Times Cites Vague Pro-SCHIP Poll, Ignores More Factual One Showing Lack of Support

The Times' push to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Act to cover middle-class families continued in Thursday's story by health correspondent Robert Pear, "Democrats Look Ahead As Veto Override Falters."

"The secretary of health and human services, Michael O. Leavitt, said Wednesday that the child health program 'ought to be focused on poor families.'"

"But the latest CBS News poll, released on Wednesday, found overwhelming support for expansion of the program to include some middle-class uninsured children.

"Eighty-one percent of respondents, including 70 percent of Republicans, supported expanding the program. Three-quarters of those who supported expansion said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to finance it."

But as MRC's Brent Baker discovered, the CBS poll didn't quote a dollar figure. Baker explainedin a Thursday post:

"CBS News, however, generated the 81 percent favorable response by posing a vague question - about covering 'some' uninsured children in the 'middle class' - without citing the $62,000 income level which Gallup provided those they surveyed."

Indeed most respondents agreed with Bush when given specifics of the proposed expansion, as in the USA Today/Gallup Poll, one ignored by the Times.

"As you may know, the Democrats want to allow a family of four earning about $62,000 to qualify for the program. President Bush wants most of the increases to go to families earning less than $41,000. Whose side do you favor?"

When put in those terms, 52% agreed with Bush: 40% with the Democrats.