"Bloomberg Circles the Wagons on Misleading Gulf-Spill Poll"

"For an example of precisely the wrong way of handling legitimate questions about coverage, consider the controversy over a recent Bloomberg opinion poll. Josh Nelson, who blogs at Enviroknow.com, first brought this to our attention. He'd pursued something of a one-man campaign criticizing how Bloomberg framed its reports on a recent poll question about oil-drilling bans in the wake of the Gulf spill. Calling it a one-man campaign is a bit unfair, however, because he was joined by some impressive company along the way.

Here is the issue Nelson raised: Bloomberg's headline for its July 14 story read 'Americans in 73% Majority Oppose Deepwater Drilling Ban.' Its lead read: 'Most Americans oppose President Barack Obama's ban on deepwater oil drilling in response to BP's Gulf of Mexico spill...' Because Bloomberg is a wire service, the story ran in many outlets -- among them, the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.

Nelson argued that the headline and lead were not supported by the actual question the poll asked, which was: 'Do you think the spill proves off-shore drilling is just too dangerous and should be banned in U.S. waters, or was this a freak accident and offshore drilling can be made safer and should not be banned?'

Nelson wrote: 'Obviously, there is a huge difference between an indefinite ban on all offshore drilling and President Obama's temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling. Regardless, Bloomberg polled about the former and reported on the latter.'"

Scott Rosenberg reports for PBS Mediashift July 29, 2010.


"Does Anyone at Bloomberg News Care About Accuracy?" (EnviroKnow)

"Americans in 73% Majority Oppose Deepwater Drilling Ban" (Bloomberg)

"Spill Reignites California’s Anti-Drilling Fervor" (New York Times)

"Analysis: BP Spill Seeps Into Norway's Arctic Drilling Debate" (Reuters)


Friday, July 30, 2010
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