Following the announcement by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) that the Obama administration is considering housing Guantánamo detainees in a largely vacant prison in Thomson, Illinois, Fox News' Catherine Herridge reported that that "we're seeing some signs of local opposition" among the residents, and MSNBC's Monica Novotny said there was local "outrage." Both omitted additional reporting that some residents welcome the decision, which could provide employment and economic stimulus to the community; indeed, Herridge ignored an earlier report on Fox News that some residents are "pretty open" to the decision.
MSNBC's Monica Novotny just read a Quinnipiac poll result:
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 65 percent say eliminating the threat of terrorism is worth American troops' lives in Afghanistan.
That's super, but Quinnipiac may as well have asked if world peace, an end to poverty, and a pony for every child is worth Americans troops' lives in Afghanistan. See, we're never going to "eliminate the treat of terrorism." Never. Terrorism is a tactic, not a finite object that can be destroyed. Finding out that there is strong public support for something that simply isn't going to happen -- that isn't particularly useful.
In fact, the same Quinnipiac poll found only 38 percent think "the United States will be successful in eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan." Novotny and MSNBC didn't mention that result.
It's bad enough that polling operations ask meaningless questions about whether people support the use of military force in an attempt to reach an outcome that is impossible. Even worse is that news organizations like MSNBC selectively use those poll questions to overstate the extent of public support for war.
MSNBC's Monica Novotny: "Confusion in the health care debate: Should the WH blame town halls, the GOP, conservative media outlets, or itself?"
Notice what's missing from that list of possible culprits? Yep: MSNBC and other media outlets. Lousy health care reporting hasn't been limited to just conservative media outlets.
Even today, MSNBC has told us over and over again that there is confusion, and speculated about why there is confusion. What hasn't MSNBC done? Spent any significant time giving people detailed, factual explanations of health care. Instead, we've gotten stuff like this.
A Quinnipiac University release misrepresented its own poll question to claim that a significant majority of Americans disagree with Judge Sonia Sotomayor's position in Ricci v. DeStefano. MSNBC's Willie Geist and Monica Novotny similarly misrepresented the poll's findings.
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Two segments on MSNBC Live referenced Sen. Hillary Clinton's new hairdo, with one of the segments featuring a discussion "[l]ive from Capitol Hill" with MSNBC congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira, who said, "I'm not really crazy about standing here talking about a senator's hair, especially Senator Clinton's hair, but I'll just say this: When it comes to senatorial hair, she's way ahead of the game."
On MSNBC Live, Mika Brzezinski said that Sen. John McCain "wants to eliminate the federal gas tax -- that's about 20 percent of the cost." Later, Monica Novotny said McCain is "proposing suspending the federal gas tax for the summer, potentially cutting prices by nearly 20 percent." In fact, the federal gas tax -- 18.4 cents per gallon -- comprises only 5.4 percent of the current average cost of regular gasoline.
Fox News host Martha MacCallum and MSNBC host Monica Novotny repeated the false assertion that if Congress does not reauthorize the Protect America Act (PAA), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 would expire. In fact, what is set to expire are the PAA's revisions to FISA, which, among other things, expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' domestic-to-foreign communications without a warrant.