The Fourth Estate has today found itself in a state of total agreement over one subject, and that is the lack of inclination to report the latest Sunday Times YouGov poll, which in addition to the usual popularity questions also asks about last week’s Budget. But no paper is talking about this particular poll, perhaps because it also asked about press regulation (see it HERE [.pdf]).
And the responses obtained showed that the public were not just supportive of the moves last week to establish a new independent regulator underpinned by statute, but were supportive by a larger margin than previously. That suggests all the abuse and other personal attacks by those same papers has not turned their beloved readership against the new regime the editors don’t want.
So they just decide not to report it – not even the paper that commissioned it. And when you look at the numbers, that is no surprise. Here’s the first four questions.
Do you support or oppose the proposed new press regulation system? Support 52%, Oppose 23%. By a 5 to 2 majority.
Do you think the proposed new regulation system is or is not a threat to press freedom? Is a threat 27%, is not a threat 53%. By a 2 to 1 majority.
Do you think it is right or wrong that newspapers who choose not to join the new regulator should face larger damages if they are taken to court over libel, privacy or other civil matters? Right 55%, wrong 23%. By a 5 to 2 majority.
Do you think the new system will or will not give politicians too much influence in what news the papers report? Will give too much 31%, will not 41%. By a 4 to 3 majority.
One group which has reported the poll results, is Hacked Off, carrying analysis from the Media Standards Trust's Gordon Ramsay, who has wasted no time in pointing out that support for the new system of regulation has increased over the past week from 43% to 52%, and that the percentage responding that the new setup would not threaten press freedom had gone from 38 to 53 – both now commanding a majority.
Yet still the ranting continues, with swivel-eyed ranter in chief Peter Hitchens going off the end of the pier in style in the Mail On Sunday yesterday, followed by the lame blethering of Trevor Kavanagh in today’s Sun. Both keep pushing the meme that press freedom is being either threatened, or that its termination is imminent. But it’s not having the desired effect.
The public is probably getting less reliable information on this subject than any other being reported right now. But it can clearly see through the fog of falsehood and misinformation, which would suggest, once more, that the game may be up.