Monday 28 November 2016

Some trends are more equal than others

As already noted by some of you, my ('oh, when will I ever learn?') hopes that BBC Trending would be nice and impartial and actually report the very-much-trending #forallhisflaws and #trudeaueulogies hashtags that swept across Twitter over the weekend, mocking Jeremy Corbyn and Justin Trudeau's statements on the death of El Comandante, were (inevitably) dashed. 

BBC Trending has simply ignored them. 

Instead, today, we've had "DJ Khaled: The making of a Snapchat superstar" and "India protests a washout, Trump called out on Twitter and Moroccans decry makeup to hide violence". 

You'll have noted "Trump called out on Twitter" there. Not "Corbyn called out on Twitter" or "Trudeau called out on Twitter". And (I suspect) you won't have been surprised.

BBC Trending missed out on some very funny jokes by ignoring #forallhisflaws and #trudeaueulogies. They may not have found them funny though, what with an "old man" dying. 


  1. They obviously mean trending in their own echo chamber, not amongst the general public.

  2. We need a word for the BBC Headline technique - the best I can come up with is "Cascade Deceit".

    They start with the overall headline...with Donald Trump it's that he's been "called out" on imagines millions of Twitter users responding negatively to his statement. Underneath the headline we are told he's been given "short shrift" which reinforces the headline.

    But note the technique - unlike with the other highlighted stories (cricket and Moroccan domestic violence) there are no details given (it's just "the latest Twitter outburst" making him sound like some sort of deranged individual, as intended). How helpful if you want to undermine Trump! :)

    Then when you go into the page, you find "Twitter users call out Trump's illegal votes claim". Sounding more rational now - it's a claim but equally it needs to be understood in the light of the original headline (this is the cascade deceit effect).

    Finally they give you the DT tweet which offers a perfectly rational claim that excluding registered illegal migrants, he would have won the popular vote.

    Instead of being told some huge wave of millions have responded negatively, it now becomes "many" Tweeters have responded. They even give some of the counter arguments. One is supposed offered up by "quite a few".

    We've now gone from images of millions expressing rational, righteous indignation against some weird outburst to "quite a few" responding to a perfectly rational claim.

    And this is how BBC Trending put it:

    "Quite a few pointed out the flaw in his logic. "If Trump believes millions voted illegally, isn't that grounds for a nationwide recount?" asked another."

    As we Bias-spotters all know, using the phrase "pointed out" is not an impartial description, especially as it is then coupled with referencing an unqualified "logical flaw".

    But why is this a "logical flaw". If your opponent has conceded why is it a "logical flaw" for you to accept the result if you are a responsible politician seeking national unity? It is perfectly logical, reasonable, and responsible for Trump in that position not to rock the boat. But equally it is perfectly logical, reasonable, and responsible for Trump to point out how illegal migrant votes swung the popular vote Hillary's way, if his political opponents are going to try and engineer a recount.

    Does BBC Trending come under Mark Easton? I only ask because it seems so carelessly, conceitedly and outrageously biased towards PC shibboleths that it would be no surprise if it did.

  3. Maybe "trickle down deceit" is better?

  4. Wonderful debate on Newnsight tonight about the new authoritarianism...if you're a left-liberal.

    Evan's guests are Ann Appelbaum, Brian Klaas and Timothy Snyder. In other words three people whose opinions are virtually interchangeable.

  5. Watching Nick Clegg in the Zac Goldsmith anti Heathrow election segment made me very angry although to be fair the BBC Interviewer did flat out ask him, I paraphrase "why not just say your against Brexit rather than push for a soft Brexit" you need more of that BBC.

  6. Seriously thinking of popping an FOI in to ask how BBC trending chooses what 'trends; , for the Lols if nothing else. Which it would be.

    In other news, it seems a way around Blogger has been found, if with love.

    1. I say 'would be', because...

      Transparent as pitch.

  7. Years ago "Welcome to Pottersville" ran astray of copyright law when reproducing Faux News ( USA ) headers for their squibs. It could as well been Deceit R Us. The headline was misleading clickbait - Jurassic Pork ended up having his political commentary shuttered ( but he has 2 more blogs with similar names these days )
    The Beebs does have imitators.
    The miscreant :)
    ( Blogging Against Fascism )


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