Sunday 8 December 2013

"Always Interesting What The BBC Chooses to Highlight". Ain't it just!

This is why it's good to have a small (but growing) cottage industry of BBC-biased related blogs out there...

This morning I clicked on an article on the BBC News website's homepage headlined Most people in poverty are 'in work'

The first five paragraphs (which are about all most readers - including me - will have actually bothered reading) run as follows:
More working households were living in poverty in the UK last year than non-working ones - for the first time, a charity has reported.
Just over half of the 13 million people in poverty - surviving on less than 60% of the national median (middle) income - were from working families, it said.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said low pay and part-time work had prompted an unprecedented fall in living standards.
But it said the number of pensioners in poverty was at a 30-year low.
Ministers insisted that work remained the best route out of poverty and said the government's welfare reforms would further encourage people to get a job.
So that's three paragraphs of bad news, followed by one (short) paragraph of good news, and then a paragraph about ministers "insisting" (a word which always makes the 'insistent' person sound on the defensive). 

BBC take on the Joseph Rowntree report

I thought nothing more about it and clicked onto something else...until Alan posted his latest piece at Biased BBC, entitled Always Interesting What The BBC Chooses to Highlight. (It certainly is, Alan.)

Alan then links to an article which I failed to spot in the Sunday Times, which is based on the same Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, but which could almost have been written about a completely different report. 

The Sunday Times's headline is Child poverty is at lowest for 25 years and its first five paragraphs run as follows:
THE proportion of pensioners and children who are in poverty has fallen to its lowest level in more than a generation.
Pensioners have made the most gains in living standards of any group in society, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). The pensioner poverty rate, which was above 40% in the late 1980s, has dropped to 14%. This may be the lowest recorded, apart from a short-lived blip 30 years ago.
Child poverty at 27% is at its lowest level in 25 years, although the fall from its 1990s peak of 34% has been relatively modest. Fewer children than six years ago, before the recession, now have to go without sports equipment or school trips or share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex aged more than 10.
While society has looked after its oldest and youngest members in the recession, working families have been hardest hit according to the report, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2013, to be published this week.
In a finding that is likely to embarrass the government, for the first time on record there are more people in poverty in working families than in workless or retired families.
Here there are three paragraphs of good news, followed by one paragraph of bad news, followed by some bad news for the government.

Could the contrast be any sharper (except that both put the government's embarrassment in their fifth paragraphs)?

One angles it as a good news story, the other as a bad news story. 

Isn't that striking?

It would make a great 'Compare and Contrast' exam question for an English A-level though.

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