Friday, February 22, 2008

Polling with Chutzpah

Unless I am mistaken, I have not yet granted a Chutzpah of the Week award to Fox News. I suppose the primary reason for this is that I pay as little attention as possible to this institution. I have decided that, in this particular case, ridicule is as much of a waste of time as is indignant outrage (rather than the usual viable alternative). Nevertheless, there is definitely an element of chutzpah when it comes to taking a deliberately perverted approach to polling, particularly when, at least on the surface, one is trying to tap into prevailing opinions on who will end up in the White House next January. More specifically, Fox News (at least according to their reporter Dana Blanton) decided to throw the following zinger into their latest poll:

Who is Usama Rooting For?

Who does Usama bin Laden want to be the next president? More people think the terrorist leader wants Obama to win (30 percent) than think he wants Clinton (22 percent) or McCain (10 percent). Another 18 percent says it doesn’t matter to bin Laden and 20 percent are unsure

If there is any comfort from this latest Fox tactic, it is in those 18 percent who had the gumption to tell Fox that the question was not worth asking. Unfortunately, that leaves us with the 82 percent who took it seriously. Were they all informed by a worldview shaped by watching Fox News?

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