The wisdom of crowds

I didn’t have a clue what I was going to write about today. I try to do this thing where if I think of something that I might want to write about at some point, I type a title into the QuickPress bit of the WordPress dashboard and save it as a draft so that I can come back to it at a later date. Trouble is I haven’t been doing it long and none of the stuff I have saved is the sort of thing I can jump straight into and thrash out a quick few hundred words about.

And then I saw this on the Telegraph site.

The live streaming’s one thing, but as for the rest…

Viewers will also be able to vote throughout the hearing on whether they think the former PM is telling the truth or not using our on screen ‘lie detector’.

Click the Vote button on the video to register your view, and the lie detector will show running results of public opinion.

Which, given that this is the Telegraph, will result in a big fat LIE vote that they can spin out into a story about how 95 percent of people thought that Blair was lying to the Iraq Inquiry.

Now, I’m reasonably sure that he’ll lie and dissemble and evade his way right through his appearance, but since I’m not Paul Ekman I’m fairly sure that my opinion’s next to worthless. And it seems likely that nobody else watching is going to be Paul Ekman, either, their opinions are equally worthless, too. Add them all together though and you’re in business, regardless of the fact that your data’s sourced from a readership that can be depended on to reflect your editorial slant. Interestingly, though, the Telegraph’s already getting a bit of stick for this in the comments. It’d be nice to have a go at subverting this little stunt, don’t you think?

So what I plan to do is sit and click the TRUE button all the way through (or at least until I get bored); not because I believe that Tony was straight up with us all along and didn’t mislead us into an illegal war at Bush’s behest, but because this whole live-poll-as-news thing is plain bad journalism.

I hope you’ll join in the fun!


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