In today's example of "Are online polls reliable?" is a poll at NPR.org, which found an almost exact split among readers of the NPR blog "The Two-Way" on whether the White House or Fox News should win the battle over reputations. (As of 5 pm Eastern time.) NPR blogger Mark Memmott asked it this way. Are you supporting:
-- The White House on this one; Fox News isn't "fair and balanced." 49% (151,983 votes) -- Fox News on this one; it asks questions others don't and the White House should be able to handle them. 49% (152,482 votes) -- Neither side. They're both trying to play this "feud" to their advantage. 2% (5,896 votes)
Memmott wrote it in such a way that it did not require NPR fans to suggest Fox News is fantastic, but it does suggest that position is on the side of giving adequate scrutiny to the White House.UPDATE: As of 4 pm Friday, the Fox News side of the question is now winning handily, 70 percent to 28. He mentions last week's David Folkenflik story for NPR on the Fox feud, but that story was stilted to avoid addressing the liberal bias of the rest of the news media. That was a concept that was merely alleged, not demonstrable:
FOLKENFLIK: Mr. Obama faces a changed media landscape with Fox News and now MSNBC, says John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC. In newspapers, Harwood says, the hard news divisions determine the agenda; not the editorial page. Mr. JOHN HARWOOD (Reporter, The New York Times, CNBC): But in cable television, the editorial page drives the train. That is where the power and the attention come from. And in Fox, you've got a network that is self-consciously set out to correct what it sees as the leftward bias of the rest of the media. And you're guaranteed to have a Democratic White House feeling the heat and feeling some frustration about it.FOLKENFLIK: Dee Dee Myers asks: Does it makes sense to take on a cable channel whose top shows attract two to three million viewers, nearly half of whom are Independents? Myers was press secretary for President Clinton.Ms. DEE DEE MYERS (Political Analyst): I think it feels good for people inside the White House more than it actually accomplishes everything they want to accomplish. You do get tired of being on the receiving end of a lot of critical media.FOLKENFLIK: Dan Schnur was communications director of Republican Senator John McCain's presidential campaign in 2000. And he says attacking the media can be a distraction.Mr. DAN SCHNUR (Former Communications Director): There's only so much of a window of opportunity for even the president of the United States or the White House to talk to voters. And every minute that they spend talking about Fox News is a minute that they're not being heard on health care or Afghanistan or the other policy priorities. FOLKENFLIK: The White House says its message will get out and that the president will even appear on Fox sometime in the future, but that it's not willing to play ball - at least not right now.
(Hat tip: Nawlins)