Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Wail watch

A couple of days ago, Guardian journalist Mark Townsend wrote a piece about a survey that revealed 48% of British people would consider voting for an anti-immigration party, if it wasn't tainted with violent and fascistic associations (1).

The next day, a very similar piece - almost word for word - appeared in the Daily Mail, under the anonymous 'Daily Mail reporter' by-line (2).

Though the Mail does cadge a lot of it's content from other sources, it is usually from local papers. It's bizarre to see the Mail regurgitate a Guardian piece like this. Perhaps we have misjudged the Mail, and they are subtly trying to turn everyone into unwitting Guardianistas.

Or maybe not, as the few changes made to the story serve to distort it.

the Mail claims (an addition to the original piece), that 48% of people "would vote for far-Right party." This is (unsurprisingly) misleading.

The survey appears to have found that about half of the electorate would consider voting for an anti-immigration party. The mail drops the crucial 'consider,' making the support sound much more solid than it is. Most people cast their vote on either more than one issue, or none at all.

A party running on an anti-immigration platform would also need other policies, and they would alienate sections of its potential support, unless immigration becomes absolutely the overwhelming issue in the minds of voters.
1 - "Searchlight poll finds huge support for far right 'if they gave up violence'," by Mark Townsend. Published in The Guardian, 26th of February, 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/27/support-poll-support-far-right)
2 - "Half of Britain 'would vote for far-Right parties if they gave up violence'," by Daily Mail Reporter. Published in the Daily Mail, 27th of February, 2011. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361068/Half-Britain-vote-far-Right-parties-gave-violence.html#ixzz1FANICIIM)

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