Saturday 1 December 2018

The public is of one mind (apparently)

Questions and answers

"I think what has shocked me the most about May’s push for us to accept her rubbish deal is the way the BBC have picked only supporters when asking people’s opinions in the street", someone tweeted earlier today

Is that far-fetched? 

Well, please just watch the video report on Monday's Politics Live (beginning 15m 32s in) and see what you think. 

The BBC reporter, Elizabeth Glinka, went to Birmingham and spoke to six members of the public. 

Here's a transcript:

BBC reporter: This weekend the Prime Minister went over the heads of politicians and wrote directly to the British public, asking them to support here plan for Brexit. So we've come here to Birmingham to find out if it is working.  
Vox Pop 1: Oh, no. Not Brexit! Do you know what? I'm actually not paying much attention to it. It's doing my head in. Back her. Sort it out. Let's get it sorted and done. Out of Europe.  
Vox Pop 2: I actually think she's doing fairly well in a really tough environment. If she goes too far one way we don't get the deal, and if she goes too far the other way and she's just appeasing the EU. She's gone straight down the middle. She's got a compromise. I think she's doing pretty well in a really hard situation.  
Vox Pop 3: She's still pushing through with the Brexit deal and trying to get the best for us out of it. BBC reporter to Vox Pop 3: It sounds like you admire her then?  Vox Pop 3: Yes, I do. I do. She's a fighter. She's a fighter. Even though they are coming against her, she's still pushing. 
Vox Pop 4: There's too much infighting. I think they should just let her get on with it. I don't think even if we got another Prime Minister in, I don't think they would do any better. BBC reporter to Vox Pop 4: And she's got a lot of opposition, both from Leavers and Remainers for the plan she's come up with. Do you think she's right to plough on regardless even though lots of people don't like it? Vox Pop 4: But I think, even if she stopped at this stage, I think any deal she puts through there's going to be people who going to complain about it.  
BBC reporter to Vox Pop 5: And what do you think of the MPs on both sides, Leave and Remain, who are fighting her on this, opposing her and saying they're not voting for this? Vox Pop 5: I think they just need to come together at this point. We're one country at the end of the day and we need to do this as one country, effectively.  
BBC reporter to Vox Pop 6: Are you a BOB? You are 'bored of Brexit'? Vox Pop 6: Yes, yeah I am. I am. I've got a new name. I'm a BOB. I like that!  
BBC reporter: Well, the Prime Minister's withdrawal deal may be deeply unpopular with both Leaves and Remainers at Westminster but here on the streets of Birmingham we found a good deal of sympathy for Theresa May and, dare I say it, even some sympathy for her plan.

Not only did Elizabeth find "a good deal of sympathy for Theresa May and, dare I say it, even some sympathy for her plan" on the streets of Birmingham, she failed to find even one person who was critical of Mrs May or her plan. This must have been music of the sweetest kind to No.10's ears: 0% public opposition to her plan, and huge amounts of sympathy and support. Even the 'bored of Brexit' sentiments will have pleased the PM's team.

Quite breathtaking, don't you think?


  1. I am of this mind: Vox Pops are one of the worst and most effective bias techniques at the disposal of the media.

    They are by definition uncheckable since they don't claim to be a representative sample. But they appear very authoritative, especially after the time-honoured introduction of "We sent Vicky out on the streets of X to test the mood..." Of course, you've no idea what Vicky's been up to for the last four hours.

    And with Vox Pops you can get up to all sorts of tricks. You might have 3 Remainers and 3 Leavers but your 3 Leavers might be the fat bloke smoking on his mobility scooter (who votes Labour but never gets chosen when they do the General Election Vox Pop), someone haltingly inarticulate and someone voicing anti-migrant sentiment. The 3 Remainers might all be telegenic and engaging and of the three one will be a well spoken, friendly nurse of foreign origin coming immediately before the anti-migrant unemployed Remainer, just to sharpen things up nicely.

    1. Yes, Vox Pops are about as convincing as the 'Steve from Bristol' comments on Points of View. They are entirely false, manufactured to suit the exact shade of opinion sought by the programme makers.

    2. They are just a personalisation of the BBC favourite, "Some say".
      It allows a BBC reporter to convert their own thoughts from the partial, "I think", to the impartial "Some think".

    3. They're not even any good at it - if they allowed one or two dissenting voices, it would be more convincing. But what can we expect from a BBC that allows fake vicars, er, sorry, 'pastors' to appear on Newsnight?

  2. Liz, bless her daring saying of it, is destined for great things. Unless not 'diverse', in which case she may struggle a few months extra.

    1. Glinka is a Polish name, so while the Blairite regime continues at the BBC she may be OK but once the Soviet Commissars appointed by Milne march into Broadcasting House she may find herself an immediate object of suspicion, to be transported to the Gulag of Look East.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.