Escolar: Pinocchio award for El Pais & El Mundo

Arsenio Escolar, editor in chief of Spanish free daily 20 Minutos wants to ‘honor’ paid papers El Pais and El Mundo with a Pinocchio Award because of incomplete and misleading information on the latest Spanish readership data. Escolar calls it a “Lección de periodismo manipulador y mentiroso” (a lesson in manipulative reporting and lying).

The latest readership survey revealed that 20 Minutos is the best-read paper before sports paper Marca, free paper Qué!, El Pais, free dailies Metro and ADN and El Mundo. So four free papers in the top seven, with Qué! surpassing El Pais for the first time and only El Pais and El Mundo losing readers compared to 2007. (see previous post)

Escolar rightly scorns the reports in El Pais, because the paper omits to mention the loss and the fact that it is now the 4th instead of the 3rd paper in Spain. It fails to mention the free papers and only concentrates on the fact that it has more readers than El Mundo and ABC.

The reporting by El Mundo is indeed a remarkable piece of lying and manipulation of data:

MADRID.- Tras un año especialmente complicado para los medios de comunicación, el diario EL MUNDO cierra el ejercicio con unas cifras de audiencia que no sólo demuestran, una vez más, la fortaleza de este periódico como el segundo más leído de España, sino que ratifica, además, su liderazgo indiscutible respecto a las cabeceras que están por detrás en términos de audiencia.

(After a year particularly difficult for the media, EL MUNDO closed the year with audience figures that not only demonstrate once again the strength of this newspaper as the second most read in Spain, but confirms also its undisputed leadership regarding the papers that are behind in terms of audience)

The paper did not compare the 2008 data with 2007 but with the halfway 2008 research and found that the gap between El Mundo and El Pais was somewhat smaller (it increased actually when the full years 2007 and 2008 are compared – a fact El Mundo conceals). El Mundo also does not mention the free papers or sport paper Marca, so it can call itself the second paper in Spain (it’s the 7th in fact).

Both El Mundo and El Pais proved how you can report a victory when you are losing the battle. The question is how long you can deceive the public with this kind of ‘journalism’.

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