CNN Uses Misleading Poll to Claim Most Oppose NC Bathroom Law

On Monday, CNN not only continued to misinform its viewers about the contents of the North Carolina bathroom law, but it also used a misleading CNN/ORC poll to dubiously claim that most Americans oppose the law.

New Day, CNN Newsroom, and Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield have so far cited the poll claiming that 57 percent of Americans oppose the bathroom law, but the wording of the poll gives the false impression that transgenders are required to use the public restroom of their gender at birth when, as clarified by the North Carolina governor's office, the law still allows transgenders to legally change their birth certificates with their updated gender and use the restroom of that gender.

According to the website, the text of the question read: "Overall, would you say you favor or oppose laws that require transgender individuals to use facilities that correspond to their gender at birth rather than their gender identity?"

Other polling has shown different results. A TWC survey from last month found 51 percent majority support for the law in North Carolina, while Reuters has shown nationally a plurality opposed to mixed gender public restrooms.

SurveyUSA also conducted a poll last month for WRAL which found that 55 percent of North Carolinians were opposed to allowing transgenders to use restrooms of the gender that did not correspond with their birth certificates, although there was more disapproval for other provisions of the law.

No matter what the folks at CNN might wish, it is unlikely that most Americans believe men should be granted an open-ended right to go into women's public restrooms whenever they want to.

Accounts of the law on CNN have ranged from flat-out wrongly claiming that transgenders are restricted to using public restrooms of their "birth gender," to recounting that they must use the restroom of the gender corresponding to their birth certificate without clarifying for viewers that the birth certificate can be legally changed.

At 6:13 a.m. ET, New Day co-anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that "the law forbids people from using public bathrooms that don't match the gender listed on their birth certificates," and then cited the misleading poll: "So where is the country on this? A CNN/ORC poll released just minutes ago shows what you see: 38 percent favors such laws. That means about 57 percent are opposed."

At 7:41 a.m. ET, Cuomo incorrectly claimed transgenders would be required to use the restroom of their "birth gender" as he plugged the segment: "North Carolina's governor facing a looming deadline today. Will he follow through the Justice Department's demands to reverse the state's law forcing bathroom use based on someone's birth gender"

After a commercial break, while setting up the segment, the CNN host repeated the "birth gender" claim: "North Carolina's governor is facing a big deadline today -- 5 p.m. -- to comply with the Justice Department's demand to reverse the state's controversial new law requiring individuals to use bathrooms based on their birth gender."

During the 9:00 a.m. ET hour of CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, substitute host Pamela Brown did not clarify that birth certificates can be changed as she related: "The law requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate."

She then cited the flawed poll: "A new CNN/ORC poll shows that the majority of Americans disagree with laws like North Carolina's -- 57 percent say they oppose the legislation; 38 percent support it."

At 12:30 p.m., on Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield, host Banfield also touted the flawed poll:

North Carolina's position on this law, it does not necessarily reflect public opinion because we have a new CNN/ORC poll that says 57 percent of Americans oppose this law that requires bathroom use by gender at birth. So there you go. Almost 60 percent of the folks out there across the country said, "Not in our interests, thanks so much."

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of CNN's New Day, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, and Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield from Monday, May 9:

6:13 a.m. ET
CHRIS CUOMO: The clock is kicking down to a 5:00 deadline. That's when North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, that's when he has to respond to the Justice Department about the state's controversial transgender bathroom law. You can get rid of it --that's up to them -- or you can get sued for discrimination and face the loss of billions in federal funding. As you know, the law forbids people from using public bathrooms that don't match the gender listed on their birth certificates.

So where is the country on this? A CNN/ORC poll released just minutes ago shows what you see: 38 percent favors such laws. That means about 57 percent are opposed.

7:41 a.m. ET
CUOMO: Another big issue in the news, North Carolina's governor facing a looming deadline today. Will he follow through the Justice Department's demands to reverse the state's law forcing bathroom use based on someone's birth gender? Or will he refuse and face the consequences?

(commercial break)

CUOMO: North Carolina's governor is facing a big deadline today -- 5 p.m. -- to comply with the Justice Department's demand to reverse the state's controversial new law requiring individuals to use bathrooms based on their birth gender.

(...)

PAMELA BROWN: Well, it is deadline day in North Carolina. State leaders have until 5 p.m. to respond to the Justice Department's challenge to North Carolina's so-called "bathroom law." The DOJ says it violates the Civil Rights Act. The law requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate. The governor is showing no signs of backing down.

(GOVERNOR PAT MCCRORY (R-NC))

A new CNN/ORC poll shows that the majority of Americans disagree with laws like North Carolina's -- 57 percent say they oppose the legislation; 38 percent support it.

(...)

12:30 p.m. ET
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD:North Carolina's position on this law, it does not necessarily reflect public opinion because we have a new CNN/ORC poll that says 57 percent of Americans oppose this law that requires bathroom use by gender at birth. So there you go. Almost 60 percent of the folks out there across the country said, "Not in our interests, thanks so much."

NB Daily Sexuality Transgender CNN New Day CNN Newsroom Video Chris Cuomo Ashleigh Banfield


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