Saturday, December 15, 2007

Charles Moore, Policy Exchange and Newsnight

Quite a number of people over the last few days have been talking about Newsnight's story that, essentially, because a couple of receipts that Policy Exchange gave them (after it had produced its report on the sale of extremist literature in mosques) might be dodgy the entire report is flawed. As one would expect, the usual suspects on left wing blogs have written long essays about it all.

Anyhow, this morning the Chairman of Policy Exchange, Charles Moore has gone after the BBC in the Telegraph. He's basically said that the Newsnight team have been underhanded and also suggests that Paxman had not been briefed properly resulting in him saying untruths on screens.

Worst though is the news that the BBC indicated where the anonymous Muslim researchers behind the Policy Exchange were from, and now an Islamist website has had calls on it to hunt them down. If they succeed then it will be the BBC that has blood on its hand then.


ten more years said...

When it comes to believing Paxo and the Newsnight team or The Telegraph, I'll go with Paxman and his gang every time. I saw that shifty little fellow being interviewed, appears he was going to sue, what's the odds he don't ? This was however the most enjoyable Newsnight since your mate Guido appeared wearing a sack over his head. The Zorro of the blog community is how he likes to be addressed as now I understand.

Chris Paul said...

1. Have you read the report Dizzy? I have. It actually has far more caveats and such in it than the press releases that go with it. But it does not even explain the sampling grid for the mosques.

2. The story was not about where the "researchers" were FROM but where they were supposedly AT i.e. on retreat somewhere. It is hard to see why they were on retreat anywhere is apostates. That was PEx cock and bull surely.

3. Given Godson's own and family modus operandi the "researchers" are more likely to be from MI5 than from Mauritania.

4. Having read it, and knowing where the mosques are in Manchester, and watching the "couple" of dodgy receipts, actually six I think or c 25%, I think Godson's pamphlet which a NE academic fronted of course - are Uni of Newc happy with him? - was and is a pile of old tosh.

Albeit sniffing around a difficult and real problem. PEx also have a pamphlet on Islam and cross-party consensus in Australia which is much better.
Recommended as a tonic in fact.

marvin said...

Islamists hunting down the researchers is a worrying thought. Some very silly decisions seem to have been made on both sides.

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit it but Newsnight were right. This report is very important and everything about it must be irrefutable. I believe there is this kind of literature in mosques but belief isn't fact and research is needed to uncover the data. But now there are serious doubts about the veracity of the evidence collected to document the source of extremist literature. It seems preposterous for the guy on Newsnight to suggest that the receipts don't matter but they obviously are an important check on the work of the researchers. On this and other blogs we talk about snippets of info about Labour and the government which are indicative of wider problems. This is also a common complaint against scientific studies regarding climate change that contrarians jump on the smallest mistake, error or sloppy science to disprove the whole thing. And the veracity of these receipts deserve no less consideration and might be indicative of a wider problem. As a semi-academic study and on a divisive issue, Policy Exchange should have been more rigorous in reviewing the report. It should be retracted and thoroughly reviewed before republication. 5 of the receipts are in doubt so maybe the proportion of mosques surveyed with this literature is actually 20% not 25%. If 5 more were called in to question it would be down to 15%. With a small sample this (limited by small number of mosques) there can be large swings in the figures if some of the data is proved false. So I think the headline conclusions of the report are probably correct but the data has to be robust to backup the conclusions.

On Newsnight they said some of the researchers were on religious retreat in Mauritania (I think). Any information can obviously help find anonymous persons but this is small potatoes I think. Even the press and radio have revealed more useful snippets about intelligence operatives (such as recent interviews of Muslim MI5 employees). Also it is mainstream moderate Muslims are most annoyed by the reports revelations and they are by definition non-violent. And wouldn't the extremist hard-liners either not care or welcome the publicity.

ten more years said...

marvin said...

Islamists hunting down the researchers is a worrying thought.

Bit gullible daft lad, aren't you ? Bet you read The Daily Mail and get a comment published every day too.

Cinnamon said...

Dizzy, this is small fry. The BoE changed their collateral requirements, downgrading them to accept toxic junk and whatever else the banks have that'll crash'n'burn. The taxpayer sure will take care of those CDOs & other bad debts. See here:

Note: the smelliest of all farts are always the quietest ones. This one, delivered by Darling is a perfect example of 'silent but violent'.