The idea behind Fox News is simple -- conservative political activism masked as journalism. And, for what it's worth, Fox News tends to do an excellent job blurring the line between the two, often convincing credulous members of the mainstream press that the Murdoch network is operating as a good faith journalistic enterprise. But some bits of news are harder to spin than others, and as Megyn Kelly's segment on the Bush tax cuts this afternoon demonstrated, polling data are among the toughest.
The conceit behind Kelly's segment was that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans will be bad news for Democrats, and she offered up the latest Fox News poll as evidence that the country does not want to tax the rich like the Democrats want: "I anecdotally just thought that people would support the raising of taxes, people who weren't in the so-called rich category. But take a look at this new poll, folks." But here are the poll numbers she put up, and they show that 50 percent of the country favor allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthy or for everyone:
Faced with this uncomfortable realization, she and Stuart Varney simply continued talking as if they hadn't just seen the poll numbers that obliterated their argument. Kelly stammered away: "Just 14 percent said they'd let them expire. Just 14 percent. The vast majority -- you know, you put those numbers, or you look at those other numbers, at least, the more than not, want to keep tax cuts in place for everyone, and 36 percent say at least if you make under $250,000 you shouldn't [sic] have your tax cuts."
Varney, having also seen the very same poll numbers which show that 50 percent of Americans favor letting tax cuts for the wealthy expire, said: "You'd think if you said 'you want to tax the rich, make them pay for it?' You would think that a majority would say 'yes, tax them, that's the way to pay for it, get the deficit down.' Your poll says no, that's not what they're saying."
Now, technically, Varney's right, because 50 percent isn't a "majority." But still, he and Kelly weren't just spinning this poll, they were outright denying what it actually said as they were talking about it.
Video of the segment after the jump.