Certain think tanks, pressure groups, unions, associations (etc) can pretty much rely on the BBC to report their press releases, reports and studies. Articles appear daily on the BBC website devoted to such things. Others are not so lucky, having their reports ignored – or, if not ignored, marginalised or criticised.

There’s an article on the website at the moment that, rather unusually, considers two separate reports from different organisations. Not that you’d know that from the headline:

****Teachers’ survey: Schools changes ‘won’t benefit poor’

The headline summarises the findings of one of the reports – that from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of BBC regulars, the Sutton Trust charity. This undermines Michael Gove’s education policies from the standard BBC perspective, so it is given the vast bulk of the article. The short fourth paragraph, however, shifts to another report – “Separately, the pro-free market Adam Smith Institute has said free schools should be able to make a profit.” This other report attacks the government from the Right and is subsequently marginalised. Immediately Paragraph 5 reverts to the Sutton Trust study and dwells on it at great length and in considerable detail. Finally, in Paragraph 19 (after 14 paragraphs on the Sutton Trust report), we return to the Adam Smith Institute report. This is given just three paragraphs in total (one of Lilliputian size) and goes into no detail whatsoever.

I suppose the Adam Smith Institute should be grateful that the BBC gave space to their report. (They may even have been surprised!) But I suspect their gratitude will be tempered by not being given an article to themselves, by being given very short shrift, by being shoved at the bottom of a long article about another very different report and by not being given a mention in the article’s headline. I only found the BBC’s take on the Adam Smith Institute report by accident because I spotted the headline and thought it might be a good chance to check out whether the Churnalism search engine (h/t Katabasis)would suspect it of being churnalism for the Sutton Trust. (It did).

(This post of mine might be proof of the saying ‘You wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once!’)

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  1. john in cheshire says:

    Every enterprise should be allowed to make a profit. Every institute, such as the bbc should be forced to stand on its own two feet and be allowed to fail. What is the difference between a car maker, a medical service, a school, a supermarket, a utlility company or even the bbc? nothing. They all provide a service that people should be able to purchase, or not, as they feel appropriate.


  2. hippiepooter says:

    We can expect a lot more of this horsepoo by numbers as the threat of a successful Tory reform grows.  
    There was some guy on 5Breakfast from some teaching union arguing that their teacher survey had showed some inevitable educational/social shortfall or other if free schools are introduced.  
    I’m not sure where the Adam Smith Institute is coming from.  Profit making schools are for the private sector.  What matters for the state sector free schools is that they operate within budget and raise standards.  Given the anti educational left wing teacher ethos that they’d be rescuing school children from, it would be hard not to!


  3. cjhartnett says:

    Good Friday clearly not “Good” enough for our BBC chums so it would appear.
    1. The Pope was interviewed by kids from across the world on RAI-Italian telly!
    Our BBC chum says that he answered questions on such trivia as the resurrection and the injustice of Japanese kids suffering in the tsunami( that`s 2000 years of raging theological discourse put in its place then!)-but he did NOT concern himself with the “far more controversial” issues such as -well let me think now-em…oh yes- “child abuse by certain priests”.
    Worth counting the lead time between any story involving Catholics-and the first of many mentions of the old abuse-you may well be the man for this Craig,should you choose to accept this mission!

    2. On a religious roll,we now turn to faith schools and that useful patsy from Oxford saying that Anglican schools really ought to reduce the number of children from the Cof E. That useful idiot on speed dial-liberal guilt ridden bloke who`s Reform Jewish and wants to see faith schools banned-Jonathan Romaine I think-well guess who gets the BBC call up to concur. Only one and the same!
    Funny that the liberal elite that say that Christianity is dead or dying seem intent on preventing Anglicans from keeping any distinction between the States landfill schools and the Churches. Wonder why?

    3. Some argy bargy in Bristol where vulnerable members of the “squatting community” were scared by that nasty Avon Constabulary-presumably when they squat, they are entitled to the Avon ladies to dole out free face cream. BBC seem to find alot of crusties that were “only shouting maan! Balanced to the bone eh,those carrot tops from BBC SouthWest!

    4 And on this day, I think that the BBC think that this day could NOT be regarded as a “good” day for we dupes of the religious right. Jesus missed the opportunity to” flag up” the injustice of the death penalty on leaving his tomb-he ran no Jerusalem Marathon in a sponsored shroud afterwards. That he had no sin beforehand is all well and good-but to Shami and to Clive Stafford Smith-to forgo the chance to “raise awareness” of state executions surely puts him at risk of not getting any accolades or awards from the Guardian or BBC for this year at least! Ooh -the body language is bad alright!


    • Craig says:

      Yes, every time Duncan Kennedy came on this morning to speculate pointlessly (and he kept turning up to do so every hour on the News Channel) it was usually only a few seconds before “the child priestly sex abuse scandal” got a mention. He usually got in a second mention as each segment went on.

      The child abuse scandal was the main reason for the Pope’s question time session, according to the BBC man – though he added that “some sceptics have said it’s all very well because it coincides with the publication of his book.” (Hmm, does the Pope really need a publicity stunt to flog his book, given that he’s quite high profile as it it, what with being the leader of a church with 1.2 billion followers?)

      Duncan Kennedy (who’s usually the BBC’s Anti-Berlusconi Correspondent) came out with some ‘gems’ (in the McGonagall sense of the word) on the questions about those age-old philosophical/theological problems – the nature of the soul and the problem of suffering (aka the problem of evil):

      “So kinda tame questions, theologically not very demanding for the Pope.”

      “So not exactly the toughest kind of questions for somebody of the intellect and the stature..(quickly correcting himself)..status of Pope Benedict.

      As you say, St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas (and for that matter most major philosophers) would have been delighted to hear this & will be rushing to Duncan for all the answers! 

      More Duncan Kennedy quotes from throughout today show how he talked of criticisms made by critics of the Pope and the Pope’s TV appearance, criticisms he himself was also making (surely making him a critic too):

      “Not exactly tough questions..No questions on things like priest abuse, the real tough questions that I think some critics were looking for. So, in a sense, a kind of tame question-and-answer session, certainly the first for a pope, but I think critics will say ‘a little bit sanitized’ and ‘we didn’t get to the nitty gritty questions that the Catholic Church and, indeed, the Pope himself should be answering at this time.”

      A few seconds later he himself said:
      “In a sense it was very sanitized”.

      “Seven questions in all but none about the more contentious issues, like the priest abuse scandal.”

      “Although critics say it’s too sanitized to achieve very much, it is a first and in the Catholic Church that amounts to progress.”

      I’m not a Catholic, but you don’t need to be a Catholic to feel very uneasy about Duncan Kennedy’s contributions to the News Channel today.


      • hippiepooter says:

        Craig, when various luminaries, including Peter Tatchell, from ‘Protest the Pope’ were threatening to perform a citizen’s arrest on His Holiness for Catholic priests abusing children, I am not aware of Mr Peter Tatchell being asked in any BBC interview if he himself should worry about someone performing a citizen’s arrest on him for his open endorsement of paedophilia in a letter to the Guardian dated 26th June 1997.  
        Here also we have information on the open paedophile agenda of the Gay Liberation Front of the 70’s with the support of key figures in Liberty who were key members of the last Labour Government that legalised homosexual adoption and abolished Clause 28.  Tatchell celebrates the Gay Liberation Front here.  
        Of the many homosexuals at the BBC I’m sure many celebrate Tatchell’s nonce proclivities.  The BBC’s hostility to the Catholic Church and free pass to the nauseous hypocrisy of Tatchell and Co’s ‘Protest the Pope’ might have something to do with this.


  4. cjhartnett says:

    SAtill-someone high up in The BBC has a sense of humour. I remember the Vaticans correspondent was talking about the Vaticans possible U turn on contraception-no don`t ask!…last November anyway(on early Sunday morning should you care.
    Correspondents name was …wait for it…David Willey-what else!
    Oh titter ye not missus!


  5. Kendall Massey says:

    What is just as bad is there is no link to the Adam Smith Institute wheras the BBC’s friends all have links including the Sutton Trust. The bias is blatant.