Monday, April 09, 2007



One of the most respected media insiders in the polling business requested anonymity when he sent me this post. It stands on its own in terms of perception and relevance.

Most news organizations are businesses, too.  And like many businesses, they often do marketing surveys to help them discern competitive advantages. They also do opinion surveys to generate news stories. What self-respecting journalists don't do is mix their marketing with their content. Since long before Edward R. Murrow, they've at least attempted to build a wall between those two departments. 

Until now. Fox News Channel is quickly discarding any pretense of maintaining that separation.  Buried deep inside the latest Fox News Opinion Poll are two questions clearly designed to help them generate their own talking points. Question 34 reads, "Do you think a television network that is hosting a presidential debate can influence the outcome of that debate?" Question 35 reads, "If a political party agrees to participate in debates hosted by one television network but refuse to do debates hosted by another network, do you think it is fair to say the party is picking the network it believes is more aligned with its vision and so would ask easier questions during the debate?" Strong majorities answered "Yes" to both questions, but that's not the point.

Clearly, alongside legitimate news poll questions, Fox News is pre-testing their own marketing tactics. Watch for Fox to feed Republicans some talking points that sound eerily similar to these poll questions if Democrats like John Edwards continue to reject their debate invitations. Fair and balanced? Most newsrooms do make that their goal, even if they sometimes fail. Fox News doesn't even try.


Just as I posted this I noticed that Obama has come to the conclusion to not participate in the Fox-sponsored presidential debate. He wasn't as fast as Edwards, but he made the right choice. Hill? (MINI-UPDATE: HILL'S OUT TOO: Stoller has the details. Screw you, Fox. It would have been like asking Jews or labor unions to debate under the auspices of the VÖLKISCHER BEOBACHTER in Germany in the 1930s.)

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At 5:01 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

What takes Obama or Hillary so long to disavow themselves of these Faux Noise Channel debates? Does it really take them that long to decide to tell Faux to go f--k themselves? And what is the CBCi thinking? What bizarro world do they live in? Why even give them the time of day in the first place? The only reason any Dem or swing voter watches Faux is so we are aware of what the enemy is up to. Hell, with the amount of exploding heads over there, we don't even have to watch those c--ksuckers any more. We can find the relevant clips on YouTube.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Political Realm said...

Yeah, you really have to ask what the CBC was thinking alligning with Fox. After the Nevada debate issue, they had to know it would come up again.


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