James Zogby’s Credibility Is Shot

James Zogby’s Credibility Is Shot: Before the 2002 elections, I questioned whether we could trust James Zogby’s polls which showed the Democrats doing very well in the 2002 Senate elections while all the other major polls showed the opposite. Here’s what I said the day before the election

“While I haven’t written him off completely, I have started to question some of Zogby’s numbers lately because he’s such an outspoken advocate for the Palestinians. Anytime a supposedly impartial pollster starts very publicly taking sides on a divisive issue, any issue, I have to wonder if it’ll start to show up in his work. If you buy into Zogby’s numbers, you should be VERY optimistic about the Dems chances tomorrow.”

Well, as we all know the Democrats didn’t have a great day, so the doubts I had about Zogby remained. Well, as I perused the Charlotte Observer, I just couldn’t believe that Zogby actually did this

“A group of Davidson College kids saw the face of Iraq on Wednesday, and it wasn’t Saddam Hussein.

Instead, they met students who looked and sounded like them, wore Western clothes and haircuts, liked American music — and said they feared war.

…The students talked for an hour and a half via live satellite in the first successful televised discussion between citizens of the United States and Iraq, said James Zogby, moderator and president of the Arab American Institute who is a visiting political science professor at Davidson this semester.

They didn’t solve any problems facing their nations. Sometimes they seemed to argue past each other — the Iraqis determined to say they were happy, the Americans determined not to believe them — but several Davidson students said afterward they would never think of the Iraqis in quite the same way.

The conversation will be broadcast in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America on a program called “Viewpoint with James Zogby.”

Zogby has hosted the English-language television program more than 11 years on Abu Dhabi, a large television network based in the United Arab Emirates. He decided to organize a special edition of the show after hearing spirited discussion during a recent on-campus debate about the Iraq conflict.”

Excuse me, but how the hell can you have any kind of meaningful “discussion” with Iraqis who at best will be killed if they criticize Saddam Hussein and at worst might be tortured to death along with their families? What else can they do except say whatever they think Saddam wants to hear? To present this as some sort of real “debate” or “discussion” is absolutely despicable and disrespectful to these Iraqi students who might as well have guns to their heads while they were speaking.

Furthermore, how can you trust the polling data put out by by someone who is willing to try to portray propaganda of the worst sort as the open and honest opinion of the Iraqi people? If he’s ready to go this far and be this blatantly dishonest, how can anyone trust the numbers in his polls? Zogby should be ashamed of himself and furthermore, everything he says and every poll he puts out from this point forward is suspect as far as I’m concerned.

***Update***: I need to clear up some confusion. A lot of people are mistaking James Zogby, who I wrote about in this post, for his brother John Zogby. John Zogby is the President and CEO of Zogby International (the famous polling company) and James Zogby is a senior analyst for the firm. Since they have similar names and are both involved with and frequently discuss Zogby polling data, it’s easy to confuse the two of them.

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