Apparently borrowing from Investor's Business Daily opinion item, Rosen distorted poll of U.S. Muslims

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen distorted the findings of a Pew Research Center poll of U.S. Muslims and falsely attributed to the poll information that actually appeared in an Investor's Business Daily opinion piece.

On the May 23 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA show, host Mike Rosen, apparently referencing a May 22 Investor's Business Daily opinion piece, distorted the findings of a recently released Pew Research Center opinion poll of U.S. Muslims. Rosen incorrectly claimed that, according to the poll, 55 percent "of all U.S. adult Muslims" don't "support the war on terrorism." In fact, Pew asked respondents, "Is [the] U.S.-Led War on Terrorism a Sincere Effort to Reduce Terrorism?" -- not whether they supported the war on terrorism.

From the May 23 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:

ROSEN: One can only imagine what went through the minds of the people who responded to these questions, if in fact they did respond to these questions. And Pew in its footnotes offered the possibility -- they qualified their findings with the note that "Muslim respondents may have held back for fear they could be tipping off the FBI about their sympathies." Keep in mind this was a poll conducted among Muslims in the United States. As Pew put it, quote, "Some respondents expressed suspicions about the purpose of the study and eventually broke off the interview, forfeiting a 50-dollar participation stipend." This is what Pew reported in its report. Also, the survey may have been biased in favor of secular Muslims in this country who would presumably be more moderate and reasonable. The more devout Muslims who are more likely to interpret the Quran literally, according to Pew, were harder to reach. So make of this poll what you like.

Here are some, some of the other questions. "Do you support the war on terrorism?" This is a survey of all U.S. adult Muslims. Fifty-five percent said "no, they don't"; 26 percent said "yes, they do"; and 19 percent said they "don't know." And I should also note that this was asked of adult Muslims; Muslims under the age of 18 were not asked these questions or weren't included in the poll. And if you take a look at the profile of so many suicide bombers, they tend to be younger. So the fact that this included a lot of secular Muslims, and perhaps not as many devout fundamentalist Muslims, would skew the results of the poll in a more moderate direction, which might also be the case by not including more younger Muslims in the poll.

In stating that "55 percent" of "all U.S. adult Muslims" said "no" in answer to the question "Do you support the war on terrorism?" Rosen apparently was referencing without attribution the Investor's Business Daily op-ed, not the Pew poll itself:

In fact, rather than asking if U.S. Muslims "support[ed] the war on terror," the Pew poll asked, "Is [the] U.S.-Led War on Terrorism a Sincere Effort to Reduce Terrorism?" Fifty-five percent of respondents said "No," while 26 percent said "Yes." Pew reported that 17 percent responded "don't know" or "refused" to answer the question, with another 2 percent giving "mixed" responses; nowhere did Pew list simply that 19 percent responded "don't know."

According to Pew, the poll results demonstrate that "[a] majority of Muslims in America (55%) say that they do not believe the war on terrorism is a sincere attempt to reduce international terrorism," while indicating "skepticism [among Muslims] about U.S. intentions in the war on terrorism." In reference to other survey responses (here and here), Pew further noted that "[t]hough Muslims in the U.S. have doubts about the war on terrorism ... they are nonetheless concerned about Islamic extremism and express high levels of opposition to both terrorists and their tactics" -- a finding Rosen failed to mention.

Earlier, Rosen also falsely asserted that the Pew Center itself had identified a potential flaw in obtaining valid, unbiased survey responses insofar as "in [the] footnotes ... they qualified their findings with the note that 'Muslim respondents may have held back for fear they could be tipping off the FBI about their sympathies.' " In fact, that language does not appear in the Pew report. The Investor's Business Daily op-ed, however, asserted that "Pew in its footnotes suspects that Muslim respondents held back for fear they could be tipping off the FBI about their sympathies."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted (here, here, and here), Rosen in the past has read false or distorted information directly from Investor's Business Daily opinion pieces.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.