ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading II

As Cats know the RMIT-ABC Fact Check unit did a “fact check” on Chris and my statement:

A 2013 survey revealed that ABC journalists are almost 5 times more likely to be Greens voters than the average voter and twice more likely to vote Greens than the average journalist.

In the last installment I dealt with their overall dodgy analysis – getting themselves confused between what Chris and I did and what they thought we should have done.

One of the criticisms that the ABC Fact Check came up with was:

But experts told Fact Check that the ABC sub-sample was too small and the rate of undecided and non-response too high to be able to draw accurate conclusions from the survey on ABC journalist voting intention, let alone voting intention of all ABC employees.

That is a very strange statement to make. The original description of the study – found at The Conversation – has this note (emphasis added):

Note: This research has been accepted for publication in the June edition of the Australian Journalism Review. The margin of error for the entire study sample is 4%. Sub-samples of journalists’ responses to some questions – such as voting intentions – are likely to have a higher margin error, however, appropriate statistical methods were used in testing for differences between sub-samples to take account of the smaller sample sizes. The survey response rate was 89.5%.

The author of the study, Folker Hanusch, has this to say: 

If we disregard the 42.8% of journalists who are undecided, refused to answer or would vote for a party or candidate other than the major three, this is a statistically significant result.

It means that even though only a smaller number of journalists answered the voting intentions, which does increase the margin of error, it is still reasonable to conclude that there is a marked difference between the voting intentions of journalists at the three major media organisations.

So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check? It’s not like they didn’t know it to be there – The Conversation piece is listed in the sources.

This entry was posted in Books and writing, Media, Shut it down. Fire them all., Taking out the trash. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to ABC Fact Check: Error-ridden and misleading II

  1. stackja

    So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check? It’s not like they didn’t know it to be there – The Conversation piece is listed in the sources.

    Why would ABC Fact Check report inconvenient facts?

  2. H B Bear

    So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check?

    Perhaps they got in the way of the storytelling?

  3. Rebel with cause

    If the ABC really thought the claim was false they could easily have got their staff to do a quick survey on their voting intentions. But we all know what the result of that would be.

  4. v_maet

    So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check?

    Just like how they focused on the “electricity cost” statement from Joe Hockey and ignored the fact that total household impact would reduce by $550 after the carbon tax was repealed.

  5. Habib

    We’re being tithed to fund the hobbyhorses of deranged hipsters. Stop the presses.

  6. Habib

    I’ve never been able to work out either why commies are so outraged to be outed as commies, and go to such lengths to disguise their commiedom. It’s as if it was somehow shameful, you’d think they’d be proud of the fine record of their philosophy.

  7. Major Elvis Newton

    ABC Fact Check is happy to quote the widely discredited report and its statistically insignificant data that alleges 97% of climate scientists believe in man-made global warming when it suits their ideological agenda.
    ABC Fact Check – Cherry Pick Finalists 2018-19

  8. Mother Lode

    Fact check?

    I think I know where the confusion is coming in.

    Check, as a verb, has two definitions:

    verb
    1. examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, or condition, or to detect the presence of something.
    2. stop or slow the progress of (something, typically something undesirable).

    When they say fact check, they don’t mean that are ascertaining the accuracy of a fact, but they are endeavouring to prevent the intrusion of facts.

  9. Habib

    Wonder when they’ll fact-check the widely held view that ABC Fact Check was set up to provide a sinecure for the obnoxious and unemployable handbag of Ms Trollopini, and is a particularly egregious example of the corrupt nepotism and blatant disregard for propriety and accountability displayed by the Alzheimer Bolshevik Collective.

  10. Mother Lode

    The ABC also tosses about, with self-fellating abandon, the ‘fact’ that they are Australia’s most trusted media outlet (or news source, or whatever the moment might require).

  11. MACK

    Journalists don’t even do basic arithmetic let alone statistics. Surveys show that almost all of them dream of being famous authors. They even refer to their work as “stories”. Best to ignore anything they write containing numbers.

  12. Mother Lode

    But we all know what the result of that would be.

    They would have stuck to their principles, and lied to protect their turf and money.

    The results would have been 5% Greens, 5% Labor, 50% Liberal, 25% PHON, and 65% voting for Trump.

  13. Genghis

    $1.1bn budget and they are all skin & bones – no fat. How come they waste prodiginous amounts of money on ‘fat’ checks.

  14. duncanm

    MACK
    #2766421, posted on July 18, 2018 at 10:35 am
    Journalists don’t even do basic arithmetic let alone statistics. Surveys show that almost all of them dream of being famous authors.

    the author of this ABC dribble dreams of being an actor.

  15. Baldrick

    So why did the ABC Fact Check not report those statements in its fact check? It’s not like they didn’t know it to be there – The Conversation piece is listed in the sources.

    TheirABC is only interested in reporting fake news that suits their socialist narrative.
    Facts are an inconvenience.

  16. Mother Lode

    TheirABC is only interested in reporting fake news that suits their socialist narrative.
    Facts are an inconvenience.

    When a person enunciates these inconvenient facts, it is called ‘being unhelpful’.

  17. John Constantine

    Their ABC target demographic can trust that the easy storytelling they hear from their ABC will never waver from their comfort zone.

  18. Tim Neilson

    Check, as a verb, has two definitions:

    verb
    1. examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, or condition, or to detect the presence of something.
    2. stop or slow the progress of (something, typically something undesirable).

    When they say fact check, they don’t mean that are ascertaining the accuracy of a fact, but they are endeavouring to prevent the intrusion of facts.

    I think you’ve unlocked the code.

  19. BM

    The ABC.

    That’s Not How Journalism Works™.

  20. J.H.

    The ABC didn’t use facts because, “ease of storytelling”… They’ve already told us this was their excuse. They have already stated their case. If the facts don’t fit the story…. get rid of the facts.

    It makes for great Storytelling… but creates rather poor journalism I’m afraid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.