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This Poll Just the Latest Sickness Going Around

I ingested something called The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll last night and awoke this morning with a splitting headache, and a bad taste in my mouth.

I know what you are thinking, I get what I deserve, and should know better than to dive into something like that before bed.

I suppose I have as much trouble laying off the junk food as the next guy, though.

Anyway, here's the reason I am typing with a sour stomach today:

In the latest attempt to figure out what the news-consumer in the land of plenty is thinking these days, this media odd couple asked a random sampling of 1,026 adults nationwide the following question:

"Which of the following do you consider to be the most trustworthy source of daily news in the United States?"

The choices it gave these alleged adults says more about the survey than the results themselves: CNN; Fox News; The major broadcast networks; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Yes, I am aware they put this unsavory group of choices on the menu to spur debate and sicken pundits everywhere. Well done, folks, it worked, and you are now officially part of the problem with so much of the media in this country these days. I'm also not sure why I expected more out of 60 Minutes.

In addition to this strange mix of media, the survey exploited the partisan cloud that allows no sun to shine these days, and saw fit to break down the respondents in two groups: Republicans and Democrats.

To keep things just as shallow and polarizing as possible, there was no category for people identifying themselves as independents -- you know the group that pretty much determines the outcome of all elections, because they aren't wrapped up tight in some red or blue cape?

But the perpetrators knew full well that by handling their survey like some fat-fingered short-order cook, with a ladle of gravy at the ready, they were only recklessly feeding the swelling number of partisans in this country that are unwilling to turn their heads to see two sides of anything -- much less a menu.

Pretty rich, eh?

So as not to keep you in suspense any longer, the most-trustworthy source for news according to this poll is ... CNN, followed closely by Fox News.

And in another shocking development, Democrats found CNN more trustworthy and Republicans thought Fox News is the more trusted.

Here's the list in order of trustworthiness:

1) CNN
2) Fox News
3) The major broadcast networks
4) The New York Times
5) The Wall Street Journal
6) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Really, given these choices, and the haphazard way the poll was administered, it defies logic to me that Stewart didn't lead in a runaway.

Truly non-partisan media outlets like National Public Radio or PBS or most local newspapers were not among the choices these adults were given.

This is akin to asking 1,026 adults to name our greatest president, while leaving names like Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt off the list.

I realize by spending time with this poll I have given 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair the negative attention they were after. Like I said, I have a problem with junk food, and couldn't resist.

I really wish the media would stop exploiting itself this way, though, and instead concentrate on delivering independent consumers news they can truly count on to be fair and balanced.

For my part, it's back to watching my diet.

(Got a tip, a gripe, or some kudos? Send 'em along.)