Wednesday 1 January 2014

Play it down again, Sam

One of the most regular charges over the Romania-Bulgaria story is that it has tried to underplay the likely number of immigrants from those two countries.

There was a definite case of it doing just that back in April when the BBC attempted to spin a Newsnight survey into the likely numbers with the headline Few planning to migrate to UK - poll when their survey results actually implied that some 350,000 Romanians and Bulgarians might eventually come to our shores (which isn't 'few' in anyone's book).

This is still the message BBC reporters are sending out.

Here's the BBC's Mark Lowen on Twitter (having, pace the previous post, another dig at the UK media in the process):
Preparing to see in NY in #Romania. There is some interest here in leaving for EU countries but no feeling of mass exodus as some media say 
And here's the BBC's Phil Mackie again, full of reassurance on PM:
But 2014 is very different to 2004 and the relative economies are quite different to the situation then. For instance, Romania has low unemployment, it has a high rate of economic growth and people here are confident about the future of Romania now. That might change in the future, but the impression I get at the moment is there will not be a flood in the next weeks. But over the months and perhaps years there might be a more gradual move from this country to the UK.
Well, we'll see who's right - the BBC or Migration Watch. Last time round it was Migration Watch

By the way, the predictions being made by the Labour government that some 13,000 people per years would migrate from the EU accession countries after 2004 were, as we all now know, wrong by a margin of error that still beggars belief. Some 1.5 million actually came, and some 6.5 million remained in the country (including half a million or so Poles). 

The BBC helped talk it down then, and seem to be still doing so. BBC reporter Jim Taylor referred to the 13,000 figure on last night's The World Tonight and said that "many times that number arrived". He wasn't going to be any more precise than that apparently. (He also asked Romanians if the UK press coverage has been "exaggerated". As I say, 'relentless').

Still, at least that was marginally better than Eddie Mair on PM who said:
It turned out that many tens of thousands more people arrived than had been predicted.
No, Eddie. It turned out that many hundreds of thousands more people arrived than had been predicted - out by an order of magnitude.

Incidentally, I heard very little about the Roma on yesterday's Radio 4 coverage. One mention came from a Conservative councillor, accusing them of causing a huge surge of petty crime and anti-social behaviour in her part of London) - which prompted some very loud paper shuffling from Shaun Ley, followed by the immediate end of the interview.


Update: On the subject of that Shaun Ley interview with the Conservative councillor, I note that the BBC website has provided a brief, bowdlerised account of it.

Mrs Roe, leader of Westminister Council, had told the World at One that Roma were "defecating" on residents' doorsteps.

That part of the interview, however, went missing when the BBC came to write it up (unlike ITV's account). Presumably the BBC didn't want to spread 'Romaphobia' by actually reporting what Councillor Roe said, even if what she said is completely true. (How typical of the BBC that would be!)

No comments:

Post a Comment