CNN’s Questionable Use of Tabloid’s Poll to Tally German Obama Support


By: Warner Todd Huston

How many Germans would vote for Barack Obama for our president? CNN claims to know. During the last weekend that Barack Obama was in Germany, CNN used a graphic on the Wolf Blitzer show that claimed that 72% of Germans preferred Obama with only a mere 11% who favored John McCain. Of course, CNN didn’t think it relevant to mention that only 501 Germans were even polled, nor that the poll was conducted by German pollster Emnid for a notorious tabloid newspaper named Bild — not the most trustworthy of sources. This is the same newspaper that published with “gushing immaturity” an Obamtastic “report” by one of their giddy female reporters who supposedly worked out with Obama in his hotel gym after which Obama claimed to have been “hustled.”

So where did this lopsided, 72% approval rating come from? How was the poll conducted? What questions were asked? How do we know what level of knowledge the respondents had about our candidates? Why should we just assume that this is even a relevant result to our elections? I guess all that CNN needed was to show that Obama is loved by Germany, no other investigation needed.

To give you a flavor of the sort of stories that comprises “news” with Bild tabloid, a perusal of some recent stories are in order. With such “news” as an interview with one Tatjana Gsell headlined “I Love Sex and Eroticism,” and another touting that “Sexy Claudia is Lahm’s New Neighbor” (Philipp Lahm is a German Sports figure), various Amy Winehouse stories and at least one story with a photo of actress Bai Ling bending over showing her breast popping out of her dress, you can see the caliber of stories that fills Bild Newspaper. They are also chock-a-block with sports stories galore. So, not much for hard news, to be sure.

It is claimed that Bild tabloid was created for the many Germans who are not well educated. Bild is German for “picture” so you can see that highly crafted writing is not a priority there. And with the constant salacious sex stories and pictures of nude women we can see that they have lived down to their reputation. Bild tabloid is not in a much higher bracket than America’s National Enquirer by comparison.

And this is the source that CNN goes to looking for support of their contention that everyone in Germany loves Barack Obama? Apparently so. Of course, they aren’t alone because Newsweek Magazine did the same thing. In a July 24 report, Newsweek used the same Bild poll to “prove” Germany’s undying love for Obama. In that report Newsweek seriously intoned that “an opinion poll published last week in the Bild newspaper found 72 percent of Germans would vote for him over Republican John McCain in the Nov. 4 election if they could.”

There is no indication, of course, what Germans really know of Barack Obama showing how informed that opinion might be.

On a side note, Obama’s reaction to the Bild-reporter-in-the-gym story is somewhat amusing. Everyone is all willing and ready to use a Bild report to prove that Germans love Obama, but when Bild exploits the little gym meeting in a typically tabloid way, Barack seems to have become a bit cheesed off.

In a Der Spiegel report on Obama’s reaction to the Bild gym workout story, Obama is being quoted as calling Judy Bonesky, the Bild repoter, a “ganz gewöhnliches deutsches Mädchen.” A translation of this is “ordinary German girl.” This has me wondering how many German girls he’s ever met to know if Bonesky is “ordinary” since he hasn’t been to Germany much — or at all — before this trip?

Still, Barack was a bit miffed at being played by the tabloid employee, claiming to The New York Time’s Maureen Dowd that he’d been “hustled.”

She hustled us. We walk into the gym. She’s already on the treadmill. She looks like just an ordinary German girl.

Again with the “ordinary German girl” stuff. The woman was 27, a tad older than a “girl,” anyway.

So, Barack is happy to get Bild’s specious poll of German support, but miffed when they plant a tabloid reporter to exploit a gym visit? Seems a bit contradictory. If this paper is sensational enough to exploit a simple gym visit, what will they do to get sensational poll results like a 72% approval rate?

(H/T and image courtesy of “Annie Sweetie Oakley” from http://therealbarackobama.wordpress.com)

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