Call for ethical reporting on care homes

Headlining six times between 6am and 9am, on BBC Scotland inserts in ‘Breakfast‘, no doubt on Good Morning Scotland (can’t bear to listen – Clydebuilt?) and, to come, three times on Reporting Scotland:

Families are to lobby MSPs about improving “cruel” care home visiting arrangements. The Care Home Relatives Scotland group wants more access for relatives in care homes to improve the quality of life for residents. They say restrictions introduced in the wake of the pandemic are damaging.

Care Home Relatives Scotland does not really exist in any formal sense. It has no website. It has a Facebook presence with only 360 members. Let’s see how many there are at Holyrood today.

How has the BBC Scotland news editor been able to satisfy the guidelines on the use of sources, to justify reporting at all, headlining the story or using scare story language – ‘cruel‘ – in a headline?

Where is the balance in the above reporting? Might the Scottish Government guidance be based on evidence given by independent academic researchers? Has the public the right to hear that?

Needless to say, Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon is working in support of this pressure on the Health Secretary while her equivalent in England, Liz Kendall, is demanding ‘a clear winter plan‘ to protect the care homes there.

4 thoughts on “Call for ethical reporting on care homes

  1. As well as the headline, it includes the following quotes – note ‘imprisoned’, ‘completely bewildered’, ‘cruelty of the worst kind’.

    “These people have basically been imprisoned since March and their mental health is declining.
    “They are completely bewildered, they haven’t seen relatives for months and they are having to sit miles away from them when they do.”
    Mrs Russell said one of the group’s elderly mothers had described the current care home visiting arrangements as “cruelty of the worst kind”.

    The final section of the report, assuming people have read that far contains a pretty factual report based on What Ms Jeanne Freeman has stated. I suppose BBC Scotland will claim that their piece is ‘balanced’.

    These are difficult times for most of us and very difficult choices have to be made. We saw what happened in the early stages with infections in care homes and short term agency staff going in and out.

    It must be time soon for BBC Scotland to recycle the pigeon droppings saga.

    PS Mr Ian Smart a heid bummer in Scotland was interviewed this morning and defended the payment of a salary of £1.4million to Ms Zoe Ball. In the same interview he was hoping that a number of staff in BBC Scotland would accept voluntary redundancy. Obviously they are not as talented and essential as Ms Ball.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great to have Tusker working again!

    I suspect no-one, anywhere in Scotland has anything but sympathy and concern for Care Home residents, their families and also for Care Home staff at the front line. However, the way the BBC is covering the complaints of the ‘campaign group’ Care Home Relatives Scotland is rightly being challenge here.

    What follows is based on reading the BBC News online Scotland page. ( )

    “They (this group) say restrictions introduced in the wake of the pandemic are damaging.” Candidly this is such a fatuous statement that any professional journalist repeating this needs to take a good close look at themselves – and their logical or critical thinking skills. Of course restrictions have been ‘damaging’ and on lots of people in and well beyond Care Homes. However, has the group and the journalist never heard of the ‘counterfactual’?

    The BBC then reports the group’s use of frankly extreme language to press its point: “These people have basically been imprisoned since March ….” and “… one of the group’s elderly mothers had described the current care home visiting arrangements as ‘cruelty of the worst kind.”

    The SG guidance on visiting does cause restrictions but ‘imprisonment’ and ‘cruelty of the worst kind’? That’s two sharks jumped there! When a campaigning group resorts to such language, IMHO they only harm their case. However, such language will be lapped up and amplified by the public service broadcaster: to use such terms to produce ‘shock’ headlines is bad enough when its done by the commercial/corporate media but should be no part of responsible public service broadcasting and on such a serious issue.

    Then there is this odd section of the same BBC News article:

    “The Scottish government conditions for allowing visitors are:

    – Care home needs to have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic

    – If there have been infections, all affected residents need to be fully recovered …”

    On that first point – that “Care home needs to have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic” as a condition for allowing visitors – the BBC must surely have got this wrong!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Someone has to hoax these charlatan reporters.
    Pose as a citizens group supporting the trampled on rights of flying spaghetti monsters by the SNP. They would bite and probably pay handsomely for it because now they have clear instructions, ‘save the union at any cost’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And, of course this happened. Two fascists and con persons were interviewed at length by Lisa Summers at the start of the pigeon-droppings saga. They were given a lot of air time both on TV and radio. By the end of the day, many bloggers had sniffed out who they were. The story vanished from the BBC site and no acknowledgement, never mind, retraction or apology was given.

      This suggested to me that routine journalistic checking is not carried out. They want bad news and if they find it they take it at face value.

      This must be what Mr Ian Smart meant when, in trying to defend the ending of live broadcasts of the FM’s briefings, he said that ‘they have to make editorial judgements about newsworthiness.’ i.e is it bad? – broadcast it! Is it good – bin it.

      Liked by 1 person

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