CBS Ignores Some Conservative Findings in Poll, Minimizes Others

Bob Schieffer opened the May 9 edition of the CBS Evening News by trumpeting a new poll that suggested disaster for the Republicans in November. As usual, any information that didn’t support the liberal talking points was ignored or minimized. The network anchor made sure to point out that "President Bush's ratings have hit another all-time low."

A few of the results, however, somehow escaped mention. According to the poll, 39 percent of Americans supported drilling in ANWR in November 2002. A separate survey, conducted in February of 2005 found a similar 38 percent approval for the idea. CBS puts the current level of support at 48 percent. Now what could be the cause of this 9 point increase? Perhaps the media’s relentless pounding of the "gas crisis," 183 stories in three weeks, had unintended consequences? Schieffer omitted any reference to ANWR in his report.

Gloria Borger, who reported on the poll’s findings for the Evening News, commented on just about every finding in the poll. In the segment, which aired at 6:31PM EDT, she stated the following:

Borger: "By wide margins, the public says Democrats would do a better job of handling most all issues, including gas prices and the war in Iraq."

Absent from the piece is any mention of immigration. The May 10 Early Show also discussed the poll and they didn’t reference it either. Could that have something to do with the survey’s finding that 70 percent of Americans believe that illegal immigration weakens the United States economy? 59 percent characterized illegal immigration as "a serious problem." This too went unnoticed.

Finally, there is the issue of President Bush’s approval numbers. They are low, no doubt about it. According to CBS, only 29 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the President (this is a different question then job approval). According to the same poll, only 34 percent of Americans look positively towards Senator Clinton. The numbers are even lower for John Kerry and Al Gore, 26 and 28 percent respectively. The margin of error, by the way, was 4 points. Now, to be fair, Bob Schieffer did acknowledge this. But it came at the very end of the story and was more of a throwaway line as he wrapped up the segment:

Schieffer: "You know, Gloria, one of the interesting things to me in this poll is that the major Democrats -- Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore -- all have unfavorable ratings that are more than their favorable ratings, just as George Bush and Dick Cheney do."

He then added, "I think all incumbents should be nervous about this, Gloria." If "all incumbents should be worried," why only emphasize the findings that are negative to conservatives?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.