The Irish Examiner ran a fake news headline that “75% of doctors support 12-week access to abortion” over its front page on February 8.
This was completely fake news.
The newspaper stated that the poll consisted of 400 medics and was conducted by the Irish Medical Times, but no such poll even existed, again completely fake news.
Instead, a Twitter/Facebook poll claiming to have been held among members of the medical profession was used by several Irish media outlets including TheJournal.ie and the Irish Times to push the false narrative that 75% of Irish doctors support abortion on demand up to 12 weeks.
The poll was presented as one that was open to doctors. In fact, it was open to anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account, which meant it could not be relied upon in any way to provide an idea of the views of the country’s doctors. As a result, it was falsely used to suggest that there was a strong consensus among the medical community in Ireland that the assessment of the Oireachtas Abortion Committee was correct.
Most media outlets including TheJournal.ie and the Irish Times have since removed the poll from their websites. However, some are still touting the debunked survey as something to be taken seriously.
After much pressure on social media, the editor of thejournal.ie Susan Daly appears to play dumb and finally admitted: “We misunderstood the methodology and have removed the article and all social relating to it.”
This has been cited as an example by pro-life campaigners that the Irish media are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to push for repeal of the 8th Amendment, even publishing polls like this without first checking the details thoroughly and then refusing to remove them when they are shown to be nothing more than fake news.
It must also be pointed out that it’s understood the Irish Examiner is believed to be either part of or owned by the Irish Times after a recent buy-out.