Thursday, April 27, 2017

Moulin rogue

How are things going with that agenda-setting function of mass media today, Fair 'n' Balanced Network? 

It will take military force to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, a majority of voters believe -- and they tend to favor the U.S. taking that action.
That’s according to the latest national Fox News Poll of registered voters.

Fifty-one percent say that U.S. military action will be required to keep the rouge nation from continuing its nuclear weapons program, while 36 percent think diplomacy alone can stop it.

By a 53-39 percent margin, voters favor the U.S. using military force to keep North Korea from making further advancements on nukes.  

The spelling isn't even the most interesting thing here. There's Fox's skills at question design:

37. Do you think North Korea can be stopped from continuing work on nuclear weapons and missiles through diplomacy alone, or will it take U.S. military force to stop North Korea’s work on nuclear weapons?

Aside from the disappearing missiles, this doesn't seem like a very good case for a binary choice. And the preceding question is a triumph of cluelessness:

36. Which of the following positions on Syria is closer to your own?
SCALE:* 1. The U.S. should be more involved in Syria because there’s a humanitarian crisis there and because it is a strategically important country    2. The U.S. should NOT do more in Syria because it’s a civil war that’s a no-win situation for the U.S., and we could actually end up helping anti-American extremist groups    3. (Don’t know)

Kind of a shame, because unless the same conditions were dogpiled the same way in September 2013, there's no way of telling for sure whether what looks like a significant increase in support for "more involved" -- 26% to 41% -- is even a response to the same question.* Though it does suggest a bit about why Fox does the "greatest immediate threat to the United States" question as a forced choice. Back to the text:

North Korea is seen as the greatest immediate threat to the United States.  Some 38 percent feel that way, while 25 percent think ISIS is the biggest threat and 18 percent say Russia.

Five percent think China poses the biggest risk and just four percent say Iran.

Sounds like somebody needs to get to work on the Iran thing! Which is odd, because Fox did the "most important problem" thingy as a forced choice too, and the results are apparently way too cool to include in a story about why we need to have us a war with North Korea. "The economy and jobs" is at the top (22%), followed by health care (13%) and terrorism (12%), but climate change is at the top of a pack of issues roughly tied for fourth. That one had to be hard to explain in the budget meeting. Better have a war first.

 * No, it isn't
** Though the increase in support for the Iran nuclear deal looks like a pretty stable bet.

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