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MSNBC is conducting useless polls

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MSNBC, supposedly the most liberal of the three major news outlets on cable TV, is exploiting the ignorance of some of its viewers with a weekly Sunday afternoon program that purports to measure public opinion on political matters. All it really measures is the gullibility of its audience.

The network calls this foolish exercise “Pulse of America.” It poses questions to viewers and invites them to respond by logging onto a network website and answering yes or no. Respondents also indicate whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, and they provide information on their gender, age and levels of education. A typical question asks whether President Trump’s policies will be good for the nation’s economy.

The host of the hour-long program periodically provides updates on responses to the questions, including all the  demographic breakdowns. Democratic respondents supposedly believe this, while Republicans supposedly believe that. Young people think this, and old people think that, etc., etc. . Invariably, the vast majority of answers lean to the left side of the political spectrum — for the simple reason that MSNBC has a mostly liberal viewing audience. If the program was on the Fox News Channel, most of the responses presumably would be tilted to the political right.

Putting it another way, the show decidedly is not a reliable measure of the “Pulse of America.” It’s a cynical exploitation of viewers’ ignorance of how scientific polling actually works. The results of the MSNBC survey are utterly worthless. In fact, they are worse than worthless. They mislead viewers with false readings of public opinion.

How a presumably respectable news organization  can be a party to nonsense like this is inexplicable. It’s a wonder that the reputable journalists who work there don’t demand that “Pulse of America” be relegated to a file labeled “Bad Ideas.”

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1 Comment

  1. Pollyanna

    Not exactly a controversial point, but a valid one.

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