Loving Amtrak, Hating the Press


It turns out that there really is something about a train–even trains as rotten and dangerous as the ones administered by Amtrak, the state-sponsored terrorist network that has extorted billions of dollars from taxpayers over its tortured 31 years of existence. This was the year Amtrak was supposed to leave the federal subsidy nest and fly (or not) on its own. The Washington Post reports today on a poll that finds a whopping 71 percent of Americans favor either maintaining or increasing funding for the nation's official passenger rail service.

At the same time, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press concludes that "the public is in an increasingly cranky mood. President Bush's approval ratings have slipped, support for increased regulation of business is up, and Americans are less confident that the government is giving them the straight story about terrorism."

Which is, to put it bluntly, incoherent. People voice support for a train system they refuse to ride (hence Amtrak's money woes) and they think increasingly less of the head of the government they don't trust on the pressing issue of terrorism. But they want that same government to more effectively regulate business.

As much as anything, such a mishmash is a sure sign that things are back to normal as the country closes in on the first anniversary of 9/11. Indeed, even the press, lauded by the public in the wake of the attacks, is now once again held in traditional ill repute. As the Pew folks note, "Just 49% [of respondents] think news organizations are highly professional, down from 73% in November. If anything, the news media's rating for professionalism is now a bit lower than it was in early September, shortly before the terrorist strikes (54%)."