The most recent conservative spin on the Karl Rove scandal: people just don’t care. Last night on Fox News, host Bill O’Reilly insulted the intelligence of the American people while attacking the media:
“As I said in the “Talking Points Memo”, folks don’t care about this. It doesn’t influence anybody’s life. All right? It doesn’t. But the media is not going to stop. The anti-Bush media. And it’s going to pound it, pound it, pound it [Fox News, July 18, 2005].”
Guest Dick Morris served up an equally rude response:
“Nobody cares about this story anywhere in the United States. The only reason that it’s being run is that there’s a reporter in jail. And another reporter was almost in jail. And the Democrats ran with this a year or two ago. And they’re out for blood against Rove, but voters don’t care [Fox News, July 18, 2005].”
But the research begs to differ with the Right’s theory. ABC News published a poll today that shows a sharp decline in public trust of the White House. In September 2003, when the Plume story broke, 47% of the public believed the administration was fully cooperating. That number has since plummeted to 25%. The poll also shows that 75% of the public believe that Karl Rove should be fired if he did leak information — a figure that varies only slightly in terms of party affiliation (71% of Republicans believe Rove should be fired, versus 83% of Democrats and 74% of independents). An equally high percentage has agreed that the scandal is a “serious matter.” The people do care. And apparently they’re not too happy with what they’re seeing.