Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Sun's lies about their independence poll: an update for anyone pursuing a complaint to the press regulator

A couple of people have been in touch with me after making complaints to the press regulator IPSO about The Sun's notorious article in which they misrepresented the results of their own poll on independence.  It seems IPSO's initial response to anyone complaining has been to ask "how do you know" that The Sun were making a (bogus) comparison with last month's Panelbase poll, and also to ask to see details of that poll.

That reply could be seen as slightly vexatious, because it would take IPSO's staff all of ten seconds to do a Google search and find the datasets from the Panelbase poll.  They also undoubtedly have a channel of communication with The Sun and could very quickly check with the horse's mouth to find out which poll was being used as the basis for comparison.  However, I suppose as a complainant you just have to play the game to some extent, so this is what I would suggest saying.  

First of all, there's no room for ambiguity about the fact that The Sun were using the Panelbase poll for the comparison, because the wording in the article as it currently stands is "compared to one poll last month".  There was in fact only one published poll on independence last month, and that was the Panelbase poll.  So there's nothing else they can possibly be referring to - unless they're going to pretend that it's some mysterious private poll that no-one's allowed to see, in which case they could just make up any old cobblers and how could anyone ever verify whether it was true or not?

Secondly, there was an article in the Herald which explicitly stated that the comparison was with the Panelbase poll.  As the datasets for The Sun's poll had not yet been published at that point, it seems highly likely that the Herald were taking their cue in some form or another from people at The Sun itself.

Finally, here is the URL for the data tables from the Panelbase poll, as requested by IPSO -

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The incident with The Sun makes the case eloquently for crowdfunded opinion polls commissioned by pro-indy alternative media outlets like Scot Goes Pop.  Not only did The Sun get their pollster to ask truly ridiculous questions (like "did you CRY after the Queen died?") to try to artificially generate a picture of Scotland being at one with the rest of the UK, they also then brazenly lied about the poll's results.  Because the data tables hadn't been published at that point, it took a long time for us to discover we were being lied to about the supposedly "plummeting Yes vote", and by that point some of the damage was already done in terms of public perception.  But with crowdfunded polls for a pro-indy outlet, we get to choose which questions are asked, and we can also make very sure the results are reported accurately right from the start.  I'm continuing to fundraise for a seventh Scot Goes Pop poll, and also more generally to help keep Scot Goes Pop going - it's been slow progress this time (totally understandable given the cost of living crisis) but we're gradually getting there.  If you'd like to donate, here are the various options...

Direct payments via Paypal - my Paypal email address is:

(Paypal payments are the best method because they're direct and eliminate all fees as long as you choose the "paying a friend" option.  However, please take great care to spell the above email address correctly.  Also, if you wish you can add a note saying something like "for the fundraiser", but rest assured it'll be obvious what the payment is for anyway.)

Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 

Scot Goes Pop Polling Fundraiser 

If you prefer a bank transfer, please message me for details using the contact email address which can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version only), or on my Twitter profile.

1 comment:

  1. I've had the same response from the IPSO and went back immediately as you suggested