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Public Backing Of Embryo Research Is News On ABC, But Newscasts Are Silent On Bush's Approval Rating.

On Thursday, Washington Post readers learned that "President Bush reaches the summer break in his first White House year buoyed by high personal approval but facing broad public doubts about his overall agenda and key policies, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll." The story by David Broder and Dan Balz also revealed that "Bush has a 63 percent personal favorability rating in the poll and a 59 percent job approval score, the second-highest numbers recorded since he took office."

That certainly sounds like news, but ABC, the Post's partner-in-polling, didn't tell viewers about the four-point increase in Bush's approval ratings on either its World News Tonight or Good Morning America news programs. That's in sharp contrast to the way ABC practically screamed the results of a survey released in the spring that showed a decline in the Bush's popularity. Those poll results led ABC's June 5 edition of World News Tonight: "The really ominous thing in this poll for the Bush team is the movement it shows in public attitudes," ABC's Terry Moran related to substitute-anchor Charles Gibson. "The more people learn about this President, his policies, our poll suggests, the less they're likely to support him."

ABC knows all about their new poll, but the only portion they deemed "newsworthy" involved public support for the liberal position on stem cell research. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas announced on the August 2 World News Tonight: "There is a new poll tonight from ABC News and the Washington Post which finds that 63 percent of Americans support embryonic stem cell research; 33 percent oppose it. For several months President Bush has been trying to decide if he will continue federal funding for this research. It could lead to treatments for many serious diseases and injuries, but it involves the destruction of human embryos. So far the debate has largely taken place in hearing rooms and press conferences, but in Odessa, Texas, it has a human face."

The human face in last night's ABC report belonged to a paralyzed football player who could theoretically benefit from the proposed research, not a toddler such as two-year old Hannah Strege, a one-time frozen embryo who was saved from the trash bin by her adoptive parents, Jack and Marlene. She's evidently the wrong kind of human face, just like the public's growing support of President Bush made for the wrong kind of news. - Rich Noyes