BBC Scotland ‘News’ continues to worry away at the story of pigeon droppings and two deaths at the Southern General. One of the deaths was due to an unrelated matter and the other is still being investigated, according to the BBC’s own website this morning:
‘The health board said one of the patients was elderly and had died from an unrelated cause. The factors contributing to the death of the other patient are being investigated.’
Despite this, BBC Scotland along with most of the press, have been keen to suggest the fungal infection derived from the pigeon droppings is in some way implicated in the deaths and that the pigeon infestation is now an NHS Scotland crisis. Some like the Extra have gone for it in true journalistic fashion and bugger any inconvenient facts.
We’ve heard the deaths described as happening ‘after’ or ‘linked’ to the fungal infection. In most cases the accurate account does find its way into reporting ‘after’ the impression has been made.
Given the saturation headline coverage it would be surprising if the popular impression was not that the pigeon dropping fungal infection had been the actual cause of death. Anyhow, tonight, Jackie Bird, showing little avian solidarity, said:
‘[T]he deaths of two patients from a rare fungal infection.’
This is clearly inaccurate. The deaths are not from the infection. At 10.30, Graham Stewart repeated the lie and this morning (22nd) it was to be repeated six times in the BBC Breakfast inserts. No doubt, we’ll be told we’re being pedantic or fussy, but this is how propaganda works in the West, with a stiletto and not with a hammer.
Aye. Now, the radio said there it is a ‘rare fungal infection’, as you report here.
Now, there are quite a few different species of Cryptococcus – which was it? One is dangerously associated with HIV/AIDS sufferers. Many species are common, so common they are effectively everywhere, what is not common is causing infection. Some that do cause infection do so as a secondary infection in vulnerable people – for example if you are getting chemotherapy. Most of the the these fungi, most of the time are benign and do nothing. (NHS website can give you all this info)
So, when they say RARE fungal infection, do they mean a rare fungus? Or a rare infection?
I suggest that their use of ‘rare’ is to induce fear and anxiety, as though we have an exotic disease that might sweep the country. It is most likely that the specific fungus is common as muck, ubiquitous even, and that the infection detected is a known (but unfortunately damaging) risk in certain patients.
I would not use ‘rare’ to describe something the majority of the population won’t ever be infected with. Though technically the infection (could be – as I say I haven’t heard which species it is) is rare, it is not a mysterious unusual thing.
It is right that the NHS is investigating it, can’t have vulnerable patients put at risk. But the BBC reporting is just so bad, they are conflating cause and effect and implying a crisis that doesn’t exist.
A very good ‘deconstruction’ of the use and meaning of the word ‘rare’, Contrary.
I agree that the intention has been to cause fear and alarm and the consultant interviewed last night was very clear that she wished to dispel this malign and misleading impression.
Somewhat cynically, I suggest that when they chose the word ‘rare’, they were using it in the Glaswegian context, usually pronounced ‘rerr’, meaning something that is to be welcomed. They welcomed this conjunction of factors at the QEU Hospital, because it enabled them to have an antiScottish story and to propagate fear.
braw answer Ally
Fn show off!
John are you allowing yourself to watch Jackie Bird? Have you got supervision? How do you feel about it?
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Mad as hell!!!! And i’m not going to take it!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….falls over and knocks himself out again
Is Jackie Bird practicing her maniacal panto laugh or has the photographer caught her in the act of sinking her into something or maybe someone.
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I like to think she’s just heard that I’ve just fallen over.
Noticed that this fake news story – completely unchallenged – found its way into the Sunday National 20th January!