Here's how Fox News used one of its own polls to spread anti-ObamaCare propaganda.
Last October, just after the Republican-led government shutdown ended and as the ObamaCare rollout was in the throes of dysfunction, Fox News conducted a poll. There were questions about the public's feelings for President Obama, Congress, Democrats, Republicans and, of course, the Affordable Care Act. It's worth noting that Fox's poll used the derisive term "ObamaCare" for the Act, as opposed to its real name or "health care reform" or "health reform law" or some other neutral term that most other polls used.
Fox's October 23, 2013 poll asked the following questions about ObamaCare:
34. In general, how do you feel about the health care law known as Obamacare? Do you think the law should stay in place or would you get rid of it?
Notice how "fix it" wasn't an option? For the record, 41% said to keep the law, 51% wanted to get rid of it.
Then came this "question":
36. And which of the following do you think best describes how Obamacare is being carried out and implemented?
The only answers to choose from were, "It's going fine" and "It's a joke."
As iMediaEthics, which alerted us to this poll today, noted:
As a way to manipulate what passes for public opinion, this question is a gem. How could anyone who gave even a scintilla of attention to the news during that period say the rollout was going “fine”? No one in the White House would have said that, nor would have any members of Congress – including Democrats. So, does that mean that everyone else thought the rollout was a “joke”?
Well, as Eliza Doolittle exclaimed when asked if she was going to walk across the park, “Not bloody likely!” But the contrivance that 60% of the public thought the rollout was a joke was fun trash talk for pundits grasping for something…anything…to fill those 24 hours.
Sure enough, Fox milked the results it all but guaranteed itself it would find. The day the poll was published, Fox'News.com's Dana Blanton ignored such results as a new disapproval rating for Republicans (Question 4), a significant uptick in the sentiment that the Tea Party is bad for the country (Question 33) and that 85% of all respondents had not even tried to access the glitch-plagued ObamaCare website (Question 37). Her headline was, "Fox News Poll: 60 percent of voters think implementation of ObamaCare is 'a joke'."
From there, the spin spread to other news outlets:
Townhall.com (whose News Editor just happens to be paid Fox News Contributor Katie Pavlich) published an article the next day called, "Poll finds 60% believe implementation of ObamaCare has been a 'joke'."
The Washington Times fed the results to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), got his predictable (and prompted) affirmation and then promoted it. Their October 24 article included this paragraph:
Asked about a new Fox News poll that showed six in 10 Americans feel the implementation of Obamacare has been a joke, Mr. McConnell quipped that the law is an “expensive joke.”
The Washington Times then trumpeted the quote they had all but manufactured (with a little help from Fox) in its headline: "Sen. Mitch McConnell calls Obamacare an ‘expensive joke.’"
Fox News: Where they don't just distort the news and the facts but help create them.