Stay out of it, please. That is the public reaction to the White House vow to arm opposition rebels in Syria.
“Broad majorities continue to oppose the U.S. and its allies sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria,” says a Pew Research Center poll released Monday, which revealed that 70 percent of Americans oppose aiding the rebels in the war-torn nation. There’s a modest partisan divide: 71 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats agree.
More than two-thirds overall say our troops are “already stretched thin” while 60 percent feel the rebels “may be no better than the current government.” More than half agree, however, that it is important for the U.S. to support people who oppose authoritarian regimes. The public is divided on whether the U.S. has a moral obligation to stop violence in Syria: 49 percent agree, 46 percent disagree.
And from a Gallup poll, also released Monday: 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the Obama administration’s decision to send direct military aid to Syrian rebels; 63 percent of Republicans also disapprove. But Democrats appear loyal to President Obama; 42 percent disapprove, while a majority — 51 percent — approve of the idea.
COMPETITION FOR SEAN, PIERS, RACHEL
There are more programming details from Al-Jazeera America, the English-language news channel that will launch later this year. “America Tonight,” a one-hour prime-time centerpiece, will air at 9 p.m., set to rival the established work of Fox News’ Sean Hannity, CNN’s Piers Morgan and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, all broadcast in the same hour.
The current-affairs program will originate from a slick new studio in the Newseum, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Former CNN executive producer Kim Bondy is senior executive producer; content will come from Al-Jazeera’s 12 news bureaus in the U.S., plus 70 overseas. The network itself is based in Qatar.
“America Tonight will be typical of what viewers will see on Al-Jazeera America,” says Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of international operations, adding that programming “will explain what the news really means to the daily lives of our viewers.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 66 percent of Americans say it is “right” for the Obama administration to monitor Internet data to locate suspected terrorists; 67 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats agree.
• 62 percent of Americans think the federal government has become big enough to threaten rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens; 79 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats agree.
• 54 percent of Americans say the federal government should prosecute NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden; 56 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.
• 52 percent overall disapprove of Mr. Snowden’s actions; 54 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats agree.
• 62 percent overall say the U.S. government has “collected” data about their personal phone and Internet usage; 62 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,014 U.S. adults conducted June 11 to 13.