In today's column, Polly Toynbee quotes extensively from:
Deborah Mattinson, the chief executive of Opinion Leader Research
A shame she doesn't bother to get the job title right.
She writes about Frank Luntz's polling exercise for Newsnight thus:
He must have been excited by a spectacular item on Newsnight. The US pollster Frank Luntz explored the popularity of Labour's possible leadership contenders. He showed brief video clips of each to 30 Labour-minded voters, who turned dials up and down as they watched each contender speak. Most of the candidates' clips seemed chosen for pallid dullness - except for the crucial two: one showed Brown a bit hesitant when interviewed under pressure after the coup attempt. The other showed Reid in full-on harangue: "Any court judgment that puts the human rights of foreign prisoners ahead of the safety and security of millions of British citizens is wrong! Full stop. No qualification!" Of course Reid beat Brown by miles. (Watch it yourself on the Newsnight website).
It certainly is worth watching. At the time of writing, you could watch it here. I would thoroughly recommend it; Polly is distorting it quite badly. The session lasted three hours, and even before the video clips -- long before the video clips -- initial reactions were gathered, just using photographs of the candidates. At this stage, only one out of the panel of thirty thought that Gordon Brown could lead the Labour party to victory in the next general election (about 2m05s), and someone who knows their Shakespeare better than Polly describes Brown as "Brutus", again long before the videos are shown (about 5m20s). Polly also neglects to mention the strong, positive response to Brown giving a speech (at about 8m30s).
And, of course, the quote she attributes to Reid is not what he actually said (at about 12m05s in the video clip), which was:
Any court judgment that puts human rights of foreign prisoners ahead of the human right to safety and security of the millions of the UK citizens is a wrong decision. Full stop. No qualification.
After Wednesday's inaccurate quote, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. But I confess to still being shocked when I see a quality newspaper print something in quote marks which was not said.