Sunday 24 March 2019

"The trouble is that virtually every element of Chris Morris’s ‘Reality Check’ was either flat out false or based on a seriously incompetent use of statistics"

A chicken

You may well have already seen this but there's a fascinating piece from Nottingham University Business School's Professor David Paton, co-editor of the International Journal of the Economics of Business, at Briefings for Brexit headlined Fact Checking the BBC Fact Checkers

This is a thoroughgoing debunking of BBC Reality Check's Chris Morris, talking his statements on the Today programme of 15th March one by one. 

Being no expert myself on the subject of UK/US records on food health, I'm not competent to definitely rule who's right, except to say that David convinced me completely! 

The piece begins:
Last Friday, the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 did a “Fact Check” on the US Ambassador’s recent claim that US had some of the lowest food poisoning rates in the world. 
Presenter Justin Webb interviewed BBC Reality Check correspondent, Chris Morris, who reported that they had investigated the issue and that the statistics were clear: rates of Campylobacter illnesses in the US were 4 times higher than those in the UK, whilst Salmonella rates were 20 times higher.  The Ambassador was, we were told “flat wrong” and no room for doubt was left.  Apart from the embarrassment to Woody Johnson, the piece was clearly designed to cast doubt on the desirability of the post-Brexit US-UK trade deal. 
The trouble is that virtually every element of Chris Morris’s ‘Reality Check’ was either flat out false or based on a seriously incompetent use of statistics.
and ends: 
I have raised these issues with Chris Morris and the Today programme and also with one of the authors of the BBC Reality Check article on which Chris Morris seems to have based most of his reporting.  The author has acknowledged in an email to me that the article contained errors and has agreed to do some re-writes.  That is welcome but does not address the fact that viewers of the Today programme were given a completely misleading impression of the facts as well as that the US Ambassador’s reputation was unjustifiably damaged. 
To date, I have not had a response from Chris Morris or Today and so I have now submitted an official complaint.  Let’s see how the BBC respond.
Please read it for yourselves (if you haven't done so already) and good luck to Prof. Paton with his official complaint.

Looking at Newssniffer, it seems that the author of the BBC website article hasn't made the promised re-writes yet, despite David's piece being published on Wednesday. That will also be worth watching.


  1. Nice one. (I mentioned this earlier on the open thread.)
    Prof. Paton’s quote you use as the headline nicely summaries every Chris Morris Reality Check.

    I presume he gets away with it because the only reality it is checking against is - ‘have we sufficiently re-aligned this to fit the official BBC narrative?’

  2. Yes, Truth 5 Morris 0.

  3. Said it several times before. Morris is a liar. It's not worth listening to anything he says.


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