Daily Archives: 31 January 2007

Balls to Morley and Rothwell

An interesting twist on the recent announcement by Colin Challen that he won’t be restanding in Morley and Rothwell, in order to spend more time with his vegetables. I understand from a reliable source that he is incredibly bitter about what he perceives to be a dirty tricks campaign waged by Balls’ team over the past few weeks, which hit fever pitch when rumours began circulating (helpfully boosted by secret Balls admirer Guido Fawkes) that he had made up stories about him falling off his bike.

My bid to raise funds for Ed Balls’ sex change operation failed late last year. Fortunately for him, all women shortlists are at the discretion of the Labour NEC which judiciously (ab)uses them to help the “right” sort of candidate such as Balls, and exclude the “wrong” candidates such as Peter Law. Is it any wonder why people are so cynical about them?

From fact to headline: how the media distorts news

I thought this was an interesting illustration of how lazy journalism can distort the news to a dangerous degree.

Body of article:

The Hansard Society – whose stated aim is to “promote effective parliamentary democracy” – spoke to 81 Labour MPs, 55 Conservatives, 19 Liberal Democrats and five from other parties.

It found that 22% of MPs were contacted by interest groups at least 50 times a week and 59% at least 20 times.

Some 51% said they were lobbied at least 20 times a week by charities and 39% by businesses.

Meanwhile, 31% received this many approaches from public sector organisations and 22% from trade associations.

Adding all these figures together meant some politicians were being approached more than 100 times a week in total, the report said.

This is refracted in the first paragraph to:

Some MPs are being approached by lobbyists at least 100 times a week, a report by the Hansard Society says.

Which in turn is refracted into the headline as:

MPs ‘lobbied 100 times each week’

Most people will only read the headline or, at best, the first couple of paragraphs, leading to a completely distorted view of what Hansard’s research actually says.