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Truth, Justice, and the AOL Way

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis /
June 26, 2003

For what it's worth, I'm in sync with America. I'm tuned in to what America thinks and feels about the important issues of the day. Translation: I always vote with the majority in those online polls AOL presents to its members several times a week. That's "always," as in "never fails." Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys may have been able to boast (in "I Get Around") that he and his homeboys "never missed yet with the girls we meet"; well, I've never missed yet with the AOL polls I take.

Let me give you a few representative examples. I recently selected Superman over the Hulk and Spiderman as my favorite superhero of all time (as did 55% of all participants in this AOL poll). On the face of it, this may not seem earth-shattering. But it bears closer examination. A majority of AOL subscribers who voted in this poll selected the Man of Steel even in the wake of last year's very successful Spiderman movie and despite the enormous publicity push surrounding the upcoming release of the "Hulk" movie. Hell, Superman hasn't been in the headlines for over a decade.

I've been on the money picking civil rights issues as well. I, along with 87% of those AOL members who voted, agree that "race should not be a factor in college admissions." It's less clear how the Supreme Court voted. To date, no one has been able quite to untangle the verbiage of the "majority" opinion, let alone sift through the instant spin on both sides of the argument that followed on the heels of the decision's being handed down.

While I'm a willing participant in the polls themselves, I do draw the line at chatting on-line about the topics the AOL powers-that-be choose to feature in their polls. I'm not sure I really want to know in any "depth" what my fellow voters think, despite the fact that we're in uncanny agreement in the main about how things are and how they should be.

And let's admit that the AOL pollsters might not have quite the clout that, say, the CBS/New York Times or Quinnipiac College polls have. Nonetheless, the results of the AOL polls may just represent more "honest" results than those of more respected polls in many ways. To wit, although their questions are occasionally somewhat leading, the AOL polls are nothing if not direct. They generally give you two clearcut choices and a cop-out: 1) Hillary is a lying bitch who is bent on leading this country down the path to hell 2) Hillary should be queen of the world 3) Not sure.

There's a certain, I don't know, amateurishness about the AOL polls, a certain neighbor-next-door-asking-you-a-genuine-question feeling. And that's not a bad thing. For me, it's refreshing to be allowed to participate in a poll in which you're pretty sure the poll-takers aren't weighting the results in favor of a liberal agenda, or at least asking the questions in such a way that the liberal spin-meisters can twist the data to conform to the message du jour of the Democrat Party.

Besides, the people running the AOL polls are the same people who merged with (and subsequently submerged with) an established communications conglomerate, Time Warner, to the detriment of both. What do they know about how things work or what people really want to express an opinion about? I trust these folks who bungled a major deal not to know which way is up with respect to the polling business, and that's a definite plus.

So don't talk to me about how I'm some conservative curmudgeon who's out of touch with America. I'm in touch with AOL, understand? I'm in touch with the hundreds of thousands of other Americans who vote like I do when they're given a fair shot. No dicey demographics, no three-page questionnaires, just half a dozen three-choice, get-in, ask-the-questions, and get-out polls every week.

This is not a commercial for AOL, but you might want to sign up for a trial membership just so you can see how in tune you are with America. I can tell you this, if AOL is to be believed — and I think they are — America loves President Bush. We're in favor of "may the best person win" and against stacking the deck to reward anyone who is less qualified but whose ancestors may have been the victims of injustices in the past.

We don't begrudge anyone his or her honestly-won success, but we have a strong and accurate gut instinct for things that smell fishy. Like tens of thousands of others, I tried unsuccessfully to vote for Clay and was astounded when Ruben won. And so, when given a chance to express my choice again, I, along with my AOL brothers and sisters, made it clear that I know Clay would have won if the American Idol voting hadn't been rigged. My sense is that we had a kind of poor man's Jayson Blair situation, that there was some sort of perverse, guilt-driven affirmative action synaptic connection triggered in those who supervised the AI voting, and that Clay got stonewalled. I'm not alone in this and I know it, thanks to AOL.

Maybe it's not those of us "on the right" who don't get it. Maybe those on the left are the ones who are out of touch. Maybe America does like mild-mannered reporters like Clark Kent rather than deceitful trophy-hires like those who ride the Affirmative Action Express courtesy of the agenda-pushers at the New York Times and other left-leaning media.

Hmmm, maybe there is hope for "truth, justice, and the American way" after all. Or at least "truth, justice, and the AOL way."

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