Of the millions of people who watch an incorrect report on BBC One's News at Ten, how many ever become aware of the correction on the BBC website?
I'd put it in the low thousands at best.
Three months ago many US media outlets and senior US Democrat politicians falsely claimed that US border guards had used whips to beat Haitian illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico..
I saw many flat-out rebuttals of that at the time, including on the BBC's least favourite US channel Fox News, but BBC One's News at Ten featured a report on 23 September 2021 which simply parroted that false story.
Will Grant, the BBC's Mexico, Central America and Cuba correspondent, said:
As migrants attempted to cross from Mexico to a makeshift camp in Texas this week, they were pushed back by mounted Border Patrol officers using whips.
Here's the BBC Executive Complaints Unit's ruling:
A report about Haitian immigrants to the United States included this statement: As migrants attempted to cross from Mexico to a makeshift camp in Texas this week, they were pushed back by mounted Border Patrol officers using whips. A viewer complained that the claim that whips had been used was false. The ECU considered the complaint in the light of the BBC’s editorial standards of due accuracy.
Reports on social media and news media that Border Patrol officers had used whips were based on photographs taken by an agency photographer who subsequently stated that he had not seen whips being used at the time. Moreover the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for border control, stated on 20 September that the images showed long reins used to control horses – an explanation entirely compatible with the images themselves. In view of these points, the ECU agreed that the report’s claim about the use of whips was not consistent with the BBC’s standards of due accuracy.
The finding was reported to the Board of BBC News and discussed with the programme-makers concerned.
This is such an interesting one as it shows the BBC simply joining the pack and spreading the same inaccurate lines that their cousins in the US media were spouting without verifying it first.
Confirmation bias is trumping true fact-checking at the BBC these days on so many fronts - as per the Oxford Street incident too.
[P.S. It took a lot of digging to find out the name of the BBC reporter responsible. The BBC don't make it easy in their complaints rulings].
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