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Jewish World Review June 12, 2000 / 9 Sivan, 5760

Roger Simon

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Consumer Reports

Journalists, street walkers and other ethical 'professionals' -- I AM GIVING IT my full attention, but I am having a hard time figuring out if I really am 21percent more ethical than a prostitute and 22 percent more ethical than a car salesman.

A new poll by Opinion Dynamics asked people how they rate the "ethical standards" of 21 professions.

Journalists finished in 11th place at 28 percent.

Prostitutes finished in 20th place at 7 percent.

I suppose I should be flattered. But the only profession ranked below prostitute was car salesmen, who got 6 percent.

The profession that ranked just above prostitute is politician, which probably made the car salesmen very angry.

"I can understand losing out to prostitutes when it comes to ethical standards," the car salesmen probably said. "But can anybody think we are less ethical than politicians?"

The No. 1 profession for ethics was scientist, by the way, which is a joke if you ask me.

Scientists invented radar detectors for cars, didn't they? And how ethical are those?

After scientists came teachers, the clergy and farmers.

Farmers? I don't consider farmers either more and less ethical than anybody else. I do know they complain a lot. Every four years I go to Iowa for the presidential caucuses, and all farmers do is complain and ask for more money.

There is either too much rain or too little rain, the world markets are too tight or too loose, there is either too much government control or too little.

In any case, the solution to all these problems is always the same: more government money, preferably in large, unmarked bills dropped directly from airplanes onto the farmhouses.

After farmers came doctors (Ha! How many times has a doctor said to you, "This won't hurt a bit"), engineers, judges, military officers, police officers and bankers.

Then came journalists followed by federal workers, lawyers, stockbrokers, union leaders, professional athletes, insurance executives and actors.

What should we make of this poll?


This is just another idiotic opinion poll, of which there are many.

(By the way, the term "poll" came originally from the practice of asking people personal questions and then hitting them on the head with a pole when they were dumb enough to answer. The spelling of pole was changed to "poll" for reasons nobody can remember.)

This was not the dumbest poll I recently read, however. That honor goes to a Harris Interactive poll, which asked, "With which of the presidential candidates would most like to (do certain things.)

The list of activities was:

1. Go to a baseball game, which George W. Bush won 34 percent to 24 percent for Al Gore. Interestingly enough, however, 34 percent didn't want to go to a ball game with either.

2. Have dinner: Bush 38 percent, Gore 31 percent, neither 25 percent.

3. Invest your money: Bush 33 percent, Gore 16 percent, neither 41 percent.

4. Have a drink: Bush 32 percent, Gore 22 percent, neither 40 percent.

5. Play on a team: Bush 32 percent, Gore 27 percent, neither 31 percent.

6. Be stranded on a desert island: Bush 19 percent, Gore 16 percent, neither 59 percent.

What does this tell us? It tells us that most people are smart enough to want to have nothing to do with presidential candidates.

But don't take my word for that. Ask a car salesman if you don't believe me.

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© 2000, Creators Syndicate