CARRYING A TORCH FOR BIAS

Further to DB’s post and looking back through his tweets, there’s another campaign that Stuart Hughes seems single-handedly to have got started and then used the BBC News website to publicise.

https://twitter.com/?tw_e=screenname&tw_i=193078816724365312&tw_p=tweetembed#!/stuartdhughes

The story begins back in March:

19/3/12 Delighted to finally be able to announce that I’ll be taking part in the Olympic #torchrelay on Jul 24th

The following day though he gets some unwelcome news…

20/3/12 Ah, the spirit of the Games. I’ve just been told I can buy my Olympic torch – for just £200. Can I claim it on expenses?…

Later that same day on Twitter….

20/3/12 Pls get in touch if you’re part of the #torchrelay & unhappy with the £200 cost for the torch – I’m interested in doing a story on it.

20/3/12 Thanks to all #torchbearer s who sent me quotes on cost of buying torch. I’ve just filed this story… (cont) http://tl.gd/ghdlun

20/3/12 @jackieleonard01 I’m going to sell photos with the torch outside TVC for a fiver a pop.

20/3/12 My story on Olympic #torchbearer s being charged £200 to keep their souvenir from then #torchrelay http://ow.ly/9MCFR

22/3/12 @damiendavis My colleagues at BBC London are following this up with other councils after my story & seeing if others will follow suit.

From this Twitter trail, it looks as if Stuart Hughes was told he was going to be an Olympic torch-bearer and was delighted. The following day he was told he would be charged if he wanted to keep the torch and was far from delighted. So he immediately decides he’ll use the BBC News website to run a story getting other people to protest about it and starts tweeting for help. He gets some replies and publishes a story (with a second BBC journalist) on the BBC website. Then his pals at BBC London start digging after to see if the story goes beyond one council. Or that’s what it looks like.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17444857

I would describe the BBC Online piece as loaded against the particular company SH is unhappy with. His article also fails to disclose that he, the joint-author of the article, has a personal interest in the story.

The first guy expressing outrage in the report, “Thomas Read”, must be the “Thomas” a certain Emma Gilliam tweets SH about. From her Twitter feed it looks as if she picks up on SH’s request, knows somebody in her class who’s also going to be an Olympics torch-bearer and tells him about the £200 charge, thus making him “outraged!”:

@stuartdhughes i’ve got a student who’s doing the torch relay. where’s the info about the £200?
@stuartdhughes student just seen the email about it all. he’s outraged!
https://twitter.com/#!/EmmaGilliam

SH replies:
@emmagilliam Ask him to email me.
@emmagilliam Thomas has emailed me. Thanks.

(Emma Gilliam, incidentally, is BBC through and through:
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/contactsandpeople/profiles/gilliam-emma.html)

This seems to be revealing about how certain news stories make their way onto the BBC New website and some might argue that this is just a reporter finding an interesting story and reporting it – except that Stuart Hughes surely isn’t a disinterested reporter here. He wrote that story, didn’t he, because he is personally involved in it, was “outraged” that he was going to be charged to keep his Olympic torch, fished on Twitter for other people to back him up by saying they were outraged too & then published an article on the BBC News website about the row he seems personally to have stirred up?

Is this what an impartial BBC reporter should be doing?

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30 Responses to CARRYING A TORCH FOR BIAS

  1. Jez Clarke says:

    I’d argue, Craig, that there is at least a public interest angle in this.

    Yes, this is still activism rather than disinterested reporting (I am beginning to think this chappie Hughes is a little highly-strung) and as a BBC employee he really would be wise to avoid expressing his feelings so publicly to the world and her mother.

    But his taking umbrage at what are fairly anodyne comments of Addison thingy’s boss and mounting a very public campaign against his company – while giving the air of being an impartial reporter – is, frankly, appallingly unprofessional.

       16 likes

  2. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Apparently Hughes was wounded while embedded in Iraq, and wears a prosthetic device. I remember seeing this a while back, but when DB brought him up the other day, the name didn’t register. Here’s a BBC report he wrote about it.

    So the line between personal and professional was blurred some time ago. We’ve seen this before at the BBC, for example with Justin Webb using the BBC to advocate for stem cell research on diabetes because his son has it.

    While Hughes has my respect for getting on with life after this injury, that’s no excuse for using the BBC as a platform for his personal advocacy on other issues having nothing to do with his job, and he does not deserve any professional respect at this point.

    Here’s a video he posted on YouTube about doing just that:

       8 likes

  3. Roland Deschain says:

    It’s outrageous.

       6 likes

  4. Hugh says:

    What an utter pile of shite. He wouldn’t last five minutes in the real economy.

       10 likes

  5. Teddy Bear says:

    While doing a little research of my own on Hughes I came across this piece by him concerning Robert Fisk of the Independent.
    Fisked’ by the international press corps

    What struck me was the acknowledgement that Fisk was a fierce anti-Israel and anti-US figure, but the praise heaped on him, even within a left-wing self-righteous disagreement, shows that his opinion is the one that the BBC caters to and regenerates.

    He must be aware of the criticism of Fisk for his ‘anti-Zionist views, but makes no attempt to ‘distance’ himself from them, making himself JUST THE SAME.

       8 likes

  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Clearly he thinks Fisk is merely speaking truth to power. That’s the inspiration Hughes is talking about. To people like this, there’s no such thing as demonizing Israel or enabling anti-Semitism. I’d wager it wouldn’t even occur to him.

    Israel and the Jews are all-powerful, so any criticism must be righteous, for it speaks truth to the most powerful in the world. Hughes himself proudly speaks truth to powerful sports organizations and small businessmen.

       5 likes

    • Teddy Bear says:

      ‘Truth to Power’ That’s how the left wing like to view themselves. This also explains why they need to view Islam as the religion of peace and Palestinians as the ‘poor oppressed’ people. They mustn’t see Muslim extremism as powerful, it simply would spoil their self image.

         2 likes

  7. Guest Who says:

    I haven’t read any of the posts above yet, but I think I might already be outraged.
    Off to twitter now.
    That’s how it works, right?

       9 likes

  8. Guest Who says:

    Guessing that LOCOG/council/whoever are slightly regretting the sheer coincidence (unsure of the methodology. Is it like a BBC edit process?) that saw, out of all sorts of deserving, inspirational disabled athletes in the local community, a BBC reporter just happened to be the one chosen.
    Not for him simply being pleased to be the one ‘selected’.. on merit… he wants a free goodie bag too.
    One does hope that this episode will see him cheered on in his ‘hood for his stellar embodiment of the Olympic spirit.
    Citius, Altius, Fortius..Whataboutus (that’s only the ‘us’ ‘they’ presume to speak for, of course).

       10 likes

  9. ltwf 1964 says:

    Stuart Hughes

    just one more to add to the list of reasons why the licence tax will not be paid by me

       13 likes

  10. Sceptical Steve says:

    Surely it doesn’t have to cost £200?
    In 1956, Australian Larkin protested about the Olympic Torch’s Nazi connections by fabricating his own torch “made of a wooden chair leg painted silver, on top of which was a plum pudding can. A pair of underpants, worn by one of the students in National Service, was put inside the can, soaked in kerosene. The underpants were set on fire.”
    Now that would really would make the whole spectacle far more interesting!

       7 likes

    • Guest Who says:

      ‘A pair of underpants..’
      Now you’ve done it.
      Cue Chris Bryant, and a large but entirely UK population-representing proportion of the BBC staff strength getting… out…excited.

         6 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I like that notion: a bit of individual bravery rather than seeking to inspire a lynch mob for a round of pats on the back.

         1 likes

  11. Pah says:

    I thought there was only one torch passed from runner to runner starting in Olympia and stopping at the games.

    What are these torches and why would any one want one?

       6 likes

    • Sultan says:

      How else is the Olympics going to bring economic benefits to the rest of the country?

         4 likes

  12. Popeye says:

    Yes I thought there was only supposed to be the one torch passed from runner to runner.

    The main reason for wanting to be a torch bearer would seem to be narcism. It’s says something about the mindset of some people that they are outraged at having to pay to keep their torch. They seem to think the taxpayer or licence fee payer should pay for them.

    In a fair and logical world it would be outrageous if they were allowed to keep the torches free of charge.

       7 likes

    • Guest Who says:

      In a fair and logical world..’
      Ah, I think I see the problem right there.
      Here we are talking Planet Aunty, and the drone mindset.
      Run it through a ‘unique’ filter and all will become clear.

         6 likes

  13. Jez Clarke says:

    £200 for a replica torch seems a bit steep to me. Seems like someone is cashing in.

    Come to think of it, wasn’t there a similar scam in the recent series of Hustle? Justin Bieber would hand the Olympic torch to the mark’s pampered daughter and she would get a replica torch thrown in as well – all for just £50k.

    Life imitating art and all that.

       4 likes

  14. Deborah says:

    At meetings I have attended the BBC would appear to be obsessed with these torches. Whilst assuming there still is one that comes from Greece, these do not. Why would I (or anyone else in the population) want to travel up to 10 miles to see a torch being carried around? But the BBC think we do and it provides lots of stories for them to show on the local news.

       7 likes

    • 1327 says:

      Yes BBC Local Radio and News have been babbling on about the torch runners and their routes for weeks now. I usually turn off when they start on about it but from the little I have heard it all appears designed to cause the maximum level of traffic chaos. I have yet to hear anyone in the real world mention anything about this.
      No doubt in true East German style a whole load of school children will be bused in to provide a fake crowd for BBC Look North to report on.

         5 likes

      • chrisH says:

        Is there a mobility scooter event?
        I happened to note that China doesn`t seem to have them-so we surely stand a chance in this “celebration” of Britains ability to race these devises, whilst still perching a large sausage and chips on our laps at the same time.
        If we don`t “medal” in this event, then I suggest the NHS take a lopper to the budget….

           3 likes

  15. chrisH says:

    Let`s hope Stuart gets knocked over on a red light by a passing cyclist or two, yelling abuse at him for adding to the carbon footprint…for the waste of aluminium or whatever the little tykes of Zambia had to mine for the IOC.
    No doubt, Stuart will already have said where his stretch of legacy building will be happening…might be a good idea to hold our Biased BBC cycle rally very near before sending Stewie into a ditch or suchlike.
    Well I`d watch it anyway!

       4 likes

  16. Scrappydoo says:

    One day when capitalism has finally capitualated, then the BBC lefty muppets may realise where the money actually came from to pay for their privileged lifestyles.

       6 likes

  17. Hugh says:

    Staying with running, 37,500 people ran the London Marathon and the BBC chose to spend 2 minutes interviewing Sophie Raworth. Whoever coined the term ‘BBC incest interview’ was spot on.

       6 likes

  18. DB says:

    Nice follow-up, Craig.

       2 likes

  19. Guest Who says:

    As night follows day…
    Damian Carrington@dpcarringtonblog: #AddisonLee hit by protest and boycott following chairman comments http://gu.com/p/374gp/tw Monday night sees ‘die-in’ at HQ

    He even seems shocked, I tell you,, shocked that, for no apparent reason other than goodness of heart and noble lordly concern, one ex-DPM of note has ended up ‘in support’.
    Bless.
    To the twittercades bruvvers!

       0 likes