Thursday, November 11, 2004
Zogby International - Unbiased?
James Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab-American Institute who has, to my memory, had several columns posted in Arab News. The link above will give you his biography. He is well connected politically, and is or has been a major player on the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee, and has served as the NDECC's representative to the DNC Executive Committee.
Here is a recent column published by James J. Zogby in The Jordan Times (also appears on Al-Jazeerah) on the outcome of the election. According to AAIUSA, James Zogby "recently attained a position with polling firm Zogby International as Senior Analyst". James Zogby has contributed at least one article to Media Monitors Network, which bills itself as "a non-profit, non-bias and non-political platform which mainly helps to prevail the whole truth and generally facilitate answers to any disputed, controversial topic being broadcast". Uh-huh. I invite you to click on the link, and look at the platform, charities and columns espoused by Media Monitors Network. Charities listed include the Islamic American Relief Agency and the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund. You might also be interested in the article Newsweek Is Spreading Hate, which denigrates the "latest high-profile assault on the authenticity of the Qur'an".
In googling I found James Zogby's reply to criticisms levelled against him after his endorsement of Kerry, some of which do seem to be over the top. In this reply James Zogby writes "When my brother, John Zogby, refers to this as the "Armageddon election" this is, in part, what he is observing." I invite you also to read the endorsement of John Kerry appearing in The Palestine Chronicle.
"I choose an administration that is led by John Kerry and John Edwards, because, despite whatever differences I may have with them, I know that they will pursue diplomacy over unilateral military preemption.
"They can be better trusted to find a way out of Iraq than the arrogant crew that got us into that mess in the first place. They will protect our civil liberties and end the abuses of the Ashcroft era.
"And they will make the pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority rather than a neglected afterthought. In a recent letter to Arab-Americans, senior Kerry adviser Rand Beers committed that a Kerry administration would do as much." "
James and John Zogby discuss their 10-country poll to track attitudes toward the US in Arab and non-Arabic Muslim countries in Christian Science Monitor. Now here is an August 2004 update on the same subject:
" In responses given to open-ended questions, the role that anger with US policy plays in this growing Arab disenchantment with America becomes even clearer. When asked to identify the "first thought that comes to mind," the "best and worst things they could say about America," and "what America should do to change its image in the Arab World," the principal responses all focused on policy issues. "Stop supporting Israel," "Change your Middle East policy," and "Stop killing Arabs" were among the most common responses."
"Even the 9/11 Commission, in its otherwise thoughtful treatment of issues related to this tragedy, skirted this problem by noting, "right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world. That does not mean that US choices have been wrong. It means those choices must be integrated with America's message of opportunity to the Arab and Muslim world.
"In fact, it is the Commission's findings that are right and wrong. They are right to observe that America's policy is at the root of Arab discontent, but they are wrong to assume that a "message of opportunity" can change that dynamic. What our 2002 and 2004 polls show is that Arabs judge America not by what it says, but by what it does, and in this regard, it is still "the policy, stupid," that is the problem."
In other words, it is America's support for Israel that is causing all the problems. I defend both John Zogby's and James Zogby's right to put forth their political views, but to view John Zogby's polling and statements on the 2004 election as unbiased is quite questionable in my view.
In light of the above, let us return to the Drobny article on "Votergate 2004" posted on www.zogby.com:
"Since last Tuesday there has been a justifiable uproar about the major differences between the exit polls in Ohio and Florida and the actual results."
"So why have the exit polls been so wrong in the last two elections? It is clear that there must have been manipulation in the voting machines. While there's been a lot of talk of problems with not having paper trails, computer fraud is uncovered most of the time without paper trails."
Who is Sheldon Drobny? Well, let's see. He is cofounder of Air America Radio. He has a truly remarkable view of the relationship between "Zionists" and Hitler:
"Most people are unaware of as unlikely an alliance as that between Hitler and the Zionists. My father taught me about this, among many other events that have been redacted from history books. In 1985, Edwin Black wrote a detailed account of the pact in his book, The Transfer Agreement. Black reports a shocking account of shortsighted treachery by the Zionist movement to emigrate Jews from Germany to Palestine. The authors of the pact included David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and Chaim Weitzman.
"The book never had an audience, and was quickly and surreptitiously taken off the shelves. What Black’s book painstakingly proves is that in 1933, while the rest of world Jewry was organizing an economic boycott of the new Nazi regime in Germany, the Zionists based in Jerusalem decided to make Germany Palestine’s chief trading partner. The Nazis and the Zionists had one very important thing in common. Both wanted the Jews out of Germany."
Most interesting. And you know what? Sheldon Drobny really, really does not like Republicans.
Mr. Drobny appears to be trying to get the CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting tossed. Mr. Drobny is trying to organize a boycott of all mainstream media - ABC, NBC, CBS, etc, who he says are terrorizing the American populace:
"America is now being terrorized everyday by the corporate media that profits from such cheap and heartless use of reporting news to the public. And in doing this, they are not reporting the truth about the world, this nation, and the current Administration. They are now aligned exactly with the government interests to keep the public terrorized so as to control the people more effectively."
"Do anything but do not watch CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN, MSNBC or any of their affiliates."
I guess we're supposed to be listening to Air America Radio. Sheldon Drobny is a founder and partner in Anshell Media LLC. Sheldon Drobny runs a venture capital firm called Paradigm Group II, LLC, which is the managing partner of Paradigm Millenium Fund, LP. Clearly he does not object to capitalism in all circumstances. He is a director of a number of firms, including something called Cypress Bioscience. He funded a Jewish studies program at the University of Illinois to the tune of $7.2 million dollars. He lost relatives in the holocaust. He is selling a book titled "Sheldon Drobny: The Road To Air America". In a fascinating article in Salon, Mr Drobny tries to figure out what kind of a car Moses would drive (A Prius hybrid).
Sheldon Drobny is listed as a member of the program advisory group for the upcoming Intelcon National Intelligence Conference and Exposition. The purpose of which is listed as:
"Intelligence today embraces more than the civilian and military agencies of the federal intelligence community. In this age of terrorism, it is critically important for state and local law enforcement to know how and where to obtain intelligence, and to whom it should be forwarded. Corporate and private-sector intelligence managers face new and diverse challenges, from defending against economic espionage to creating new technology to meet intelligence’s future needs.
"Many members of the press (and even a few members of Congress) lack the depth of knowledge in intelligence which is necessary to deal with, and resolve, its complex issues. The same is true for non-governmental organizations, the academic community, media, and ethnic and religious organizations. All of these diverse components of the intelligence domain will come together at INTELCON."
Sheldon Drobny was the campaign chairman of Nancy Skinnerman's 2004 (Dem) bid for the US Senate:
"Nancy Skinner, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, has announced the appointment of Sheldon Drobny as chairman of the Skinner for Senate campaign. Drobny, co-founder of AnShell Media, a new firm providing public interest programming for underserved audiences, has long been a Democratic Party activist and contributor to national campaigns, including the Bill Clinton and Al Gore presidential campaigns.
"Democratic races for the U.S. Senate promise to be just as critical as the presidential race in 2004," says Drobny. "We're fighting for our party's life by pulling together a real opposition to the party in power..."
Hardly nonpartisan, right? What is John Zogby doing with this article written by this man on his website? In this article, John Zogby defends himself for both his inaccurate predictions and against allegations of bias. I do not believe him. See Simon World's report of John Zogby's talk in Hong Kong. See John Zogby's November 1st prediction.
I am sure John Zogby voted, and of course he needed to make up his own mind on political issues to do that. That he would prefer John Kerry in this race does not mean that his polling methods were unbiased - but certainly both his results and his predictions were wrong. John Zogby admits to using fudge factors in his polls, and he will not fully disclose his methods. He may truly believe himself to be unbiased - but can a rational observer?
By giving Drobny's article houseroom on his website - an article which claims that the exit polls prove massive fraud for Bush - Zogby implicitly endorses this claim. John Zogby has now completed the circuit. In April he said that Kerry would win the election. He continued those claims, right up to the day before the election. These claims which might have caused less motivated voters to bypass long polling lines. And now he implicitly endorses the idea that the exit polls were right, and the voting count was wrong. Make up your own minds.
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