Saturday, March 13, 2010

You don't need good critical reasoning skills to be a pundit

John Ibbitson gives an excellent example here:

Core support keeps the PM in thrall

Most of it is the usual difficult to read dross put forward by Mr. Ibbitson. The poll referenced in this op-ed is so full of pro-Conservative talking points it may as well have been commissioned by the PMO. What is galling in this instance is the recitation of the hand fed drivel.

For instance:
Most Canadians – a whopping 65 per cent, in fact – put themselves in the centre of the political spectrum, according to a poll conducted by Allan Gregg of Harris/Decima and professor AndrĂ© Turcotte of Carleton University for the Manning Centre, a conservative think-tank.
As the kids say; "Well, duh.". Of course two thirds of Canadians say they are in the centre. Most people say they have a good sense of humour. That doesn't mean they have one. In a similar fashion, just because they say they are in the centre doesn't mean they are.

The question could have been designed to buttress a pre-determined result. Perhaps the poll was meant to demonstrate a Harperian fantasy that Canadians are becoming more conservative. It is important to note who the poll was co-conducted by. Former Conservative strategist Allan Gregg. On behalf of the Manning Centre. Or in other words:
Mr. Turcotte and Mr. Gregg are respected pollsters, both also have ties to the conservative movement.
As an aside, the use of the term conservative movement is an interesting, possibly subconscious reference to movement conservatism. But back to the main subject of this post.

If the Harper Conservative represented the views of 65% of voters they would have a majority. But they didn't get any where close to 65%. They essentially got the inverse. Just 37% of the popular vote. And that by means of extensive voter suppression efforts.

A column pumping the findings of a poll conducted by Conservative partisans and designed to foster the wishful thinking of an authoritarian Prime Minister. Poor editorial oversight by the Globe and Mail and another bad day for the media.

With insights like these, Mr. Ibbotson might just have a future. At the National Post.
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