On the March 30 edition of "The Point," Sinclair Broadcast Group commentator Mark Hyman accused The New York Times of "shortchanging the truth" in a March 17 report on Iraqi public opinion titled "Many Iraqis Losing Hope That Politics Will Yield Real Change." To back up his assertion that the Times presented a "wrong" and "dismal" account of public opinion in Iraq, Hyman quoted a poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) showing "that a majority of Iraqis are optimistic about the direction of their country and hopeful for their future." But this group, which Hyman billed as "a non-partisan, non-profit organization," has strong partisan ties. Well-connected Republicans fill every seat on its board of directors.
Stating that "[n]othing like a scientific poll is possible yet in Iraq," the Times based its assessment of the public's view on "a sampling of street opinion in two Iraqi cities," noting:
But as the national assembly's first brief meeting came and went, broadcast into thousands of Iraqi homes on television, a sampling of street opinion in two Iraqi cities found a widespread dismay and even anger that the elections have not yet translated into a new government.
Hyman, who failed to mention the IRI's Republican connections, instead touted the group as "non-partisan" and its findings as "fact." He ended his commentary by saying, "But then again, The New York Times has not allowed facts to get in the way of its reporting. This paper would like you to think Iraq was better off when Saddam Hussein was in charge."
Media Matters for America leads SinclairAction.com, a coalition of groups and individuals protesting Sinclair's continued misuse of public airwaves to broadcast one-sided, politically charged programming without a counterpoint.