ABC News, Alexis Simendinger, border security, Ed O'Keefe, Gwen Ifill, Im-Politic, ISIS, Mainstream Media, Middle East, Paris attacks, PBS, polls, public opinion, RealClearPolitics.com, refugees, terrorism, Washington Post, Washington Week in Review
Let’s hear it for Washington Week in Review! Seriously! Like most news talk shows, it’s usually only useful for conveniently summarizing the Mainstream Media conventional wisdom on current events at home and abroad. But it’s latest broadcast shed important light (albeit unwittingly) on a major and positive development in American public opinion on dealing with the threat of ISIS terrorism.
A principal theme of this latest PBS show was the alleged disconnect, in the wake of the latest Paris terrorist attacks, between Americans’ clearly heightened fears of terror strikes at home on the one hand, and on the other their apparent view that limiting Middle East refugee admissions is a better response than crushing ISIS militarily with American forces.
As Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill indicated, she was “surprised” that the political flashpoint created by these latest terror strikes “did not turn, as it has in the past, on questions of war and retaliation but, as we’ve been discussing, on whether refugees from the fighting in Syria should be allowed into the U.S.”
Similarly, The Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe agreed with Ifill that it was “incredible” that new poll findings released by his paper and ABC News indicated continued public reluctance to send large numbers of American ground troops to the Middle East to fight the ISIS organization that claimed responsibility for Paris – just as other polls revealed majority opposition to those refugee admissions.
And according to RealClearPolitics.com’s Alexis Simendinger, these results showed a lack of consensus among Americans who she described as “all over the map” on these issues and in fact (understandably, of course) “confused.”
In fact, as is so often (and seemingly increasingly) the case, the public here looks to be way ahead of its leaders – and much wiser. For these poll results are completely consistent with my oft-stated view that the best way to deal with the threat posed by ISIS is not to seek its decisive defeat on the battlefield – since the Muslim-Arab world’s culture and society are so terminally ill that a powerful ISIS successor is bound to appear eventually. Instead, as the poll indicates, the public understands that America’s anti-terrorism efforts are best focused on what the government can plausibly hope to control much more effectively – its own borders and their continued excessive porousness.
There’s an obvious way to fill this gap in the analysis offered by Washington Week and its counterparts: Include a typical Main Street American in the discussions. Ratings could well soar. And just as important, their supposed experts might actually learn something worth knowing.