Here are the first three paragraphs of a story featured prominently on CNN's webpage right now, Thursday morning, which is headlined "As repeal and replace falters, more say GOP should abandon repeal plan."
A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS finds a growing share of Americans want to see the GOP abandon its effort to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare, as majorities across party lines want congressional Republicans to aim for a bill with bipartisan support.
Hang on. Let's parse that lede for a sec. There's a new poll and the most important finding is that a majority of those surveyed — the "more say" from the headline — want Republicans to stop trying to repeal Obamacare. Simple. But wait. Why doesn't it say that? And what is this "growing share"? Is that a majority, like, more than half? Or did 2% just rise to 3%? That's a "growing share," too, right? Well, let's find out.
Overall, 35% in the poll say they'd like President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress to give up their plans for repealing and replacing Obamacare, up from 23% who said the same in a March survey.
Hmm. The second graf says 35% want Republicans to abandon their plan to repeal former president Barack Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act. That's one-third — two-thirds of those surveyed are still out there ... somewhere. But at least we do find out what a "growing share" means — in a March survey, 23% said they don't want the GOP to repeal Obamacare, and that number nearly doubled with the latest poll. But where are the other 65%? Let's read on, try to find them.
A majority still favor some form of repeal (34% would prefer repeal with replacement at the same time, and 18% favor repeal regardless of whether the law is replaced at the same time).
Holy @&%#! Turns out 52% want to repeal Obamacare (some while simultaneously replacing, others not). But regardless, more than half of those polled agreed on ... something, a single thing. How is that not the lede? How does the writer, Jennifer Agiesta, who is also CNN's polling director, justify choosing to write about 35% of the survey while downplaying 52% of the poll?
And that headline: "As repeal and replace falters, more say GOP should abandon repeal plan." "More" say Republicans should abandon? Well, "more" meaning the majority? Wrong. In this case, the number has just gone up, becoming that weird phrase, a "growing share."
The headline is a masterpiece in that fake news way CNN excels in. It's technically accurate, but highly misleading. And the story, too. There were a slew of other findings that numerically eclipsed what CNN chose as its lede. For instance nearly 8 in 10 (77%) "say they'd like Republicans in Congress to try to work with Democrats to pass a health care bill." That could have been the standalone lede, not a secondary one.
But CNN decided to focus on "more" while ignoring "most." If you have a friend who doesn't understand what "fake news" is, just show them this story. It's a perfect example in which a news agency writes around the news it doesn't want to present to focus on its own narrow narrative — at the expense of truth.
And CNN is truly the master of fake news.