Friday 22 November 2019

The BBC's Reality Check issues a correction

David Jordan's admiration for the BBC's Reality Check is disappointing but hardly unexpected. 

Today, the unit went after an anti-Labour audience member on last night's Question Time

But the BBCs 'reality checkers' turned out to have got it somewhat wrong themselves and had to issue a correction - a correction prompted by anti-Brexit QC Jolyon Maugham of all people.

Here are the Reality Check tweets that accompanied the BBC News website piece (linked to below):

  • A man on BBC Question Time said he earned more than £80,000 a year but that did not put him in the top 5% of earners. HMRC figures show £75,300 put you in the top 5% in 2016-17. If you adjust that by earnings growth it suggests you now need to be earning about £81,000.
  • The member of the audience on BBC Question Time also said earning £80,000 a year didn't even put him in the top 50% of earners. Anything over about £25,500 would put you in the top 50%.
  • Thanks to Jolyon Maugham. The HMRC figures do indeed exclude those not earning enough to pay income tax, which means the BBC Question Time audience member would have been well inside the top 5% of earners. You can read more about it here:
  • Correction: The HMRC figures exclude those who do not earn enough to pay income tax. If these people are included then the audience member would have been well inside the top 5% of earners. 

That poor (rich) audience member may have got dumped on from a great height by the BBC's Reality Check but I hope he spots that the BBC's Reality Check itself got dumped on from an even greater height. And there are few things higher than Jolyon Maugham QC's ego.


  1. I just saw Joylon Maugham's ego passing through the night sky, twinkling as it went. I thought it was the International Space Station at first until I saw it was attached to the letters QC.

  2. Wow today as ever The top of my Twitter open page
    "Twitter Explore" "For You" suggestions
    has been the original (wrong) BBC Reality Check story.

    I just rechecked and now the top has switched to last nights QT
    but that fake story is still there down the page
    under "What’s happening" the top story is
    "2019 General Election
    BBC Reality Check refutes Question Time audience member's claims"

  3. You need to retitle your post
    The BBC's Reality Check issues a correction, but does it so softly that pro-Labour Tweeters continue on using the old WRONG tweet to bash the anti-Labour man

    As my recent Twitter search shows

  4. (oops this morning this didn't get sent this morning
    when I wrote it)
    Hangon is the issue smaller than I thought
    He claimed to not be in the top 5% of "earners"
    Their fact check kinda confirmed he wasn't
    but when you included all earners who don't pay tax
    as in their correction he is in the top 5%

    I still wonder if the pool of tax “payers” is different from the pool of "earners" as that would include income from property, dividends and pensions etc.


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