"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.'"