Obscuring the facts?

By stewartb:

An article on the BBC News website today offers a further example of how the BBC seems determined to muddle – or something else – its reporting of Covid statistics. The article in question is under the headline: ‘Covid-19: Concern at ‘unprecedented’ infection level in England’.

These are the opening three paragraphs:

Para 1: ‘England’s “very high” Covid infection level is a “growing concern” as the NHS struggles to cope with rising patient numbers, a health official has said.’

So it’s about England then? Ah, well maybe not!

Para 2: “On Monday, a record 41,385 Covid cases and 357 deaths were reported in the UK.”

Were stats for ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ in England not available to The BBC? Of course they were. So what is their logic in shifting unneccesarily from England stats to UK stats here?

Para 3: ‘NHS England said the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital is now 20,426, which is higher than the previous peak of about 19,000 in April.’

So we’re back to England then! Again, what is the logic in this shift back to England stats? England stats, followed by UK stats and then back to England stats – what is the editorial justification for this?

Candidly, this IS simply illogical. It is confusing and therefore, unhelpful. It is appallingly bad reporting of quantitative evidence if done without thought, without awareness. And if done deliberately – then why?

One might have hoped that in the period since March 2020 a public service organisation would have developed high quality, clear and consistent editorial and journalistic practices for the reporting of quantitative official statistics at UK and individual nation geographies. It would have sought to avoid such confusion and illogicality.

It is not journalistic rocket science: the FACT that The BBC has not established such basic editorial standards only opens it up (again) to suspicion over its motives.

28 thoughts on “Obscuring the facts?

  1. The easiest way to look at this, is to regard the BBC as an “English” broadcaster.
    Scotland pays the licence fee for the BBC to subsidise the National and regional news, sport, culture, weather, politics, analysis in the country of England, with poor or no journalistic output for Scotland, and hype, bias and omission the order of the day.
    Oh, and press releases (daily, weekly, hourly) from the Hi Jack bunker in Edinburgh to justify their £10 million spend per year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am not sure you can even call it an ‘English’ broadcaster. By headlining things as UK x, y, z they are obscuring the facts just as much from people in England as they are distorting the situation in the other nations of the UK. State broadcaster would be better or Gov broadcaster in so far as what they are broadcasting benefits the UK Gov of the day

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There are different ways to obscure facts and differing reasons for the BBC doing so.
        The reason BBC obscure the facts from people in England is to make them think that it’s an evenly spread problem across the whole of the U.K. that’s why they issue U.K. figures their aim is to fool people into thinking England is not worse than everywhere else.

        The reason BBC obscure the facts from people in Scotland is to try and make Scottish people believe that the information issued by the Scottish government is wrong the figures issued by BBC for Scottish viewing is always done in a way that makes it look as if it’s Scotland that had high percentage rises but it is in fact U.K. high rises most of which is England

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While of course the BBC are by far the main culprits in this news distortion we saw yesterday for example others getting into the act by declaring ‘the covid figs are likely to be much worse as Scotland did not publish its figs’ which as we know of course is incorrect as only the death figs were not quoted. It cannot be attributed simply to ignorance.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Perhaps this which I posted on a previous article is also relevant here since it shows the degree of distortion in their broadcast news and how they cover themselves by burying a true picture in their written reports on the BBC News website
    Re Hospital admissions. I noticed this article yesterday on the BBC News website. Part of the article covers hospital admissions in various areas eg Scotland, Wales, NI, London etc. It is illustrated by a series of graphs all drawn to the same scale. They are quite an eye opener.

    Here is the link – scroll down to see the graphs of hospital admissions.


      1. Looks like your device doesn’t agree with the BBC…;-)
        mine’s similar, and I don’t click on their website at all unless archived. They probs plonk cookies on your pc anyway. Avoid.


  4. John,
    What do you make of this.
    The second paragraph is of interest.

    Madrid and London are negotiating how to police the land border between Spain and Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, as it is excluded from the last-minute exit deal reached between the UK and the European Union last week.


    1. Gibralter gets to stay in the Schengen area, so free movement, no border, no passport controls with EU. Win win. Scotland, not so much, some are winners, depending on what the EngGov want and what they have sold to get what they want, (ie large parts of Scotland, resources etc) so for Scotland it’s lose lose lose. Gold, very high quality btw, (and god knows which other minerals being prospected for in the Scottish highlands, as we speak!) oil, fish, land, renewables, it’s all up for grabs and grab they will.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know what you are saying and agree the Brit/EngGov have always pillaged every country they have been in and Scotland has been tarred with association of the UK and now more people have come to realise that the only way is for Scotland to become independent.
        I only hope I live to see that day.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. All the betting gambling bingo companies you see advertising on your tv are located in Gibraltar so they don’t pay tax in U.K.
      nearly all their staff live across the border in Spain so now that Gibraltar is out of the EU there was a problem , it would take too much time checking their passports every day the thousands and thousands of workers cross the border twice a day.
      Looks like the EU are allowing Gibraltar to let workers pass from EU Spain into non EU Gibraltar and back again to work in the gambling businesses


  5. Scott what I am saying is that Scotland is in danger of being sold off at EngGov auction so they can get what they want for themselves. The whole idea that Scotland is ‘tarred with the same brush’ does not equate here! Scotland is not trying to rob their own country! I suspect you are attempting to refer to the British (Brutish) empire stealing and pillaging, with a few Scots and Irish and anyone a bit greedy and barbaric to get what they want to help that process. It’s also a fact that actually most involvement of Scotland in any BritNat pillaging of other lands etc, involved the few Scottish elite, the land thieves, and they most certainly did Scotland no favours, economically, socially or politically.

    Your comment makes absolutely no sense really… why equate the BritNat empire pillaging and thieving and say, ‘Scotland tarred with association of the UK’, with Scotland needing independence now? What have people in Scotland ‘realised’, and why?
    What you could have mentioned, is the clearances, highland and lowland, and yes a few nasty greedy Scots were involved as well, but it was a major English take over in the most cruel and barbaric way, as you say, the BritNats ‘pillaged’ every country, Scotland knows all about that, it was much to their detriment and that legacy was long and lasting, is that what you mean by ‘realised’? They realised a long time ago, in fact they fought against the English take over, from the beginning, but they were brutally oppressed and barbarically murdered.

    I could have just made this easy for myself and said, what’s your point?


    1. The history of a people is rarely if ever binary, not just good or bad. It is certain that some Scots in our nation’s history were willing accomplices in the British (England-dominated) state’s overseas deeds of oppression and worse.

      Others have also alluded to the negative impact of this association with British imperialism – whilst also looking to a better future:

      “Broken faimlies in lands we’ve herriet,
      Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair;”.

      (Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come All Ye)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This twitter thread raises possibilities that are hard to contemplate.

    “We have little capacity to increase our response to the virus, given the high level of transmissibility that makes lockdowns less effective, and raises our herd immunity threshold substantially. This is our last chance. We must grab it with both hands, and act aggressively.

    If we don’t, there is little hope of containing this in the future. It’s very likely that we will see more adaptations of the virus if transmission continues (give we have already seen this happen, it is likely to happen again). We can’t afford this.

    We have a very narrow window to contain this in the UK, & globally. We need to seriously act to eliminate. Suppression with continuing transmission is not an option- for the UK or globally. We must act collectively to stamp this out…

    …he fact is that we are now at a point where we are almost saturated in terms of measures we can take to contain COVID-19. Lockdowns that would have had a greater impact before have much lower impact now. We need much higher vaccine coverage & we may not achieve control then

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deepti…..talking for England

    Scotland’s hospitals are NOT at capacity Deepti
    And Scotland is not seeing 40 thousand cases a day

    This is a perfect example of England’s extraordinarily high covid figures being presented to Scotland as if Scotland’s figures are just as high as England’s and our hospitals capacity when they are NOT

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Alex…Deepti still makes sense …yes in terms of England’s covid infection

        Alex…Deepti does not make sense in terms of Scotland’s covid infection

        Alex …stop using England’s covid infection rate as an example of Scotland’s covid infection rate they are very very different


    1. 14% of tests done on one particular day
      It’s not 14% every day
      But as we already know the BBCs common approach is to seek out and only report the information that they consider shows Scotland in a bad light
      Everywhere that celebrated CHRISTMAS is going to show increased infection rates simply because there are many people who ignore advice

      Those who decided to meet up with other people over Christmas will have increased the spread of covid …it was predicted…it came to pass as predicted

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The two main countries who suffered from poor leadership during this pandemic are the US of A and the UK of E and it is no coincidence that both of these countries are now seeing cases rising exponetially and health services being overwhelmed.
    The Tories in England trying to evade their direct responsibility for health in England by claiming UK identity.
    Scotland has a joined up health service and England a fragmented business which has also had a major impact on outcomes.
    The culture now endemic in England of,not what you know but who you know (often old school chums) where health contracts are handed out to
    nothing more than shell companies,hasn’t helped.
    A mess.

    Liked by 1 person

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