Tuesday, 22 February 2011


     Steerage used to be a term about the poorest ship passengers. They had so little money that they could only afford to travel in the bowels of a ship to get to the 'New World.' In steerage. They weren't even allowed out on the decks for fear of contaminating the real class passengers and their tea and crumpets.
Steerage today means an entirely different thing. And it is political. Almost everything you read in the newspapers has a political point of view. The writers and pundits seem to have given up truthful reporting. Instead, they choose their words to seem like they are being objective, yet they want you to think a certain way. They are trying to steer you into a direction of their choice. It used to be called yellow journalism, or slanted writing; interpreting or presenting in line with a special interest.

TV and radio do the same thing. Commentary always has a direction. And often the specific questions put to these pundits by the program hosts are asked in order to set a purposeful, specific direction in the minds of the listeners. And a preconceived answer. How often have you seen an interview where an answer begs a followup question, yet the host ignores the obvious pursuit.
If you watch a sharp lawyer during cross examination, he leaps upon a wayward answer from the witness and suddenly opens up a revelation that may turn the verdict. Not so in  today's media.

Now we have polls. These are the darlings of  'steerage'. Polls can be easily manipulated by the pollsters. Steered. Political polls are particularly suspect. You need to know first of all who paid for them. Which immediately skews results. If the results are against what the sponsor likes, you will likely never even hear of that poll. Many polls show one party so far ahead just before an election that you wonder if it is worth voting at all if you don't like that party. That is exactly how the poll sponsor may want you to react. Polling companies are in business for profit. They give their customers what they want just like your corner grocer. The old saying, 'Figures don't lie but liars can certainly figure.' applies.

As a political event moves closer, especially an election, the polling information develops into a maelstrom of figures and conclusions. All telling YOU what someone wants you to believe. This party is now ahead of that party. This leader is deemed best by the voting public. etc etc ad nauseum.

When they say 9 out of 10 people surveyed agree on something, it only means that the 10 people included in the survey indicated those results. If they eliminated 90 other people from the survey, then what does it actually mean?
This steerage only works if you allow it. Your own independent thoughts and actions can defeat insidious steerage. Go ahead up to the deck and mix with the tea and crumpets set. Sway them. Contaminate them with reality.
Just don't trust polls to be honest.

1 comment:

  1. So very true,I am sure Christy Clark has done just that, fixing the polls to suit her. Why doesn't the media keep asking her about the railway scandal and her close relationship to Gordan Campbell. Maybe she saw the writing on the wall and decided to remove herself from the followers of Gordo. She is still guilty by association in my mind and I would vote N.D.P before letting any of those crooks take over Government.


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