Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bruce Break - but not broken

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently concluded their 'investigation' of Bruce Allen's comments via radio about people coming to Canada and wanting to change the laws or at least not abide by existing Canadian laws. Part of the comments by Ron Cohen of the CBSC were that although Bruce is "arrogant. ignorant and offensive", he was not discriminatory and didn't break any rules. Cohen also commented that public media MUST have balance.
These rules of balance may be what causes the problems. Radio, newspapers and TV are so conscious of the need for 'balance' in reporting, (because of the CRTC and CBSC etc.) that in publishing street polls, for instance, we ALWAYS get this so-called balanced reporting, which in some cases may actually distort the truth.
Ask the question and make sure the answers are never more than 3 to 2 one side or the other. A street pollster once told me that if 10 people in a row say one unified answer, that media rep will just go on and on until they can publish their favorite 3 to 2 snap-shot of what people think. Maybe they asked 100 people the question before they found 2 who countered the feeling of the other 98. Then they publish five of their results, choosing 3 for and 2 against. So the very act of balancing the reporting becomes artificial and NOT reflective of community standards.
The poll therefore distorts the truth because it is manipulated and fraudulent. Sometimes with disastrous results ... 3 November, 1948, the Chicago Tribune proclaimed “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Because the polls told them so. 1972, the polls said WAC Bennett was a shoe in for another term as BC Premier. The next morning it was Dave Barrett who was smiling as he read the results. The polls may have been 'adjusted' for political reasons.
Personally I lie to all pollsters, you are not obligated to tell them the truth.
One can expect a poll to ask, "Do you love war?" and the results to be 3 to 2.
Meanwhile Bruce is free to express opinion about our society, but we'll never know if he is 100 percent correct or only 3 to 2. Balance, remember, is everything, even if it's a lie.
At least Bruce Allen is telling us HIS 100 percent truth, the polls are not!

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