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Change the wording of the questions and it will get worse

Reader comment on item: [Pew Poll on] How Muslims Think
in response to reader comment: A Correction and a Paradox

Submitted by rick (United States), Jun 27, 2006 at 14:38

You are right to discuss the wording of the poll. However, the results would probably be worse.

If you substituted "martrydom bombing" for "suicide bombing" the figures for support of this type of bombing would increase.

If you subsituted in the case of 9/11 "righteous brothers from Saudi Arabia" many Muslims would show support.

If you wrote "demented Saudis" some would say yes.

If you wrote of the "magnificent 19' as a mullah in London calls them, how do you think that vote would go?

If you phrased the question to show a positive bias in favor of killing Jews or Americans, the Muslim filling out the poll would be inclined to show his/her truer feelings in favor of terrorism. If you made it a negative thing - something to be condemned, Muslims would feel uncomfortable admitting to it and thus deny that Arabs or Muslims were responsible.

It is an important point because it shows that media - like the NY Times or BBC that refuse to use the "T" word for palestinian terrorists- while using it to describe very similar acts in other countries as terrorist- can influence how people view a terrorist act as a positive or a negative. Bombing a disco in Bali is terrorism. Bombing a disco in Israel suddenly is not a terrorist act according to many influential media. No one likes being called a terrorist, especially if they are.


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