On BBC Reporting Scotland yesterday at 1.30
First: ‘A ten-month-old baby has died after choking on food at a nursery in Edinburgh.’
BBC Guidelines: ‘We operate in the public interest – reporting stories of significance to our audiences and holding power to account.’
The full report offered no further information of any kind that could be in the public interest. This was, once more mere morbid titillation of a base tabloid form. Reporting Scotland could not even find a dubious link to any wider phenomenon such as the licensing of nurseries or the training of staff, yet it was the headline story.
Second: ‘An anonymous witness has told the blood inquiry he believes his identical twins were treated as lab rats after being infected with HIV through contaminated blood products at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital. The man known only as Mr AB said one of his sons was given a trial drug AZT for HIV while the other son was given a different treatment. The family were not consulted.
BBC Guidelines: ‘This means all BBC output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, and corroborated. We should be honest and open about what we don’t know and avoid unfounded speculation. Any proposal to rely on a single unnamed source making a serious allegation or to grant anonymity to a significant contributor making a serious allegation must be referred to Director Editorial Policy and Standards and Programme Legal Advice.’
I’ll ask if the Director was consulted. Lab rats? This report is about as down-market as you can get.
Then there was a murder and an understaffed prison to round off your day.
Note: This reminds me of the story that psychologists are no longer using lab rats but rather they prefer to use journalists in their labs. They found they were getting too attached to the rats and there are some things even rats won’t do!
Note: The above joke can be sued with other groups such as Tory MSPs.