Friday, October 28, 2011

Questions In Fox News Polls Echo Fox News Narrative

by Zachary Pleat/Media Matters

This morning, Fox News promoted its latest poll, which includes this gem of a question: "Recently President Obama's teleprompter was stolen. What do you think he should do -- replace it with another teleprompter, use note cards instead, speak off-the-cuff, or stop giving speeches?" That question, like many others in this poll, is just the latest evidence that Fox News is neither "fair" nor "balanced."
As we've repeatedly documented, Fox, and the larger conservative media, have relied on teleprompter jokes to mock Obama ever since he was elected president. Fox News host Sean Hannity once said: "The guy sleeps with his teleprompter. ... Is the teleprompter between him and his wife, or is it on the outside, one on each side?"
The poll, conducted jointly by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research, is full of similar questions that echo Fox News' attacks on Obama, the federal government, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, among other things. One question reads: "Which of the following comes closer to your view?  The addition of more government regulation ... " Optional answers include:
  • Helps me and my family by providing order and protecting us from potential harm
  • Hurts me and my family by raising taxes and taking away our freedoms
  • (Depends)
  • (Don't know)
A Fox News poll question framing government regulation as harmful to "me and my family by raising taxes and taking away our freedoms" is taken straight from the Fox News narrative. Indeed, Fox spent aweek attacking government regulations.
The October 27 poll also asks respondents, "How concerned are you that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will eventually turn into street riots?" and "Do you think the Occupy Wall Street movement is anti-capitalist, or not?" Of course, Fox News has strained to paint the protests as "Marxist" and "increasingly violent." The poll also asked respondents whether they thought the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party were good for the country; of course, Fox heavily promotedand lauded the Tea Party protests while it demonized the Occupy protesters.
Fox's previous poll from September also featured problematic framing. Here's a question on raising taxes on the wealthy from its September 30 poll: "Do you think asking the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes is a good idea because it will help grow the economy and reduce the deficit, or a bad idea because it reduces the incentive for people to invest and punishes hard work and success?" The poll also included this one: "Do you believe Barack Obama's economic policies encourage class warfare -- that is, do his policies encourage resentment toward wealthy people?" This of course echoes Fox'scharges that raising taxes on the wealthy is engaging in "class warfare" against high-income earners.
The poll also presented this baffling question: "If Congress passes the tax increases recently proposed by President Obama, do you think those tax dollars will be used primarily to decrease the deficit or will they be used primarily to fund more government spending?"
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