Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Despite "Zero Tolerance" For Errors, FOX Skews Global Warming Polling

Recently, the good folks at FOX News announced a "zero tolerance policy" for on-screen errors during their news broadcasts. That's in the wake of a series of embarrassing mixups (like this one) that have plainly made network execs worry for their organization's credibility. In a memo, staff were told:
Effective immediately, there is zero tolerance for on-screen errors. Mistakes by any member of the show team that end up on air may result in immediate disciplinary action against those who played significant roles in the "mistake chain," and those who supervise them.
Well then, just days later, someone must be in trouble after the network committed yet another on-screen error by misrepresenting polling data during a "Fox & Friends" broadcast in a manner that inflated global warming skepticism. From our friends at Media Matters:
What happened? Well, here's the Rasmussen poll Fox & Friends cited. They asked respondents: "In order to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?" According to the poll, 35 percent thought it very likely, 24 percent somewhat likely, 21 percent not very likely, and 5 percent not likely at all (15 percent weren't sure).

Fox News' graphics department added together the "very likely" and "somewhat likely" numbers to reach 59 percent, and called that new group "somewhat likely." Then, for some reason, they threw in the 35 percent "very likely" as their own group, even though they already added that number to the "somewhat likely" percentage. Then they mashed together the "not very likely" and "not likely at all" groups, and threw the 15 percent who were unsure into the waste bin. Voila -- 120 percent.
Folks, that's some fuzzy math. But apparently some of Fox's employees still haven't gotten the memo.

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