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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
WND Author Asks Racially Charged Poll Question
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily author Brad O'Leary uses slanted polling by Zogby to peddle his right-wing attacks on President Obama. Well, O'Leary has outdone himself.

As Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, the latest Zogby-O'Leary poll includes the following question:

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions.  Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?

(It's question 4 in the full results.)

O'Leary's Zogby poll also misrepresents the hate-crimes bill recently passed by Congress. Question 3:

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a 'Hate Crimes' bill that would make assault based on sexual orientation or perceived gender identity a felony. As it is currently the written, the bill would also allow the prosecution of people whose speech allegedly influences others to commit hate crimes. Some experts believe this could lead to serious infringements on free speech, as well as the prosecution of religious preachers, talk show hosts or political activists who speak against homosexuality or transsexuals. Others say the bill  is an effort to try and stop people from committing such crimes in the future. Do you agree or disagree with the Hate Crimes bill?

As we've detailed, the hate-crimes bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion -- and which O'Leary and Zogby failed to tell poll respondents.

Further, it seems O'Leary is suggesting that incitement to violence should not be punished if a homosexual is a victim. He might want to explain that.

UPDATE: An Oct. 27 WND article by Bob Unruh uncritically promotes O'Leary's poll -- racially charged question and all. It even invites you to contact WND's PR folks if "you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O'Leary about this story."

UPDATE 2: Media Matters points out that the phrase "good white people" comes from a statement by FCC official (and right-wing witch hunt target) Mark Lloyd. But the poll's claim that Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions" is completely false.

And Nate Silver weighs in:

It seems clear, however, in light of this new poll, that Zogby has made a decision to become the bottom-feeders of the polling marketplace, a one-stop-shop for wingnuts of all stripes, who will make no particular distinction between fact and innuendo in the questions they poll. To be clear about the issue at hand, there is a distinction between a merely leading question -- merely couching a statement of fact in favorable terminology -- and a misleading one -- reporting a highly questionable statement as fact to the respondent. To imply from Lloyd's statements that the FCC is considering pursing a policy of forced resignation for white broadcast personalities seems pretty far over the line. That the question as posed is highly racially charged is somewhat tangential to the ethical issue at hand, although it arguably raises the stakes and may certainly further indict John Zogby's judgement.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 4:00 PM EDT

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