Questions only Fox News would ask

QUESTIONS ONLY FOX NEWS WOULD ASK…. Most national polls from major news outlets are interesting for their results. Fox News polls are interesting for their questions. Most reputable news outlets try to maintain a degree of seriousness with their poll questions. Fox News, though, prefer to add a little panache to their surveys.

It’s always a bit of a mystery — what kind of nutty questions can Fox News come up with now? The network released a new poll (pdf) yesterday, with the kind of gems we’ve come to expect.

* “Do you believe Barack Obama’s three point six trillion dollar budget plan will help stabilize the nation’s economy, or not?”

Notice the emphasis on the size of the budget. As Steve M. noted, there were no similar polls asking respondents for their thoughts on George W. Bush’s $3.1 trillion budget plan.

* “Some people think that water-boarding and other forms of harsh interrogation techniques don’t work, while others say those interrogation techniques gave the United States valuable information about Al Qaeda to stop additional attacks. Which do you agree with more — harsh interrogation techniques are useless or that they can provide valuable information?”

For Fox News, opponents of torture are simply concerned about effectiveness, while torture apologists want to stop terrorists from killing us. Fair and balanced.

* “Regardless of whether or not you think harsh interrogation techniques work, do you think the CIA should be allowed to use these techniques to obtain information from prisoners that might protect the United States from terrorist attacks?”

Again, for the network, the way to prevent terrorism is for the U.S. to commit acts of torture.

* “If there were a possibility that another major terrorist attack on the scale of the September 11 attacks could be prevented, then do you think the CIA should be allowed to use these techniques to obtain information from prisoners?”

You have a choice: 9/11 or harsh interrogation techniques. That’s fair, right?

* “Does the release of information on the methods used by the CIA to interrogate Al Qaeda terrorists make you feel safer or less safe?”

Notice that, as far as Fox News is concerned, every detainee forced to endure abuse was an al Qaeda terrorist.

* “The Secretary of Homeland Security has stopped using the word terrorism and instead uses the phrase ‘man-caused disasters.’ Do you think President Obama should use the word terrorism when referring to threats from terrorists or should he say man-caused disasters?”

The Secretary of Homeland Security has not stopped using the word “terrorism.” In general, polls are more reliable if those asking the questions refrain from lying to poll respondents.

* “In talking about what might happen to detainees when the Guantanamo Bay prison is closed, recently National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said some of the prisoners may be released in the United States and suggested it may be necessary to give them assistance for them to start a new life. Do you favor or oppose using taxpayer dollars to help prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay?”

Even by the Republican network’s standards, this is cheap. Blair was referring to Chinese Muslims, known as Uighurs, who are not terrorists.

* “As you may have heard, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently suggested that U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars might be susceptible for recruitment into rightwing extremists groups — do you think she is right and it is a possibility, or do you think such a suggestion is an insult to veterans?”

The Secretary of Homeland Security never “suggested” anything of the sort. The report was, after all, prepared by a Bush administration official. By Fox News’ logic, George W. Bush and Michael Chertoff “recently suggested that U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars might be susceptible for recruitment into rightwing extremists groups.”

It’s quite a “news” network.

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