A new poll is out that says that Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America. Do you want to guess what percentage she received to garner the top spot? Obama was the most admired man.
Before I give you the numbers, I want to lay out for you how easy it is to fool people with statistics.
Let’s say you have 100 names to pick from as your most admired person, and you are on that list, and you get 2 votes and everyone else gets 1. Guess what? You are the most admired person in a list of 100 people even though your vote total is only one vote more than 99 other people.
Your “most admired” prize comes down to two votes resulting in two percent of all the votes cast.
A story is told that during the days of the Cold War a two-car automobile race took place between the United States and the former Soviet Union. An American newspaper reporter described the result of the race this way: “American car beats out Soviet competitor.”
The Russian newspaper reported the same automotive contest from a slightly different perspective: “Soviet car finishes second; American car is next-to-last.”
Both papers reported the same event. Both accounts were factually true, up to a point. In order to put the best face on Soviet technology, the facts were positioned in a pre-determined way to obtain a certain result. The outcome for the Soviets was inevitable in order to create the illusion that Communism is better than capitalism. The lesson is obvious: “It’s not that two bits of data contradict one another; it’s that the same bit of data can be read in (at least) two ways.”1
President Obama was picked by 17 percent of the respondents as the most admired man. What’s shocking about this is how low the number is given the way the media never says a negative word about him, and he is constantly before the public. His name should immediately come to mind because his name and face are everywhere.
Donald Trump was in second place along with Pope Francis, each garnering five percent of the vote.
For Hillary Clinton, it’s even worse. She only received 13 percent of the vote. That means that 87 percent of people considered someone else more admired. What other woman is in the news as much as Hillary? Oprah’s kind of faded. Michelle Obama, who only received four percent of the vote, was in fourth place just above Carly Fiorina.
To show you how skewed this poll is, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, the one with a dead girl in the back of his car after he fled the scene of the accident, was on the Top Ten List 18 times. This is all to say that it’s not much of a list since it’s all media driven.
- David Murray, Joel Schwartz, and S. Robert Lichter, It Ain’t Necessarily So: How Media Make and Unmake the Scientific Picture of Reality (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1001), 86. [↩]