Couric Distorts Poll to Say Most Want “Less Conservative” Church

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 20, 2005

NBC’s Katie Couric asserted on Monday morning that “according to a recent poll 78 percent of American Catholics would like the Catholic Church to be less conservative,” but the only current poll the MRC could locate with such a finding was an early April CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey of Catholics which found 78 percent said the next Pope should “allow Catholics to use birth control.” But Couric cherry-picked the number she liked since the poll also determined that when asked if the next Pope should “make church doctrine on abortion less strict,” only 37 percent said he should compared to 59 percent who responded that he should not.

The MRC’s Tim Graham noticed Couric’s manipulation of the poll numbers and pointed out that the more relevant poll question in the same survey asked: “If you had to choose, do you think the College of Cardinals should select as the next Pope someone who is more conservative than John Paul II, about the same, or more liberal than John Paul II?” The results: 34 percent chose “more liberal,” 59 percent endorsed the conservative status quo, and four percent picked “more conservative.” That hardly matches Couric’s line that 78 percent want a less conservative Pope.

The lists the key results of the April 1-2 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Scroll down at:

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