In today’s Washington Post, an example of how a few words can change perception:
The phrase “he left office with the highest approval rating of any modern president” appears to have been inserted into the official script of every news reporter in the country writing about President Ronald Reagan. What most people are likely to come away thinking is: “Reagan was the most popular president ever!”
Ronald Reagan left office with a 63 percent approval rating. Bill Clinton left office with a 65 percent approval rating. Averaging the final six polls (54, 53, 54, 51, 57, 64) gives Reagan 55.5. Clinton (58, 63, 60, 66, 65, 66) gets 63.
People remember Reagan being a popular president because the media have been telling us that for years. It’s really that simple.
— William Stosine
Iowa City, Iowa