Bloomberg News is acting as if they know how "many Muslims around the world" feel about Barack Obama. In Bloomberg's considered opinion, Obama is "just an American with a Muslim middle name" and won't "advance" the "interests" of Muslims. The main point that Bloomberg seems to be trying to sell is that Barack Obama's Muslim past will not make him tend to bow to world-wide Muslim sentiment. Bloomberg is obviously doing their best to prop up the Obama campaign by trying to allay fears that Obama will be a disaster on foreign policy. This is a perfect example of agenda journalism disguised as news.
So, how do the folks at Bloomberg know what the world's Muslims think about Barack Obama? Is it polls? Did they conduct extensive interviews or research on how Muslims feel about Obama? No, it seems more like Bloomberg's opinion is loosely based on the opinions of the three Muslims they quote and a broad interpretation of one poll on Obama and one on Muslim opinion of the US in general. It seems a rather wild leap in logic from the "evidence" they present to assume that they have a firm grasp on the opinion about Obama of all the world's Muslims.
Bloomberg gives us the doubt about Obama's effectiveness for implementing policy favorable to Muslims exhibited by a 24-year-old Palestinian medical student named Wessam al-Ghoul. We are also treated to the disappointment that University of Toulouse (France) professor Habib Samarkandi had over a recent Obama foreign policy speech and similar disappointment from Egyptian writer Atef Ghamri. These three men represents Bloomberg's extensive interviews.
Wow. Three guys to represent all of Islam! That was conclusive, and all encompassing "proof," eh?
To buttress that amazing testimony, Bloomberg gives us a few polls, too.
There are 24 countries in the Arab world, which has a combined population of 325 million. A March-April 2008 Pew Research poll taken in 24 Arab and non-Arab countries showed that in the Arab nations of Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, confidence in Obama ranged from 23 percent in Jordan to one in three in Lebanon. About a quarter felt similarly about McCain.
First of all, it is doubtful that the largest number of the world's Muslims have ever even heard of Barack Obama. Secondly, Bloomberg offers no specifics on what this poll asked the respondents so the conclusion they draw for their story isn't really provable. To believe the story, it must be taken for granted that Bloomberg is correct because no evidence to assess their analysis is offered.
That was one poll. Bloomberg offered a second one as well.
A March 2008 Zogby poll of 4,000 people in Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Jordan found that Arab opinion of the U.S. was at its lowest since 2002, with unfavorable ratings ranging from 80 percent in Egypt and Jordan to 71 percent in the UAE and Morocco.
This poll is meaningless in context with the subject of how Arabs feel about Barack Obama, however, as it has nothing to do with Obama but is instead a poll on opinions of current US policy. Yet, this poll is given to buttress the "proof" that Americans shouldn't fear an Obama presidency.
Still, despite all the covering that Bloomberg is doing for Obama in this piece, they added one little bit at the end that almost contradicts their entire flacking enterprise. They quote Karim Makdisi, a professor of political science of the American University in Beirut, as saying that Muslims still would vote Obama if they had a say in the US elections.
"It is clear that if people in the Arab world could vote, they would vote for Obama, certainly to ensure McCain doesn't become president, but also because there is a faint hope that maybe he doesn't represent empty words," Makdisi said.
So, Bloomberg, let me get this straight. Muslims don't imagine that Obama will do them any good at all, yet they would still vote for him imagining that he will do them some good? That factoid sure doesn't really ally any fears that Barack Obama will be good for the American people, now does it?
I say, look to whom America's enemies support and you'll find the worst candidate for America's interests.
(Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk)