Monday 7 August 2017

Another update

Here's an update on a sad story you may remember from last year... 

In the months following the EU referendum a Polish man in Harlow, Arkadiusz Jozwik, was killed during an altercation with local youths. 

It was a big story at the time and there was frenzied speculation in certain quarters that it was a 'hate crime' provoked by the Brexit vote. 

BBC One's main news bulletins, featuring reporter Daniel Sandford, gave the 'hate crime caused by Brexit' angle a very strong headwind (transcript here), and John Sweeney on Newsnight also vigorously pushed the 'hate crime caused by Brexit' angle (transcript here).

Both DS and JS also vigorously tweeted about it at the time. 

Newsnight's John Sweeney report was framed by Evan Davis saying, "Also tonight: a Polish man beaten to death in Essex, could it be the latest example of hate crime post-Brexit?". 

John Sweeney himself asserted, "This is not an isolated experience. What happened here isn’t only a story of the ugly mood in our country post-Brexit. It’s also a story about antisocial behaviour, of people at night being afraid to walk down a British high street".

So, according to JS, it was a combination of the "ugly mood" post-Brexit and "antisocial behaviour" - a point he ended his point by repeating, saying "the fear is that two poisons have come together to a lethal result".

And those closing comments contained a particularly harsh charge - or, more accurately, a smear - against one particular UK party leader at the time. Here's how the interview ended:
ERIC HIND: (fragment of word, unclear) I don’t know if I can mention names but I mean . . .
JOHN SWEENEY:  Mention names!
ERIC HIND: But I mean, Nigel Farage, I mean, thank you for that, because you are part of this death, and you’ve got blood on your hands, thanks to you, thanks for all your decision, wherever you are, er...yeah, it’s your call.
JOHN SWEENEY: Nigel Farage has always denied this allegation. As the search for clues and answers continues, the fear is that two poisons have come together to a lethal result.
So what happened next? Well, the police, towards the end of last year, charged one youth with manslaughter and decided not to pursue the 'hate crime' charge. 

I spotted at the time that both Daniel Sandford (the BBC reporter who reported for the BBC's main bulletins at the time) and John Sweeney (Newsnight's man) each put out a short, factual tweet about it (minus the 'not a hate crime' bit), neither adding any further comment, and neither in any way repenting of their reporting sins. 

At the end of last month, the trial came to an end and the verdict was given. A boy was convicted of manslaughter and it's now clear that the fracas was a case of people drinking, youths cycling too close, an argument ensuing, a youth getting violent, a tragic death. Nothing to do with Brexit. 

Now, I will admit that I didn't see the BBC online report about it, even though I check the BBC News website closely. But, yes, there was a report about it (albeit a brief one).

I only found it after specifically Googling to find it, after a tip-off from David Keighley at News-watch, and I suspect that the BBC never made it a prominent story last week. 

The BBC online report fails to mention that it was widely - and wrongly - suspected of being a racist, Brexit-provoked hate crime at the time, and there's been no contrition from the BBC. 

Curiously, neither Daniel Sandford nor John Sweeney have tweeted about the outcome of the trial, despite both of them making the initial incident a major story on the BBC.

Nor have they reported the outcome for the BBC.

In fact, they've both been silent on the story. 

In fairness, checking his Twitter feed, Daniel may be on holiday as he's gone completely quiet. 

Not so John Sweeney though. There's no such excuse for him. 

He spent 31 July, the day of the verdict, tweeting away in a total frenzy. His concerns were Trump, Scaramucci, paintings he likes and animal videos, and he banged out scores and scores and scores and scores of tweets about them (as impartially as you'd expect - he says sarcastically) - but nothing, absolutely nothing, about the outcome of the trial for the 'hate crime' incident that he'd gone all sensationalist over for Newsnight last year.

And, as far as I can see, he didn't even notice the verdict. (Some BBC star reporter, eh?)

[Update: I hope she won't mind but I must share Sue's brilliant summation of John Sweeney's behaviour here: "Sweeney's indifference to the outcome of a story he had been so keen to Brexify".]

As for BBC TV - those BBC One news bulletins and Newsnight - which made so much of the story as a possible Brexit-related hate crime at the time - well, I've done thorough search after thorough search on TV Eyes (which picks up pretty much everything) and found nothing. Literally nothing. No follow-up reports on the BBC's News at Six and News at Ten. No follow-up segment on Newsnight. Nothing.

That raises serious questions: Why isn't the BBC setting the record straight here? And: Is it because it doesn't fit their narrative?

Well, I don't know but this is obviously either one of two things: It's either extremely shabby reporting or its extremely biased reporting. (Or both).

It's yet another sign that there's something deeply rotten in the state of the BBC.

News-watch pursued this energetically through the Cretan, Minotaur-filled BBC Complaints system and got lost in the BBC Complaints maze - a maze whose every dead-end features a large sign saying 'Not upheld'. I suspect they'll try again after this latest development.


  1. Around mid-day on the BBC News Channel broadcast a story about the Prevent Programme. They referred to four recent 'terrorist attacks', Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

    After the event, as above with the 'Polish man in Harlow', with a period of reflection, should not there be a reclassification of the Finsbury Park incident. Was it really due to radicalisation of the van man, and thus relevant to the Prevent Programme?

  2. Well, this certainly is Brexit-inspired hate speech from the Beeboids. Post-truth hate speech as well, as it turns out. Nice work following up, Craig.

  3. Even by BBC standards Sweeney was off the scale in his bias. Do the BBC think anti-Brexit hate is acceptable and would seem so. I have seen the most awful things written about Brexit voters on the Guardian site - how they are old or mentally defective or smelly and should be killed off. We saw the violent protests against Boris Johnson and his family, including young children, outside his home after the Referendum vote (encouraged by the BBC through assiduous filming and reportage). I can't believe not a single Brexiter has been assaulted for his or her beliefs since the vote. The BBC are unprincipled pro-globalist liars.

    1. Actually, one was murdered by his neighbour.

  4. On R4 Today, Justin Webb interviewed the Australian High Commissioner.

    Difficult job this for BBC Justin because Australia is an independent sovereign state which controls immigration and yet, against all Remain teachings, is wealthy.

    It was noticeable, despite it being supposedly an interview that Justin talked as much as the High Comm. His questions were long editorial statements. Justin set the scene that everyone in UK was gloomy about Brexit. UK has a mountain to climb. Justin repeatedly claimed that trade deals mean free movement and therefore immigration.

    The well-balanced, good natured Aussie didn't agree. Oz has a trade deal with US, but not free movement he said. Justin didn't appear to hear.

    1. Or.... was one of none so deaf?

      Justin Webb Gough meets John Sweeney Phoawr!

    2. I heard it and thought at the time - what's all this nonsense about "..everyone in UK was gloomy about Brexit"?
      Totally beyond Webb and his lot's comprehension isn't it. There's 17.4m, and rising, that are not gloomy at all and never have been!

    3. I hope ol' Justin and his BBC colleagues don't learn about the EU free trade deal with Japan.

    4. Anon - Justin clearly gunning for the big bucks as secured by Laura 'I speak for the nation' K.

      'Telling it often enough' is kinda their only default now.

  5. News-watch pursued this energetically through the Cretan, Minotaur-filled BBC Complaints system...

    I keep reading this as 'Cretin, Minotaur-filled...'

  6. Is it the BBC's job to slur opposition party leaders?

    Whose side are they on?


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