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Anorak | Reading the riots: The troubled Guardian gets the answers it wanted

Reading the riots: The troubled Guardian gets the answers it wanted

by | 19th, December 2011

THE Guardian is in the mire. Nick Davies has been caught out doing pretty much what he accused the Rupert Murdoch press of doing: printing stories uncorroborated by fact. The NoW did not delete Milly Dowler’s voicemails. The Guardian said it did, and then a few weeks later said it didn’t.

There is more.

The Summer of Riots, according to the Guardian’s research called Reading The Riot Act, was about anger against the police. Nope, not about getting free stuff, Marc Duggan and polar bears (really).

We know this because the Guardian and the trusty LSE “interviewed 270 people who rioted in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Salford“.

We are not told how these 270 rioted, nor how the LSE and The Guardian knows they did. But we are told that “a large majority” of them had not been arrested.

Of the 270 self-confessed rioters who speak to the Guardian:

Many mentioned the increase in student tuition fees and the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance.

Lucky it is that the rioters share the same thoughts as the Guardian. As much as what is left out is important. If the tough are so politicised, then why no word on immigration and jobs? Maybe the Daily Express should team up with another college and see what resuls it gets?

The Guardian tells is that the 270 were “surprisingly articulate“.

Neil O’Brien writes in the Telegraph:

Firstly, the sort of rioter who agrees to be interviewed as part of a social science research project for the Guardian is unlikely to be representative. They would be much more in touch with community organisations (given that was how many of them they were recruited). They would be much more likely to be people who wanted to make a point, rather than simply nick stuff (otherwise why waste time talking to some old professor?). The Guardian reports that they were surprisingly articulate. I’m not surprised, given how they were recruited. In this study you are looking at the more thoughtful “upper crust” of the rioters.

The paper tells readers:

Rioters considering causes of the summer unrest spoke about MPs’ expenses, cuts and the monarchy.

Might it be that the riots interviews by the Guardian is not representative of the typical rioter?

Might it be that the Guardian is gearing the research to get the result it wants?

Might it be that if we do agree with the Guardian there will be more riots?

Recently, the Guardian has delivered the front-page news:

“Sun journalist doorsteps Leverson lawyer”

They hadn’t. The Guardian had to apologise.

Back in July the Guardian stated on its front page:

“Sun journalist accessed Gordon Brown’s medical records”

Untrue. The Guardian had to apologise.

This could add up create a view that the Guardian is no better than the Sun and other papers it pillories. That would be wrong. It’s worse. The Guardian presents itself as being on the side of all things good. When it fails it doesn’t just look bad, it looks hollow and meaningless…



Posted: 19th, December 2011 | In: News Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink