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Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Intersection Between Fake News and Polling

There's a new "poll" out today that reports on which news outlets Americans find most and least trustworthy.  It's an incredible bit of fake news.  According to the report on the poll at the Market Watch site, President Trump is just about the least trusted place from which to get news.  Trump scores even lower than infowars, which I believe is Alex Jones' site.  News sources like CNN and MSNBC are said to be much more trustworthy than Fox News, and PBS and the main broadcast networks are more believed than not.

So why is this Fake News?  The answer is simple.  The poll was not done using any scientific method.  Instead, the poll was taken just by people who came across it on the internet and then participated. As a result, more than half of the respondents said they were Liberal or Very Liberal, even though being a liberal normally polls something like 22% of the voters.  On the other hand, being Conservative or Very Conservative brought in less than 20% of those who responded despite polls normally finding about 44% of voters calling themselves some sort of conservative.  This means that the poll substituted something close to a quarter of all the voters with people who were liberal rather than conservative.  It makes the results meaningless.

So tell me; given that the poll is so obviously BS, why did it get published?  If a spokesman for ISIS announced that the terrorists had just taken Baghdad in Iraq (which is obviously not true), should the media cover this story as if it were a fact?  Of course not!  Nevertheless, some editor decided that it made sense to put totally Fake News on the internet as if it were true.

One thing is certain:  anyone who understands what happened in this poll will surely join those who find the Market Watch site to be completely unbelievable.

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