Yesterday, USA Today and Gallup released a new poll that found that a whopping 61 percent of Americans oppose efforts like those of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) to strip public sector unions of collective bargaining rights. The poll also found that only a third of Americans support such a policy, indicating that Walker is pandering to the far-right of the American electorate and is hardly representative of mainstream political thought in this country.
This morning, during a debate about the situation in Wisconsin and collective bargaining rights in general, the Fox News show Fox & Friends referenced the USA Today/Gallup poll. With incredible brazenness, the Fox hosts actually reversed the results of the poll in order to claim that two-thirds of Americans supported Wisconsin-style laws rather than opposed them.
During the discussion, Fox host Brian Kilmeade asked pro-labor guest Robert Zimmerman if President Obama was taking a “big risk” by opposing Walker’s law. Zimmerman responded by saying that Obama was speaking “for the mainstream of our country, and the mainstream of Republican governors who are not siding with Governor Walker.” Kilmeade responded by saying, “I think Gallup, a relatively mainstream poll, has a differing view. And here’s the question that was posed. Do you favor or disfavor of taking away collective bargaining when it comes to salaries for government workers. 66 percent in favor, 33 percent opposed, 9 percent up in the air.” Watch it:
Needless to say, it is hardly “fair and balanced,” as Fox News likes to deem itself, to take the results of a poll and simply reverse them when they do not go your way.
It’s worth pointing out that, Jim Glassman, the Bush Center director who appeared on the show to argue against collective bargaining, said right after the poll was shown that “many” states actually don’t have collective bargaining. The truth is that only five states do not have collective bargaining for public employees — Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Those states rank 45th, 48th, 49th, 38th, and 34th, in average SAT scores, respectively. Wisconsin is 3rd.
In the final minute of the Fox & Friends episode, Kilmeade issued a correction and made an apology for reversing the numbers.
,Yesterday, scores of New York City residents protested outside of the Fox News headquarters about the network’s coverage of the Wisconsin protests, timing their protests to coincide with the 5 pm start of Glenn Beck’s show. One protester carried a sign that appropriately read “Fox Lies“: