The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘The Sun’

Why Not Regulate The Press?

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 23, 2011 @ 22:47

I don’t know about you, but when I see newspaper front pages like this…

 … a front page which is nothing other than a contemptible and deliberately cynical lie… I can’t help but feel that the current situation – much debated at present – that the broadcast media should be regulated, while the print media is allowed to get on with it – is completely untenable.

Can you imagine if, at 10pm last night, the BBC News at 10 had asserted to the same degree of certainty that front page does, that it was Al Qaeda responsible for the attack? If they had been right, no doubt they would be paraded as a fine example of getting an early scoop. But if they’d got it wrong, they would soon discover the full fury of the rest of the media. Not to mention those other unimportant bodies like OFCOM and the BBC Trust.

And rightly so. After all, if a broadcast media organisation had been so sloppy, so brazen, so downright wrong in such a manner as to give people completely the wrong impression, and – worse – potentially inflame the state of race relations in the UK – then they would deserve the book and the whole of the British Library being thrown at them.

So why not the print media? Why, on Monday (not yet on Sunday) will the Sun say absolutely nothing about just how disgustingly and dangerously wrong they were with their Saturday front page? Why is it that no one at all will be able to hold them to account for it?

Why should it merely be that the answer is “if people don’t like it, they will stop buying it”? Don’t the people in such powerful positions as to be able to dictate public policy and influence the public debate have a responsibility to at least either get the basic facts right, or, if they aren’t in possession of those, not to speculate idly without having a scintilla of evidence to back up their wild assertions?

If nothing else, don’t they owe it to their own readership to at least try to get things right?

Apparently not.

The constant refrain during the Murdoch/News International hacking scandal has been “whatever we do, we want to preserve press freedom to self-regulate”. It’s just a tragic shame that it requires such an appalling incident as what happened in Norway to, once again – as if recent events have not been enough – illustrate just how misguided that opinion is.

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And The Polls Did Flow

Posted by The Futility Monster on February 18, 2010 @ 09:56

It’s been over a month since we last gazed into our polling crystal ball (because we have other kinds of crystal balls too…) and I suppose it might be time to update it. But when you see the results, you’ll wish I didn’t…

  • Conservatives: 40% (N/C)
  • Labour: 22% (N/C)
  • Lib Dems: 21% (N/C)

Whoops.

Seriously? No changes at all? Yes. It’s largely because we’re still waiting for that rogue Labour 22% poll to drop out of the polling window (in two days!) – and, as for the Tories, I’ve said it time and time again… their 40% poll rating is nailed on by now. They will not score lower than this in the GB overall result. I triple guarantee it!

The other issue is that the number of polls since then has been remarkably low considering how close we are to an election. Just four polls so far in February.

But, lo, there is news on the horizon to help us. And, alas, it means we have to be grateful for the deep pockets of Rupert Murdoch.

The Sun is going to be running tracker polls from now right up until the election. That’s probably going to be about 50 separate polls, presumably costing them hundreds of thousands of pounds. Fair play to them, though I guess their real agenda is having a daily stick to bash “LABOUR LOSERS!” about with. After all, only a fool would vote Labour when they are LOSERS!

So, although the subject of this post is indeed sarcastic, it is also prophetic. We are going to be truly spoiled in the weeks ahead. Though the people with the most to lose are going to be YouGov, as it will be their polling figures that dominate the news agenda. No doubt Labour will dismiss them as a biased internet polling organisation, but they did that for the London Mayoral election of 2008 as well and look where it got them.

In the weeks drawing up to an election, there may or may not be some exciting changes around here. There’ll be less of my opinionated wisdom (hooray!) and more number crunching. The hope is to capture a little of the American spirit of FiveThirtyEight.com – which was essential reading in the run up to the American election of 2008, and will be again this autumn. No regression analyses though. That’s a bit too far…

The waiting continues…

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