Tuesday, 13 April 2010

BBC distorting the news

This story was widely reported in the news today:
Preventable diseases in children are reaching epidemic proportions that could see a generation dying before their parents, doctors at a leading children's hospital have warned.
But this story is obviously related to this BBC documentary:
With unprecedented access to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, Panorama meets the kids and the paediatricians treating them, and follows them home in an attempt to uncover the root cause of their problems. Reporter Richard Bilton soon discovers that some of the basic health messages from the doctors are not getting through to the parents.
So either Alder Hey have been sending out press releases to coincide with BBC documentaries or the BBC have done so themselves, either way it is a real distortion of the news agenda for the day to present this story without pointing out the BBC's role - unfortunately this seems to be more and more common. A particularly stark example can be seen when the Today programme interview someone then the news bulletin seconds later reports a throwaway comment (often the result of bizarre questions and extensive badgering all designed to get a specific response) as if it is some groundbreaking announcement (normally quoting it out of context).

So today's health news was dominated by essentially an advert for a BBC documentary. Maybe there was something worth saying but the media really need to be more transparent about what is driving the news agenda. 

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