Affordable Care Act, Galen Institute, Grace-Marie Turner, Kevin Kuhlman, Kristine Frazao, KRNV, Manhattan Institute, MyNews4, National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB, poll, SBGI, Sinclair Broadcast Group, survey, survey design
Kristine Frazao, National Correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (SBGI,) delivered another anti-government news story that was aired on Reno’s NBC affiliate, KRNV, on Monday night. Her stories tend to be one-sided, Fox News-type reports that are long on manipulation and short on facts.
But on Monday, April 7, she came armed with a new ‘”weekend online poll” conducted by her employer (Sinclair) and she was ready to prove that she finally had undisputable evidence to back up her report.
The piece used two clips in three seconds of ‘people on the street’ comments, followed by a third man in an eleven second response in broken English:
“very, very,…ah,.. big…uhm…debt, …uhm,….and is growing exponentially”
It was fourteen seconds of everyone’s life that can’t be recovered. Then Frazao revealed her ‘data.’
The Online Poll Fiasco
Frazao probably doesn’t know that for a survey to be valid, there are certain standards that have to be met. One is that the group surveyed has to be unbiased. Most researchers use random survey techniques to prevent harvesting the opinions that represent a biased group. That involves the researchers, 1) selecting the survey participants and, 2) utilizing a scientific method that allows anyone in the population being surveyed to be selected.
For example, randomly calling people is not usually scientific because it only lets the people who have telephones to be surveyed. An online poll is almost always considered unscientific because it only represents those who have Internet, understand how to use a computer, and find the web page with the survey.
So how did Sinclair post this survey? It took me several hours to find it because Frazao offers no information about how the survey was taken in her story. I finally found it as part of a larger survey on mostly Fox News station websites. In Reno, the survey can only be found on KRXI, the Fox affiliate, not on KRNV, nor Sinclair’s other station, KAME.
That issue alone destroys the credibility of the survey, but it gets better.
The survey question is designed to ask two questions. First, do you trust President Obama? Second, Do you think the Affordable Care Act will improve your coverage? If a respondent doesn’t trust President Obama, then the answer is going to be ‘no’ to both questions regardless of what the person thinks about the second question. Since this survey was on Fox News stations, it’s actually surprising that anyone answered ‘yes’ to the question.
But it gets better still.
Frazao read out the results as they appeared on the screen.
Did you catch the problem? Yep, the numbers add up to 90%, not 100%. My guess is that the ‘Maybe’ group is supposed to be 11%, but the fact is that Sinclair people didn’t recognize the error, and Frazao didn’t either.
The rest of Frazao’s story brought out the usual conservative ‘experts.’ Grace-Marie Turner and her 19-year crusade against health care reform, wearing exactly what she wore for last week’s ‘expert testimony’ against the Affordable Care Act. Once again she threw out numbers that predicted doom and despair, but Turner had no supporting data .
Frazao also presented Manhattan Institute chart of the United States showing the difference in health care insurance premiums for a 27-year-old, by State, before and after the Affordable Care Act. Of course, prior to the Affordable Care Act the 27-year-old might not have been able to get coverage, and the chart doesn’t account for government subsidies.
And the Manhattan Institute? Another conservative think tank. At least Frazao is consistent in her ‘experts.’
“Kevin Kuhlman with the National Federation of Independent Businesses (sic) says small businesses are already feeling it in their bottom-line.”
The only problem with that statement is that the provisions effecting businesses have been delayed until 2015, so how is the Affordable Care Act hitting the bottom-line in 2014?
Frazao does have one final person-on-the-street interview who praises the Affordable Care Act for the mental health benefits, but then Frazao ends by going back to her poll, and the ‘pessimism’ it shows about the future of Obamacare…the poll that doesn’t even add up.
NEXT: What happened on Tuesday? Has KRNV decided to go back to responsible journalism?