The BBC live election blog is at it again, messing up my daily figures by using lots of banal/trivial quotes from the Conservatives to boost their quota but using lots of serious/significant quotes for Labour and the Lib Dems. My criteria is simple - to count every post that uses direct/indirect quotes from the party politicians. Yes, my figures show a significant and growing Labour lead (so pro-Labour bias) but they don't register the triviality of so many of the Conservative quotes chosen to appear on the BBC blog - quotes that don't help them get their message across. This underestimates the extent of the blog's anti-Conservative bias. I didn't think about that at the start, and now it's far too late. I should have run a parallel survey that monitored the value of the quotes I have been recording.
Here are some more examples of what I mean:
0946: In Blackpool, David Cameron is talking to voters. As the sun shines, he compliments one man on his tie and says its great to be back in the Lancashire resort. Wife Samantha is by his side.
0951: The Tory leader is looking at a community garden. He and wife Samantha take turns to point at the denuded flower beds, or are they vegetable patches? The latter, it seems, as one gentleman explains how much people enjoy eating the produce. Mr Cameron says his daughter has a "novel" approach to gardening, simply throwing seeds everywhere in the hope that they will grow.
1009: David Cameron, who has just signed his contract for young people in Blackpool, says his party takes nothing for granted and that the election remains "wide open". Promising to continue trying to persuade people to the last moment, he adds: "There's real work to do. There's millions of people still to be persuaded."
1359: David Cameron is talking to young people at the City of London academy. He's been joined by wife Samantha and double Olympic gold medallist, rower James Cracknell. The first question is what football team does he support - cue groans from those assembled when Mr Cameron says Aston Villa. He then backs Chelsea to win the Premier League - cue more groans. "I've lost all the north London votes there," he says.
As Ryan discovered, the BBC are keeping count too. They will be including such dross too.