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Stewart on Fox & Friends' Fuzzy Math

Topics: Daily Show , Fox & Friends , Gretchen Carlson , Jon Stewart , Rasmussen

Ordinarily, I might save this clip for the "outliers" feature, but this one won't wait.  Jon Stewart discovers some poll numbers mentioned on Fox and Friends that don't quite add up:

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And if you think that clip is impressive, wait until a little after the 1:00 mark on this one from October (via Media Matters)


Update (12/11): Politico's Michael Calderone explains the error in the Fox graphic first flagged by Media Matters.  The 59% labeled as "somewhat likely" was really the total of "very likely" and "somewhat likely."  A correct labeling would have been either "total likely," "very + somewhat likely" or "at least somewhat likely."

2009-12-11_FoxNewsScreenshot.jpg

Calderone includes this reaction from Fox News:

But Lauren Petterson, executive producer of Fox & Friends, told POLITICO that she sees no error in the graphic. And for that reason, there will be no reprimand of staff under the "zero tolerance" policy.

"We were just talking about three interesting pieces of information from Rasmussen," Petterson said. "We didn't put on the screen that it added up to 100 percent."

[...]

While Petterson maintains that Fox & Friends didn't err in displaying the information from Rasmussen, she acknowledges that the presentation wasn't perfect. "The mistake I do see is we could have been a little clearer here," she said.

 

Comments
poughies:

The real question one must ask is "why is a 'comedy' show the one that is finding all of this out"...

Classic Stewart.

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Xenobion:

Idiots on the news. Surprise.

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Field Marshal:

Actually, they added together the somewhat likely and very likely and put it in the somewhat likely spot.

Somewhat should be 24%. Not a big deal.

But it seems that MSNBC/NBC never make any errors in their broadcasts. Or how about Dan Rather? He has a AWESOME track record with the news.

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AySz88:

It's not just the bad graphic, but their stunning reaction to it. Not only did the anchor not retract it on the air when they notice the error ("so you got 90--er, so you got a lot of people right there..."), but that the producer would even defend the mistake afterwards as "just" a case of bad presentation.

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sjt22:

@ FM

So what's your explanation for the rest of it? What justifies the other clip where they imply that a poll is wrong because it samples (accurately) more of one subgroup than another?

More importantly, what's the explanation for an apparently very educated and intelligent host playing dumb? This is quality news?

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