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Monday, March 24, 2008
Sheppard Ignores Poll's Bias
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard cited a poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research claiming that a majority of people poll said that Barack Obama's speech on race and the controversial  statements made by his pastor made them "less likely" to vote for him. This, Sheppard said, contradicts "media member after media member" who "gushed over Barack Obama's performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday."

But what the heck is InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research, and what is the Southern Political Report, which first reported the poll? We've never heard of 'em.

Turns out that InsiderAdvantage and the Southern Political Report are both divisions of a company called Internet News Agency, the chairman and CEO of which is Matt Towery. Towery is -- according to his bio at the conservative, where he writes a weekly column -- is a former "campaign chairman for Newt Gingrich and chief strategist for numerous national political campaigns." He is also a "former National Republican legislator of the year."

In other words, he appears to be exactly the kind of guy who has an interest in advancing the idea that Obama's speech hurt him.

Indeed, the poll has a major hole in it: While it accounts for those who were aware of Obama's speech and the situation regarding his pastor, it does not further break down responses for those to actually watched the speech. The press release on the poll does sort of acknowledge this:

Barack Obama’s speech about race on Tuesday impressed many who witnessed it or read it. But most of America did neither, and many of them  -- white and black -- were less persuaded of the speech’s capacity to heal racial wounds, or to put the issue of race behind Obama as he continues his quest for the White House. 

The release goes on to add: "It’s easy to read too much into this poll." Yet that's what Sheppard seems to be trying to do. 

Why didn't Sheppard mention any of this? Perhaps because it would undermine his own argument against liberal media bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT

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