From fact to headline: how the media distorts news

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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.

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