Alan Jones did not conduct poll on children learning Arabic numbers in school

FactCheck July 29, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post from July 24, 2019 by ‘The lunatics have taken over the asylum’ allegedly showing a July 15 screen shot of a poll created and posted by Sydney 2GB radio breakfast broadcaster Alan Jones. The poll asked if children should be taught Arabic numbers in taxpayer-funded schools. 

This Facebook post from July 15, 2019 claims Alan Jones carried out a poll asked if children should be taught Arabic numbers in taxpayer-funded schools.

According to the poll, 88 per cent of 1876 respondents answered no. The “lunatics” post was accompanied by a caption describing the results as “bloody scary”. It stated: “What hope do we have … these are the ones that vote for the Liberal party.”

The post was shared almost 130 times, and had over 300 comments and 370 reactions.

‘The lunatics have taken over the asylum’ is a page with over 63,000 likes that posts on current affairs and social issues. The page’s about section includes the 1854 Eureka Stockade pledge: “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

The Analysis

The radio 2GB website claims Alan Jones is “Australia’s most popular talkback presenter”. “Alan Jones is a phenomenon,” it states. “He’s described by many as the nation’s greatest orator and motivational speaker. Alan has the mind and capacity to make complex issues understandable to the largest Breakfast audience in Australia.” The second 2019 radio survey results showed Alan Jones remained at the top of the Sydney AM breakfast market. 

AAP FactCheck found there was no July 15 posts on the verified blue tick Alan Jones Facebook page nor any posts about this poll. Nor does it exist on the Radio 2GB’s website or the 2GB Facebook or Twitter pages.

Alan Jones’ official Twitter page shows the top rating breakfast radio host has not tweeted since March 29.

The screen shot of the alleged poll bears some elements of both Facebook and Twitter style and features the profile picture from Mr Jones’ official Twitter page. However Mr Jones has not tweeted since March 29.

A producer for Alan Jones told AAP FactCheck the poll was most likely a fake. “That’s never been a discussion on air or social media or anywhere on the show,” Mr Jones’ producer said.

Regarding Arabic numerals, they are the same decimal system numerals.They’re a set of 10 symbols that were later represented as numbers in the decimal system, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Hindu-Arabic numerals date back to the 6th or 7th century in India before they were introduced to western Europe in the 12th century. 

AAP FactCheck found a similar poll was conducted in America by the CivicScience Inc, a research firm based in Pittsburgh to “tease out prejudice”. The results, which showed 56 per cent of respondents said that schools in America shouldn’t teach Arabic numerals, were tweeted by CEO John Dick on May 12, 2019 with the caption “The saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever seen in our data”. 

The results were widely retweeted with explainers published the following day pointing out Arabic numerals are the same as decimal system numerals.

The Verdict 

Based on this evidence AAP FactCheck found there is no evidence Alan Jones created and posted this poll.

  • False –  The Facebook post is false.

 First published July 29, 2019 16:58 AEST

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