Why the Mail and Sun went after the Supreme Court judges with such ferocity might have puzzled some commentators, but the findings of a YouGov survey carried out for truly independent press regulator IMPRESS should put them straight: put directly, the public trusts the judiciary, and it does not trust the tabloid press. Worse, it backs a system of press regulation that the same tabloid press is resisting.
So it will come as no surprise at all to know that those upon whom the survey results reflect the worst have decided not to mention it - at all. But you can see the results HERE and an analysis at the excellent Inforrm’s Blog HERE. And here on Zelo Street you can see why the press don’t want their readers to know about it.
Starting with trust, respondents were asked whether they trusted a number of professions “a great deal” or “a fair amount”. Here are the top three for total trust:
Family Doctors 87%
School Teachers 79%
That’s after the recent assault on the judiciary by the tabloid press. Now, here’s the bottom four for total trust:
Estate Agents 15%
and, at the very bottom of the table, we have
Journalists on “mid market” newspapers (like the Mail) 11%
Journalists on red-top tabloid newspapers (like the Sun) 7%.
That much is bad enough for those who stand in defiance of properly independent press regulation. But it gets worse when the regulation question is pitched.
To the question “Do you think newspapers should or should not be members of an independent press regulator” the response was
Should not 8%.
Could it get worse? It certainly could. The response to the question “Which of the following would you most trust to regulate news publications” was
A regulator set up by newspaper publishers 3%
A regulator that is independent of Government and newspaper publishers 73%.
And on the question of trust - something that all too many in the press establishment have trouble getting their heads around - things got no better. To the question “Would you trust newspapers more or less if they were members of an independent regulator, or would it make no difference” the response was
Trust more 46%
Trust less 2%.
More worrying still for that press establishment was the response to the question “What conditions, if any, do you think should be put on newspapers to join an independent press regulator”. The top two responses were
Newspapers should be required by law to join an independent press regulator 51%
Newspapers should be entirely free to choose whether or not to join an independent press regulator 15%.
On top of all that, the failure of the press establishment to offer one key part of the Leveson recommendations, the access to a low-cost arbitration service to settle disputes is clearly weighing on respondents’ minds.
Hence the responses to this question: “How confident, if at all, are you that if you were personally harmed by a newspaper you could afford to take the publication to court”. The key responses are
Total Confident 9%
Total Not Confident 80%.
Any business capable of rational behaviour might look at these results and conclude that they would sell more of their product if they could demonstrate that they were trusted. The way to becoming more trusted is clear to them. But the press establishment is so hell-bent on carrying on as before, and keeping its fingers on the windpipe of its sham regulator IPSO, that all it can do is to pretend it’s not happening.
And in the meantime, IPSO excuses the policy of burying corrections, even when the paper concerned has been caught bang to rights, as it was when Miqdaad Versi called out the Mail On Sunday over its “Isolated British Muslims are so cut off from the rest of society that they see the UK as 75% Islamic, shock report reveals”.
This was factually incorrect, or as most people understand it, a pack of lies. A small “clarification” was published - most readers would not have noticed it - and the original story was allowed to remain live online.
The public is trying to tell the press that they’re sick of this sham regulation. And the press is always telling us about how the will of the people is so important, and must be carried out. So how about it, press people? Or is that another of those selectively applied tests that doesn’t apply to you, holed up there in your bunkers? Don’t all shout at once.