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Newsnight response to Policy Exchange statement

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Dec 07, 02:54 PM

Policy Exchange's statement is misleading in many ways and doesn't answer the simple question raised by Newsnight's film. Given that the Policy Exchange report was based on the testimony of the researchers who gathered the receipts, do they believe all the receipts are genuine?

Click here to read Richard Watson's comments on the Policy Exchange row

Click here to read the Policy Exchange statement on their website

Click here to read Peter Barron's blog entry, "Disastrous misjudgement?"

WATCH THE NEWSNIGHT REPORT

WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH POLICY EXCHANGE

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:48 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Omar wrote:

Policy Exchange's blustering and obfuscation are legendary. Whenever it is challenged to provide firm evidence for its reports, it becomes defensive and extremely circumspect. Its findings on the attitude of Muslims in the reports it publishes are diametrically opposed to those of other serious researchers it seems. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_Exchange

And how Policy Exchange uses the front of academic responsibility to push a political agenda on dubious research grounds:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/thinktanks/comment/0,,2011804,00.html

And read also this brilliant exchange between the author of the report and a sceptical academic from the University of Aberdeen:

http://marranci.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/open-letter-to-dr-denis-maceoin/

Don't be browbeaten Newsnight!

  • 2.
  • At 06:05 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Omar wrote:

Compare and contrast:

From Denis MacEoin (the author of the Policy Exchange report) on 9 November 2007 in response to a challenge to the report's methodology:

"The report makes it clear that teams of young Mudslims [sic] visited the mosques and bought or were given the materials that served as the basis for the study. They obtained receipts everywhere they went."

And now, Policy Exchange's latest press release on 13 December 2007, post-Newsnight expose:

"The receipts are not, however, mentioned in the report and the substance of the report is unaffected by Newsnight’s allegations about a small minority of the receipts."

If Denis MacEoin quotes the "receipts" as being proof positive of the report's evidence base which underpins the report's conclusions, how can doubts over the veracity of the receipts not affect the substance of the same report one month later. Surely it goes to the heart of the matter.

  • 3.
  • At 07:53 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Where does one encounter high verbal fluency but average spatial ability? (Hint: this is rarely the profile of a (physical) scientist/researcher but 'Vicky Pollard' comes to mind). Look up sex differences in HESA subject selections. One also finds the same profile at AS and A level and even KS1 through KS4 (though most clearly at the tails of the distribution). One has to think 'brain-gender' (and perhaps CYP21/NCAH cf. a) stature and b) atypical stress response).

Talking about this difference (and gene prevalence shifting it?), is as politically incorrect as talking about other group differences in cognitive abilities. That's how/why, I suggest it's exploited politically, and there is a long history to this. There was quite a fuss at Harvard in January 2005 over what Larry Summers said, just as there was over James Watson's comments over here a couple of months back. What they both said is well established empirically, but oddly, that doesn't seem to matter much. This suggests to me that we don't have the natural language/folk-psychological convcntions to deal with this effectively.

What we saw on Newsnight was, I suggest, an example of how this (anomalous) behaviour is deployed. It's unpleasant, and irrational, so genuine researchers try to avoid it. But in many applications that's precisely how and why it's tactically deployed. It fails where the duplicity/misdirection is obvious to a good observer but not to the perpetrator precisely because the latter has average spatial ability, i.e. the chutzpah's obvious to all but themselves. See para. 2 below:

http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/archived/looking3.htm

Elsewhere - NYC:
http://www.vdare.com/letters/tl_120807.htm

  • 4.
  • At 10:04 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • glynis reed wrote:

When will the BBC stop ducking the very real issue of the extent of mysogeny in Islam. Recently, in relation to Jerry Springer, the Opera, the BBC defended it's right to challenge religion and somtimes, if necessary, to offend the sensibililties of 'minority' groups. How is it then that the BBC continually fails to highlight the fact that for far too many women living in Islamic republics life is lived under a mysongynistic reign of terror. That this ideology is allowed to continue in this country with no real challenge being posed by those in a position to address such issues is a betrayal to all such women and those who will suffer in the future. Look at what is happeneing to women in Basra where Islamic militias have taken over but the BBC's foremost news program choses to spend the majority of it's expensive airtime discussing receipts? Underhand methods in research should not be tolerated and should be challenged but the evidence was inconclusive and confirmed your charge and did not merit such focus at the expense of a much larger issue of relevance to all? The terrorism sufffered on a daily basis by too many women and apperantly largely supported, whether tacitly or actually, by a large section of the fasted growing religion in Europe simply must be challenged vociferously. Was apartheid or nazism vanquished in this way? It is the duty of the BBC to do this and to speak out loudly and bravely for those without a voice. What would the BBC have to say if Waterstones, let alone the Anglican church, was found to be selling such contemporary racist, homophobic, misogynistic literature in a large number of it's branches? There would rightfully be an outcry and any questions regarding research would be addressed but not allowed to overshadow the substance of the matter.


  • 5.
  • At 11:02 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Anita Bullock wrote:

An interesting development yesterday is that Policy Exchange in typical Neocon fashion, replaced their Thursday press release on the issue with an new one dated 13th December. In the first one I saw on their website on Thursday morning it said clearly, "The receipts are not, however, mentioned in the report and the report's findings do not rely upon their existence. The report relies instead on the testimony of our Muslim research team." But today, I saw a new press release in the same place saying something different:

"The receipts are not, however, mentioned in the report and the substance of the report is unaffected by Newsnight’s allegations about a small minority of the receipts. ..we shall investigate any outstanding allegations very carefully."

This suggests a change of position and perhaps an attempt to pretend they did not say something different on Thursday the 13th of December in a press release.

Sadly for them Google has a cached copy of the first press release which their webcrawler took a snapshot of on 13 Dec 2007 at 15:02:40 GMT.

Personal invitation to Jeremy "Where are you! Have you got lost? I MISS YOU - i cannot wait until Monday to see your eyecontact.....schkrappydoodle erg SQUAT of andrewmarrs2leg - tsb///glaswegian coaching gratis!!!

  • 7.
  • At 11:43 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Glynis (#4) They DO sell such books and nobody gives two hoots. In fact, such books are generally regared as classics!

Try Schopenhauer on women (and don't kid yourself that he was in any way an exception). Most of such classics are far more readable than the dross one finds on the shelves today. In fact, most of it's so bad that it's pulped after a few months! All you're seeing today is censorship cleverly wrapped. Liberation has nothing to do with it, in fact, what you're witnessing is precisely the opposite. Great efforts are made to securlarise Muslims because that way more women will go out to work and spend money, become indebted, have less children etc. Guess what? The Orthodox Jews don't send their women out to work either. Do you ever see anyone criticising Orthodox Jews? That would be anti-Semitic and intelerant! Guess what keeps their women in their place? Guess which group the leading C20th feminists came from? The Orthodox Jews have not changed their ways.........but the Christians have.....and they now have TFRs well below replacement level.......hmmmmmmm

  • 8.
  • At 11:45 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Glynis (#4) They DO sell such books and nobody gives two hoots. In fact, such books are generally regared as classics!

Try Schopenhauer on women (and don't kid yourself that he was in any way an exception). Most of such classics are far more readable than the dross one finds on the shelves today. In fact, most of it's so bad that it's pulped after a few months! All you're seeing today is censorship cleverly wrapped. Liberation has nothing to do with it, in fact, what you're witnessing is precisely the opposite. Great efforts are made to securlarise Muslims because that way more women will go out to work and spend money, become indebted, have less children etc. Guess what? The Orthodox Jews don't send their women out to work either. Do you ever see anyone criticising Orthodox Jews? That would be anti-Semitic and intolerant! Guess what keeps their women in their place? Guess which group the C20th emancipationists/feminists came from? The Orthodox Jews have not changed their behaviour.........but the Christian females have.....and now they have TFRs well below replacement level.......hmmmmmmm... freedom, a bit like butterflies eh?

  • 9.
  • At 11:55 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Jay wrote:

This report to uncover the most blatant piece of Islamaphobic propaganda should get an award. It has renewed my faith in the BBC which up until recently really made me question if I wanted to buy a TV and support the BBC by paying for a TV license. Well done to Richard Watson, Peter Barron and the BBC Trustees for daring to challenge someone like the Policy Exchange and its backers. No doubt they are aware of the onslaught that is likely to come their way from people like Charles Moore; no doubt we will see an attempt to drown out this report with a large volume of reports in favour of the Policy Exchange from the Murdoch empire. The Islamaphobic lobby machine will no doubt come into action over the next few weeks pushing for a resignation and apology from someone; anything to divert people away from the real issue.

It is not surprising to hear that for their next report the Policy Exchange have gone for a report on how to improve Philanthropy; something to pull at the heart strings of people? Mark my words they will build on this point to defend themselves in the eyes of the mass public: BBC bullies charity which looks to improve philanthropy.

The public must remember that this expose of the underhand tactics by the Policy Exchange has a very strong and clear message – lies are forged to make people HATE Muslims. People are being conditioned to hate Muslims. Is this the first time someone has been caught trying to fabricate reports that are leading to the destabilisation of the UK’s community cohesion?

The report clearly shows the receipts were fabricated and written by the same person, from the same pad. I for one will be writing to the Police asking for an investigation into the Policy exchange.

Once again, well done to the BBC for an excellent piece of journalism.

  • 10.
  • At 02:18 AM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • simon johnson wrote:

WELL DONE NEWSNIGHT !!!

investigating stories in stead (like some)of just reporting them....

  • 11.
  • At 05:59 AM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • Omar wrote:

"Sadly for them Google has a cached copy of the first press release which their webcrawler took a snapshot of on 13 Dec 2007 at 15:02:40 GMT."

Well done Anita, you clever thing! That escaped me totally. Honestly, it's a proper composite mix of lies, damn lies and statistics chez Policy Exchange.

  • 12.
  • At 12:36 PM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • Glynis Reed wrote:

When will the BBC stop ducking the very real issue of the extent of misogyny in Islam. Recently, in relation to Jerry Springer, the Opera, the BBC defended it's right to challenge religion and somtimes, if necessary, to offend the sensibilities of 'minority' groups. How is it then that the BBC continually fails to highlight the fact that for far too many women living in Islamic republics life is lived under a misogynistic reign of terror? That this ideology is allowed to continue in this country with no real challenge being posed by those in a position to address such issues is a betrayal to all such women and those who will suffer in the future. Look at what is happening to women in Basra where Islamic militias have taken over yet the BBC's foremost news program chooses to spend the majority of its expensive airtime discussing receipts? Underhand methods in research should not be tolerated and should be challenged but the evidence was inconclusive and failed to confirm your charge and did not merit such focus at the expense of a much larger issues of relevance to all? The terrorism suffered on a daily basis by too many women and apparently largely supported, whether tacitly or actually, by a large section of the fasted growing religion in Europe simply must be not be tolerated and challenged vociferously. For too long we have all tiptoed around this and to what end? Was apartheid or Nazism vanquished in this way? It is the duty of the BBC to take a lead on this and to speak out loudly and bravely for those without a voice. What would the BBC have to say if Waterstones, let alone the Anglican church, was found to be selling such contemporary racist, homophobic, misogynistic literature in a large number of it's branches? There would rightfully be an outcry and any questions regarding research would be addressed but not allowed to overshadow the substance of the matter.

  • 13.
  • At 01:06 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Quevoni wrote:

So who here and among the BBC do not believe in Freedom of Thought, the right to read, the right to curiosity -surely the whole point of journalism!

What are you so scared of?

What have "islamic republics" got to do with a report that the bbc was all too ready to run, whose aim was to secularise/hollow-out the faith of islam in this country, to repress the right of muslims to have a back-bone and opposing viewpoints of their religion compared to what anti-believers would have them believe?

Why does no one believe in Pluralism, least of all, The BBC; and a separation of thought and action -has society ever intellectually progressed by doing anything else?

regards,


Quevoni

  • 14.
  • At 03:04 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: POLITICAL WARFARE

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?menuId=1588&menuItemId=-1&view=DISPLAYCONTENT&grid=A1&targetRule=0

Throughout an extended series of comments on race, sex, IQ, CLASSES, their membership and logical quantification, over many months, I've tried to draw attention to problems we have in Natural Language (especially the intensional idioms or verbs of propositional attitude) with truth-functionality, and inscrutability of reference. In other words, what we are talking about. A trivial example above is in reference to Policy Exchange's 'researchers'.

When Peter Barron spoke to Policy Exchange 'researcher(s)', what did Newsnight take to be the referent 'researcher'? This is all about quantifiers and psychological verbs. What did Policy Exchange take to be the referent?

In Newsnight's case the class appears to have only included the 'undercover' Muslims who allegedly went into the mosques and shops. In the case of Policy Exchange, the count of TWO could have included the Dean Godson who is 'research' director or someone else involved with the production of the report. Did either party agree their terms of reference before they started discussing these matters? We have not been told.

In the absence of knowing (another intensional aka psychological idiom) any better, all this controversy have served to do is to give more publicity to Policy Exchange's report, which, to me, appears to be propaganda simply because it is not strictly research by any standards one would accept elsewhere.

Is the BBC not colluding with Policy Exchange (albeit unintentionally)? Note, it's always behaviour which matters, not intention. But the media is very 'feminine'. What it craves, and competes for is attention.

http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/4476/9
http://tomgriffin.typepad.com/the_green_ribbon/2006/08/should_cold_war.html

  • 15.
  • At 09:22 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Glynis (#12) But it wasn't just about receipts was it? It was about authentic research vs (possible) black propaganda. How does one tell the difference?

Given the conflict between 'radical Islam'/their major power supporters vs the 'free' USA/Israel/EU, what does one expect the intelligence agencies antipathetic to Islam (and the big powers behind them) to be doing?

Here's one scenario. The people involved need only be loosely connected.

1. Identify and resource authors of extreme interpretations of the Qu'ran which might be used to discredit (for example) what's in the HAMAS Covenant (1988):

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm

Be sure to look up the parts on Jews and women. In passing, you'll find that similar things were said in distant history by the Catholic Church (basically 'Stalinists' rather than 'Trotskyites'/'Puritans').

2. Fund eager young entrepreneurs so they can sell/distribute such materials in mosques or their vicinity.

3. Encourage an on-board 'think tank' to undertake 'evidence-based research' and then offer a unique deal with a high-profile media portal to bring the material to the attention of the general public (which is now well conditioned by the politically correct media via decades of far-left/New-Left, cultural-marxist (Trot/Gramscist mind) equalities propaganda (mor eto come via the 53 Article FCHR in the Lisbon Treaty).

Surely it's the duty of Newsnight to be wary of such tactics?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_Warfare_Executive

and to at least alert its viewers to the POSSIBILITY of this? The best way of doing that is to critically examine the quality of the alleged research in terms of the standards one demands of any other research? If genuine, the authors of the research would expect no less (but what we've seen is just the opposite, we've seen the classic girly line: 'disagree with us and we'll sue' (a variant of 'I'll scream and scream until I am sick' I suggest).

What we've seen the BBC team try to do is what one sould expect any half competent researchers to do, and that's what we should DEMAND of the BBC. If you don't see evidence of that, you should ignore the BBC too.

Policy Exchange's work appears to be an example of the now all too prevalent political propaganda (psychological/political warfare call it what you will) masquerading as research. Maybe its a consequence of 50% of the population going to university? As I've said elsewhere, this verbiage is all one seems to get from most 'think tanks'. Evidence based research is a critical pursuit which depends upon a community of researchers critically evaluating each other's methods and results. They don't resort to threatening one another with lawyers.

This episode is also serving another purpose I suggest. It's giving the (recently tainted) BBC an opportunity to show that it CAN be unbiased, objective, and 'transparent'. We will have to see how matters develop to gauge just how genuine/permanent this change is given the spate of events recently where it was caught red handed (as other broadcasters have been).

Many domestically (and overseas) see the BBC as civil servants, 'working for the government' (and civil servants DO have to toe the line, they are not independent any more, that all went with Thatcher). My fear is that many in the media don't know what 'pursuit of truth' and research entails anymore, they've just appropriated the language for cosmetic purposes (my favorite is 'pentapeptides'). Let's hope the BBC can make itself the exception. At the moment I'm sceptical.

  • 16.
  • At 09:43 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Quevoni wrote:

So who here and among the BBC do not believe in Freedom of Thought, the right to read, the right to curiosity -surely the whole point of journalism!

What are you so scared of?

What have "islamic republics" got to do with a report that the bbc was all too ready to run, whose aim was to secularise/hollow-out the faith of islam in this country, to repress the right of muslims to have a back-bone and opposing viewpoints of their religion compared to what anti-believers would have them believe?

Why does no one believe in Pluralism, least of all, The BBC; and a separation of thought and action -has society ever intellectually progressed by doing anything else?

regards,


Quevoni

  • 17.
  • At 01:15 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Look up the links to the NYC demographics provided in a NN comment on the New Labour donations thread:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/11/three_unanswered_questions_for_jon_mendelsohn.html

and note the way that this 'minorities' issue is either a big muddle or a very cleverly played hegemonic game.

If the figures are looked at from one perspective, one sees a group which, according to Sir Martin Gilbert, accounted for nearly 5 million of NYC's population at the end of the first decade of the C20th, and which, according to several sources now, comprises just under 2 million of NYC's population (the reduction presumably being through migration to Israel since 1948).

But NOTE - there are also over 2 million Blacks in NYC, and another 2.5 million or so Hispanics (the first averaging something like -1.5 SD (1SD=15 IQ points) in mean IQ bellow the Jews and the second about -1SD) then there are nearly 1 million Asians. A 1SD and 1.5SD difffernece has major implications in terms of relative numbers at the upper end of the ability distribution, i.e. social and economic power. Vociferous claims of equality simoly serve to hide this fact to some group's advantage perhaps?

The question then is: What does that leave as a NYC minority group aside from Asians? Surely it's the WASPs and Catholics if the NYC population is a little over 8 million?

This 'grouping game' has been playable because of the fuzziness of Jewish group membership. One source puts the Ashkenazi population at about 970,000 five years or so ago, but that may just be counting the distinctively dressed Orthodox/Ashkenazim. But it also has to be remembered that NYC's original Jews were Sephardic, fleeing from S America and Portugal and even Holland. Then there are secular Jews.

This paranoid (persecuted group) 'game' has, I suggest, been played in such a way that either by accident or design, it has conferred advantages upon this group as a non-persecuted minority when overall (if all Jews are counted including those now considering themsleves secular though still Jewish according to the Israeli Law of Return), is not a minority at all, but quite the opposite, although it has benefited by making out that it is (creating friendship groups, 'charities', NGOs etc), drawing attention to the Blacks and the Hispanic groups as 'minorities'. In fact, none of these groups are minorities in NYC. Making out that they are really just drives out the WASPs/Catholics, as it does in London. Look closely at the domination across all sectors in NYC, finance, theatre, fashion, music, law...

Superimpose the mean differences in verbal IQ between these groups (Jewish, Asian, White-Non_jewish-Non_Hispanic, Hispanic, Black and one immediately sees that this has either been a 'clever' hegemonic strategy (or a blind-spot) which has wrong-footed the real minority group of NYC, the WASPs and non_Hispanic Catholics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_City
http://jbuff.com/c010104.htm

Is the same 'minority' strategy now being played out in London (albeit with very different numbers and groups) where the White_Non_Jewish population is moving out as Black and Asian groups move in, with support from Jewish groups alleging that they too are a minority? If so, it's a clever group strategy to increase hegemony.

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