December 18, 2006


tonight i got hit by one of those conservative "statistical" phone surveys. they pose as legitimate survey takers, and then spend over half an hour asking for your "opinion" while inundating you with conservative opinions in hopes of pushing your stance right-ward.

tonight the theme was "trial lawyers." a later-aged gentleman with a friendly accent somewhere between New England and Australia read off things like, "communities can't afford teeter totters and swing sets for children in local parks because they have to spend money on frivolous lawsuits ... is this statement very convincing, somewhat convincing, ... " and "in most civil lawsuits, trial lawyers take their fees and leave plaintiffs with little -- sometimes only coupons" (all of which i responded with "completely unconvincing") -- a slew of statements smearing the connotations of "frivolous lawsuits" over lawsuits across the board, to rile us up against the legal system. the ludicrousness of all this almost made me interrupt the guy in the middle of it and ask which right-wing campaign hired you to do this, but i pressed on with blank opinions, so i could hear the entire survey.

"how do the following words make you feel -- from a scale of 1 to 100, 1 being very cold to 100 being very warm? the american justice system, trial lawyers, plaintiff lawyers, american association for justice ..." towards the end, he asked the key questions for his organization: "do you think the american justice system needs reform? scale of 1 to 100 ... ;" these were the same subject-evaluative questions asked at the very beginning of the session -- of course, to check if their opinion-molding worked. i remembered my answers from the beginning and repeated them.

at the end of the survey, it was revealed that i voted for kerry in the last election, and my survey taker seemed mildly surprised. i declined giving information about my ethnic background -- twice. ooh ... how irked i was ... i asked by whom he was hired to conduct the poll. his reply was, "i can't reveal that information, because it will bias the survey," (after the survey was over). hmm.

well, the moral of my story is: be wary if you happen to get the call. and if you have a quicker wit than i do, please ... have at 'em! (oh, those innocent survey takers ... :D)

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