electioneering communication”
I think if someone over at ABC or the Washington Post had actually read the case, they might have come up with a little different question, like: “Do you Support the recent Supreme Court decision that prevents the Federal Government from controlling which movies you can watch in your own home on Pay-Per-View?” You might have seen a little different result.
You would think Newspapers and Broadcasting Corporations would be a little more sensitive about this stuff.