Compare and Contrast …

… the coverage of two court cases where teachers are alleged to have had sex with pupils.

A Grammar school music teacher embarked on an affair with a sixth-form pupil, a court heard on Tuesday.

The headline originally referred to the school’s grammar status – it’s since been amended. Contrast with :

An art teacher has appeared in court charged with sexual offences against girls over a period of 30 years.

Not ‘a comprehensive school art teacher’ ? It’s the little things.

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


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Shameful failed cover-up by the BBC

says NHS Blog Doctor. I ain’t going to say it any better.

…Though I will add that the practice of significantly changing an article while leaving the “Last Updated” field unchanged has been noted many times on this blog. Both the old and the new versions of the article on milk allergy say that they were last updated on Monday, 20 November 2006, 04:54 GMT.

UPDATE Tuesday 10.23am. A comment to this post by Lee Moore points out that the Google cache search result that Dr Crippen had cited to show the earlier version has now been updated, in the way of Google cache stories, to show the later version.

A more permanent record of the changes can be found using the News Sniffer programme. (Specifically the bit of it called “Revisionista”.)

This link shows versions 0 and 1.

This link shows versions 7 and 8

I haven’t the time to track down exactly when various changes happened. However I note that whereas Versions 0 and 1 say at the beginning:

Nearly 80% of 500 doctors polled by the medical taskforce Act Against Allergy thought…

Versions 7 and 8 say:

Nearly 80% of 500 doctors polled by a formula milk manufacturer thought…

There are other changes in the story. One important change relates to the question of how common milk allergy is. Earlier versions say it is very common. Middle versions say that opinions differ. Later versions state some figures from the Food Standards Agency.

As always, I do not complain that changes have taken place. The changes are improvements. What is bad is that non-trivial changes are done by stealth. An organisation with the BBC’s resources ought to find some way of making significant changes explicit. Failing that it ought at least to not make a false statement on the Last Updated field.

Of course none of this business of stealth edits is news to readers of this blog, but judging from the correspondence that “Dr Crippen” has received, the fact that the Last Updated field has not been changed does lead to some readers being misled.

The BBC has excised all references

  • “The BBC has excised all references to the anti-black and antisemitic nature of the attack …” Melanie Phillipscompares how the BBC reported what happened after a football match between the Israeli team Hapoel and Paris Saint Germain with the AFP and AP reports of the same incident.Her link doesn’t work. The BBC story is here.

    Hat tip: Biodegradable

     

  • 800,000 demonstrate. Guess which three we found.Pounce comments:

    Three Lebanese people give their views on the significance of the past few days in their country: the assassination of anti-Syrian politician Pierre Gemayel, and the huge crowds attending his funeral rally. (Link to BBC story)

    1st viewpoint ; The Jews and America did it.

    2nd viewpoint; Not sure who did it but I don’t think Syria did it. Oh by the way Hezbollah have a valid point about wanting more of a say in government.

    3rd viewpoint; Hezbollah are great and America isn’t..

    Hang on. 800,000 people protested against Syria in Beirut yesterday and its shared familiar ‘Hezbollah’ [...]

    Yet strangely in Beirut today out of a total population of approx 1.5 million the BBC manages to find 3 people who not only support Syria and Hezbollah but hate the Jews and America in which to express the view in Lebanon.

    Why am I not surprised

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


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The Gospel Truth

(aka Amnesty and HRW)

It was a while back that I read the Human Rights Watch report on the war between Israel and Hezbullah. I realised then that there was quite a bizarre section which claimed that on the one hand Hezbullah had used settlements for rocket launch pads, while on the other that they hadn’t used “human shields”. Just how wrapped in humanity one has to be to have a human shield around one isn’t clear- a dance of definition noticed with scorn by LGF.

The BBC is to be commended in its report for calling HRW and Amnesty “pressure groups”. Now all they need to do is to subject them to the most cursory scrutiny. They could start I suppose with the fact that the following claim (with the same pretzel-like logic) appears to be lifted directly from the HRW report by Amnesty:

“Amnesty found that Hezbollah hid Katyusha rockets among civilians and often fired them into Israel from the cover of civilian villages.

But researchers found no evidence that Hezbollah actually used civilians as human shields during the fighting.”

Maybe I mistitled this post, in fact. The Gospels get a far harder time than the BBC gives its pet transnationals.

Milking allergy for all its worth.

My colleague Andrew recently highlighted a case where the Beeb re-wrote a company’s press release and called it news. He felt, he said, a Mandy Rice-Davies moment coming on.

Here’s another instance where Mandy’s wisdom should be heard. NHS Blog Doctor pointed out this BBC story.

Nearly 80% of 500 doctors polled by the medical taskforce Act Against Allergy thought their colleagues confused milk allergy symptoms with other conditions.

Experts say the problem lies…

And who or what are the “medical taskforce”, Act Against Allergy? The makers of a milk substitute.

I’d be the first to argue that the company’s vested interest does not necessarily make them wrong. Indeed I often like to point out that non-commercial bodies and experts are not themselves immune from having vested interests. But the commercial link is something one wants to know when evaluating the story, don’t you agree? The BBC showed laziness in simply repeating Act Against Allergy’s self-description as a “medical taskforce”, as if the prime minister had appointed them.

UPDATE: Follow-up post concerning stealth-editing of the BBC story here.

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Roundup

  • Cunningtitle wonders if an article about David Cameron has been deliberately buried. My experience of the BBC search system suggests chaos rather than conspiracy, but you be the judge.
  • A lot of media outlets, the BBC pre-eminent among them, siezed on Tony Blair’s “It has, but…” as an admission that Iraq had been a disaster. Powerline calls it “wishful thinking” in the link. I’d call it gaffe-mining. My impression was that the comment was basically phatic: Blair is always saying, “yes but”.

    There’s about one “look, look, the warmongers admit it” story a day at the moment. The Hutton report must have really riled them.

  • Stone walls do not a prison make / Nor iron bars a cage

    - so Richard Lovelace wrote to his love Althea while imprisoned by the Roundheads during the Civil War. Apparently the BBC thinks that Lovelace’s philosophy is also an appropriate attitude for fallen women imprisoned in an Iranian House of Compassion. Although the story does make clear that the inmates are imprisoned, it is referred to as a “shelter”.

    Commenter “pounce” examines the BBC story:

    They include runaways, drug addicts and prostitutes. Many are suffering from severe mental health problems.”

    Oh we have runaways (from what?) drug addicts and prostitutes why they even throw in the catch all “severe mental health problems” in other words what the BBC is saying is that every women there is partly to blame.

    But it gets better contrast the above Oasis statement with the following;

    The house rules say that women brought in by the police, cannot leave unless their families take them back. “I want to get out here,” she says, “I want to live my life, go shopping and go to the park with my friends.””

    Oasis, more like a Prison. But just to reinforce it’s the women’s fault angle promulgated by the BBC they insert this;

    “Her face is clouded by the shadows of drug addiction. When she holds up her hands, her fingers are permanently clenched – the tendons in her wrist have been severed by repeated suicide attempts.”

    See its all her fault. But not to worry the BBC does try to claim that the refuge come prison does try to help them out, (but with little success)

    “Staff at the shelter have tried to help the women turn their lives around by organising training courses and teaching them new skills. But so far they’ve met with little success. For many of the residents, it’s just too late to make a new start.”

    Err BBC how about what’s the point of learning a new trade if you can’t leave the 4 walls of said refuge unless accompanied by one of the prison wardens.
    “They like it when the staff take them on outings to the city. And they would love it if someone could buy them a tape recorder so they could have some music.”

    It seems BBC that the above was written by somebody working at the ministry of disinformation in Tehran.

    The BBC and half a story.

    pounce

    The House of Compassion in Teheran has many parallels with the Magdalen Laundries in Ireland. The attitude of the BBC to these institutions was different. It commissioned “a powerful new BBC screenplay.”

    UPDATE: An anonymous commenter writes, “The photo caption says “Some of the women are reluctant to leave this haven of safety”!”

    Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:


    Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

    Democracy in action at the BBC, or should that be democracy inaction at the BBC?

    According to the The Register, an irreverent but generally respected technology news site, there’s been a bit of a punch up on the BBC Radio 4 message boards. Apparently:

    “Only messageboard hosts will start new threads”. Oh dear. Cue indignation, to which the Beeb replied: “We believe these changes will allow the Today programme to better reflect the thoughts and opinions of its listeners, making it more relevant to its audience”.

    Yeah right, replied AH:

    No you don’t. You believe that it will enable you to control what people talk about and will also enable you to avoid talking about “sensitive” issues.

    “Your thoughts, your views, your space”

    What a joke.

    Another disgruntled poster adds:

    I can see it now.

    “How can people be forced to appreciate the benefits of multiculturalism?”

    “George Bush. Evil dictator or sexual pervert?”

    “Are YOU a victim of homophobia?”

    “Diversity. Fantastic or amazing?”

    “How can we unite to defeat the right?”

    Etc etc.

    We PAY for the BBC. We PAY for this service. We generally don’t LIKE the political and ideological agendas of the BBC. So they shut the boards.

    Sounds typical of the BBC we all know and love. If you’ve been following this debate please feel free to update this story in the comments.

    Websites face four-second cut-off

    Putting on my hat marked Lazy BBC (since there isn’t such a blog), here’s a great example of BBC Views Online lazily re-publishing corporate puff dressed up as news:

    Websites face four-second cut-off

    Shoppers are likely to abandon a website if it takes longer than four seconds to load, a survey suggests.

    The research by Akamai revealed users’ dwindling patience with websites that take time to show up.

    It found 75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load.

    The time it took a site to appear on screen came second to high prices and shipping costs in the list of shoppers’ pet-hates, the research revealed.

    “Research by Akamai”? Now, tell me, just what is it that Akamai are well known for selling? Let’s have a look at their About Akamai page:

    If you use the Internet for anything – to download music or software, check the headlines, book a flight – you’ve probably used Akamai’s services without even knowing it. We play a critical role in getting content from providers to consumers…

    Our global platform of thousands of specially-equipped servers helps the Internet withstand the crush of daily requests for rich, dynamic, and interactive content, transactions, and applications.

    Now there’s a surprise. I feel a Mandy Rice-Davies moment coming on: “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they”, although that appears to have escaped the fearless notice of our inquisitive BBC ‘journalists’ in their hurry to cut’n'paste the news.