For the second time in two days, a New Jersey news outlet has shown that it cannot present the facts accurately. Yesterday, it was NJ101.5 on teacher healthcare costs and today it’s New Jersey Globe. Here’s the headline from today’s Globe story: “Rutgers-Eagleton poll: New Jerseyans broadly support sex ed, but less so in lower grades.”
[ADDENDUM: Politico subsequently published an accurate report, which came out after our original blog was written. We have updated our blog to reflect the Politico report.]
But that is not what the Rutgers-Eagleton poll said. Here’s the data: 88% of respondents supported health and sexual education being taught in high school, 71% supported it being taught in middle school, and only 46% supported it being taught in elementary school – while 51% were opposed. So New Jerseyans actually oppose teaching sex ed to elementary schoolchildren. But you would not know that from the headline.
An accurate headline would have said: “Rutgers-Eagleton poll: New Jerseyans broadly support sex ed, but not in lower grades.” [NOTE: This is almost exactly the headline of the Politico piece]. This may seem like nitpicking, but the casual reader who only reads the headline would come away with the impression that a majority (albeit a lesser majority) of New Jerseyans supported teaching sex ed elementary school. But that is not an accurate reflection of the poll results.
Why would the Globe write such a misleading headline?