Sunday, April 03, 2005

Loaded Questions

It is of interest to me to see how polls and the press may slant questions to reflect their own opinions and to achieve a pre-determined, or desired, result. Recently, in An Audience With Saudi Arabia, Victor Davis Hanson responded to some questions from Idris A. Ahmed, the editor of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan. What caught my eye was the manifest bias of some of the questions, or should I say questioner. Check out some of the questions (the emphasis is mine):

8.The U.S. refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocal, in favor of its industry, was regarded by many environment protection groups as a deliberate intention to pollute the world and threaten the human existence. Can you comment on this?

9.The U.S. declared withdrawal from the treaty of nuclear arsenals reduction with Russia. How do you see the future of the world under such insane armament race?

10. The U.S. major pharmaceutical companies endangered millions of lives in the poor countries through its monopoly of the patents of life-saving drugs. How do you see this claim?
I realize that the Al-Watan is not exactly a household name outside of Saudi Arabia and, in any case, what else could be expected from any of the media in that country. But I believe that the partiality is so blatant that it is a good example of what one can find from more professional and polished reporters in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Guardian and the L.A. Times. Of course, those newspapers are better at couching their bias so that it is much less noticeable. The entire interview with Hanson can be found here.