The reason for our complaint was what we felt to be the misrepresentation of a poll asking a multiple-choice question about the Scottish constitution:
“What clearly WOULDN’T be fair, though, would be to present those statistics as a drop in the “Yes vote”, because the SSAS’s multiple-optioned findings on an obsolete 14-year-old form of a “constitutional preference” poll bear no relation whatsoever to any “Yes/No” question that’ll be asked in 2014.”
So it was a nice surprise to later, by sheer chance while browsing around for nothing in particular, happen across the same story with a slightly different tone. Evidently the paper had listened to reasonable, fair criticism and taken admirably prompt action.
Our joy didn’t last long, though. Because on closer inspection, the story we’d found second was actually the original version – dated Wednesday 23rd, and not reachable from anywhere on the Herald site – whereas the one we’d seen first was a rewrite, featured as today’s front-page lead and dated Thursday 24th. And while the text is almost all the same, more was different than just the headline.
“The total is the same as the previous low recorded in 2010 and is nine points down on 2011, when 32% backed independence. However, the figures also revealed a stronger appetite for more powers at Holyrood.”
“The total is the same as the previous low recorded in 2010 and is nine points down on 2011, when 32% backed independence.”
Well, that’s odd. What happened to the bit about a stronger appetite for more powers?
“Asked about “devo max” – which would give Holyrood full economic powers but leave Westminster responsible for defence and foreign policy – Scots appeared less worried than they were by the prospect of independence. Fewer than a third (32%) said they would be worried by devo max, compared with the 59% anxious about independence.”
[passage not present]
Hmm. Apparently Magnus had second thoughts about the “devo max” findings again.
“The Scottish Parliament will become responsible for setting a portion of income tax from 2016 but the IPPR think tank, which is close to Labour, recently called for Holyrood to be given much greater control. It said income tax should be fully devolved as part of reforms which would put MSPs in charge of 60% of the money they spend.”
[passage not present]
And once more, favourable references to further powers are seemingly verboten, in favour of concentrating solely on the fall in support for independence. It’s almost as if Magnus doesn’t want us to be focusing on the survey’s nuanced, in-depth findings revealing that people are unhappy with the status quo, and rehashed the piece overnight into something more effective for bashing the independence campaign with, complete with a picture handily conflating Yes with the SNP in the reader’s mind.
Or are we just being too cynical again? We hate when we do that.