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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Sun Muslim Poll Unravels

[Update at end of post]

For the now beleaguered inmates of the Baby Shard bunker, the decision has been made after all the condemnation of yesterday’s flagrantly dishonest Sun front page splash that attack is the best form of defence. So it is that the paper has come out with a mixture of defiance, blaming “the left”, and lying, clearly believing that this will allay all doubts about the journalistic integrity of the paper - or lack of it.
It is depressing … that many others would rather not face up to that, preferring to rubbish the Sun’s poll rather than deal with what it uncovered” blusters today’s editorial, before resuming its role as recruiting sergeant for the EDL and Britain First: “We would all love to see Muslims back peace and condemn IS with one voice. That is simply not the reality and it does our nation no good pretending it is”.

Yes, L’├ętat, c’est le Soleil. And there’s more. “If we cling to the fiction that IS have little or no support here …”. The poll did not mention “support”. But do go on. “Most of our survey, conducted after the Paris attacks, probed Muslim attitudes to IS specifically”. Perhaps the paper’s editorial writer should re-read that survey: four of the seven questions, including the one behind yesterday’s headline, do not mention IS.

Then they dig themselves in a little deeper: “No one agreeing to the statement ‘I have a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria’ was in any doubt which fighters were meant”. You asked them all? You didn’t? Pants on fire - again. But the Sun knows who to blame. “Some on the political Left claim ours was a ‘rogue’ poll”. No, the objection is to the paper’s dishonest and bigoted interpretation of it.
But on they plough: “polls show an undeniable truth. Among British Muslims, a minority - but a substantial one - appear sympathetic to a death cult which is among the most evil in history”. They show no such thing. The question was about sympathy for those who go out to Syria, not to any particular group. And it gets worse: we now know that YouGov, the Sun’s usual pollsters, declined to take part in the exercise.

That was why the paper ended up going to Survation. And it gets worse still. As the Guardian has told, “Survation … said it had picked out likely respondents using the help of an academic expert on naming, a method that rival polling companies said did not necessarily amount to a representative sample of the British Muslim population”. They only called people with reliably “Muslim sounding” surnames.

The Guardian again: “Other pollsters told the Guardian that it could require tens of thousands of phone calls at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to generate a statistically representative sample of the 2.7 million Muslims who live in the UK … It cannot be determined how representative the Survation sample is because of a lack of various socioeconomic and demographic details”.

So it was a poll built on sand, a lead story built on dishonesty, and now we have an excuse note built of righteous hot air. Being the Sun means never having to say you’re sorry.

[UPDATE 1430 hours: pollsters Survation have defended their analysis, but then, in a letter signed by CEO Damian Lyons Lowe, waste no time in putting the boot in on the Sun, before throwing the Murdoch doggies under the nearest bus.

"Survation do not support or endorse the way in which this poll’s findings have been interpreted. Neither the headline nor the body text of articles published were discussed with or approved by Survation prior to publication ... Survation categorically objects to the use of any of our findings by any group, as has happened elsewhere on social networks, to incite racial or religious tensions".

So that suggests divergence from the Sun's line that they are only "telling it like it is". There is more.

"Our view remains that the most meaningful way to interpret the results of this polling is in the proper context alongside a comparable sample of non-muslims, as we did in March of this year using identical methodology and the same question wording ... This comparison shows that 'sympathy with' (distinct from 'support for') those travelling to fight in Syria (among any group) exists as a limited, minority view among both muslims and non-muslims, particularly among young people of both groups".

Then comes the pay-off: "Such comparative polling was reported in March in a balanced way by Sky News".

The Sun may not be willing to commission more work from Survation after that, but then, Survation may not want them to. This whole episode is not down to any kind of disputational point, but the blindingly obvious fact: the Sun has presented its readers with a mixture of falsehood and misinformation, which has the potential to incite significant racial and religious hatred.

They wouldn't do that to Christians or Jews, so why single out Muslims? Hello Tony Gallagher, Tom Newton Dunn, Stig Abell, Dylan Sharpe and the rest - it's time we had at least an explanation, and preferably an admission you fouled up.

Followed by an apology. You know, Murdoch poodles, one of those things that ends up with you saying sorry]


Arnold said...

"Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said: “The brief was to make British Muslims feel alienated so they would reject Britain’s liberal secular values and pledge their loyalty to the Caliphate."


Ray said...

“If we cling to the fiction that IS have little or no support here” is a massively ridiculous statement. That is the whole point. The truth is any support the Daesh have is a minority of a minority of a minority. It is a "little" support - dangerous all the same.

The Sun paints the picture that a horde of extremists are on our streets ready to overrun us. That is EDL narrative, that is fiction. Disgusting tabloid.

rob said...

*meanwhile the Mail/Sun debate goes on*

The Sun: Any poll you can skew we can do better, we can skew any poll better than you.
The Mail: No, you can't
The Sun: Yes, we can
The Mail: No. you can't
The Sun: Yes, we can! Yes, we can
The Mail: Any fib you can spin ours will be greater,
We have the journos who spin better than you
The Sun: No, you don't
The Mail: Yes, we have
The Sun: No, you don't
The Mail: Yes, we have
The Sun: No, you don't
The Mail: Yes, we have,yes, we have
The Sun: Cammeis a softie so we have to "help" him
The Mail: Sorry but Bozza is waiting in line
The Sun: No he's not
The Mail: Like as shot
The Sun: No, he'd better not!
The Mail: Any left woebetide we can spin better
The Sun: We can distort anything better than you
The Mail: No, you can't
The Sun: Yes we can, yes we can

(and so on and so forth - it's all in the mind you know)

Anonymous said...


Which of that rag's propaganda clerks wrote the piece?

Tim Fenton said...



The Sun may have a specialist leader writer - if so, whoever it is must be well versed in fiction and totally devoid of principle.

Anonymous said...

Tim @ 12:47.

If the author's name surfaces it should be openly published.

It's probably "Winston Smith."

Jeff Pickthall said...

I notice the Daily Mail has disappeared its coverage of the same story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3329921/One-five-British-Muslims-sympathy-joining-ISIS.html#ixzz3sJbPEOwg

Anonymous said...

Jeff Pickthall @ 13:23.

What was I saying about Winston Smith?

How these people live with themselves is beyond me.......

Arnold said...

"Survation do not support or endorse the way in which this poll’s findings have been interpreted."
Perhaps doing such a survey for the Scum wasn't a good idea.