Embarrassed Pollster Tries To Backtrack On Study That Says The "Wrong" Thing
from the fun-with-numbers dept
One of the most annoying things about sponsored "studies" is that it's obvious that the companies running these studies set them up in a way to clearly favor those who are paying for the study. It's a big scam, but it works because the press picks up on the results, but rarely digs into the methodology -- and the sponsorship info is often buried or not clearly explained. That's why it was so interesting earlier this week to see Michael Geist dig into a recording industry sponsored study, where the actual results seemed to disprove many of the points the industry keeps repeating concerning file sharing. Obviously, that looks quite bad for the polling firm in question -- who got their money to make the recording industry look good, not bad. So they apparently put out an 11-page rebuttal that not only insults Geist for being "impertinent and presumptuous," but also accuses him of distracting everyone from "the serious business at hand." Of course, many would point out that Geist is actually shining a light on the serious business at hand -- the one that the industry keeps trying to obfuscate with scary stories and misleading studies. Geist wastes no time in countering the points made by the polling firm -- but even more interesting is that more people are digging deeper into the methodology and revealing just how leading the questions were on the study. That's how these studies usually work. Based on how you word the questions, you can get people to "agree" to almost anything. Mix that with selective stats or descriptive words like "many" when talking about fewer than half, and suddenly a study can say anything, even if reality doesn't support it.