Saturday 4 November 2017

An opinion poll the BBC wants you to believe (update)

Here's a curious postscript to a post from earlier today....

The BBC Press Office sent this tweet out a couple of days ago about a BBC-commissioned IPSOS Mori showing the BBC to be trusted much more than any of its competitors (well, on this particular take anyhow) : 

But it turns out that this IPSOS Mori poll isn't quite the 'new research' the BBC Press Office claims it is. 

A commenter on that earlier thread noted that the 57% figure also appeared in that new (and flawed) Cardiff University which 'found' the BBC to be right-wing biased

The presumption would naturally be that the BBC shared it with their academic impartiality-checking chums at Cardiff University. But when? 

Digging into this mystery, the Cardiff report's citation of this same figure - and it is the same figure - takes you to a link.

You pass through that very wormhole and land back in March 2017 at a BBC Trust transcript of a speech by the Trust's last head Rona Fairhead where she does precisely what the BBC Press Office was doing a couple of days ago - quotes from, and gloats over, that very polling data:

So what's going on? Well, if you look at the small print of this 'new' IPSOS Mori poll you'll see that all the polling for it was done in January and February of this year. 

In other words, this 'new' poll is some nine months out of date.

And as for it being 'new research', well if 'new' means getting on for a year old then 'new' it is. Unfortunately, 'new' usually means 'new'. (And I've re-checked my dictionary to make sure).

I don't know about you but I feel misled by the BBC Press Office here...

...ironically over a poll about BBC trustworthiness.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, you couldn't make it up!


  1. I was an interviewer on the ipsos mori survey at the beginning of the year (and I do the RAJAR radio audience surveys too). The stand out question for me was the comparison of trustworthiness between the four entities of BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. There was no option for people to say that they didn’t (couldn’t) watch sky and so the figures were automatically skewed.

  2. I guess if you went to North Korea, 99% of the population would tell a pollster they trusted the NK state broadcasting corporation. What does that tell you?

  3. The Survey seems PR not news
    It's a kind of cherrypick
    #1 Fallacy of argument from authority
    ...You don't take a source as 100% trustworthy, rather each piece of evidence stands on its own two feet.
    #2 News doesn't work the way the survey suggests. You don't just pick ONE source..It matters a great deal what other info other sources gives you.
    If you really wanted to improve your company's performance, you'd be be probing for dis-satisfaction, not satisfaction.
    You'd be asking "have you ever felt deceived by the news ?
    .. what helped you get to the truth ? " etc.


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