Whom Do You Trust? A Logical Dilemma

by S. Leon Felkins

Last night while getting my hit of propaganda on a television “news” show (Fox News, actually), I heard one of the commentators, Fred Barnes, dismiss the criticism that has surfaced of late against the Administration’s repressions of civil liberties (see “The Press and the USA Patriot Act: Where Were They When It Counted?”) as just so much blathering of the liberal press and university professors. Since I will have to admit to having been a professor at one time in an earlier life, I will have to say, quoting Curly, “I resemble that remark!”

Actually I am a little puzzled at the logic behind this accusation and the implied triviality of the views of university professors. I seem to recall a poll of a few years back that showed that the professors are actually highly regarded by the public, at least relative to politicians and used-car salesmen. A quick search of the web revealed that there is such a poll, it gets updated annually, and the results are on the web at the Gallup site.

Trust by professionWhile there is much more detail at the Gallup site, I will reproduce the chart here for convenience.

You will note that professors, at 59%, are way up on the scale compared to TV “Talking Heads”, at 21%. Or, even more insulting to the media wonks is they are no more respected than politicians, in fact presently tied with Congressmen. Not exactly something you would want to brag to Grandma about!

So, here is the logical confusion we find ourselves in. Both politicians and media wonks have been bad mouthing the professors and civil libertarians with the implication that anything we say can be readily dismissed. They say these things with the air that this is something that they have the full support of the public on. Yet, these polls do not support that. Then, why do they think so? I suspect it is because they are so caught up in their own self importance that they are simply unaware of the results of these polls.

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