Give this guy a mirror
One constant in the Australian media landscape that continues to intrigue those of us toiling away at The Bug is the permanent whining from News Corp Australia columnists and commentator about “left-wing bias” in other outlets.
Andrew Bolt is at it yet again with his latest piece about the reporting of the medevac Bill outcome by the lefties at the ABC and what was once Fairfax (pictured).
Has Andrew not been reading his employer’s publications lately?
Open any of Rupert Murdoch’s remaining papers and you’ll find little deviation from a conservative point of view.
The Australian and its hectares of advertising-free broadsheet pages always carries columns and think pieces written from a conservative if not outright right-wing point of view.
These reporters at non-News Corp outlets are supposedly “media mates” of the Labor Party and he writes of some mythical “media Left” as if it’s a registered political organisation with membership fees, monthly or even daily meetings where members can caucus and agree on the party line.
No doubt the media Left runs a consistent line against one side of politics and in favour of the other and even has its own annual in-house awards night. Oh wait, that’s News Corp.
Courier-Mail takes poll position
It’s usual – and logical – for political opinion polls to be read in conjunction with the results of past polls asking the same questions.
If read in isolation and without comparative figures they don’t mean a lot. So media outlets who commission and publish their own special polls should also publish relevant figures from past polling, if available, to put the latest results into some context.
That way readers themselves can judge how parties or their leaders have gone up or down in voters’ estimations.
Brisbane’s daily tabloid The Courier-Mail dispenses with this nicety in its reporting of the results of Queensland voters’ views of the major party leaders from the latest quarterly YouGov Galaxy poll it commissioned last week.
Leaving aside the poll’s results on relative party positions and voters’ assessments of two key Labor Party policies, Monday’s story by The Courier-Mail’s federal political editor Renee Viellaris gives Bill Shorten a hiding.
Her story starts on page one with a headline “Shorten on nose” (pictured) and the full story inside tells readers that Queensland voters have turned on the Opposition Leader.
Ms Viellaris’s story is based on a poll of more than 800 Queensland voters taken on 13 and 14 February and her assessment of Mr Shorten is linked to questions asked of respondents about both Scott Morrison and Mr Shorten as leaders of their respective parties.
For Mr Shorten 15% of those polled said they would be “more likely” to vote Labor with him as leader, 40% were “less likely”, 43% said his leadership made no difference, and 2% were uncommitted.
Yet the poll is reported without any comparative figures from the last YouGov Galaxy survey conducted in November 2018 so it is impossible to say if the results are actually good or bad news for Mr Shorten.
Maybe he has improved on the November result. Maybe he hasn’t. Maybe the same question wasn’t asked three months ago about Mr Shorten. It would be good for readers to know that basic background when assessing the poll results.
But don’t you worry about that, The Courier-Mail is doing your thinking for you.
Ms Viellaris’s story says the result is a “shocking result”for Mr Shorten. She says the poll shows Queensland voters have “brutally repudiated” the Opposition Leader.
So what about Mr Morrison as leader of the Liberal Party?
The relevant question to those surveyed showed 30% were “more likely” to vote for the LNP (up from 29% in November), 33% were “less likely” to vote LNP (up from 25% in November) and 34% said it had no influence on their vote (42% in November).
So let’s get this straight, since November the PM has attracted a possible extra 1% of Queensland voters while losing a possible 8%.
This outcome, Ms Viellaris reports as showing Queensland voters had “slightly turned off” Mr Morrison.
Chances are there are many readers of the figures who might think the poll is actually a “shocking result”for Mr Morrison and shows Queensland voters have “brutally repudiated” him, and maybe by just as much as they have turned off Mr Shorten.
But without comparative figures and any context for the Labor leader’s results how are they to know?
And on an even broader level, Viellaris and Queensland News appear not the slightest bit interested in that headline figure in the Galaxy result – taken in a week presumably very favourable to Morrison and the LNP – that has Labor’s 2PP preferred vote just over SIX per cent up on the Queensland outcome at the 2016 poll. That, after all, is a very valid now-and-then comparison.
And The Bug knows deep down in its crustaceanal gut that that would have been Viellaris’s lead and heading if the LNP was 6% up on 2016.