Friday, September 15, 2006

Grossly irresponsible journalism at the Times & Transcript

The Times & Transcript runs with the headline today "Lord leads tight race"; to paint a picture for you here is what the frontpage looks like:

You may be asking, "if the Tories lead by 5 points, then why is that headline irresponsible?"

Because they are reporting on the third go 'round of the Omnifacts Bristol panel, which is not a random sample and the decided voters of which are down to 364 people.

Omnifacts Bristol conducted another poll simultaneous with this revisiting of the sample (which I restate, is not a poll). Here is what the results were according to their words in their news release (which they were kind enough to send me):

A random poll of 1,065 New Brunswick voters conducted by Omnifacts Bristol from September 10-13 shows that the Progressive Conservative Party led by Bernard Lord and the Liberal Party led by Shawn Graham are tied in a dead heat at 46% support each. The New Democratic Party led by Allison Brewer is in third place at 7%.

These new results virtually mirror the findings of the latest in three polls of a panel of voters conducted over the past several weeks by Omnifacts Bristol for Brunswick News Inc. Results of the most recent panel poll may be found in today’s editions of the Times & Transcript, Telegraph-Journal and Daily Gleaner.
That is right, the pollster says that the panel survey can be equated with this poll - which shows a tie.

The Telegraph-Journal gives the random sample more prominence and at the bottom of the survey, when they cite the non-random panel, they quote Craig Wight, the pollster:

"It's tied," Wight said.

"The panel is showing the same thing as the new poll," he added.
In the Daily Gleaner also played up the newer random sample and I quote from the mid-latter part of their article:

"The other one, within the margin of error, is also saying tie. The numbers show the Tories ever so slightly ahead, but that's still a tie within the margin of error," he said.

The third and final installment of the survey of a panel of voters was released Thursday.

The latest results from that group put the Tories ahead with 42 per cent of voters, compared to 37 per cent for the Grits.

Even though the Tories look like they have a slight lead in the panel results, Wight says the results still point to a tie because of the margin of error.

"Statistically, it's a tie," Wight said.

The copyrighted panel survey is not a random sampling of the public. It revisited the 653 men and women who participated in the first Omnifacts survey.

A total of 443 people responded to the third poll, pegging it at just below a five per cent margin of error.
So basically, the Times & Transcript in their headline that says Lord is in the lead have misled New Brunswickers and ingnored what their own pollster has told them.

Another post on the poll, a round up of recent polls and the impact on my predctions will follow.


Anonymous said...

To restate an old point, their poll "was done for Brunswick News", which means that the pollsters paycheque comes from Irving, and we know which side they are on in this. Not only is the Irving media unreliable, but the people they cut cheques for are as well.

nbpolitico said...

anon at 11:42... it is worth noting that while Brunswick News paid for the panel, the new random poll was done by Omnifacts Bristol independently.

Anonymous said...

What is new? Times and Transcript is Bernie's newsletter. It lost its credibility quite a while ago. It refuses to publish letters to editor which are critical or unfavourable towards Emperor Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Issues asides, this is what bothers me most about elections. For many people media is the only information that they recieve in order to make an informed choice. When a paper or any form of news is so 'grossly irresponsible' what can you do? That is the problem with some aspects of journalism . . .they have more control and power they most people realise. I dont think that we need to censor journalists, but there should be something to hold them to account. A whole other debate!

Your headline from the other day was priceless - Screwed again!!

Anonymous said...

The graphic is in regards to the panel, there is also a second article regarding the poll. They started this graphic at the first round of the panel and it can definately be construed as misleading but it's been what they've been doing from the get go and none of the polls have really had anyone in the lead when you take into account the marging of error. Monday is anyone's game.

As for the Transcript leaning Tory, sure but no more than the Telegraph leaning Liberal. That's how the Irvings can say they are unbiased which I think through all the blogs and comments we can all agree that they aren't.

And what's with some of the NB election blogs not being up?? Trying to get my daily scoop from all of you guys and gals and a couple that I've come across so far I get an error message, seems to be the Tory leaning ones too -- conspiracy? :)

nbpolitico said...

anon at 1:05 ... I think the TJ's editorial's lean Liberal but they don't place stories and make up headlines meant to make the Liberal appear in better stead than they actually are.

Anonymous said...

take a count during the election of front page photos of the Telegraph. How many are of Shawn Graham vs the Premier? How many red photos are there? It's not just there editorials, it's the whole gamut but they all take turns in who they support and who they don't. The Transcript was not always pro-Lord, for a time they were very anti-Lord. It's just the way the tables are turned at the moment.

Anonymous said...

When was T & T anti-Lord. That rag always sings the praises of B. Lord. Is he on editorial board?

David Campbell said...

Welcome to the freakish world of Al Hogan. Monctonians have had to put up with that for years. I hope the end of two dynasties is coming.