I received an interesting phone call tonight. Actually, it seems that I have been receiving a lot of these types of calls lately.
The man on the other end stated that he wasn’t selling anything and that he was conducting a poll for ABC News / _______ (I forgot who else he said it was, it seems like Reuters). And I am always glad to share my opinion on such things. So, despite the fact that it cut into my TV time, I agreed to continue.
Now before I go on, I wasn’t a big believer in the idea that the main-stream media news had a liberal bias until the whole Dan Rather thing and memo-gate (can we call it that?). I sort of believed that there was a liberal slant, but even that was too strong for me.
But now, after this experience, I am definitely in the camp of stating it as a bias.
The interview started out okay. But slowly, I started to feel like it was leaning more liberal. Then the bomb hit:
Interviewer: “Do you support Pres. George Bush’s Social Security Initiatives?”
Me: “Absolutely, yes.”
Interviewer: “Even when you take into account that Bush’s Social Security Initiatives might cause . . . [I can’t remember what liberal slant they were pushing, my blood started to boil], do you support it?”
Me: “That is such a biasing question. I can’t believe that a survey company would ask that kind of question.”
Interviewer: “I don’t write the questions sir. I just read them.”
Me: “I know that, but whoever wrote these is trying to get me to say what they want. Let me talk to a supervisor or someone.”
Interviewer: “Sure let me go get him.” (This is a very rough paraphrase of the conversation; I wish I would have thought to take notes.)
And when the interviewer comes on he asks me what my problem is, and I said that the question that was asked of me was completely leading and that it shouldn’t be asked. He acknowledged my complaint, and stated that he had received similar complaints and that he would take it back to ABC for their consideration.
Then they proceeded with the interview anyway. I refused to answer any question that I knew was leading or biased.
Throughout the interview I couldn’t have counted all of the obvious telephone interview mistakes that the interviewer made, even if I had my computer next to me keeping tally. It was obvious to me that he had received no formal training, and ABC didn’t care to get an accurate count any way.
So, I might be watching ABC News to see what their biased polls say, then I might just be calling into any talk shows that might choose to discuss it, and let them know my opinion.
But one thing is for sure. I now know that ABC is as biased as CBS. Now it is time for NBC to show it true peacock. Then I will have to subscribe to cable so that I can watch FOX.
Boring Side Note: You might be wondering what makes me such an expert on telephone surveys. Well, first of all, I have taken several courses on research methods. I have taught a course on research methods. I conducted several research studies, one of which was a telephone interview, where in I trained several people on proper ways to conduct telephone interviews. I have also read what is considered to be the premiere book on surveying and interviewing, written by the man who developed the 2000 U.S. Census (my apologies for not remembering his name or the title of the book).