Why shouldn't I believe in quitting polls

325 "Survey results without truthfulness?" The quality of online surveys must be recognizable for the user. By Ernst Fricke ZURECHTGERÜCKT On March 21, 2017, the plenum of the German Press Council decided that non-representative online surveys must be marked as such. If such votes are published without appropriate labeling, the journalistic duty of care defined in the press code (cf. Deutscher Presserat 2018) is violated. The decision “Dirk Wildt ./. Merkur Online ”published by the German Press Council. 19 members contributed to it. The violation of guideline 2.1 “Survey results” was made with twelve “yes” and six “no” votes with one abstention, the decision to waive a measure with 13 “yes” and five “no” votes with one abstention (German Press Council 2017). The editor-in-chief of “Merkur Online” had thus prevailed with his view that “the case is of a fundamental nature, as it completely affects the functionality and handling of voting in online portals. He therefore supports the processing and, if necessary, the development of a basic guideline for dealing with voting by the Press Council. ”It is surprising that the complaint filed in 2017 was only decided in March 2018, despite the clear violation of Section 2 (diligence) and the guideline 2.1 (survey results) no sanctions have been imposed. From May 17, 2017, the editorial team of “Merkur Online” carried out a survey among users on the subject of “Third runway at Munich Airport”. The complainant, Dirk Communicatio Socialis to the right, Prof. Dr. Ernst Fricke is a lawyer and honorary professor for media law and court reporting at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and author of the textbook “Law for Journalists”. Communicatio Socialis (3/2018) 51: 325-330. DOI: 10.5771 / 0010-3497-2018-3-325 ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 325 10.08.2018 09:11:10 326 Ernst Fricke Wildt1. already found on May 18, 2017 that he can take part in the voting several times if he deactivates the storage of cookies on his computer. On that day he cast around ten votes and even informed the editorial team of “Merkur Online” about it and criticized the possibility of multiple votes. Thereupon he was informed that “votes like the current one are purely mood images without any claim to representativeness”. The tool used would also be used by other portals. If you conduct a survey that is supposed to be representative, you use something different technically, according to the line of defense of "Merkur Online". One day later, the complainant even cast 182 votes within 62 minutes, which undoubtedly had a significant impact on the polls. The percentage of supporters of the expansion fell from 43 to 39 percent, the percentage of those who opposed expansion rose from 54 to 58 percent. The long-suffering of the German Press Council and the reasoning itself surprise and irritate at the same time. “Why surveys are not always to be believed” have been self-critically analyzed by the media for a long time. Numerous studies have attested the Germans either xenophobia or an enormous willingness to help towards refugees. With such “contradictory and politically tendentious findings, opinion researchers are promoting social polarization” (Halefeldt 2017). The “stumbling blocks of survey research” are well known, and the results presented are only of limited informative value. But if, as in the Wildt ./. Merkur Online are even knowingly allowed manipulation and published, there is a clear violation of the recognized journalistic principles. The “obligation to truth” of the press code does not permit such frivolous and manipulative publication of surveys. 1 Dirk Wildt was a journalist for the “taz” in Berlin for many years, where he was responsible for state politics. At the end of the 1990s he was a press spokesman in the Berlin Senate and belongs to the Passau-Land district association for Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. The “obligation to truth” of the press code does not permit such manipulative publication of surveys. ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 326 08/10/2018 09:11:10 327 A “clean research” is also to be observed in relation to the survey itself (Gröpl, n.d.). “Emotions instead of facts” could be read in a critical report by Deutschlandfunk and “online surveys are omnipresent” (Fries 2018). "The credibility of journalism is at risk," the complainant Dirk Wildt is quoted in it, who also states critically: "If a survey is not representative and can also be instrumentalized by lobby groups, it is not meaningful." And one can "on a website Place unequally researched information and manipulated surveys side by side ”(ibid.). “Truthfulness in Politics, Law, Economy and Media” was also the subject of Alois Riklin's farewell lecture at the University of St. Gallen in January 2001. In addition to the characteristics of the profession of politician highlighted by Max Weber, Riklin demands “truthfulness” as a fourth virtue, especially for the media (Riklin 2003, p. 8). Legal science is certain that although the press has a “duty of truth”, “there is no legal safeguarding of the press’s obligation to be truthful in certain constellations” (Dittmayer 2013) .2 Complaint against the “Bayerische Staatszeitung” Wildt on On June 6, 2018, another complaint about manipulating surveys was submitted to the German Press Council - this time against the "Bayerische Staatszeitung". In it he writes: “The Bayerische Staatszeitung carries out a survey that lasts several days every week on its website. These surveys take place in an editorial environment in which representatives from politics, lobby and associations represent the respective pro and contra positions. After completing the survey, the results will be permanently presented on an 'Archive' page, from calendar week 44th 2011 until today. Surveys are currently being carried out with a manipulable tool; a single person can vote an unlimited number of times. For the first time on May 11, 2018, I cast multiple votes in a survey and change the result accordingly. ”[…] 2 Dittmayer does not misjudge the importance of accurate information for the population, as well as the need to guarantee it, which, however,“ through the voluntary Control of the German Press Council, the criminal and civil laws, already on three levels. ”To the right:“ Survey results without truthfulness? ”ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 327 10.08.2018 09:11:10 328 Dirk Wildt informs both the editor-in-chief Ralph Schweinfurth and the two pro and contra protagonists and suggests taking the survey offline. The state newspaper continues the survey. “On the evening of May 16, I will vote again several times in the same survey. With 140 votes I change the result from 87.3% to 12.7% (74.6% difference) to 91.0% to 9.0% (82.0% difference, + 7.4%). "[... ] The next day, Wildt informed the editorial team again of his manipulation, referring to the decision of the press council on online surveys, whereupon the editor-in-chief called. "On May 24th I noticed that the Bayerische Staatszeitung published the results of the manipulated survey 'Should EU foreigners with children abroad the child benefit be reduced?" On its archive page and thus presented the results permanently on the Internet. The new survey 'Should hobby hunting be banned?' Can be manipulated. I'll cast 30 votes from 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and reverse the result. I change it from YES: 45.7%, NO: 54.3% (difference -8.6%) to YES: 51.3%, NO: 48.7% (difference 2.6%). "[... ] Wildt also notifies the editor-in-chief and the two pro and contra protagonists about this. Nonetheless, the survey will continue. "Mr. Schweinfurth replied that the topic was on, and that the presentation on the website would be appropriately changed next week. On May 29th, I noticed that the Bayerische Staatszeitung published the results of the manipulated survey 'Should hobby hunting be banned?' On its archive page and thus presented the results permanently on the Internet. The new current survey can also be manipulated: 'Anchor centers for refugees: A sensible idea?'. In the morning I cast 50 votes and change the results as follows from YES: 71.6% and NO: 28.4% (difference 43.2%) to YES: 78.0% and NO: 22.0% (difference 56 , 0%). “[…] Despite the information provided to those involved, the survey will be continued and the result will be reported later in the print edition. The complainant is of the opinion: Ernst Fricke ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 328 10.08.2018 09:11:10 329 The "Bayerische Staatszeitung" continued a survey online after it became aware that this survey had been manipulated. She even carried out two new surveys with the tool, which she has known since May 11th at the latest that can be manipulated. In both cases, the newspaper also did not close the polls after learning that the results had been tampered with. The “Bayerische Staatszeitung” permanently presents the manipulated results on its archive page after the surveys have been completed. From the point of view of the complainant, this became blatant against Section 1 of the Press Code ("respect for the truth" [...] and "truthful information of the public are the top priority of the press"), as well as against Section 2 (diligence) and Policy 2.1 (Survey Results) violated. It is particularly worrying that the complainant regularly reported the manipulations to the editor-in-chief Ralph Schweinfurth and yet the "alleged" results of the survey were published without pointing out the problem of the manipulation and without taking into account the decision of the German Press Council of March 31, 2018 . For the "Bayerische Staatszeitung" the complaint can be more than embarrassing (Wildt 2018). The latest edition of the “Bayerische Staatszeitung” provided information on the survey, according to which “improper influencing of online surveys [...] cannot be ruled out”. This note can also be found under the surveys in the archive. The German Press Council has to clarify whether that is enough in the ongoing complaint proceedings against the “Bayerische Staatszeitung”. "The lie of the truth" is the title of an article that deals with media criticism, in which it says: "You can perhaps come close to a truth, but never fully grasp the one - even the media cannot" (De Lapuente 2017) . In surveys, however, the circumstances are simpler and by adhering to the requirements of the press code, the “truthfulness” owed to the audience is achieved. The German Press Council will have to deal with comparable processes even more often so that manipulations and deceptions can no longer have any influence on the opinion-forming process. zuRechtgerücken: “Survey results without truthfulness?” ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 329 10.08.2018 09:11:10 330 Literature De Lapuente, Roberto J. (2017): The lie of the truth. In: neue-deutschland.de from October 12. https://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/1066650. the-lie-of-the-truth.html. Deutscher Presserat (2018): Press release "Quality of online surveys must be recognizable for users" from March 22nd. http://www.presserat.de/fileadmin/user_upload/PM/Pressemitteilung_DPR_Plenum_22.Ma__rz_Umfragen.pdf German Press Council, decision of March 21, 2017, Az. 0490/17/1-BA-PL. Dittmayer, Matthias (2013): Duty of the press to truthfulness. Scope and warranty. Baden-Baden. Fries, Stefan (2018): Emotion instead of facts. In: deutschlandfunk.de from March 22nd. https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/presserat-entscheidet-ueber-online-umfragen-emotionen-statt.2907.de.html?dram:article_id=413632. Gröpl, Christoph (oJ): Conclusion from the public task of the press and radio (§ 4 SMG) - observance of the recognized journalistic principles, § 6 II SMG, § 10 I, § 53 II RStV, Saarland University, PRR 17/1 . https://docplayer.org/49512318-Prof-dr-christoph-groepl-presseu-rundfunkrecht-universitaet-des-saarlandes.html. Halefeld, Elke (2017): Why surveys are not always to be believed. In: cicero. de from 13.2. https://www.cicero.de/innenpolitik/demoskopie-warum-umfragen-nicht-immer-zu-glauben-ist-. Riklin, Alois (2003): Truthfulness in Politics, Law, Economy and Media. Bern / Göttingen. Wildt, Dirk (2018): Complaint from Dirk Wildt, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, to the German Press Council from 6.6. All internet sources last accessed on July 3, 2018. Ernst Fricke ComSoc_Heft_18_3_Bild_final.indd 330 08/10/2018 09:11:10