Friday 5 April 2019

The BBC's chief Reality Checker got it wrong

Regulars may remember the post about Nottingham University Business School's Professor David Paton and his article Fact Checking the BBC Fact Checkers, which debunked the BBC's chief Reality Checker Chris Morris over his remarks on the Today programme. Chris Morris claimed that the US ambassador's figures about US food safety were wrong, but David found a whole string of errors in the BBC man's own comments and went on to submit a complaint to the BBC.

Well, this has just popped into my Twitter feed:

So David Paton was right, and the BBC's Chris Morris wrong (not that you'll see any names on the BBC's tweets about this). 

Sometimes you really do need a proper expert to expose a BBC 'expert'.


  1. Reality Chuckers.

    Their Reality's Crackers.

    Reality Chumps.

    Reality Cheaters.

    Reality Cleaners.

    But NOT Reality Checkers.

    They have a mission to excuse.

  2. Their grasp of reality is on par with most in Westminster.

  3. I took a look at one of their most recent pieces - riddled with errors and tendentious claims.

    Here's a quote:

    "If the UK leaves without a deal, it will cease to have a trade deal with the EU.

    The EU imposes a range of checks at its borders for countries like this.

    There are customs checks, like those on the Norway-Sweden border, and product standard checks."

    That can only be taken to mean that Norway is already what the UK would be under this scenario: a country with no trade deal with the EU. Just one problem with that: Norway does have a trade deal with the EU! - through its EFTA membership, it is part of the EEA agreement, allowing virtually full access to the Single Market.

    I say just one problem but there is another. The useless Reality Check claim: "If the UK leaves without a deal, it will cease to have a trade deal with the EU." That is rubbish. May's deal would mean we leave the EU but we don't have a trade deal in place. That's what the politial declaration is all about, and that was why the government was able to partition off the Withdrawal Agreement because it doesn't specifically determine what trade deal we might end up with.

    The wording of the article shows that once again the BBC is failing to use language with precision and hence ends up mixing up related but distinct concepts: deal (withdrawal agreement), trade deal, customs agreement, customs union and product standards checks.

    Also notable in the article is this claim:

    "The UK and Irish governments and the EU have been consistent that, whatever happens, there will be no hardening (ie physical checks) at the border."

    They've been "consistent"? Really? While why haven't you been telling us this for the last three years? It seems to me that it is only now that a no deal exit is a real possibility that the BBC are telling us the truth. The EU certainly has not been consistent in stating this and the BBC has pumped out hundreds of hours of "Project Fear" broadcasting on the basis that there has been a real prospect of a hard border returning (not that it was ever that "hard" in the past - there used to be 200 crossing points I seem to recall - mostly unmanned).

    So the BBC with this article is exposing its own inconsistency.

    If there is going to be no hard border "whatever happens" why waste precious website words on this non-story? It doesn't make sense.

    All this only makes sense if the BBC is providing cover for the EU and Ireland, ensuring that their inconsistency, duplicity and cynical opportunism is not exposed.

    As I have said from the start, there is no real problem here, simply an EU negotiating ploy. That possibility is of course NOT considered as possible reality in the article.


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