The upbeat BBC is coming in for a storm of criticism today over its coverage of the Olympics which has centred on the G4S farce and according to listeners and viewers has been entirely too negative and is leaching the joy out of the Olympics, spoiling the expectations of many.
The complaints have been building over several days but switching on to different programmes I have heard the presenters all admitting they are receiving many complaints.
Victoria Derbyshire had so many complaints that she had to stop her show to deal with them and alter the subject from G4S to defending the BBC and its coverage.
Admittedly the G4S story is a big one but it does seem to be the only story in the world just now…one programme finishes and another carries on where the last left off. Did we really need to hear the live inquisition by grandstanding MPs of G4S bosses? Not exactly riveting nor informative…especially if you’ve switched off.
It doesn’t help that you may have the suspicion that it is just another chance to bash the government…the Police have certainly not wasted any time in taking the opportunity to put the boot into G4S….especially as G4S are going to be part of the ‘privatised’ police force taking jobs from the boys in blue…ie the real coppers.
I have to admit I can’t help thinking the responsibility ultimately rests with Theresa May…who should have been keeping an exacting eye on the big picture…something she failed to do with border control as well…she doesn’t seem to have gripped her brief….I think she should go…and police should not be privatised…but all that is for after the Olympics.
People are right…yes, acknowledge the huge mistakes that have happened, report them, but don’t dwell relentlessly on them to the exclusion of the big event itself.
A final word about the effect of lazy journalism….Derbyshire ‘broke the news’ to us that out of 300 expected G4S employees only 20 turned up for work.
Now if I heard that figure I would immediately query it….the obvious thing would be that maybe the figures were the wrong way round…but they weren’t.
Those figures were released into the world by the BBC without any corroboration…as Derbyshire herself admitted..they came from the completely neutral Surrey Police Federation (ie Union) but she said she didn’t know who at the Federation told her those figures….they were ‘unattributed’.
A tabloid newspaper would of course leap for joy at headlines like that but a serious, trusted and respectable news organisation like the BBC should be expected to make some effort to check those figures before announcing them to the world.
It seems they may have been too eager to damage G4S’ reputation….which they did….despite later correcting the figures, around 42 out of only an expected 70 workers turned up, the 300/20 figures have now attained the state of urban legend…at least twice in her show callers stated the 300/20 figures as fact even after the new figures were mentioned.
The BBC’s eagerness to be first with a story has meant that what essentially may just have been some black propaganda released by a Police Federation has now become truth and G4S’s reputation is dragged even deeper into the mud by lazy or wilfully blind reporting in the search for a headline.