Sunday 12 January 2014


Stats are great. Really they are.

The problems start when people start spinning the stats.  

Here's an example. 

The statistic that 24,000 families who do not live in the UK receive child benefit, costing millions of pounds, is "crackers", according to the Daily Mail

The same figure - without any mention of the 'millions of pounds' cost - was mentioned by Shaun Ley on this morning's Broadcasting House

He, however, spun presented it as being only 24,000 families, describing the numbers as "smaller" than might be expected. 

Spinning the stats then. 

Broadcasting House angled this immigration story as being about the criticism of British attitudes to immigration by an EU Commissioner (with form), the Hungarian leftist Lazlo Andor. 

That was their choice. They could have chosen to angle it with Iain Duncan Smith's criticism of the EU over the issue, but they chose not to. The Hungarian socialist was clearly their man.

Paddy O'Connell then gloated (yes, I think that's the right word) over the "very old-fashioned faultline in the Conservative Party" over the issue, and put on an 'arch' tone to describe the sceptical opinions of certain Tory MPs.

Spin, spin, spin. 

1 comment:

  1. As much as I object to BBC bias, spin, campaigning and bullying, and I object very strongly indeed, I object at least as strongly to their failure to provide as much as they possibly can of all the facts, all the breadth and depth and variety of an issue so that everyone can be as well informed as possible to make up our own minds for ourselves. They claim that audiences only want a quick and snappy take, but that is a lazy, high handed,self serving falsehood. When brilliant reporters lay out lots of directions, lay out the meat of a story with plenty of facts and exploration, it is extremely satisfying to come to ones own conclusions, even when those conclusions become fairly obvious though what has come out. Blaming the audience for lack of interest in important issues, in turning points in our national life, won't wash. Its long overdue to institute oversight of the BBC with the responsibility to account to licence fee payers as to balance, bias, complexity and depth in BBC news and current affairs using consistent, transparent, known methods of electronic tracking. If we are good enough to pay for the BBC we are good enough to have continuous access to tracking data so we can verify we are not paying for bias.


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