Why bother doing the poll at all?
Multiculturalism makes Britain a better place to live…62% of the respondents agreed. But when asked to agree or disagree with the statement:
People who come to live in Britain should adopt the values and traditions of…58% of the respondents agreed.
How do you report these seemingly imcompatible responses? Well, if you are the BBC, you ignore the conflict and hype the results that you prefer:
UK majority back multiculturalismIt isn’t until halfway through the article that we are told the poll indicates a “confused attitude” to the concept of multiculturalism, with only a single, passing reference to the clear majority who favor the adoption of British culture. And there is not any mention whatsoever of the section of the poll in which specific aspects of British culture (such as speaking English, accepting the rights of women as equal citizens, accepting the authority of British institutions) were listed, with respondents being asked to agree or disagree that immigrants should be required to accept it as a condition of citizenship. Since not one of them had less than 50% agreement, and most of them had substantial majorities of between 70% and 90% agreement, it is no surprise that the BBC chose to leave that information out of its article.
The majority of British people think multiculturalism makes the country a better place, a BBC poll suggests.
Now, to be totally fair, the BBC's Cindi John did produce another article (with an earlier timestamp, by the way) focusing on the “mixed messages” of the poll and pointing out the lack of an objective and consistently accepted definition of the term “multiculturalism”. But that article can only be found as a link in a sidebar comment halfway through the page of the other, “top” story which hypes multiculturalism and was itself linked to on the main BBC page. Besides which, if the BBC knew already that the poll results on British acceptance of multiculturalism were “mixed”, and that there is no agreement over the very meaning of the term – a fact which is established by the presence of the earlier article - why did it subsequently produce and promote a different article definitively proclaiming quite a different result?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
UPDATE: The BBC has now removed the "UK backs multiculturalism" story from its Top Stories, and has placed the "mixed messages" article on to the main page.