As reported yesterday by NewsBusters, a brand new ABC News/TIME poll depicted Iraqis as being very optimistic about themselves and the future of their country. The Associated Press via USA Today is sharing this information with its readers by focusing attention on the negatives first. The article, entitled “Most Iraqis Oppose U.S. Troops, Poll Says,” began:
“Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
“More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44%, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.”
Then the article addressed the positives:
“But Iraqis are surprisingly upbeat on many fronts, the poll suggests.
“Three-quarters say they are confident about the parliamentary elections scheduled for this week. More than two-thirds expect things in their country to get better in the coming months.”
Furthermore, when you get deep into the article, you find that more than half of those polled don’t want American troops to leave immediately:
“A fourth of those surveyed, 26%, say U.S. forces should leave now, and another 19% say troops should leave after those chosen in this week's election take office. The other half say U.S. troops should stay until security is restored, 31%, until Iraqi forces can operate independently, 16%, or longer, 5%.
When press reports on Iraq typically begin with the negatives, is there any wonder the American people think things are going poorly there? By contrast, United Press International is reporting this same news with a headline “Poll: Iraqis Feel More Optimistic,” and a lede:
“A poll of Iraqis by ABC News shows seven out of 10 feel their lives are going well, and two thirds believe life in Iraq will improve in the next year.
"With the country's parliamentary elections scheduled Thursday, 76 percent of Iraqis said they were ‘confident’ the vote would produce a ‘stable government,’ despite sectarian divisions among Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Few Iraqis expressed concern about civil war.”
Which report is more likely to engender a positive feeling about Iraq that resembles the way Iraqis themselves appear to feel about their own situation?