***iMediaEthics will post press releases here.
iMediaEthics Announces PollCheck, the First Project and Mission to Fact-Check Media Polls
NEW YORK, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Fact-checking articles, newscasts and speeches has become an online cottage industry. But what about public opinion polls? Splashy majority opinion numbers create news and high-traffic headlines, but how do we know when, or if, the poll results are accurate?
PollCheck, a new and unique project by iMediaEthics, conducts its own polls to fact-check the accuracy of headlined polls and their widely quoted media poll numbers.
Increasingly, various polling organizations claim percentages of public opinion that conflict with each other, or present results that seem to defy common sense. Through the strict use of approved polling and scientific methods, PollCheck will examine conflicting or odd polling conclusions to produce a more realistic picture of what the public thinks.
iMediaEthics is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan media ethics news website that has been holding the media accountable since its launch (then as StinkyJournalism.org) in 2004. By examining concrete, measurable errors of fact and ethical breaches regularly encountered in the press, iMediaEthics has established itself among the top 20 most-trafficked media watchdog websites, according to Alexa.
PollCheck will be monitored by David W. Moore, Ph.D., a veteran Gallup pollster who writes the popular bi-monthly "PollSkeptic Report" for iMediaEthics. "Polls can be an important part of the democratic process," he writes, "but it's necessary to determine when they are giving us a realistic picture of the public, and when they are not."
PollCheck fact-checks polls by examining the impact of question wording, with specific attention to whether polls measure the percentage of people who have no meaningful opinion on the issue.
"This is an important element in understanding what the public thinks that typically the major pollsters gloss over," says Moore.
Moore will compare original question wording with a more objective wording he says will be "as neutral as possible, and will take into account both non-opinion and opinion intensity. Typically, when polling results are suspect, it's because the polling organizations have fed respondents biased information, pressured respondents to produce 'opinions' they don't have, and/or ignored the intensity with which respondents hold their views."
PollCheck will address these issues by conducting its own iMediaEthics polls. Typically, the question wording of the media polls will be tested against a more neutral wording, or against a wording that explicitly allows respondents to admit they have no opinion. This "poll checking" process will allow Moore to demonstrate how a more realistic picture of public opinion can be obtained.
In iMediaEthics' first PollCheck, Moore examines national public opinion about the U.S. government's loans to Chrysler and GM to prevent the car companies from going bankrupt.
To support the PollCheck feature and Moore's analysis of media polling, iMediaEthics has created a new section of its website devoted to media polling. In iMediaEthics' Polling Center, all PollChecks, PollSkeptic columns, Moore's PollTalk blog, the annual Dubious Polling Awards and polling resources are organized for readers' easy access.
iMediaEthics is published by Art Science Research Laboratory (ASRL), a not-for-profit directed by Rhonda Roland Shearer, an adjunct lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. Shearer co-founded ASRL with her late husband, Harvard professor and scientist Stephen Jay Gould.
"iMediaEthics' polls and the PollCheck project are not just about exposing flawed polling methods and their results, but educating the public what to look for in polls so they can judge for themselves," Shearer says. "Ultimately we want to hold the media accountable for producing scientific polls that report, rather than manufacture, news about what the public really thinks."
iMediaEthics.org Announces: 4th Annual Top Ten Dubious Polling Awards
NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2011 -/PRNewswire/ -- The 2012 Top Ten Dubious Polling Awards highlight the ten most dubious polling moments of the past year — a gallery of inaccuracy, bias, condescension and confusion.
The Dubious Polling Awards are part of a media ethics project by the Art Science Research Laboratory in New York, and compiled by its resident expert on polling, David W. Moore, a former Gallup pollster.
For the fourth consecutive year, Moore had plenty of dodgy polls and media coverage to sift through to arrive at these suspect honorees.
Take, for example, the 10th place finisher, POLITICO's chief political columnist Roger Simon, whose "jaw-dropping" dismissal of polling set Moore's wayback machine to 1936, when Literary Digest polled 10 million American voters and concluded that Alf Landon would defeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt (in fact, FDR went on to win what was then the largest landslide presidential victory in American history).
Simon rejected the notion that scientifically-chosen samples can measure public opinion. In this case, Simon played dumb in order to buttress his pot shots at an ABC/Washington Post poll on the state of the U.S. economy: "Is this how 'most Americans' — based on a survey of 1,005 of them — really feel? Dunno."
This disingenuous lapse by a veteran political columnist earned Simon the "Golly Gee Willikers, Batman! Polls Are Like Magic!" Award from Moore.
Then there was Dubious Polling Awards' top finisher: "All the Pollsters, Pundits and People of the Press." This un-coveted honor, which Moore named "The Rudy Giuliani Frontrunner Award," recognizes the pack mentality in reporting on frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination.
As Moore notes, "First it was Donald Trump, then Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, still Herman Cain, and finally Newt Gingrich, who were identified as frontrunners for the GOP nomination. Why? The polls told us so."
However, Moore continued, "As we learned four years ago, the national polls survey the wrong electorate — a national electorate that doesn't exist. It's the state electorates, namely in Iowa and New Hampshire and most recently South Carolina, which really count and set the stage for the rest of the states."
Read the full report on iMediaEthics.org. Alexa ranks iMediaEthics as the 12th most visited news media watchdog. iMediaEthics is published by Art Science Research Laboratory (ARSL), a not-for-profit, co-founded by its director, Rhonda Roland Shearer, an adjunct lecturer at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa, and her late husband, Harvard professor and scientist, Stephen Jay Gould. iMediaEthics, formerly known as StinkyJournalism.org, is a non-partisan journalism ethics program in which students and young journalists work with professional researchers to promote the media's use of scientific methods and experts before publication.
David W. Moore is a Senior Fellow with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. He is a former Vice President of the Gallup Organization and was a senior editor with the Gallup Poll for thirteen years. He is author of The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls (Beacon, 2008; trade paperback edition, 2009).
StinkyJournalism No More, Media Watchdog Rebrands to iMediaEthics
NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2011 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Stinky Journalism is getting a new name and new website but the perennially popular media watchdog will not lose any of its bite or ability to sniff out bad journalism. The new name, iMediaEthics, and new website, iMediaEthics.org, were launched Dec. 5, 2011.
iMediaEthics.org is an update of, and evolution from, its online predecessor, Stinky Journalism. Founded in 2004 by artist, historian and adjunct lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Rhonda Roland Shearer, Stinky Journalism's mission has been to call attention to errors in the press and to advocate for better practice in journalistic research and fact-checking.
Over the last year, Stinky Journalism has consistently ranked in Alexa.com's top 20 media watchdog sites, a list including well-known sites such as CJR.org and Adbusters, which has been credited with inspiring the Occupy Wall Street grassroots movement.
The new design is less a departure than a means of introducing new content to expand its mission and to make the website easier to navigate and use. The name change and re-design reflect StinkyJournalism's expanding coverage of media ethics news.
While StinkyJournalism's mission originally focused on investigative reports and features, since 2003, the site's focus has expanded to include daily media ethics news, case studies and more. iMediaEthics' mission of reporting on media ethics standards and news advances StinkyJournalism's mission of calling out questionable, incorrect or unethical media practices.
iMediaEthics is now conducting its own polls, called PollCheck.
In his Poll Skeptic reports, noted polling expert and Senior Fellow with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire David Moore examines the methodology of national media surveys and proposes more robust polling standards for news outlets.
iMediaEthics has also hired investigative journalist Malik Ayub Sumbal, whose reports will fact check U.S. media reports about Pakistan.
The Resources for Educators section allows teachers and students easier searches to access the site's various case studies and reports. In response to new guidelines established for online news sites, iMediaEthics also offers a new corrections page and a "Report an Error" feature to allow readers to report factual errors in our stories.
iMediaEthics is part of the not-for-profit 501(c)(3), Art Science Research Laboratory, co-founded and directed by Shearer and her late husband, Harvard professor and scientist, Stephen Jay Gould. For more information, please visit Asrlab.org.