Muse by Craig Ranapia


MUSEing on the BBC: Asking The Right Question?

We're all hip, cynical, sceptical-to-a-fault media types around here, right?  Oh, sod off.  For all it's flaws, the British Broadcasting Corporation is still the kind of brand that has an authority you can't buy, spin or fake with a social media strategy.  So, when I got an e-mail from Polly Proctor, who produces Word of Mouth for BBC Bistol asking if I'd like to contribute to a show on referenda, the art of the leading question and how you make sense of it all I did two things.  Say yes.  Then have a wee panic attack.

The context-slash-inciting incident was this Public Address Radio piece on the so-called "smacking referendum." Horrendously unamused would be a fair paraphrase.

Did my views shift any over three years?  You're going to have to go here and see (hear?) for yourself.

Here's the blurb for the show - and, yes, I do have the decency to blush at being counted in the company of "experts". 

As Scotland grapples with the wording of a possible referendum on independence, Chris Ledgard takes a look at the art of asking the right question. Whether in a referendum, survey or in a court room, how do you avoid writing an incomprehensible question or - perhaps worse - a leading question?

Experts in linguistics, law, politics and psychology as well as politicians themselves explain the importance of getting the wording of a question right.


Pupils from St Katherine's School in North Somerset
Joan McAlpine, Scottish National Party MSP
Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Professor John Curtice, University of Strathclyde
Professor John Joseph, University of Edinburgh
Amanda Pinto QC, Criminal Barrister
Professor Robert Cialdini, Arizona State University
Craig Ranapia, New Zealand based blogger and broadcaster

Producer: Polly Procter.

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