Fox News And Right-Wing Media Synergy

The Wall Street Journal published an article this morning profiling pollster Scott Rasmussen. The column was written by the Journal’s John Fund, who is also a Fox News contributor. The article’s subject, Rasmussen, is also a Fox News contributor whose surveys lean reliably to the right, which makes him a favorite of the conservative press.

So what we have here is one of Rupert Murdoch’s columnists interviewing one of Murdoch’s pollsters for one of Murdoch’s newspapers to promote contributors to one of Murdoch’s television networks. And wouldn’t you know it, the article was effusively complimentary to Rasmussen. However, it has no more significance than a Keith Olbermann editorial praising Rachel Maddow in the NBC employee newsletter. Here is how Fund leads off:

“Thanks to the shifting tectonic plates of American society, polls have come to dominate our politics as never before, and Mr. Rasmussen is today’s leading insurgent pollster.”

The reason polls have come to dominate our politics is that outlets like Fox News seek to trivialize current affairs by overdosing on horse-race data and ignoring, or misrepresenting, the more substantive issues that people really need to know about. Fox is famous for hyping tabloid fare like the current pseudo-controversy over the mosque in New York. Then they supplement their non-story with polls about the mosque in New York story that adds nothing to their viewers’ store of useful knowledge.

It is that state of polling domination that Fund praises Rasmussen for as the “leading insurgent pollster.” I have no idea why a pollster would be complimented as being an insurgent, but it does tend to certify the widely held view that Rasmussen is an activist with an agenda.

It isn’t hard to find evidence of Rasmussen’s bias. If you take a look at the RealClearPolitics aggregation of polls, Rasmussen invariably reports numbers that are far more favorable to Republicans and conservatives. That predetermined result is built into his methodology. And just to make sure he gets the results he wants, he will also skew his survey’s questions to assure a rightward slant. Markos Moulitsos of Daily Kos has done some detailed analysis on Rasmussen’s (dishonest) game And I previously documented Rasmussen’s phony index wherein he invents something he calls The Political Class, but is really just a fake metric to create artificial comparisons between groups of respondents that don’t exist.

Fund cites Rasmussen’s Political Class index and seems to be impressed with its fantasy results. But Fund is no better at math than Rasmussen. He says that…

“Before the financial crisis of late 2008, about a tenth of Americans fell into the political class, while some 53% were classified as in the mainstream public. The rest fell somewhere in the middle. Now the percentage of people identifying with the political class has clearly declined into single digits, while those in the mainstream public have grown slightly.”

What I’d like to know is how an index with just two options adds up to only 63% (10% Political Class plus 53% Mainstream)? there is no “Other” in the survey. It seems that 37% of respondents fell into a black hole. What’s more, the change Fund cites where the political class has “clearly declined into single digits,” would only have had to move down 1 point. That corresponds to his assertion that the mainstream grew slightly. However, in most polls, that minute a change would be regarded as statistically insignificant and within the margin of error. So what is Fund’s point?

It is also worth noting that the Political Class in Rasmussen’s index constitutes a mere 7% of the total group polled. This makes the comparison even less worthy of consideration. It means that in a poll of 1,000 people, 50% of the Political Class is only 35 people, or 3.5% of the total. Nevertheless, Fund eagerly cites a series of additional results based on this nonsense that Rasmussen says “has real significance.”

Rasmussen has little credibility amongst his peers in the polling game. His entire reason for being is to pump out polls that put Republicans and conservatives in a positive light and to disparage Democrats and liberals. The goal is not to inform, but to influence and shape public opinion. That’s why he is such a frequent guest on Fox News.

And that’s why his reputation is getting polished by his colleague John Fund and the Wall Street Journal. It’s also why Murdoch has gone to such great lengths to own all his own newspapers, TV networks, and pollsters.


14 thoughts on “Fox News And Right-Wing Media Synergy

  1. I’m starting to think the person writing these articles needs an intervention – totally gone in the head and paranoid beyond belief. Anyone with a brain has to know all the media leans one way or another and the listeners need to do their own research. Research doesn’t include reading this site or most others these days. Tough to figure out what’s right or wrong , but this site has too many nuts to take it seriously…given how these people write – there is nothing to be taken seriously here. funny though…

    • “Totally gone in the head?”

      Far out man. You really dig the scene. Too bad you couldn’t refute a single point I made, so instead you reverted to some groovy insults. Is that your idea of being taken seriously?

      • nothing to refute – just pointing out that someone is taking waaaay too much time analyzing Fox News – I do enjoy the unhinged analysis though…. loads of fun.

    • The media leans “one way or another” for the simple reason the GOP made sure the “Fairness Doctrine” doesn’t exist for intelligent debate and honest news.

      The Fairness Doctrine is the boogie man to the right. It would require news to have ethics and honesty in their reporting.

      AND the Fairness Doctrine would undermine the FOX network’s ability to file court document as they did in Florida legal battle against two journalists who refuse to lie as ordered ……FOX claimed in the documents free speech ALLOWS FOX TO LIE TO THEIR VIEWERS.

      • Mike, you must have a very low opinion of the people in this country – why do they need a fairness doctrine to figure things out on their own? I must admit my opinion of the people has taken a body blow given they put Barak Obama in the White House. The bar for future presidents has now been lowered forever.

    • You must have a steady diet of FAUX

      • Assuming you are commenting on my opinion that people can make up their own minds – that comes from my deep belief that we’re better off letting people run their own lives vs. giving up my freedom to be “educated” by the government and left leaning news outlets through the “fairness doctrine”. Anything with “fairness” in the title isn’t good if it’s coming from the government. Believe what you want about what i watch or don’t watch, but crazy left wing beliefs won’t ever sound good to me – no matter who delivers it. I don’t need Fox News or any other news network (ie CNN, CNBC, MSNBC) to tell me what to think. Thanks for your concern.

        • “Anything with ‘fairness’ in the title isn’t good if it’s coming from the government.”

          But it’s fine if it comes from giant, multinational, right-wing, propagandizing, media conglomerates?

          • I would much prefer supposed “fairness” coming from any private corporation then from the government!! As i tell my kids whenever required – Life’s not fair – get used to it. They’ll be more prepared for real life than most on this website.

            • Fox News promises us ‘fairness’ all the time, dumbass. “Fox News: Fair and Balanced.” LOL @ Steve in York. Your kids must be idiots just like you, hehe.

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