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:
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!’)