When Karen Hughes cited a poll that showed growing optimism in Iraq it was no surprise that Matt Lauer was already armed with a poll he preferred that showed the opposite. In the 7:00am half hour Lauer asked Karen Hughes about America’s image in the Middle East: "When you travel around the world especially to Muslim countries, places like Pakistan and, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia when you talk about the subject of Iraq do the people that you talk to see U.S. forces there as occupiers or liberators"
Karen Hughes: "Well I think Matt actually it's very interesting. One of the things I came home with was the impression that people around in the region look at Iraq and they have a, a view that I don't think is supported by the Iraqi people themselves. They look at Iraq and they see the daily violence. And a lot of people told me, they worry that Iraq is not better off when in fact polling shows that the Iraqi people themselves believe their lives are pretty good and that they feel, I saw a poll this week 71 percent of the people in Iraq feel that, that their lives are good now and they're even greater numbers are optimistic that their lives will be even better a year from now. And so I think that's important that people in the region see that the Iraqi people themselves feel that they are better off than they were under the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein."
Lauer, accompanied by graphic: "I guess one of the points we need to make, there maybe too many polls because in the New York Times this morning the Brookings Institution runs some numbers. When asked if there, if, these are for Iraqis, if they're optimistic about the future 49 percent today say yes, compare that to two years ago in 2003, 65 percent said yes. What do you make of those numbers?"
The fact that Matt would run with the bad news is no surprise to anyone who's read Rich Noyes latest research on the media's coverage of Iraq.