Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bloggers Burst the Paul Martin Myth – CBC and Mainstream Media Exposed

For most of the weekend the Blue Maple Leaf has been dispelling the myth that Canadians trust Paul Martin. This myth got started when the CBC commissioned a liberal friendly poll and Paul Hunter completely skewed its results to push the liberal agenda. A tip from our friends at CBC Watch led to the website that commissioned that poll.

The cat is now out of the bag with this Lorrie Goldstein article titled:

Lorrie Goldstein asks why it took a Winnipeg blogger to accurately report the results of the latest AdScam poll.

Did you know that an Environics Research poll released last week found that a startling 73% of Canadians surveyed believe Prime Minister Paul Martin is either "very responsible" or "somewhat responsible" for AdScam?

This is devastating news for the Liberals because it flies in the face of their claims that Canadians don't blame Martin for AdScam and that he's deeply trusted by voters, which they say, will be the central theme of their next election campaign.

After all, since more than seven in 10 Canadians now believe, despite all Martin's protestations of innocence, that he bears at least some responsibility for AdScam, it's going to be pretty hard to build a campaign around him as, in the words of one aide, the "wire brush" who will wipe the stain of scandal from the Grits.

But you wouldn't know any of this from the highly selective reporting of this poll last week by the CBC, which commissioned it, and by other media, who, incredibly, portrayed it as a positive finding for Martin. (For alerting me to this controversy, I'm indebted to blogger "Michael" of Winnipeg, who first wrote about it Sunday on his website,

When the CBC reported this key finding from its own poll, it focused on the fact that when 1,200 Canadians were asked from April 11-13 who they thought was "very responsible" for AdScam, "just" 28% said Martin. (In separate questions, 52% said Jean Chretien was "very responsible" for AdScam, 48% said "a small number of officials working within the federal government" were "very responsible" and 45% identified "the Liberal Party of Canada" as "very responsible" for the scandal.)

Canadian Press, the national wire service, picked up on this theme, reporting that "the same polls indicating widespread disgust with Liberal scandal also suggest people don't blame Martin ... only 28% of respondents in the Environics poll said Martin was 'very responsible' for the sponsorship scandal." This article also quoted an unidentified "Liberal strategist" saying: "Canadians clearly trust the man. There's an affection for Paul Martin and we'd be crazy not to lean into that."

In fact, an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for CTV and released late last week found more Canadians (40%) now trust Conservative Leader Stephen Harper than Martin (35%), although more still prefer Martin as prime minister to Harper (42% to 34%).

But what's incredible about the way the Environics findings were reported is that the media totally ignored the fact that in addition to the 28% of the public who held Martin "very responsible" for AdScam, the largest single group by far -- 45% -- thought he was "somewhat responsible." This compares to only 18% who thought Martin was "not responsible." (Even the Sun, which simply reported the 28% figure with no editorial comment, missed this aspect of the poll.)

Reported accurately, then, these are deeply alarming findings for the Liberals, because they speak directly to Martin's credibility, or lack thereof, with voters. For the media to portray this as a positive development for Martin and the Grits is simply absurd.

Surely the more accurate way of reporting a polling question which asks people whether they believe Martin is "very responsible," "somewhat responsible" or "not responsible" for AdScam is to combine the tally from the first two options and report that 73% believe Martin bears at least some responsibility, compared to only 18% who believe he bears none. Then it would be accurate to break down those who thought Martin bore some responsibility into the two categories of "very responsible (28%) and "somewhat responsible" (45%).

Reporting instead that "just" or "only" 28% think Martin is "very responsible" while completely ignoring the fact that the largest single group polled -- 45% -- think he is "somewhat responsible" is selective at best, misleading at worst. Especially when these reports went on to claim this finding was positive for Martin simply because Canadians think Chretien, the Liberal Party and "a small number of officials within the federal government" are even more responsible for AdScam than he is.

First, neither Chretien nor "a small number of officials within the federal government" are running for re-election. Second, Liberals can hardly be happy about the fact that Canadians think their party is even more responsible for AdScam than Martin.

Instead of uncritically reporting the Liberals' rather desperate spin on this poll, it would have been much more accurate to say that while it was bad news for Martin, it was even worse for the Liberals. Assuming, of course, that accuracy was the goal.

The mainstream liberal friendly media will find it a lot harder to hoodwink Canadians with bloggers on the watch!


At 2:01 p.m., Blogger Ed Doerksen said...

CBC is just one of the main media outlets that are liberal friendly. the liberal party will stop at nothing to press their cause, which includes lies, misleading parliament, scare adds, and more. they don't care what goes on west of Ontario boarder.

this means that when CBC shows the Conservative party, they show only the white male western members of the party. This is to put fear into the Ontario voter that the CPC is really a western party.

the liberals have no intention of giving up power and will stop at nothing to keep it.

At 4:13 p.m., Blogger Bill said...

Congratulations on having your hard work pay off with some well deserved national exposure. I saw Lorrie Goldstein's article earlier today and was thrilled to see you getting credit for exposing this bias.

From one Blogging Torie to another - well done!

At 9:49 p.m., Blogger darcey said...

Good job dude and congrads - you deserve this (twice now ain't it??)


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