Monday 6 November 2017

The BBC falls for fake news again

This may be small fry perhaps, but please bear with me. I think it shows just how fishy the media, including the BBC, can be.

(And even if you loathe Trump and all his works, I still think you'll find this interesting, so please read on).

On the second day of his Asian tour President Donald J. Trump (for it is he) took part in a fish-feeding ceremony at Toyko's Akasaka palace with Japan's PM Shinzo Abe. One widely-distributed piece of footage of the event [the one the BBC was using this morning] shows the two leaders doling out spoonfuls of food to the koi below and then, after the camera zooms in and Mr Abe's hands go out of view, Mr Trump is shown upending his wooden container and dumping the rest of the food into the pool below.

Other widely-distributed pieces of footage were crudely edited versions which made it seem even more like Mr Trump was behaving like a dolt:

A social media outcry against Mr Trump ensued: 'Impatient!', 'Behaving like a four-year old!' and 'How rude to his Japanese hosts!' were among the politer things written about the insensitive oaf. 

Naturally sections of the mainstream media were just as uproarious, and the Independent's headline will give you a flavour of such reporting:

Now, all was not as it seemed. Other footage showed the bit that the zooming-in mentioned above concealed, and revealed that Mr Abe had in fact upended his wooden container first and that Mr Trump was only following suit:

The Guardian gives a very good account of all of this, and (to their credit) notes the major role that mainstream media reporters played in spreading this little titbit of 'fake news':
White House reporters, keen perhaps to pick up on a Trump gaffe, captured the moment when he upended his box on their smartphones and tweeted evidence of his questionable grasp of fish keeping.

However, other footage made clear that Trump was merely following his host’s lead.
But what of the BBC? Did they do themselves proud by steering clear of this piece of 'fake news'?

Of course not.

Anthony Zurcher, who never misses a chance to carp at Donald Trump, certainly wasn't coy about it, positively leaping at the chance to (shark) snark at the US president:

And - far more importantly - the BBC News Channel made complete fools of themselves this morning. 

Using as a backdrop the footage from Toyko TV that didn't show Mr Abe upending the food first, this exchange between a BBC presenter and a BBC reporter took place. 

It shows BBC 'fake news' in full swing. Why didn't they check? 


Annita McVeigh: And Steve, just on another subject entirely, it was meant to be a good photo opportunity, but even that drew controversy. It seems to follow Donald Trump around. It was about feeding some koi carp earlier and his fish feeding technique was called into question, wasn't it?  
Steve McDonnell: Yes, when these leadership summits happen people watch everything that they do. When Donald Trump first arrived and had his first meal here and it was a hamburger people were like, "What do you mean? You flew all the way to Toyko and you're having a hamburger!". And yes, that's right. They went to feed some fish, some koi carp, and I guess you're just supposed to feed them little by little, but at some point Donald Trump, he tips the whole lot of fish food in one go into the water. And he's being criticised I guess for being uncouth in his behaviour. But when it all comes down to, I guess if you are going to compare that to North Korea's nuclear weapons or the importance of global trade, I think in the next couple of days we'll probably be forgetting about the great carp incident.  
Annita McVeigh: A lack of strategic patience there. Steve, thanks very much. 
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.


  1. What pathetic Fake News reporting by the Trumpophobic BBC Pretend Service. It's one thing to be ideologically opposed to Trump, but to descend to this level of 24/7 obsessive, personalised microcriticism really shows you have lost all intellectual honour and are now just grubbing around with the politicians. By the way - Iwas hoping to patent that coinage of "microcriticism" - but I see from Google that others got there before me. But it is useful, since that is what the media do now when they don't like someone or something - keep up a steady stream of microcriticism, the drip-drip of negativity that is meant to eat away at the object of hatred.

    Loved the puns - coy and carp! :) They were brill!!

    1. Thank you. And I see what you did there! :)

    2. ...and I resisted the temptation to headline the post 'Hake News'.

    3. Holy mackerel! The world's sole greatest broadcaster 'erring in trying to show him as not a dab hand with the fishcake and doing something out of plaice. Eel not be happy with this (rock) beauty and the media piranhas trying to knock him off his perch. When the red snapper (well, orange) bites back, they'll probably clam up and flounder. The pollocks!

    4. Groan! You might have worked Sturgeon and Salmon(d) in there somewhere, or possibly Grayling - never mind, we'll skate over the omission!

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The BBC rush to damage Trump, to see Corbyn in No 10, to promote inclusivity and diversity and to reverse Brexit all have a smack of desperation now. It's like a runaway train, unstoppable for the time being, but eventually it will run out of steam. Reporting standards have ben allowed to plummet downwards to the extent that they eagerly put out inaccurate news if it suits the narrative - without first checking out the facts.

    1. "put out inaccurate news if it suits the narrative - without first checking out the facts"

      Shoot first ask questions later.

    2. It's all so obvious. HM Queen bad, Bono good, though both invest in offshore tax avoiding funds - Trump bad, Clinton good - Fallon bad, Lewis good - Christianity bad, Islam good - Fascist terrorists from UK bad, IS fighters from UK good (well let's say naive) - Boris bad, Nick good. Bias by omission, distortion, misrepresentation, definition, statistical fibbing, historical amnesia, unequal ethical standards, fake name it, the BBC uses it.

    3. "you name it, the BBC uses it"

      They can afford to. It's for the common good. Auntie knows best.


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