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Fox News fans misinformed, study finds
St. Paul Pioneer Press ^ | Oct 17, 2003 | BRIAN LAMBERT

Posted on 10/17/2003 8:03:21 AM PDT by jdege

Fox News fans misinformed, study finds

BY BRIAN LAMBERT
Pioneer Press

One of Jay Leno's best shticks is "Jaywalking," when he manages to find more or less average Americans who know, or at least appear to know, almost nothing about the world beyond Entertainment Weekly.

Show them a picture of Abe Lincoln, and they're stumped. "Is he the guy from Smashmouth?" Ask them to name two countries that border the United States, and you get, "Covina? Azuza? I don't know." It's scary - these people could be called for jury duty or placed in middle management. But it gets scarier yet, apparently, when you start asking 3,334 randomly selected adult Americans what they think has been going on in Iraq and where they learned what they think they know.

For the past year, the Program on International Policy Attitudes, or PIPA, a consortium organized through the University of Maryland, has been using a California-based research group called Knowledge Networks (and existing Roper polling data) to test what Americans know and how they came to know it.

Since June, PIPA has been refining data that showed disturbing misperceptions related to the following three questions:

- "Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization?"

- "Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?"

- "Thinking about how all the people in the world feel about the U.S. having gone to war with Iraq, do you think the majority of people favor the U.S. having gone to war?"

The survey was released late last week, and the news of it was this: Those who cited Fox News as their primary news source were far more likely to harbor fundamental misperceptions about one or more of these three questions than those who cited National Public Radio or PBS as their primary sources for news.

I know, I know. You're shocked.

But for all the anecdotal information, opinions and accusations, here was a comprehensive survey with a thoroughly professional, scientific methodology. We don't get enough of that.

Eighty percent of the 3,334 respondents said their primary news source was television or radio networks. Of that figure, 18 percent cited Fox News as their primary news source. A mere 3 percent cited NPR or PBS. (Thirty percent cited two or more sources; CNN 16 percent, NBC 14 percent, ABC 11 percent, CBS 9 percent.)

Twenty percent cited newspapers and magazines as their primary news source.

On the question of a link between Saddam and al-Qaida, a frankly startling 67 percent of the Fox News primary-source crowd believed this to be true. It's a claim that was one of the centerpieces of the Bush administration war policy but has never been proved, and, as PIPA asserts, is now largely dismissed by the intelligence community (and lately the White House itself).

It is probably no great solace to NPR and PBS that 16 percent of listeners glued to them also believe the Saddam-Osama link. But last time I checked, 67 percent was more than four times greater than 16 percent.

On the question of whether we have found weapons of mass destruction, a matter of enormous controversy heavily reported in every major source, 33 percent of Fox News watchers somehow still believe that we have. (The president at one point said we did.) Only 17 percent of those consuming mostly print media thought so, and only 11 percent of the NPR-PBS crowd was operating under the same rather astonishing misperception.

On the matter of world opinion, 35 percent of Fox News-viewing respondents believe world opinion supported the U.S. war with Iraq, while only 5 percent of the NPR-PBS crowd believed this in the face of almost daily international criticism and/or consternation.

The study also made an effort to gauge the quantity of time spent consuming news from a specific source and the relation between additional exposure and misperceptions of these three issues.

The conclusion: "While it would seem that misperceptions are derived from a failure to pay attention to the news, overall, those who pay greater attention to the news are no less likely to have misperceptions. Among those who primarily watch Fox, those who pay more attention are more likely to have misperceptions. (My emphasis.) Only those who primarily get their news from print media, and to some extent those who primarily watch CNN, have fewer misperceptions as they pay more attention."

I wish I could say this surprised me.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: ccrm; foxnews; pipa
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It seems that Fox News viewers aren't falling for the leftist media's preferred lies...
1 posted on 10/17/2003 8:03:21 AM PDT by jdege
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To: jdege
More precisely: the Fox viewers failed to demonstrate proficiency in regurgitating Leftist Indoctrination (which we all know is the highest purpose of both journalsim and education)
2 posted on 10/17/2003 8:05:43 AM PDT by BenLurkin (Socialism is Slavery)
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To: jdege
This is why we need AlBore's network.
3 posted on 10/17/2003 8:06:39 AM PDT by fella
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To: jdege
While I'll be the first to admit these questions are pretty lame and at least to some degree subjective (like, what is "clear" evidence), the answers of Fox viewers does certainly raise some eyebrows.

But, whatever. Fantasy worlds need citizens, too.
4 posted on 10/17/2003 8:08:16 AM PDT by Viva Le Dissention
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To: jdege
- "Thinking about how all the people in the world feel about the U.S. having gone to war with Iraq, do you think the majority of people favor the U.S. having gone to war?"

I think all of the questions are bad questions, but this one is a doozy. Given its formulation, its asking if over 3 Billion people favor the US going to war. Does it matter? Do we know? Was there a poll?

5 posted on 10/17/2003 8:09:07 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
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To: jdege
There HAS been a proven Al Qaida-SadMan/Iraq link. But the press won't report it. So they CLAIM it has't been proven, but it has.

Michael

6 posted on 10/17/2003 8:09:12 AM PDT by Wright is right! (Never get excited about ANYTHING by the way it looks from behind.)
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To: jdege
This report is surreal in its utterly two-faced condemnation and spin. The "journalists" have lost their cotton-pickin' minds.
7 posted on 10/17/2003 8:09:38 AM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: jdege
Hmmmm...no bias here...we need to change the title:

The Program on International Policy Attitudes Misinformed, Fox News Fans Study Finds.

8 posted on 10/17/2003 8:10:13 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: jdege
20% are still getting their news from newspapers? Amazing.
9 posted on 10/17/2003 8:10:48 AM PDT by sarasota
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To: jdege
The inspectors found botulinum in a scientist's home. I got that from a news source other than Fox. But leftists say it isn't a weapon of mass desruction. I guess it was for a salad dressing.
10 posted on 10/17/2003 8:11:34 AM PDT by JeeperFreeper
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To: jdege
Regarding question one: Fox news viewers have watched Mansoor Ijaz, who insists there is an Al-Quida -Iraq connection. I doubt PBS viewers have ever even heard him speak.

Maybe that is not "clear evidence" but I find him very persuasive.
11 posted on 10/17/2003 8:11:47 AM PDT by I still care
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To: jdege
A mere 3 percent cited NPR or PBS...

There's hope.

12 posted on 10/17/2003 8:11:50 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: Wright is right!
There HAS been a proven Al Qaida-SadMan/Iraq link. But the press won't report it. So they CLAIM it has't been proven, but it has.

The same for the WMD evidence.

13 posted on 10/17/2003 8:12:39 AM PDT by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: jdege
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weep on stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

I guess all these people have or had misconceptions too...I just simply call it hypocrisy and selling out the security and honor of your country after it was attacked countless times for a freaking vote. First WTC attack; The leader of that attack as well as three others involed came into the US with Iraqi passports. `Nuff said.

"No democ rat! No no no no!! We see what you do in America! No no no!"

Photo Highlight
A woman uses a wooden mallet to kill a democ rat in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. China's economic hub Shanghai will use a contraceptive pill to control its democ rat population before they multiply and try to remove what little freedom the Chinese have left.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)
Thu Oct 16, 9:49 AM ET

 

14 posted on 10/17/2003 8:12:42 AM PDT by metalboy (Liberals-Nuke `em from orbit. It`s the only way to be sure.)
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To: jdege
Only those who primarily get their news from print media, and to some extent those who primarily watch CNN, have fewer misperceptions as they pay more attention."

this from the ivory tower, er, throne? sheesh. flush twice.

15 posted on 10/17/2003 8:13:08 AM PDT by glock rocks (Support Free Republic -- Pray for our Troops -- God Bless America)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: JeeperFreeper
The botulinum was for an anti-wrinkle cream.
17 posted on 10/17/2003 8:13:37 AM PDT by jdege
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To: jdege
I bet we could do a survey of NPR and PBS fans and show that they believe America was at fault for 9/11. Big deal.
18 posted on 10/17/2003 8:14:16 AM PDT by Sir Gawain (Stop acting like Richard Cranium)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
In Massachusetts, it is staggering how many people get their news from NPR. People say it to me all the time, and I laugh in their face. Then they change the subject.
19 posted on 10/17/2003 8:14:20 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (France delenda est)
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To: jdege
So, if/when ABCCNNBCBS lies (all the time!) and doesn't report the links and the actual findings Kay reported (that there were numerous secret ON-GOING PROGRAMS to develope and improve WMD's), their listeners are "informed" and accurate.

... but when Fox does report the actual information,

... then the listeners to Fox are criticized (heavily!) for listening to the truth!
20 posted on 10/17/2003 8:14:39 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: jdege; All
I have to disagree with you and somewhat lean towards the article. I love FNC ....do not get me wrong ....and i watch it a lot. The only thing is i watch it for their commentaries. When i yearn for news (and by news i do not mean commentary) i tune to several sources ranging from AP, MSNBC or even SKY (and by the way SKY is affiliated with FOX, but they do not spend half of their time telling me THEIR understanding of what is happening but instead just tell me what is happening and drop the 'explanation').

There are several instances where a FNC 'commentator' has jumped to a conclusion based on nothing more than what he/she thinks is afoot in the world.

Watch the Fox and Friends and you'll note that they regularly say what they think instead of what is happening. And there is a major difference between the two since one is basically the news as understood by the newsperson, and the other is plain and simple: the news! The first is quite entertaining ...which is why i watch FNC. It is fun to watch and here what would otherwise be mundane info broken down into various facets and obviously speculative reasoning (aka speculation ....but no one would call it that on air) is quite entertaining.

The only problem is that when a person filters the news it is basically being spun or skewed toward one objective (Liberals do this a lot ....but also do a lot of FNC newspeople).

I love FNC ...however their maxim of 'We Report You decide' is more like 'We Report, then Explain, Speculate, and finally tell you what is happening and you can then decide.'

21 posted on 10/17/2003 8:20:02 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear missiles: The ultimate Phallic symbol.)
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To: metalboy
That pic is damn funny with that caption...
22 posted on 10/17/2003 8:20:13 AM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Viva Le Dissention
the answers of Fox viewers does certainly raise some eyebrows.

The questions asked for "your impression", "your impression", and "your feeling" in that order.

Why would it "raise eyebrows" to learn that Fox News watchers have different "impressions" or "feelings" than NPR news listeners?

I would have thought the results were obvious and inane, not eyebrow raising.

23 posted on 10/17/2003 8:20:45 AM PDT by been_lurking
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To: Wright is right!
On the question of a link between Saddam and al-Qaida, a frankly startling 67 percent of the Fox News primary-source crowd believed this to be true. It's a claim that was one of the centerpieces of the Bush administration war policy but has never been proved, and, as PIPA asserts, is now largely dismissed by the intelligence community (and lately the White House itself).

Au contraire, mon ami. Ooops, sorry, speaking French isn't a good thing anymore.

Well, it HAS been proven. When our soldiers first went into palaces in Baghdad, they found papers that showed a clear paper trail of links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

I know, I know - it's so long ago, we've forgotten but we have proof of linkS with the Osama-may-he-please-be-dead one!

24 posted on 10/17/2003 8:21:03 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: jdege
This is the same douche that wrote an "BashRush" article about Al Franken. I know his agenda.

Notice that the questions are liberal slanted. If I asked questions like "Did the US have any participatory allies in the War?" , "Are things going well in post-war Iraq"? or "What happened to the artifacts in the Iraqi Museum?" we'd have CNN and MSNBC viewers score worse than Fox viewers.

25 posted on 10/17/2003 8:21:36 AM PDT by Captainpaintball
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To: jdege
Do these people have any idea what a survey like this opens up? I don't have the time at the moment, but it would be very simple to come up with three "survey" questoions (that aren't as blatant as these) that could be asked of the general public which would make Fox viewers look like geniuses compared to the other categories.
26 posted on 10/17/2003 8:21:52 AM PDT by cspackler (There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.)
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To: jdege
What a bogus report on a bogus study. Notice there is no comparison between Fox and their direct competition - CNN. Or any indication of how misinformed those who only watch the major network news are. Even with liberally slanted questions. Ask the same people "Did president Bush lie when he said that Iraq posed an 'imminent threat' to the US?" and see how many viewers of CNN, CBS, ABS and NBS are "misinformed"!
27 posted on 10/17/2003 8:23:26 AM PDT by foolish-one
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To: Captainpaintball
Thanks, Cap. You did it for me already before I got my comment posted.
28 posted on 10/17/2003 8:23:29 AM PDT by cspackler (There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't.)
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To: jdege
I sent Mr. Lambert the following:

Mr. Lambert,

If you read the news a bit more often, or at least a wider sampling, you might have discovered the bias that was built into this survey. For example, the question about al Qaida was prefaced with a phrase like "as you know, President Bush has emphasized the links between Iraq and 9/11" (see Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal" from about two weeks ago.

If you thought about this a little more, it might dawn on you that the question about world opinion asks people to state an opinion about something for which there is no conclusive empirical evidence. It may be that people doubt the validity of the various polls that have been released on this, or they suspect that "world opinion" is changeable as new facts arise.

The second question, about WMD, might also be open to interpretation. For example, Colin Powell already revealed the presence of long range missiles and warheads capable of carrying chemical payloads.

Now, consider the following. Were we to survey CNN watchers or NPR listeners as to whether or not President Bush claimed that Iraq constituted an "imminent thread," how do you suppose the majority would answer? I put it to you that this is no less a sign of misinformation than the examples you cite.

In truth, as a social scientist myself, I have serious misgivings about the methodology used in the study you describe. Did people know they were being surveyed about their actual knowledge? Or did many believe they were responding to an "opinion poll?" The answer to this question is very important when interpreting the survey results.

29 posted on 10/17/2003 8:24:01 AM PDT by zook
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To: foolish-one
"ABS" = "ABC"
30 posted on 10/17/2003 8:24:14 AM PDT by foolish-one
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To: jdege
This is the third posting today where some liberal uses the term "perception".

When are the liberals ever going to address REALITY. They seem to be all wrapped up in "perceptions" lately.

31 posted on 10/17/2003 8:24:39 AM PDT by been_lurking
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To: ClearCase_guy
I think all of the questions are bad questions

A bad question is one that is open to interpretation. Yes these are bad questions.

32 posted on 10/17/2003 8:25:09 AM PDT by staytrue
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To: been_lurking
As I said before, the questions have a degree of subjectivity.

You're right, the results may actually be obvious, in retrospect. I do sort of assume that people who get their news from Fox would tend to be misinformed.

Then again, I'm a snob in the 20% that only get their news from a newspaper. I think TV "news" is inherently biased and misinforming anyhow.
33 posted on 10/17/2003 8:25:22 AM PDT by Viva Le Dissention
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To: jdege
This writer is an arrogant fellow, isn't he?
34 posted on 10/17/2003 8:30:13 AM PDT by Tennessean4Bush
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To: jdege
The problem is the survey overlooked the Ann Coulter synopsis of the situation.....

20% of the respondents are conservatives, 20% are liberal and 80% are morons....

35 posted on 10/17/2003 8:32:54 AM PDT by hosepipe
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To: ravingnutter
The Program on International Policy Attitudes = "Mo & Ron's Servey Survice"
36 posted on 10/17/2003 8:33:17 AM PDT by Wondervixen (Ask for her by name--Accept no substitutes!)
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To: jdege
I wish the author would have cited the "correct" answers to the PIPA questions were supposed to be. If they think the answers are all "no" then I guess we know where they stand.
37 posted on 10/17/2003 8:33:22 AM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Viva Le Dissention
What newspaper do you read? I assume from your remark that you consider it to be unbiased.
38 posted on 10/17/2003 8:35:05 AM PDT by Tired_of_the_Lies
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To: metalboy
Bush needs to make a commercial out of all of those quotes to show the sheeple how the Dems play politiks. White letters on black screen. Voice-over. I gleefully consider the squirming from Her Heinous, Teddy-boy and Maddy.
39 posted on 10/17/2003 8:35:12 AM PDT by StrictTime
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To: jdege
Well, doggone it, I guess I will just have to start watching CNN. Hmmmmm.... On second thought, I think I will continue to stay "misinformed".
40 posted on 10/17/2003 8:35:47 AM PDT by bertdog1
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To: jdege
I dont think we are misinformed, just informed...
41 posted on 10/17/2003 8:36:14 AM PDT by cardinal4 (Hillary and Clark rhymes with Ft Marcy park...)
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To: Viva Le Dissention
I do sort of assume that people who get their news from Fox would tend to be misinformed.

How can someone be "misinformed" about their own personal "impressions" and "feelings"?

If everybody doesn't feel the same way about things that you do, then they are, by definition, misinformed?

Your bias has blinded you.

42 posted on 10/17/2003 8:36:33 AM PDT by been_lurking
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To: jdege
On the question of a link between Saddam and al-Qaida, a frankly startling 67 percent of the Fox News primary-source crowd believed this to be true.

No kidding.  FR probably would test out around 90 percent and would tell you the White House is lying when Bush says there is no link, either.  Don't blame Fox.  People believe what they want to believe.
43 posted on 10/17/2003 8:37:13 AM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: jdege
Wow. FOX News really scares them, doesn't it? Talk radio, FR, and FOX News may yet save this nation.
44 posted on 10/17/2003 8:37:14 AM PDT by doug from upland (Arnold cannot be compared to Clinton.......Clinton is a vicious biting perjuring rapist)
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To: Tired_of_the_Lies
I read the WSJ.

No matter what, whenever someone reports something, there will be a warping of the true and actual facts; unfortunately, it's impossible to avoid, but different people see the same things differently, and even if someone makes an honest and true effort to report exactly what he saw, it may be different than what I saw. So in that sense, everything is in a sense, biased.

This said, however, I think the WSJ does the best job of attempting to limit any biases that appear in its pages.
45 posted on 10/17/2003 8:38:30 AM PDT by Viva Le Dissention
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To: Viva Le Dissention
While I'll be the first to admit these questions are pretty lame and at least to some degree subjective (like, what is "clear" evidence), the answers of Fox viewers does certainly raise some eyebrows.

Why am I not surprised you take the French view once again?

46 posted on 10/17/2003 8:38:54 AM PDT by JohnnyZ (RED SOX WIN! We had 'em all the way)
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To: jdege
The Nitwits just keep trying and trying to knock the conservatives out.
47 posted on 10/17/2003 8:39:07 AM PDT by freekitty
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To: doug from upland
Talk radio, FR, and FOX News may yet save this nation.

Not if Ed Asner has anything to say about it!! :-)

48 posted on 10/17/2003 8:39:50 AM PDT by JoeSixPack1 (POW/MIA Bring 'em Home, Or Send us Back!! Semper Fi)
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To: jdege
"Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?"

The war ended in Iraq? Wow. The Yankees make it to the Series and the war is over in Iraq- too much good news for me to handle in a 24 hour period.

And they want to say someone is uninformed?

49 posted on 10/17/2003 8:40:38 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: jdege
What really gets their panties in a bunch is not the "Fair and Balanced" reporting. But the "You Decide Part"
50 posted on 10/17/2003 8:42:35 AM PDT by TomHarkinIsNotFromIowa (Foe Hammer!)
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