Saturday 10 November 2018

Beyond Fake News

Brandishing their simple swords of truth, the trusty BBC is donning armour and riding forth against fake news. 

And it's a global crusade too (not that they'd put it like that, of course). The season is aimed at Europe, the Americas, Africa, India and Asia Pacific.

The countries specifically mentioned so far are India, Kenya, Somalia, Russia and the Philippines.

Jamie Angus, supreme leader of the BBC's World Service Group, says the BBC must “move beyond just talking about the global ‘fake news’ threat, and take concrete steps to address it”. 

And his first step will be to abolish BBC News. 

Only joking. 

He goes on:
“Poor standards of global media literacy, and the ease with which malicious content can spread unchecked on digital platforms mean there’s never been a greater need for trustworthy news providers to take proactive steps. 
“We have put our money where our mouth is and invested in real action on the ground in India and in Africa. 
“From funding in-depth research into sharing behaviours online, to rolling out media literacy workshops globally, and by pledging to bring BBC Reality Check to some of the world’s most important upcoming elections, this year we’re carving our path as a leading global voice for spotting the problems, and setting out ambitious solutions.”


  1. There is some irony when they talk of unchecked news, of course. And they really should spot their own shortcomings first.

    I used to accuse the BBC of fake news but having become better informed (from this blog mainly) I now consider their main problem to be news by omission (courtesy of MB).

    They conveniently omit or ignore key news stories or critical parts of key stories because they cross check everything against their PC liberal ideology rule book before deciding what and how to publish..

  2. What a piece of gobbledegook. He's putting *our* money where his mouth is but what does the rest of it mean? Am I perhaps lacking in media literacy or is he lacking communication literacy or plain old literacy? many times does that appear? Proactive, solutions, in-depth... he has swallowed the whole book of management speak.

  3. It's interesting that there is this "Moral Panic" (as the BBC used to like to say) about "Fake News". Fake News has always been with us. I remember once wandering into a "bookshop" in a Third World city. There was hardly anything I would call a book in it. It was just crammed full of conspiracy theories in book or magazine format, everything from UFOs upwards. I was quite gobsmacked at the time. The BBC never bothered to inform us about that at the time, just as they never told us how popular Mein Kampf was in countries like Egypt.

    No, in reality, "Moral Panic" has developed because media organisations like the BBC have lost their monopoly on news provision in our societies, through the growth in the internet, social media and so on.

  4. I have a horrible feeling that in the echo chamber of the BBC, they are so blind to their own shortcomings that they actually believe that load of codswallop. As strange as it might seem, for them Reality Check is reality.

  5. James Harding's interesting reflection re fake news: [In 2016] "I had this moment when I really felt overwhelmed by the volume of news."
    '...he was gripped by "the sense that things were coming at you every day and you couldn't ever actually catch up with what happened or what was driving it". When he cast around the landscape of bulletins and packaged reports-fromthe-scene it all felt, "samey". "We chase the same stories, in the same ways. A lot is about speed -- we want to be first with the news, or 'fast with the news'."
    This "headline addiction", as he calls it, this clickbaiting of serious world events, allows fake news to proliferate and undermines impartiality.'

  6. What really galls is the arrogance that leads the BBC to state they cover the truth. For instance, they're currently twisting the news in the US to yet again suit an agenda.
    What is actually happening with the vote counting in various US states does not in any way reflect what the BBC are 'suggesting'.
    There is considerable evidence of voter fraud and dubious activity by Democratic vote officials with form of dubious behaviour.
    This link is to a Red Elephants video. He gets into the stats and the subject of demographics. His videos over the past week have been enlightening.

  7. They have told huge whoppers. The whole Arab Spring thing was one of the worst - characterising what was essentially a Muslim Brotherhood revolt as a democratic push for open government. They have misrepresented Palestinian terrorists motivated by religious hatred as peaceful patriots. They have set up fake shots in nature documentaries. They have covered up the appalling behaviour of their senior directors including weirdo arm-biting of junior staff! They pretend in the best Soviet style that the whole populace is waiting with bated breath for news of the Women's Football results. They have lied about the contribution of women like Mary Seacole and Ada Lovelace. They have covered up the hate speech of figures like Malcolm X.

    The list of Fakery is endless.

  8. After watching James Cook doing a piece to camera describing the area of California he's in as 'smouldering' while standing directly behind a fallen, still burning tree, I thought I'd post links to a couple of videos that make me wish the BBC was a world class media organisation.
    It's really not that tricky.

  9. World Service tonight or rather 3 am Monday:
    In a special interview to start the BBC’s Beyond Fake News season, Stephen Sackur speaks to The Washington Post’s editor Martin Baron about the fractious relationship between the White House and the US media.


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