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Mistaken report: Delhi airport

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 16:10 UK time, Friday, 5 December 2008

I'd like to explain about a mistaken report which BBC News carried yesterday. Around 1915 GMT yesterday there was a security alert at Delhi airport sparked by reports of gunshots, which the BBC News channel in the UK reported at 2010 GMT.

A BBC News correspondent who was travelling through the airport was involved in the security alert and reported on air that airport staff had told him that six gunmen had been killed. Versions of this initial report were subsequently carried by the BBC World News TV channel and by BBC News online.

Following urgent checks by BBC News teams and denials by the Indian authorities we subsequently and rapidly reported that six gunmen had not been killed. The security alert had apparently been sparked by a false alarm. We made clear in the online story that our earlier report had been wrong and this remained in the story subsequently.

Clearly we shouldn't have given the reports the weight that we did, and I regret that we did so. At the time we believed them to be correct on the basis of the information received by a BBC reporter on the ground but it is clear that we should have continued with further checks before going as far as we did.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    What if several people had heard the same runour at the airport and Twittered/texted it to you, or to friends that then Twittered it and you picked it up from those? Would you have reported it on the basis that several people appeared to be corroborating each other?

    For breaking news, especially this kind of news, I prefer accuracy over speed. Imagine if it had been Heathrow instead of Delhi and the effect of rumours based on people reading that and then passing it on by text or word of mouth etc.

    Otherwise I understand that mistakes happen in all fields of human endeavour; but let other broadcasters take the `report and correct later` approach.

  • Comment number 3.

    At least no one got shot.. it makes more sense than retrospectively shooting them to corroborate reported 'facts'.

  • Comment number 4.

    Did you say: "A security official told our reporter that.." ?

    If so, there is no problem whatever.

    Otherwise, correct the reporting technique.

  • Comment number 5.

    Naah, either you were 'framed into it' or you've just kept playing the game, covering all the bases; it's like that premature report about collapse of WTC 7. You're trying to fix that one for some time now and now you can say: 'See, misscrapes happens.'

    Don't think it will help, but do go on; see where it ends.

  • Comment number 6.

    Peter,
    At least, when the first part of the story broke--the BBC went to the coverage of it...And it, was found not to be totally true and/or partially accurate, you and the BBC did a correction.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes, corrections too, BBC also 'corrected' the information about Hijack 'suspects' which are alive and well… nothing but a bunch of suspects on BBC.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/10/911_conspiracy_theory_1.html

    What's was the recipe? Add a little notch here, remove a notch there and put some Laurel on top.

    Whose job was it?

  • Comment number 8.

    Peter,
    what other choice did the bbc had, but--report the story and did a correction after the information was found to be "somewhat" incorrect....

  • Comment number 9.

    Sorry? Are you? I mean really? Enough to resign maybe? Enough to consider not jumping to conclusions again maybe? Or just enough to mention it in this blog?

    Well, it isn't good enough. Let's just say that I am an avid fan of BBC1 Question Time which carried a mention of this story (uncorrected because it was recorded) and my spouse was travelling through Delhi at the precise time of this "attack". Do you think I'd be happy about your "mistake"? Do you think I wouldn't be terrified that something had happened to them?

    Why don't you and the others on your team report news once you have corroborated it and not until?

  • Comment number 10.

    One of the dangers of feeding the monster called rolling news.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is all to do with BBC's nepotistic intake of arrogant management and self opinionated and self righteous stance they take on every conceivable matter. In my opinion BBC has outlived as a national institution. It has become a job creation institution for its friends and relations. Tax payer is fed up having to feed this parasitic organisation. Sell it off and let its management, for once, earn their living.

  • Comment number 12.

    In this very tense atmosphere, all facts need to be scrupulously checked especially when the news is from a leading broadcaster. There is absolutely no room for error! Of course mistakes do happen but this is a vital learning curve for editors. Of course with the fast moving events time is of essence. The BBC got it wrong but this happens very rarely!

  • Comment number 13.

    I was in the airport on Friday morning. The first people who ran were airport staff who cut through the long lines of people queuing for security. This was followed by a clear instruction from security to run and get down. This was followed by a number of "shots" maybe 7 or 8 over the next couple of minutes. There may have been 2 initial noises but people inside did not hear them, it was only when we got the order to run that we did and the rest of the noises came after. Whether it was real or not does not matter, at the time people were terrified. The incident had more to it than the Indian authorities seem to admit, otherwise why did all the extra checking go on for the next 4 hours?

  • Comment number 14.

    13. swanup,

    Pity you didn't have a twitterer with you - or whatever they call it. You could have informed the BBC - for free, of course.

  • Comment number 15.

    At least you corrected the false information quickly and displayed the correction prominently, though I guess you had no choice in the matter. We'd like to see the BBC displaying this sort of transparency in other areas:

    It took you five days after the fact to reluctantly put up a "Have Your Say" on the Bombay atrocity and then you took it down again after a few days with the vast majority of comments unpublished. And the "Have Your Say" that use to be broadcast on TV and the World Service on a Sunday was quietly removed earlier this year.

    You should decide whether you want to canvass people's opinions or not. Why the half-measures?

  • Comment number 16.

    BBC is a very biased organisation in general and it's quick to jump the gun when it wants to report some negative news in another country. News about people responsible for the Mumbai attacks were not reported hours after they came on Indian news channel which clearly shows it tried to manipulate news and hides the facts based on its arrogant stance. Thankfully there are some channels which are actual news channel and report facts rather than pick and choose the things to promote its own agenda.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

    Dont let facts get in the way of a good story...

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    #11

    "It is all to do with BBC's nepotistic intake of arrogant management and self opinionated and self righteous stance they take on every conceivable matter."

    Mix this brew with a toxic dose of political correctness and you have the perfect formula for letting mediocrity rise to the top. There isn't a single public agency that is immune from the plague of mediocre staffing where big money is paid for absolutely nothing.

    The problem is they all think they are being so clever, so original, and so innovative with all this new technology! A few teething problems here, and a few there but, no matter, we will make it work. All this with a golden opportunity to stick to the tried and tested and still be the best - I agree they have had too many last chances and it is now time for the UK public to be asked to vote on the future of the BBC and a public service.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

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  • Comment number 26.

    Tricky call - if it had been a real incident you could have been criticised for NOT breaking the news early.

    It does have implications for the increasing use of 'citizen reporters'

    I remember being utterly mislead by watching the BBC news 24 coverage of the day Menezes died - 'eye witnesses' said all sorts of stuff which was just plain wrong (and was not put right by the police) and I had completely the wrong idea.

    All this seems to suggest serious news organisations should take the word of unofficial sources with a pinch of salt.

  • Comment number 27.

    You reported, you realised the error, you corrected the mistake and made your correction public.

    Try not to do it again and become a news organisation that is "never wrong for lond".

    Can we now move on?

  • Comment number 28.

    To be fair I think the first anyone knew that the Argentinians had landed on the Falklands was when a HAM radio operator in Port Stanley fired up his shortwave set.

    If or rather when you get this sort of report again maybe make sure its preceded by a giant 'WE ARE GETTING UNCONFIRMED REPORTS THAT....' and make sure we know its possibly nonsense.

  • Comment number 29.

    #26

    The JCdM affair was a classic example of news manipulation by professional PR people. The problem remains to this day as to whether it was a cynical act of damage limitation or just innocent miscommunication, but there are still those around who believe Mr de Menezes was "acting suspiciously", "looked like a terrorist", "was running away from police" and "leapt over a ticket barrier". The BBC could not be wholly blamed for what it released on that sad day but the incident does highlight the responsibility of the media to get things right. A simple check with witnesses in the entrance to Stockwell Tube Station (of which there were many) would have staunched, or at least questioned, most of what was fed to the media by the Police.

    The news machine does not, in my opinion, fully understand its public responsibility, consumed as it is by considerations of being first. It frightens me that we seem to be lurching towards US style scrambling for pole position at any incident where reporting is based on the need to raise the profile of the broadcaster and not to inform the audience. I do not watch, or listen to, episodes where a microphone and or camera is thrust in the face of a distraught person - I find it wholly distasteful and invasive - and I do not enjoy "on the fly" story telling that lacks the style of Orson Welles.

  • Comment number 30.

    #27

    "Try not to do it again and become a news organisation that is "never wrong for long"."

    Since you can only ever be right or wrong (but not both), your sound bite seems apt. In an age where it doesn't matter what you do, you can always say "come on, it was only a joke" as if it makes it all better. Called mediocrity (at best) in my book.

  • Comment number 31.

    #29. remember that most witnesses are very unreliable, especially when scared and doubly so when under fire. One witness that the BBC did report who saw menezes shot claimed the police shot over 30 bullets into him and that each bullet was a second apart. Ignoring the fact we know he was shot 7 times look at the second hand on your watch... 30 seconds is a very long time. The shooting actually happened in under 2 seconds.

    My biggest objection to the BBC at present is the brainless questions they ask squaddies in Iraq or Afghanistan: such as 'when the taliban attacked your position in overwhelming numbers were you scared?' or 'how did it feel when you stood on the landmine'?

  • Comment number 32.

    It is probably the urge, almost climactic, to have "my news" as the "breaking news" which results in gaffes like this, or the one about Steve Jobs' demise (in another place).

    I understand the apology and would have accepted it, if I were to have been affected in anyway. However, journalism places demands on responsibility, which if ignored repeatedly, will do no good for your popularity. For example, I wouldn't trust BBC but Al Jazeera for news about middle-east. And similarly, for China news, BBC wouldn't be my first choice. For India, given the rather dismal standards of the local media (not to mention their obsession with "breaking news" banners, and terrible reportage), one is a bit lost. BBC can see this as an opportunity. Perhaps you should explore opportunities for local collaboration on content, networking etc.. while you bring in standards and quality.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 so following that logic for news about the Soviet Union you'd turn to PRAVDA for accurate, unbiased, free reporting? I know plenty of Arabs who curse Al Jazeera... they're the Fox news of the Arabian Penninsula.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Walrus (#10)
    One of the dangers of feeding the monster called rolling news.

    Spot on. That's exactly what the problem is. And it affects all rolling news channels. I agree with those who say they'd prefer the BBC to concentrate on verification over breaking news. In this respect, there is thankfully still an overall marked difference between the BBC and Sky, but I guess the occasional slip-up like this is never going to be completely avoided - and there will always be a pitchfork-wielding reactionary mob ready to use any and every slip to go marching to the editors insisting how this is proof that the Beeb has had its day.

    For other posters here to try and put it down to the "BBC's nepotistic intake of arrogant management" (?!!!) and "self opinionated and self righteous stance they take on every conceivable matter" (?!!!) is just ridiculous and more of the same desperate opportunism.

    Someone above even manages to pull out the phrase "political correctness" - surely, by now, the most astoundingly convenient - yet entirely misused - catch-all phrase of modern times.

  • Comment number 35.

    Let's be clear about this. If I went to my Board and told them something as dramatic as this, which I later found out to be totally wrong, I'd probably get sacked for not checking my facts. I'm not suggesting that this merits a sacking or a resignation, but pointing out that accurate news reporting is vitally important, particularly as BBC remains one of the 'trusted' organisations in times of crisis. There is cut throat competition in the news world so 'scoops' and 'inclusives' are well sought after. But not at any cost.

  • Comment number 36.

    #34

    You are obviously of the standard required by the BBC and were it not for your obvious giddiness and blurred vision from your high perch, they would have you on the editorial desk tomorrow.

    I think if you took a poll of HYS contributors all the things you appear to dismiss would be found in the critical comments. Or have you any evidence that the BBC is unbiased, balanced, free from nepotism, free from political correctness etc etc etc. Put up....

  • Comment number 37.

    that's what sometimes keep tourists away;they see news of maybe a rumour report of shooting and they'll say we're not going there

  • Comment number 38.

    #36

    Oh don't worry, I have absolutely no doubt about the kind of topics and opinions that typically appear to fire up your average HYS contributor (it's not necessarily anything to be proud of either, and you don't have to be on a "high perch" to recognize that, but that's beside the point).

    My point is what has "political correctness" got to do with this Delhi report mistake and apology? Perhaps you can enlighten us? And what on earth has "nepotism" got to do with it? Where does the "self-righteousness" come into it? Forgive me but it just comes across as yet more spleen-venting and mouth-frothing from the pitchfork-wielders, ready to chuck everything they've got into the argument, relevant or not.

    It's just silly. There's most certainly a discussion to be had about where a news organisation draws the line between imparting information to their viewers as quickly as possible, and ensuring it's as accurate as possible - aspects that depend on the nature or severity of that information, and the way that it's imparted. It's a discussion that's applicable to all 24 hour news outlets, not just the BBC. And no news organisation will ever get it right 100% of the time, publicly funded or not.

    I'm no stranger to criticizing the BBC on occasion, including BBC news - but I have to say, it's a shame more people don't appreciate the fact that the BBC is far more open about its mistakes than other outlets, is not afraid to express regret, such as here, and offers people ample opportunity to comment on those mistakes, knowing full well that the pitchfork-wielders will most likely use it as a battering ram against them. The Beeb is far from perfect, but all those who gleefully sneer and seek its downfall - for whatever reason, its perceived liberalism, the licence fee, whatever - will only fully appreciate what they had once its gone.

  • Comment number 39.

    #38

    I think you fail to see further than your nose.

    Any organisation, particularly one as big as the BBC, is only as good as its management and the structure on which it is based. If it appoints the wrong kinds of people for the wrong kinds of reasons, and promotes them likewise, then nepotism obviously affects its output. Cast your mind back to the Dr David Kelly scenario and see how the BBC demonstrated weakness in the face of political pressure. Would it have happened differently with a more determined opponent?

    The Government has influenced its agencies in many different ways and PC matters are high on the agenda. This requires people to positively discriminate in order to demonstrate "no bias, no lack of balance, no favourites". In other words it has forced its employees to do all the things that are manifestly unfair, unbalanced, and biased. Indeed with its target driven genre (which the BBC appears to have oodles of) it is not interested in quality but simply in satisfying politicians who are too lazy to apply grey matter when paper tigers will do.

    I find your comments on HYS rather sad. Anyone's opinion should be valid and yet the HYS boards show clear manipulation if one pays attention to the queued contributions. The same name will appear several times in the few postings that get listed. Even subject matter is manipulated along rather crude political lines where we see a topic on a small VAT change but not one on Damian Green (until the last minute and even then not for long).

    Prior to the David Kelly affair I believed the BBC news service did a reasonable job, but, since then, it has appeared to take on the role as Government mouthpiece. I am a red blooded socialist but even I can see just how unbalanced the BBC has become as it struggles with the concept of how you appear unbiased. The important word is "appear". It would seem that the BBC acknowledges imbalance in its structures (and potential output) and has little confidence in its ability to trust its production values. At least a part of this may be because its employees are much less talented, gifted, effective, and professional than they once were. Mediocrity rules when PC influence and takes over management structures.

  • Comment number 40.

    Poor old BBC News.

    Stick to hours of mindless speculation about the economy, dressed up as 'news'. Much easier and far less accountable.

    I am afraid the BBC News has become a broadcast version of the red tops with just about as little editorial integrity.

  • Comment number 41.

    #39

    What you say is all interesting and I'm inclined to agree with at least part of it, but once again, and to cut to the chase... what does PC have to do with this Delhi airport report?

    It's no good trying to make some woolly connection between PC and this incident by invoking some overarching sense of "mediocrity". That's incredibly weak. The only way you could square that is if you're suggesting that (a) this was more than just the kind of slip that every news organisation makes from time to time, and (b) that this news reporter was hired for PC reasons (race, sex, etc) rather than on merit, hence the slip (or, more realistically, repeated slips).

    Unless you have evidence of this, the PC connection remains a link as tenuous as the one made by that other guy who used to frequent these blogs trying to link every other subject to the Jane Standley reporting of WTC7 and claim it was relevant.

  • Comment number 42.

    Can't see what was really wrong here. OK, the report was wrong, but it was corrected promptly and prominently. Of all the problems I have with BBC News, this is not one. They might report statistics and "reports" without any examination of the validity of the data or other factors that might influence the conclusions, they might report doom and gloom on the economy night after night with no let up, but in this case, the false report was corrected quickly. Well done BBC.

  • Comment number 43.

    38. dotconnect wrote:

    ...but I have to say, it's a shame more people don't appreciate the fact that the BBC is far more open about its mistakes than other outlets, is not afraid to express regret, such as here, and offers people ample opportunity to comment on those mistakes...

    I agree with the last bit, though I'm not sure about "ample," but you are wrong on the rest. The BBC will only admit mistakes when there is absolutely no possibility of remaining silent - as in the insult to the queen through a faked video, the phone in scams and the disgraceful Ross and Brand affair. When there is a chance of getting away with it, the BBC simply remains silent and sweeps the offending matter under the carpet. I have observed this process for years. Try making a formal complaint re the BBC's propagandist distortion and omission of facts via that old dinosaur of a "Complaints" website (that the BBC cannot or will not update) to see the process for yourself.

    But be prepared for a wild goose chase.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's like the OMM all over again.
    Many will remember back in late October the BBC in it's 'race' to try to be first with any breaking news story got it all wrong on the issue of 1700 'unaccounted for' runners taking part in a feel race in the lakes, and even 24 hours later were giving out incorrect information when the orgainsers and other news stations had access to much more accurate and less sensational facts.
    Take the time to establish the truth and then publish - its what the BBC used to be renown for, getting it right and being impartial - now they just dash to be first in the scrum, and the truth often gets left behind.

  • Comment number 45.

    Isn't it 'never wrong, for long'?

  • Comment number 46.

    I think both are correct #45.

  • Comment number 47.

    #41

    Weak management has to prove itself, over and over again, and, in doing so, takes risks most of which are unnecessary and unjustifiable. This is apparent across a whole spectrum of businesses (banking included?) in present day society. When structures are based on experience rather than meeting a notional view of what structures should be like, managers may be much more risk savvy, and certainly less keen to prove themselves at inopportune moments.

    Hence the Delhi episode and large chunks of the Mumbai reportage may have been delayed from broadcast until more information could be gleaned. Who gets satisfaction from rolling news? It is not the consumer since the output clearly cannot be trusted. So it is the media itself, filled with self congratulatory and weak people in positions they would never have attained were it not for nepotism and PC biased management decisions. It would not surprise me that there is a target or benchmark placed on delivering news first within the BBC and, if I am right, that would be a reason why some of its news delivery is so very poor.

    If you have ever worked for a Government agency you would understand just how destructive PC doctrine is on service delivery.

  • Comment number 48.

    I agree with dotconnect here. The mistaken report on six gunmen being killed cannot by any stretch of the imagination be linked to PC. The error was simply due to placing unwarranted trust in one reporter's evidence and failure to cross-check it. The correction was made, and that's the end of that particular story.

    There are countless examples of political correctness lowering the quality and reliability of the BBC's journalism. But this is not one of them.

  • Comment number 49.

    #47, MeACoalPit

    I'm afraid it appears as if you're really having to stretch things to get that square peg to fit into that circular hole. The apparent link between the Delhi episode and political correctness remains as tenuous after your explanation as it did before.

  • Comment number 50.

    This is exactly what is wrong wityh the BBC today. Once a great news agency and reporting service, it is now reduced to gossip, inaccuracy and sensationalism.
    I have been appalled this week by News24 constantly showing, and monitoring, the streets of Athens; praying for a violent outbreak to televize.
    You say that 'We made clear in the online story that our earlier report had been wrong and this remained in the story subsequently.' What story subsequently? There was NO story, unless more unnecessary travel by BBC reporters was the story. A BBC story that a BBC reporter entered an airport, where absolutely nothing out of the ordinary was happening, boarded an airplane and flew home is not a story.
    Meanwhile, a massive story broke last week, pertinent to the balance of power in Europe, the future expansion plans of the EU and the future of NATO. However, this story was missed by the BBC, the British media and even the American press, though it could scupper their desires to build a missile shield in the Ukraine.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think news channels should have to think first before lauching any news on channels becoz false statement can lead down their image. and due to this their is a perception develops in the minds of the people that this or that channel is always giving falsified statements. so be honest in statements.....

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    There will always be people who will not see the wood for the trees and no matter how many times evidence presents itself will pass it off as coincidence.

    Five Live carried two examples of very poor reporting today, one on the Irish referendum issue where, in its five o'clock news bulletin, it covered a lengthy comment from the "Yes" camp broadcast a little earlier on Drive but no excerpt from an equally, if not more, compelling report from the "No" camp carried on the same programme. That is bias.

    In a similar vein the Sport news on the same Channel carried the statement "Petiersen and Collingwood gave their wickets away cheaply", when the latter was the victim of an appalling umpiring gaff. That is inaccurate use of language.

    Small of themselves they may be but they show a distinct lack of care (or just plain disinterest, sloppiness, or laziness) at editorial level.

  • Comment number 54.

    #52 wrote:
    "It was not a "mistaken report" - it was a manufactured story based on hearsay and absolutely nothing else. It is no better than a liar putting together a story for purely gratuitous reasons and apologists for the BBC will not be allowed to call it any other way. "

    ...or to put it another way, It is completely different to a liar putting together a story for purely gratuitous reasons, and pitchfork wielders will not be allowed to call it any other way.


    #53 wrote:
    "There will always be people who will not see the wood for the trees and no matter how many times evidence presents itself will pass it off as coincidence."

    "Evidence?" When it comes to this dreaded all-pervading culture of PC being linked to this Delhi report, I'm still waiting....

    When you've explained that, nepotism is next. Good luck!


  • Comment number 55.

    Oh dear.

    It would appear that there are delicate people who do not like the use of non-expletive four letter words used in a comparative sense.

    The Delhi story was not a "mistake" it was the deliberate decision to report uncorroborated hearsay. That is no better than allowing a fairy story, hoax, or gratuitous nonsense to be aired as news. And given the tensions in India at the time could be seen by many as a deliberate attempt to up the ante.

    There, moderators, will that do?

  • Comment number 56.

    I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read "Mistaken report: Delhi airport". You guys dufuses of Churchillean proportions. First goof up is to report an incidence and that too of a VERY SERIOUS NATURE, considering the present Pak-India state of mind. Then to make amends by this goofy reporting and I quote "we subsequently and rapidly reported that six gunmen had not been killed" leaving many to wonder that yes gunman were killed except we can't confirm the numbers. You leave one wondering: one, if more than or less than six gunmen were killed.

    Wasn't it Churchill who made a retraction in the house of commons and declared that "half of the members of house of commons are not mad".

    What a bunch of dufuses! Leaving one to further wonder what the BBC is an acronym for?

  • Comment number 57.

    How I love the BBC moderators. Comment #52 is "censored" and yet the offending comment appears (if 55 is accurate) in comment 54, the offending word - liar - in this case being used to defend the BBC. And the writer calls for evidence!!!

    I am sorry apologists, and those who work for the BBC, you are a mollycoddled bunch of less than adequate people if you really think there is a defence for the use of uncorroborated reporting in a serious situation like this. It is not a mistake it is a complete failure in policy which warrants someone being sacked or falling on their sword. You do not put up an apology the decision maker who failed to do their job resigns. It really is as simple as that because that way the successor will think twice about recycling something they heard from a friend of a friend.

    Whether the failure to have natural justice is down to nepotism or PC is hard to say since both of these prevent an outsider from getting hold of hard facts, which of course is their desired intention. However in the absence of anything else (and nobody has posted a good reason yet and my opening paragraph says what needs to be said) they seem pretty appropriate to me. Whether pitchfork wielders (what a strange description?) have a case on the Delhi matter is irrelevant since there is plenty of evidence elsewhere that the Beeb is filled to the brim with ne'er do wells.

  • Comment number 58.

    #54

    It would appear that you can post comments on my behalf and use language which I am not allowed to use. That is so refreshing to know and has changed my perception of the BBC completely.

    I am quite chastened by having my comments removed and now fully understand the error of my ways. How could I have missed it all this time? How could I fall for that old PC and nepotism yarn? How could I not see it as clearly as you did?

    The BBC is just a wind-up - it all makes so much sense to me now.

  • Comment number 59.

    #57, #58

    Oh dear. Congratulations for completely failing to grasp the difference between an unfounded allegation, and a rebuttal of that accusation.

    Deep down I suspect you realise it almost certainly wasn't just about a single isolated "offending word" (as if it was a swear word)*. Rather more likely it was the whole unfounded and serious allegation - which has STILL not been proven here by the way - that the BBC are setting out to deliberately mislead. Despite all the bluster from you guys, you're quick to throw around serious allegations but you have still failed to provide even the most basic convincing evidence of such an allegation.

    (*I suspect you realise this difference, but it's far easier to hide behind victim status and pretend it's simply about: "He can use a word and I can't!"...isn't it?)

    Rabbiting on non-specifically about political correctness and nepotism like some tired Daily Mail hack just doesn't cut it I'm afraid.

    Keep talking about "apologists" if you think it makes your argument stronger. I'll continue to both criticize and defend the BBC according to each individual topic, rather than choosing a side from some fixed pro- or anti- agenda.

    In case it needs emphasizing: no, I'm not defending the mistake itself - all mistakes like this need to be investigated. Rather, I'm pointing out the ridiculous overreaction and conspiracy theorizing these things generate around here - the same kind of overreaction you see almost daily in the printed press, where every BBC-related mistake is inflated up to the level of an utter shambles and a complete fiasco.

    Not that they have their own reason for being anti-BBC, of course....

  • Comment number 60.

    Anyone else think that the editors are getting lazy.
    It's 15th December, and yet the latest blog entry under the editors is 5 Dec.
    Must be the season to forget the job you're paid for, and be merry at the license payers expense!

  • Comment number 61.

    #60

    ...or perhaps the reason they're not blogging is because they're finally getting round to doing the job they're actually paid for! ;)

  • Comment number 62.

    #59

    I am not sure who you are answering to in your smart ass answers but can I remind you that the word "deliberate" has a rather simple connotation that means "intentional". The intention was to broadcast (across the whole BBC news output) an uncorroborated story, knowing that it had not been checked (see the initial blog above) and knowing that it was based only on hearsay. We know it happened because we heard it and saw it. That is intentionally misleading people - not an allegation but fact. The responsibility rests with the person who gave the go ahead to broadcast and if you cannot see that then you are hiding your head in the sand.

    The initial lines of the story ... "The BBC initially quoted an incorrect claim from an airport worker that six people had been shot and killed at Indira Gandhi International Airport" ... confirm that not even simple checks were made. Following Mumbai it can safely be said that most people are feeling very sensitive about security in India, and releasing a story of this magnitude without checking its authenticity was insane.

    And although you like to stand proud of the Daily Mail readers you are no better. You ignore the examples of BBC deliberately misleading their audience, the Queen's row for example, in order to seem as if you are a paragon of sensibility. Well stick with your vision of yourself, your dream if it makes you happy and believe what you want but please do not try to tell me what is right and wrong because you clearly do not have a clue.

  • Comment number 63.

    #60

    Do you by any chance drink the same beverages as BBC staff? The BBC's own online apology states quite categorically that the story came from ONE person and was not checked. That means they deliberately aired it knowing it was as likely false as true. It is absolutely no defence in law to be ignorant of the damage a wrong can do. The person who made the decision to air the story intentionally mislead every single person who heard or saw that story.

    Why apologise if the story came from more than one source? Why did no other news network carry it? What was the reason the BBC felt the urgency to air it?

    I pay a license fee and I'll criticise the BBC as much as I please and if you and the moderators get off on censoring my comments then so be it. Frankly I couldn't care less.

  • Comment number 64.

    If I reported to the police that six people had just been shot dead because a perfect stranger told me so I'd be done for wasting their time.

    So can someone please tell me what the difference is in the case of the aircraft worker and the journalist at Delhi Airport? Doesn't the BBC have a huge responsibility to the people who pay for its service to deliver fact and only fact?

    In the past year or so the BBC has behaved more like the worse of the red tops, prepared to mislead, con people out of money on telephone voting systems, not take appropriate action for obscene telephone calls, demonstrate appalling bias on many issues including the Presidential Election, and generally treat its paymasters with contempt.

    I want it to clean up its act. How can I achieve that when it is like an impenetrable fortress? Sure you can complain but you do not ever get to find out what happens within the walls. That is why it stinks.

  • Comment number 65.

    #62, One_Marble_Left wrote:
    I am not sure who you are answering to in your smart ass answers...
    Careful now, they're no more smart a55 than yours.

    ...but can I remind you that the word "deliberate" has a rather simple connotation that means "intentional".
    Ah, but what is intentional, that's the question.

    The intention was to broadcast (across the whole BBC news output) an uncorroborated story, knowing that it had not been checked
    Indeed, but that's not the same as saying "knowing it to be false" - which is what a "lie" would be. You can't just conflate the two for the convenience of your argument you know - it makes your argument appear weak.

    We know it happened because we heard it and saw it. That is intentionally misleading people - not an allegation but fact.
    The claim that it is a lie is CERTAINLY no more than an allegation.

    The responsibility rests with the person who gave the go ahead to broadcast
    I don't disagree with that at all.

    And although you like to stand proud of the Daily Mail readers
    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    ...you are no better.
    Well thanks.

    You ignore the examples of BBC deliberately misleading their audience, the Queen's row for example
    I ignore them? Gosh you are the all-seeing one. Maybe the fact that this blog isn't about the Queen's row has something to do with it. You might be interested to know that I don't condone it for a second.

    ...in order to seem as if you are a paragon of sensibility.
    Ah, the old build 'em up to knock 'em down tactic, so beloved of certain newspapers. (You don't drink the same beverages as their staff, do you?)

    please do not try to tell me what is right and wrong
    And there was me thinking this was a comment area to give opinions about what we feel is right and wrong.

  • Comment number 66.

    #63, forensix wrote:
    Do you by any chance drink the same beverages as BBC staff? The BBC's own online apology states quite categorically... .... ...Why apologise if the story came from more than one source? Why did no other news network carry it? What was the reason the BBC felt the urgency to air it?
    See above. (Clue: I don't disagree that this was a mistake.)

    I pay a license fee and I'll criticise the BBC as much as I please
    *Harrumph!*

    ...and if you and the moderators get off on censoring my comments then so be it.
    I've certainly no intention of your comments being censored, nor of anyone else with whom I disagree. I merely posited the most likely reason why yours may have been wiped by the mods, and not mine. (As it happens, both of ours were initially referred to the moderator at the same time - 52 and 54).

  • Comment number 67.

    #65, #66

    I would expect a journalist of any news machine to know that you do not publish unfounded garbage unless you belong to the gutter variety. The BBC report was gutter style reporting. A lie is the intention to deceive (check your dictionary). The BBC can be expected by its audience to check every single item it broadcasts and the original story did not say "unconfirmed reports" (in other words the story had been confirmed), so there was a deliberate intention to deceive the audience, in other words the BBC lied. "Six gunmen have been shot" that is what was said. That was and still is a lie - no one was shot. The BBC offered an apology claiming they should have checked their facts - that does not exonerate them from the seriousness of their original action. There is no need for me to allege anything - the facts are there - in black and white and read all over.

    As a very experienced member of his team if I went to my boss in similar circumstances I would be disciplined for lying and not for making a "genuine mistake", and I guess that would be true for the vast majority of people outside of the BBC.

    I care about people who take responsibility for their actions, something many at the BBC seem completely unable to do. When heads start rolling and a few half decent journalists are employed I will begin to consider that the BBC is taking its job seriously but until then I will continue to say it as it is. The BBC is responsible for the criticism it receives not the Daily Mail.

    Of course this will not remain posted because PC people do not like hearing the truth.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dear Editor

    I am writing this because I did not receive any response for my previous complains to the BBC on bias reporting on BBC (Submit through your website). I specifically asked you the Demographic balance in the BBC teams that cover the sri Lanka (Placed in london/manchaster) to point out that most of the reports coming out from BBC are pro-terrorist.

    The best example of such is that recent report by the HRW on the LTTE abuse of civilians in the uncleared areas has not received the same coverage and importance as some other petty reports (often rendered baseless or inacuurate) that is supporting the LTTE is receaving.

    We know the BBC is officially not supporting terrorist organisations. However, it is the people at the BBC desk that implment such policies, Do you have the right team to do so...?

  • Comment number 69.

    We should not dismiss the possibility that the early reporting was accurate and that the subsequent denial is false.

  • Comment number 70.

    There certainly was a security scare according to the Indian press.
    `Gunshot like sounds were heard at New Delhi`s international airport early on Dec 5, sparking a security scare. With India feeling jittery and exposed after the militant attacks, police and commandos closed down the area by the heavily guarded airport, while an SUV with a lone occupant sped away. Police gave chase but lost the vehicle.`
    http://www.indiajournal.com/pages/event.php?id=5333

    The police reported afterwards: `Till now there is nothing to prove it was a gunshot but some of our officials reported hearing (sounds of) firing. There was no injury or casualty and we did not find any bullet shells, bullet marks or guns from the airport. No one also reported seeing anyone firing.`
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Fortress-Delhi--airport-scare/394945

  • Comment number 71.

    #70

    There is a world of difference between a "security scare", an "SUV with a lone occupant speeding away" and "six gunmen being shot".

    At least the Indian press bothered to report what actually happened and not what was in the imagination of an "airport worker". And the second story suggests "one shot" which would have to have been pretty darned clever to have hit six people and then vanish into thin air.

    Given that the Indian press was aware of the "scare" doesn't it surprise you that the BBC did not bother to check the story with them? Or would that spoil the BBC's thirst for a yarn?

  • Comment number 72.

    #67

    'A lie is the intention to decieve (check your dictionary).'

    Forensix, I'd suggest using your dictionary again and looking up the word intention...and maybe deliberate while you're at it. Stuff it, look up lie again, you might have missed something.

    Dotconnect, don't you just love the 'catch all' use of PC for anything that slightly/greatly annoys the 'silent' majority. Imagine a Daily Mail/Express drinking game. A shot for everytime you read PC/political correctness and a double if it ends with 'gone mad'. In fact, scrap that, nobody's liver needs that much of a pounding.

  • Comment number 73.

    So in conclusion then; the BBC are nasty liars who make editorial errors because they are too nice to Muslims? Have I got this right? I don't want to get this wrong because that means I'm wrong about everything.

  • Comment number 74.

    #67 forensix wrote
    "A lie is the intention to deceive (check your dictionary). The BBC can be expected by its audience to check every single item it broadcasts and the original story did not say "unconfirmed reports" (in other words the story had been confirmed), so there was a deliberate intention to deceive the audience"

    Your premises may be true, but I'm afraid your conclusion STILL does not follow. For one thing, it doesn't account for neglect. The end result may have been the same had it been a lie - a false report and a misled audience - but it simply doesn't follow that the BBC intended deception. Neglect (through lack of corroboration or even over-earnestness in divulging rumour about the security scare) is not the same as lying (wilful deception; an intention to deceive) - even if the outcome is the same. The latter is far more serious an allegation, and one you should be expected to back up with more convincing evidence than you've been able to produce so far.

    Rather more likely I'd say that "disgruntled commenters" would set out to conflate neglect with lying simply in order to make their attack on the BBC all the more potent and the whole affair more scandalous. And I'm sorry to keep coming back to this but it really is uncanny.... combine this overreaction/conflation with some references to PC and the licence fee, and you have the perfect Mail "report". (Am I suggesting that the biggest selling 'news'papers are more influential in forming opinion - aka spreading cynicism/peddling hatred - than people are generally willing to admit? You bet I am. But that's another topic entirely.)

    #67 forensix wrote
    As a very experienced member of his team if I went to my boss in similar circumstances I would be disciplined for lying and not for making a "genuine mistake"
    Then I feel sorry for you. As a boss myself I would be disciplining my staff for neglect, possibly even gross neglect, but not for lying.

  • Comment number 75.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7785338.stm

    I wonder about the reporting of this article. As if only the Arab world is concerned about the fact that a guy makes a protest. I can assure you people all over the non-arab world too were cheering him on.

  • Comment number 76.

    #72

    And I would suggest you buy yourself a dictionary as you cannot spell. If you want to debate the point then do so from an informed base - the Daily Mail bit wore thin years ago.

    Intention comes from intend - do or say for some purpose; mean something; mean to do something; signify or suggest via an action.

    #74

    You seem to believe that neglect is a lesser evil and yet your final sentence says otherwise - you are fine with lies? My boss values my immense experience, that is what he pays me for, he knows me inside out; I would feel that I had let him down had I been guilty of this fiasco.

    Neglect is the failure to take appropriate action or care or do something properly - like cutting corners. It is still an intention to deceive if that action can reasonably be expected to be taken in every case.

    How could someone neglect to check a major story that has six people shot when nothing of the sort happened or do you think six gunmen get shot at Delhi Airport everyday? And what was the reason for this neglect; the urgent need to get it out via as many sources as the BBC could muster? How much energy does it take to push a story through a network as compared to checking the facts?

    Whichever way you look at it there was an intention to deceive and the person (or persons) who made the decision knew the risk they were taking. Read the blog at the start and catch the drift of what is written - the cat was out of the bag the moment the live report was made - the spreading of the rumour had to be deliberate. The live broadcast carried a rider (and was accurate), but the subsequent stories did not. Coincidental neglect by any number of BBC personnel who do things by rote, or do not check content closely or misunderstood the content? Does the blog say that? No it does not, so we can safely assume it was not neglect. The headline is "Mistaken report" (wrong in opinion or based on incorrect information) and yet the original report carried a rider!!!
    There was no wrong opinion or incorrect information - the story was invented out of a live report that was entirely accurate.

    Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    djmikeyc post #73

    Does everyone agree with djmikeyc?

  • Comment number 78.

    #76, forensix:

    "You seem to believe that neglect is a lesser evil"
    I do.

    "...and yet your final sentence says otherwise - you are fine with lies?"
    It says no such thing. I suggest you read it again, or elaborate.

    "I would feel that I had let him down..."
    That's not in dispute.

    "Neglect is the failure to take appropriate action or care or do something properly - like cutting corners."
    I agree.

    "It is still an intention to deceive if that action can reasonably be expected to be taken in every case."
    I disagree. There are many situations in life in which care might reasonably be expected to be taken, and yet, every now and again, on the very odd occasion, isn't. Those occasions aren't proof of a lie! Neglect, laziness, over-earnestness, over-working, miscommunication, technical failure, even an underlying systematic failure. None of those things are excuses, but neither are they necessarily proof of a lie.

    "How could someone neglect to check a major story that has six people shot when nothing of the sort happened or do you think six gunmen get shot at Delhi Airport everyday?"
    Are you seriously telling me you believe this was concocted out of thin air? Do you honestly think the staff concerned thought they could get away with making up a story like this deliberately and not be found out? I've heard more credible conspiracy theories in my time.

    "And what was the reason for this neglect; the urgent need to get it out via as many sources as the BBC could muster? How much energy does it take to push a story through a network as compared to checking the facts?"

    Well that's where the discussion needs to take place. Unless you have insider-access to the BBC news chain in this instance, you are simply asserting rather than proving.

    Incidentally,

    "the Daily Mail bit wore thin years ago"
    the Daily Mail itself wore thin years ago, though there are still plenty of people parroting its easily-identifiable robo-phrases.

    "...fiasco"
    Quite.

  • Comment number 79.

    #73, djmikeyc
    "So in conclusion then; the BBC are nasty liars who make editorial errors because they are too nice to Muslims? Have I got this right? I don't want to get this wrong because that means I'm wrong about everything."

    Lol! Worryingly, you're probably not far off with that!

  • Comment number 80.

    #78

    "Then I feel sorry for you. As a boss myself I would be disciplining my staff for neglect, possibly even gross neglect, but not for lying."

    That is a quote from your response which suggests that you would not act on a lie... need I say more?

    "I also note that you fail to quote or comment upon the most important part of my former entry which I will repeat for you here:Whichever way you look at it there was an intention to deceive and the person (or persons) who made the decision knew the risk they were taking. Read the blog at the start and catch the drift of what is written - the cat was out of the bag the moment the live report was made - the spreading of the rumour had to be deliberate. The live broadcast carried a rider (and was accurate), but the subsequent stories did not. Coincidental neglect by any number of BBC personnel who do things by rote, or do not check content closely or misunderstood the content? Does the blog say that? No it does not, so we can safely assume it was not neglect. The headline is "Mistaken report" (wrong in opinion or based on incorrect information) and yet the original report carried a rider!!!
    There was no wrong opinion or incorrect information - the story was invented out of a live report that was entirely accurate.

    Why?"

    The aircraft worker was what - responding to a question, having a casual conversation, repeating something he had overheard, passing on a message that started with "six ton mum in a hot bed", or just brightening a BBC journalist's day when he saw the Corporation brief case? He didn't have to "invent" anything since his job is not passing on news. Get a life please.

    "Robo-phrases" are not the preserve of the Daily Mail - most of the media, politics, commercial organisations and finance operates increasingly on sound bites and I bet even you have your favourite hobby horses - Daily Mail maybe. That is what I mean about increased mediocrity at the heart of society which is due to dumbing down - LCD everything - and a direct product of PC.


  • Comment number 81.

    #80, forensix wrote:
    ..."That is a quote from your response which suggests that you would not act on a lie... need I say more?"

    Very interesting that you've jumped to the most far-fetched interpretation of my words by disregarding the context. For your benefit, here it is broken down into more bite-sized chunks: Had one of my staff committed this kind of neglect, I would be disciplining them for neglect or gross neglect. I would not be disciplining them for lying because - by my judgment - they would not have lied. Now I think this is interesting. The fact that you chose to interpret it as me declaring that if my staff lied then I would not discipline them yet I would if they showed neglect (a really rather ridiculous assumption when you stop to think about it) may go some way to explaining how you were similarly quick - some might speculate premature - to jump to the most malevolent conclusion about the BBC's intentions.


    #80, forensix wrote:
    "Whichever way you look at it there was an intention to deceive"

    I don't see how else I can get through to you without the risk of repeating myself. Once again, unless the Daily Mail (or whoever else) were handing out free mind-reading DVDs with their weekend edition, you cannot possibly know about their intentions; only what you are projecting onto them from the outside (with all the political - small p - baggage that brings). Remember I'm not claiming they didn't lie, I'm simply making no assumptions. You're making the assumption. If people were insufficiently cautious, that is not the same as lying. If people were too quick to place too much weight on rumour and uncorroborated heresay before carrying out the urgent checks - that - does - not - make - it - a - lie!!! Your account of the rider on the live broadcast makes not a jot of difference to this. Really, I don't know what else to say to you, you seem determined to want to see it in a particularly malevolent way, to take the most damning interpretation possible (as you did with my earlier comment).


    #80, forensix wrote:
    "Robo-phrases" are not the preserve of the Daily Mail"

    I didn't say they were. However certain phrases that appear over and over again throughout the comment areas of these blogs and on HYS are telltale signs of possibly too much time spent absorbing the tide of unremitting negativity and cynicism from fervently anti-BBC news sources* more interested in whipping their readers into a frenzy of outrage and victim status than in informing them. (*otherwise known as "the popular press")


    "That is what I mean about increased mediocrity at the heart of society which is due to dumbing down - LCD everything - and a direct product of PC.
    I share the very same frustration about falling standards, too much focus on the LCD and overall mediocrity, which has certainly lowered the quality of BBC news over recent years. However, (a) I see that as a general downward trend affecting all facets of society, never mind just the news media, and (b) I disagree with you completely about the significance of PC in all this. For instance, I think even the BBC's critics would acknowledge that ITV is even more mediocre and LCD than the BBC (abbreviation overload here) - and yet I'm sure rarely does PC get mentioned as the reason behind that mediocrity. Clearly mediocrity is being significantly fuelled by other factors besides PC, and the earlier attempt to draw PC into this particular discussion is a classic example of just wanting to throw 'something' at the enemy, so pulling out the most-oft used weapon, irrespective of its relevance to the topic in question. It's the kind of approach you'd expect from LCD commentators like Littlejohn with his bag of cliches, banging on about the "liberal elite" and "eurocrats" and what have you - all popular stuff designed to appeal to the masses because it casts the masses as the victims of the minorities and/or minority-obsessed establishment (and let's face it, that's essentially what lies behind accusations of PC, bordering on the less savoury aspects of human nature). It's the kind of stuff that goes down well if you put your brain in neutral, which is why it's such a staple of the tabloids after all, where ignorance is worn as a badge of honour and thinking comes second place to feeling - and therein lies the REAL cause of mediocrity: the fashionable contempt for knowledge and expertise at the expense of cash-friendly feelings. I've no qualms about attributing a fair amount of that to the BBC, so I'm certainly no apologist.

  • Comment number 82.

    dotconnect.

    i find your claims that various accusations levelled at the bbc have their root in the "popular press"as unfair and misleading.As a broadcaster the BBC has a duty of impartiality.yet it shows a depressing amount of bias towards many groups and interests,the classic example is the vitriol directed at "eurosceptics"by various BBC currant affairs presenters and newcasters.also the various blogs etc on many of the bbc minisites would be classed as racist or homophobic but for one thing...they are written by asians.look around the radio1/1xtra dj nihal site for evidence of this.many comments listed would be deemed as inflammatory had a"non minority"wrote them.It is deceptive to accuse anyone that doesnt agree with BBC doctrine as being "a daily mail reader" or racist etc etc ,most people have the ability to see when they are being manipulated by the media,i never accept anything reported either in the papers or by the various tv services as fact until ive researched whatever the subject is myself.Also,the ever present accusations of racism etc used by the BBC is a very convenient method of censorship when the broadcaster doesnt like the persons opinion.strange really when the BBC demands journalistic freedom and yet denies the same privilage to others

  • Comment number 83.

    At first I regarded the incorrect report of six gunmen killed at the airport as a trivial mistake. On reflection, and on reading the comments here, I realised it was a little more serious. But I regarded it as trivial since it pales in comparison to the BBC's daily sins of omission and commission out of its obsessive political correctness and backing of left wing politics and causes.

    As a result of its obsession the BBC has totally lost sight of its obligation to report the news based on its importance and relevance. As an example, the World Service gave extensive coverage to the first Democrat primary contest between Obama and Clinton while totally ignoring the Republican primary. People who were relying on the World Service for their news thought the Republican primary must have been on a different day. It wasn't.

    At the same time, George W. Bush was arriving in Israel as part of a trip to the Middle East. The World Service ignored a rare visit of the Republican president of the world's most powerful country to the world's major hot spot while lavishing attention on the very beginning of a contest to choose the Democrats' nominee for president.

    This is one of countless examples of the BBC's abdication of its responsibility to bring us the news in an impartial fashion and its utter inability to put aside narrow partisan allegiances while reporting (or not reporting) on events.

    We have to go elsewhere for our news since the BBC can simply no longer be trusted to bring it to us.



  • Comment number 84.

    What a double standard BBC has. One for itself, another for everyone else. BBC reported incorrectly through a mistake that a public airport had been under attack by terrorists and that the authorities had been engaged in a shootout in which six terrorists were killled. This is not the first time BBC made this kind of mistake. Yet BBC spent years castigating both the UK and US government for acting on intelligence reports that Saddam Hussein had and was perparing to use WMDs on their nations' soldiers, and in the case of the warning President Putin gave to President Bush, on the American homeland. BBC was quick to criticize the US and UK for not awaiting the apparantly inept and usually thwarted investigations by the UN inspectors in Iraq. So there is your double standard. What if the false report BBC made had resulted in panic at the airport and real deaths due to say heart attacks or a stampede of people to get out. That would have made the unnecessary deaths BBC caused through its recklessness only different by a matter of degree from that caused by what now seems like a possibly unwarranted invasion.

  • Comment number 85.

    There has been a tendency of late for journalists to report incidents like this without corroboration or confirmation. Whilst it is easy to understand how these reports come about, most likely through over enthusiasm, peer pressure, competitive media or a combination of them all, the need for corroboration is paramount and should be mandatory for every journalist. To do otherwise can and has obviously done immense damage to media credibility.

  • Comment number 86.

    Peter, not to condone the error in question but I think such mistakes in reporting are inevitable given the speed at which news is distributed.

    I think verification is certainly necessary, particularly on points that are likely to raise alarm or public panic. However, being somewhat of a news junkie I would have appreciated the report with an attached caveat stating that it is hearsay and remains to be verified.

    I think the British public seriously underestimate the overall quality of BBC reporting. I'm based in South Africa at the moment and I've sadly become quite accustomed to reading daily erratas and apologies for misreporting in most dailies here. It has reached a point where you're better off reading todays paper to get day before yesterday's news! I think you may enjoy this cartoon on the topic: http://www.wonkie.com/2008/12/17/poor-journalism-in-south-africa-cartoon/

 

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