NAHJ Concerns About Manipulation and Misrepresentation Stem From Recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll

Jan 24, 2019
11:48 AM
Originally published at NAHJ

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is deeply concerned by the inaccurate NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll that was released. The Marist Poll, conducted in partnership with NPR and PBS NewsHour, released data from January 2019 that did not include appropriate representation of Latinos. This data has since been used by Fox News and President Trump to incorrectly report an increase of Latino approval since December.

First reported by Latino Rebels, legitimate concerns around the poll and its validity as a source have been recognized.

This poll included only a sampling of 1,023 people, 154 of which were recorded as Latino. This sample of participants is clearly too few to yield accurate representation. Besides the distorted findings from the sample taken, Fox News manipulated the results to convey findings that were not reflective of the results of the study. The article groups together “Strongly Approve” and “Approve” ratings to create a higher approval rating than that of “Strongly Disapprove,” which is a strong leader between all choices. Fox also only reported on that category while ignoring other questions within poll, such as asking whether the respondent would vote for Trump in the 2020 election, results which overwhelmingly poll “Definitely vote against him.”

It is not surprising that right-leaning media reports data conveying support for the President. However, without fact-checking and understanding sources, inaccuracies are reported and disinformation is spread. When using data such as this poll’s results, it is imperative to fully dissect the findings and consider whether the poll was fair in its procedures. NAHJ is disappointed in the lack of journalism used by the media groups involved in conducting the poll. It should have been immediately apparent that an insufficient sampling was used and the results should not have been released without further polling.

In 2018, NAHJ rolled out a new training concept during the first ever International Conference and Career Fair. The curriculum, led by Robert Hernandez, included a concentration on all levels of data journalism. Looking forward to the 2019 conference in San Antonio, NAHJ leadership will curate curriculum on-site with an emphasis on preparing journalists and newsrooms managers to plan accurate coverage for the 2020 census and upcoming election.

“NAHJ recommends all journalists to fully analyze all research used in their reports,” said Hugo Balta, president of NAHJ. “It is easy for misinformation to spread when journalists do not do their due diligence and research the sources.”

Media is meant to be a trusted source for the public to obtain truthful information. As has been shown, time and time again, when the media reports falsehoods, the public believes falsehoods.


About NAHJ The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,300 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.