Friday, October 19, 2007

Puncturing the Afghan survey balloon

Maisonneuve magazine's daily news roundup, Media Scout, provides a smile this morning with its headline: AFGHANS LIKE US, THEY REALLY LIKE US

The post by regular contributor Jordan Himmelfarb points out that all the gushing prose of the main media these days (what Media Scout calls the Big Seven newpapers and networks) might give Prime Minister Stephen Harper "a big head". (We thought he already had one.)

But the item goes on to caution that all is not as it seems in the Canadian-sponsored survey of the Afghan populace carried out by Environics on behalf of the CBC, La Presse and the Globe and Mail.
Though the survey’s results are genuinely encouraging, the analysis in today’s sources is remarkably one-dimensional. Besides the largely unaddressed methodological concerns implicit in the administration of a survey to citizens who have probably never been exposed to such an exercise, every source seems to conflate Afghan popular support for the mission with its strategic success and moral righteousness.
By the way, the Maisonneuve site has a nifty little feature whereby a picture of the current edition allows you to riffle through the issue's pages, an unreadable, but intriguing promotional device.


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