PBS, NPR Bury Their Own Poll Results on BLM, Antifa, and Confederate Statues (Correction Added)

Taxpayer-funded PBS and NPR are now in the polling business with Marist College, and like the other networks, their polls are often used to support putting heat on Republicans. On Wednesday, they announced they had found a majority of Americans were disappointed with the president’s responsive to the violence in Charlottesville. PBS then ignored their own finding that 62 percent favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while only 27 percent want them removed. NPR reported it once, and then insisted that had nothing to do with Charlottesville.

Buried in the weeds: They also asked if Americans approve or disapprove of Black Lives Matter: 50 percent approved, and 33 percent disapproved. [CORRECTION: The original version of this article had these numbers incorrectly reversed.]

They even asked about approval of Antifa, but few had heard of them yet: Five percent approved, 24 percent disapproved, 18 percent said they had no opinion either way, and 53 percent were unsure. But if the results don't fit....you must omit?

Here’s how the PBS NewsHour presented the poll on Wednesday night:

LISA DESJARDINS: This was a poll done Monday and Tuesday. And so some of this might include the president`s latest reaction. Most of it is including his reactions from Saturday. And here`s what we found. We asked people what they thought about the president`s response; 27 percent felt it was strong enough. But, Hari, a majority of Americans felt, 52 percent, not strong enough.

Now, that did break down across party lines. Republicans felt better about the president`s response than did Democrats and independents, but on another question, there was universal agreement. The question was, should the fatal crash in Charlottesville be investigated as an act of domestic terrorism?

Sixty-seven percent of those polled answered yes. And that was the same across all parties. We saw that resonate. And what`s interesting there, Hari, of course, is that the president has yet to say this should be investigated as domestic terrorism. He talks about Islamic terrorism, but here Americans seem to be raising a phrase that the president is not.

"We saw that resonate" is often network code for "our liberal bias resonated." It's fairly obvious that the terrifying vehicular homicide in Charlottesville strongly resembled Islamic automobile attacks in Europe, and many Republicans said so. The Justice Department is investigating on that basis. But when you skip over your own poll when it doesn't please you, those results never get a chance to "resonate."

The poll reporting was also partisan on NPR. Here's the first report on Wednesday night's All Things Considered. Scott Horsley, who often sounded like a stenographer for President Obama, loaded up the tilt on Trump:

SCOTT HORSLEY: Former Klan leader David Duke tweeted "God bless you" to the president, for "setting the record straight." Just 27 percent of Americans think the president's response has been adequate. And the new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found overwhelming opposition to white supremacist viewpoints. Eighty percent of the poll respondents were surveyed after yesterday's news conference.

Horsley followed that with Trump-bashing soundbites by Nicolle Wallace and Charles Sykes. Their poll unsurprisingly found 86 percent mostly disagreed with white supremacy, and four percent mostly agreed. (But America is deeply racist?) 

Horsley struck the same theme on Thursday's Morning Edition:

AILSA CHANG: it's no secret that the president's poll numbers are, to put it lightly, not great right now. So shouldn't that make it easier for people in his party to just - to speak out, to speak their minds?

SCOTT HORSLEY: Yes, it does. We saw a Gallup approval rating for the president fall to 34 percent this week. There's also a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll that finds a majority of Americans think the president's response to the events in Charlottesville has not been adequate. So that does make it somewhat easier for lawmakers and others to put some distance between themselves and President Trump. But they're still cautious.

The statue question came up on Thursday night’s All Things Considered, but only to be dismissed as an irrelevant pretext:

ROBERT SIEGEL: Before news of the Barcelona attack, President Trump appeared defiant in tweets this morning about his response to the Charlottesville protests, defending what he called beautiful Confederate statues.

GEOFF BENNETT: That's right. He said it was sad that the history and culture of the United States is being ripped apart, as he put it, by the removal of these statues and monuments - Confederate statues and monuments, to be clear. But you know, I think the president's pivot to statues may put him on safer ground politically than his previous statement that both sides share the blame for what happened in Charlottesville. And as evidence of that, there's a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll that finds that some 62 percent of Americans think Confederate statues should remain as historical symbols.

But here again, the president is suggesting that the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville was fundamentally about a statue when it was really a pretext for a rally aimed at expressing white supremacist views with some of those in attendance, by the way, clearly seen on video shouting anti-Semitic slogans and raising Nazi salutes.

Your tax dollars are at work...providing a Xerox of the liberal bias of the other networks.


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Charlottesville violence Polling PBS News Hour NPR Morning Edition All Things Considered Lisa Desjardins Scott Horsley
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