Thursday 12 March 2015

The BBC spins another of its own surveys

I just don't trust the BBC when it comes to their reporting of their own surveys. 

Too often their findings are accompanied by a firm BBC spin (as with the recent Today survey into the views of British Muslims, which Today reported as deeply positive while most other news organisations spotted the deeply worrying 27% figure expressing sympathy with those who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre).

Tonight's News at Six on BBC One, therefore, had me Googling the actual poll findings of their latest survey into the voting intentions of 18-24 years olds. Something smelled fishy about it.

The News at Six asked, "What are the issues they care most passionately about?" BBC reporter Greg Dawson supplied the answers: 
Greg Dawson, BBC: More than 6,000 young adults were questioned throughout February. The Number One concern? The NHS. 42% said it's a priority.
Vox Pop 1: One of the things that I really, really worry about is if the NHS is further privatised and I've got to pay for my health care and my benefits are cut, where will that leave me?
Greg Dawson, BBC: Almost 1 in 4 want something done about the affordability of housing.
Vox Pop 2: I live at home with my parents. I'm married. In the local area I now live in there would be no way I'd be able to afford to get a mortgage on anyway or buy anywhere. I'd struggle to rent at the moment really.
From that I took it that the NHS is their top concern (with 42%) and affordable housing their second concern (with 23%).

As the BBC seems to have been campaigning on the issue of affordable housing this week, I thought I'd better check it out. 

If you look at the actual ComRes/BBC poll [Table 21/1], you find that the top concerns of 18-24 year olds are:
The NHS - 42%
Keeping down the cost of everyday things, such as food, energy and travel - 33%
Controlling immigration - 28%
Improving the education system - 24%
Improving housing affordability - 23%
So young adults actually care more about controlling immigration than they do about affordable housing, according to this BBC survey - and yet that's something the BBC's main evening news bulletin completely massaged out of its report. 

And if you think the BBC News at Six is just a blip, then please watch the short video on the BBC News website, which counts down the top concerns. It will truly astound you. 

The concerns are listed as above - 42% NHS, 33% cost of living, 24% education, 23% housing. Again, the 28% figure concerning immigration control is missing. It has simply been censored (and 'censored' really is the only word for it.) 

Even the in-depth article on the BBC News website fails to report 18-24 year old people's third highest concern, immigration, again preferring to concentrate on affordable housing. 

If anyone can explain this blatant piece of manipulation on the BBC's part I'd love to hear it. 

It absolutely stinks of spin to me.


  1. The sheer brazenness of the BBC is mind-blowing. How on earth can they explain their way out of this one ? Or do they just not really care ?

  2. More a case of 'surveys, damn surveys and BBC surveys'.

    Like a BBC debate panel, they seem bent in the construction and execution, and if the results still fail to meet narrative, there is always the control of the footage to tidy up later.

    Or, Vox Poppers to suit.

    So yes, they are now very much in the propaganda game, and the censorship aspect is simply another string to the bow.

    However, in this case, such editorial by omission is pretty blatant.

    I'll be keen to see how they explain it away.

    Maybe I should ask?

  3. Curiously, later that same evening...another BBC Newsbeat reporter, Declan Harvey, published on website article headlined 'Election 2015: What you care about including the NHS and immigration' based on the same survey. It DID mention the immigration finding.

    Do they read small out-of-the-way blogs? (By the sharp view count spike last night and some of the recent Twitter activity possibly)

    Or did a wiser head at 'Newsbeat' spot the blatant spinning of his colleague Greg Dawson (on BBC platform after BBC platform) and realise that a damage limitation exercise might be necessary?

    1. Oops, forget the link:


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