Friday, August 04, 2006

Keep Holding Their Feet to the Fire

Something very strange just happened on the CTV site.

Dark Blue Tory had posted a link to CTV clearly stating that "...some Canadians are unhappy with the Conservative position on the Mideast..."

and in the same article:

"Polls suggest a majority of Canadians don't support his position."

Dark Blue Tory asked, "Which one is it?"

That seemed like such a good question that I fired off an email to CTV at 11:38 and also asked for the relevant polls references.

Just a short while ago, I checked back on the CTV site. Amazing! Instant rewrite!

Now the same link yields this statement, "The prime minister has been under fire for his support of Israel in its battle with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a new poll suggests 45 per cent of Canadians don't support his position..." (12:03 p.m.)

The first statement remains the same.

So, was this a coincidence? Was someone at CTV responsible for yet another example of shoddy reporting, or was it some kind of deliberate agenda?

Biased polling is one thing. Biased or sloppy reporting of polls is way over the top.


Zac said...

Biased polling is one thing.

Joanne, I dont think the poll was biased. I told you yesterday that its not a good indicator of support at this stage but I wouldn't call it biased.

Riley Hennessey said...

I always like to check polling questions... because the questions often are leading questions.

Like "Do you support Canada's traditional role of peacekeeping?"

Or even CTV's online poll right now on their website... "Given the rising number of Canadian casualties, should Ottawa withdraw our troops from Afghanistan?"

In both instances the question is leading. "rising number of casualties" is in their to emmit a sense of impending disaster, and in the first question stating the word "traditional" is also leading.

This to me says the poll is bias. Because the question is leading, it usually means the pollsters are out trying to PROVE something, rather than test public reaction.

Even another CTV online poll said "Should Canada remain neutral in conflicts?".... the word "remain" indicated we have been neutral in the past. I bet if you asked "Should Canada BE neutral" in conflicts you'd get a different result.

I don't know what the decima poll question was, but when you look at the latest strategic counsel polls done by CTV and check the questions and actual answers about specifics, such as direction of the country (61% approve) and major issues like Canada's closer ties with the U.S. (57% say this is a good thing) I notice that the Conservatives seem pretty firm in support despite some media rhetoric.

Polls don't show anything but a snapshot of the question and answer at the time... and summer polls show even less.

Lord Omar said...

Thank you Professor Linguistics.

Riley Hennessey said...

I'm sorry Omar, do you disagree?

Lord Omar said...

I neither agree or disagree with your take, Riley.
Every soldier who dies in Afghanistan will make it harder and harder for the government to spin the situation regardless of how the media or the pollsters are framing their questions.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I dont think the poll was biased.

Zac, I'm sorry. I should have been more clear. I was talking in general about polls & the media's take on them. I meant that if a poll is biased, that's bad enough, but if the media deliberately skews any poll (whether biased or not) to suit their own agenda, it is a dangerous game. If it is due to incompetance, there should be an apology.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Riley, I agree that the questions in a survey can be loaded to increase the odds of getting the desired results. Is that biased? I guess it's a matter of interpretation.

Zac said...

Joanne, the problem that I have with polls and the media is that they give one party "front runner" status and people latch onto that. Feeling, perhaps, that if everyone else likes them, there must be something to them.

I wouldn't mind seeing a media ban on polls during elections.

Zac said...

Joanne, Riley dropped by my place to and showed me some of the questions. They seem loaded to me.

One could interpret bias based on that, but I dont think so. I think it was just lousy poll questions. Another good reason why polls cannot be trusted too much.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I wouldn't mind seeing a media ban on polls during elections.

I am with you on that 100%. Somehow I don't think the media would be too happy though. Or the poll companies.

Riley Hennessey said...


I agree. A ban on polling for at least the last ten days of the campaign would be great.

Placing less emphasis on polls holds back the temptation for reporters to just recount the "horse race" of the election and leaves more room for real issues to be discussed.

TJ said...

There was a poll over on the Global News website the other day regarding should men be allowed to go shirtless in public. The question was "Should there be restriction in men taking off their shirts in public?" There were three choices to pick from 1. Absolutly there should be restrictions 2. Depends if they are in shape 3. They should never take off shirts in public.

Can anybody see what's wrong with this? All options to pick are just different versions of yes and there is no option for no, there shouldn't be restrictions. I'm sure global news a few days later went on the air and said that a majority of Canadians think it should be illegal for men to go shirtless. This is a pointless poll and subject but made me think how easy they could be manipulating important polls this way.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

tj - That's too funny considering that it is legal for women to go topless (at least in Ontario).

But I get your point. Polls really should be ignored. Unfortunately, people may be influenced by them courtesy of MSM.

Dark Blue Tory said...

Bastards. At least they corrected it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

DBT - Yeah, as far as I know they never did that with the YWCA survey.

But you'd think they'rd be some kind of retraction!

PGP said...

CTV reporting is constantly striving to create or influence opinion.

It really does not matter whether the polls they choose to report on are biased or inaccurate. They take the slant they want and push it as they have done so clearly in this case.

What's the reason?

First the arrogance of journalists and media editors and producers in believing that they have a right to attempt such shallow manipulation.
Second that just because they can they will inject their own biases ( Isee this as either lack of ethics or intelligence).
Third because a gullible public allows them to and they keep getting away with it.


Mac said...

At least, we taxpayers aren't having our pockets picked by CTV...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mac - lol! That's right. The only other thing that drives me crazy is that horrible "hands in my pocket" commercial they keep running! Gah!! I always change the channel when it comes on.

PGP - Third because a gullible public allows them to and they keep getting away with it. That's why we have to keep calling them up on it. "Plattytalk" was doing that both with CTV and CBC. Suddenly, he is silent. I wonder if they got to him. ;)