Wednesday, November 27, 2019

If the BBC run a 'fact check' on a BBC interview and find that only the interviewer got his facts wrong, shouldn't an apology automatically follow?

You may already have seen this, but the BBC ran a "fact check" on the Andrew Neil interview with Nicola Sturgeon on Monday night, and the results were rather amusing.  They found that each and every claim Ms Sturgeon made was accurate, but they were obviously deeply frustrated by that discovery and couldn't leave it there, so in each case they needlessly added extra text along the lines of "but what she could have additionally said was..."

For example, in respect of her claim that almost all polls show an increase in support for independence, they admit that's true, but add that: "Excluding "don't knows", the average of polls this year has been 51% for No to 49% for Yes - extremely close but still marginal support for remaining in the union".  Which is fine, but as Nicola Sturgeon didn't claim at any point that there's a pro-independence majority in the polling average, it's unclear what that gratuitous observation is doing in a purported "fact check" piece.

It gets better, though, because the article does tacitly identify one genuine inaccuracy from the interview.  The only snag is that it was Andrew Neil who was guilty of the inaccuracy, not Nicola Sturgeon.  This is what the fact check says about whether Scotland would need its own currency to qualify for EU accession -

"The EU rules for countries which want to join the EU do not explicitly say that a country has to have its own currency before it is allowed to become a member"

Which directly contradicts a claim made repeatedly by Andrew Neil in his questioning.  When Ms Sturgeon pointed out that he was misleading his viewers, he talked over her loudly and refused to even acknowledge she had challenged him on the point.  Indeed, the most bizarre part of the whole interview was when he informed a bemused Ms Sturgeon that she had "accepted" that a currency is required, even though every single viewer of the programme had just heard her vociferously say the complete opposite!

If the BBC run a fact check on a BBC interview with a leading politician, and find that only the interviewer got his facts wrong, you'd expect the article to say something like -

"This means that Mr Neil was not strictly correct in the claims he made in his questioning, and the BBC would like to extend our apologies to Ms Sturgeon and to viewers for this inadvertent error".  

As they haven't done that, and as they've essentially just ignored the blatant contradiction between statements made in the fact check and claims made by Mr Neil in his questions, what conclusions are we entitled to draw?

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  1. In early 1940s France, there was a radio station called Radio Nationale or Radio Vichy. A major propagandist and presenter was Philippe Henriot. I think he inspired the BBC.

  2. Oh please, this is desperate stuff.... you guys are celebrating thar Sturgeon got some things right? Good grief. she was hung out to dry by Neill on Monday. How about the questions she could NOT answer?
    Like the loss of the "material change"?
    No answer
    Like the possibility of "trade friction" with our biggest customer?
    No answer
    What would the currency be?
    No answer
    Would Scotland join the Euro?
    No answer
    How could Scotland create its own stable currency whilst trying to reduce the horrendous deficit?
    No answer
    Then Neill challenged her about her very own Growth Commission Report....
    She had no answer... she didn't know!!!!
    We will leave the rest... I almost felt sorry for her when Neill hit her with the SNHS stuff... it was cringeworthy.
    Monday night was an absolute disaster for Sturgeon.

    1. Really.My workmates and I were discussing this Tuesday morning and we must have been watching a different Andrew Neil interview because we thought she was amazing in keeping her cool against his bullying.When Nicola was answering he constantly talked over her.That's not interviewing.He tries to railroad over people that he interviews so that they don't get an answer in and then he says they didn't answer.That's an old fashioned journalist trick.

    2. "Bullying"???
      Asking questions but not accepting waffle as an answer is "bullying"????
      Poor Nikla, baaaaaaaaaaaad Brillo.

    3. Hi Geacher - I do not understand you. The transcript you give of the interview is completely wrong and you know it. Have a look at your transcript and see if there is any question you do not know the answer Sturgeon would give. There is nothing there we don't already know the answer to. Neil, as you know, is a tory and unionist and a bully - always has been always will be that's how he makes his earnings.

    4. And Geacher appears to be a paid unionist troll, given the amount of time he appears able to devote to spreading disinformation and propaganda on this blog (and I would imagine other websites as well).