Fallacy

What kind of fucking poll is this?

Who wrote that question?! Obviously, the results are going to be null. To begin with, it’s an opinion of an opinion. Secondly, it’s an opinion provided for the subject about a previous opinion provided for the subject.

At the very worst, this poll can be translated as this:

“The media wants you to believe that these two groups are not the same. Now the media wants you to believe that these two groups are not as different as we previously told you to believe they were. Which version of our reality do you most want to believe? (There are no wrong answers (inside our version of reality).)”

But let’s take away the context, let’s remove the media’s overbearing presence, and just look at what the actual poll is asking: Do you, the general population, disagree with the general population?

Or,

Do you, individual, have an unorthodox opinion?

This is not exactly an example of “begging the question,” because there isn’t even a question or an argument to defend. This is just self-congratulatory nonsense, an opportunity for their readers to momentarily pride themselves on their interesting opinions. This represents the nadir of the media chasing its own tail. NPR should be ashamed.

If they wanted to know if their general readership thought that the TEA Party and Occupy could potentially join forces, they might have had the damned common sense to remove the final, tautological clause:

Yes – They have a lot in common.
No – They are disparate movements.

That’s a legitimate question, though I don’t recognize the validity of an anonymous online poll pasted at the bottom of an article.

Here is the slim, aimless article to which the poll is affixed.
I’m categorizing this as Bad News simply because it is news done poorly. It would actually be great news is Occupy and the TEA Party could come together and discuss the issues that are currently vexing both groups. It would be even better news if NPR could write a comprehensive article on the subject.

 

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One thought on “Fallacy

  1. I came across this, in August, when I was at my parents house. I laughed out loud (lol’d, even) when, at the end of a news report, the screen flashed a similarly awful question and invited viewers to vote online. As if, somehow, the fucking poorly informed whim of the general populace has any place in what should be objective journalism. It also vaguely suggests that voting can determine objective fact.

    It’s an awful attempt to make viewers/readers feel empowered, to convince them that their voices are being heard (go vote, you fucks) and, also, to stack statistics for the website and make it look like people are actually engaged with the topics put forth, despite the ambiguous, unexplored, aimless questions and their inability to inspire meaningful discussions.

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