Adventures in Fox News polling

ADVENTURES IN FOX NEWS POLLING…. Fox News, the only outlet that conducts polls in which the questions are more interesting than the answers.

To be specific, here’s what the poll asked: “What do you think President Obama would like to do with the extra bank bailout money — save it for an emergency, spend it on government programs that might help him politically in 2010 and 2012, or return it to taxpayers?”

The basic assumption here, of course, is that the only reason Obama would want to spend money on the economy is to use the cash as a sort of political slush fund — not simply saying that one disagrees with spending the money or thinks it’s a bad idea, but that it is inherently illegitimate — while saving the money or cutting taxes have purer motives.

Right. Poll respondents were effectively given three choices — the president is either a prudent saver, a corrupt spender, or a friend to taxpayers. That the White House sees value in investing in the economy is characterized as necessarily fraudulent, just as Fox News’ sister organization — the Republican National Committee — would like the public to believe.

The question quickly goes on the list of Fox News Polls’ Greatest Hits, alongside:

* “Do you think former President Bill Clinton’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and securing the release of the two American journalists will encourage kidnapping of more Americans or not?” (Fox News poll, August 2009)

* “Barack Obama says he quit smoking cigarettes. Do you think Obama is still sneaking cigarettes at the White House or do you think he has completely quit smoking? (Fox News poll, June 2009)

* “Do you think the United Nations should be in charge of the worldwide effort to combat climate change and the United States should report to the United Nations on this effort, or should it be up to individual countries and the United States would be allowed to make decisions on its own?” (Fox News poll, April 2009)

* “How much do you think Barack Obama loves America?” (Fox News poll, June 2008)

* “Do you think illegal immigrants from Mexico should be given special treatment and allowed to jump in front of immigrants from other countries that want to come to the United States legally, or not?” (Fox News poll, April 2007)

* “Do you think the Democratic Party should allow a grassroots organization like Moveon.org to take it over or should it resist this type of takeover?” (Fox News poll, March 2007)

It’s quite a “news” outlet.