US Press Falsely Claims Honduran Plurality for Coup

Did a CID-Gallup poll last week indicate that a plurality of Hondurans
support the military coup against democratically elected President
Zelaya? Yes, according to the Washington Post [July
], the Wall Street Journal [July
], the Christian Science Monitor [July
], and Reuters [July
], which all reported that the poll showed 41% in favor of the
coup, with only 28% opposed.

But in fact the poll showed that 46% - a plurality - were *opposed* to
the coup, according to the New York Times[July
], the Associated Press [July
] - and the
president of CID-Gallup, in an interview with Voice of
on July 9.

As of this writing - Sunday evening, 5:30 pm Eastern time - none of
the outlets which reported the poll incorrectly had corrected their
earlier, inaccurate, reports.

In reporting the poll incorrectly, the Post, the
Journal, the Monitor, and Reuters gave the
impression that more Hondurans supported the coup than opposed it,
suggesting that this meant trouble for the international coalition
pressing for the restoration of President Zelaya - which includes
Costa Rican President Arias and Organization of American States
Secretary-General Insulza, as well as the Obama Administration.

Of course, even if a poll had showed a plurality in favor of the coup,
that would not legitimize the coup. But the opinion of the population,
even if difficult to discern in the repression following the coup, is
without question a key fact in understanding the situation. To
misreport such a key fact is to substantially misinform. To fail to
correct such a mistake compounds the error.

The incorrect report of the poll appears to have originated in the
Honduran La Prensa. But the U.S. press should have checked
before simply repeating what was in La Prensa, particularly
on such an important fact, particularly because the result was

But perhaps the result was not counterintuitive for these press
outlets, and that may suggest a deeper problem - the U.S. press is out
of touch with the majority of the population in Honduras, and
therefore credulous to results which misreport Honduran public opinion
as being much more similar than it is to the opinions of Honduran

To ask for corrections, you can contact the Washington Post
here; the Christian
Science Monitor
; and the Wall Street Journalhere.

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