Any regular listeners to BBC Radio 3 will be familiar with Dr. Matthew Sweet, presenter of its film music programme Sound of Cinema and its late night discussion programme Free Thinking. Here he is on Twitter today calling for Ofcom to investigate GB News:
- I think it's time for Ofcom to investigate GB News for spreading anti-vax misinformation. It's Naomi Wolf again, building another conspiracy theory from data she doesn't understand - this time about recent neonatal deaths rather than Victorian legal records.
- In this interview Mark Steyn accepts her false claims about a rise in neonatal deaths in Ontario as truth and amplifies them. Then he agrees with her proposition that Bill Gates has bribed the BBC into suppressing the facts about it. Here are the facts.
- She then makes some defamatory allegations about an Office of National Statistics employee, who, she says, conceded that he had lied to the public. I recall the exchange from her now-defunct twitter feed, and how patiently he tried to explain why she was wrong.
- Then she makes a false claim about vaccines and sperm count. That one is fact-checked here. She speaks, in obscenely sensationalist language, about neonatal deaths in Scotland, and accuses the BBC of misreporting the story.
- Dr Wolf cranks her tombola of messianic ignorance for a good few minutes. Steyn nods it all through and then thanks her for her splendid work. To my mind all of this fails to meet some very basic journalistic standards. It went out on 23 June.
- So what should we do about this? A complaint to Ofcom I suppose - form below. But I can't help feeling it needs a more co-ordinated approach. A conspiracy theory/misinformation debunking service that could deal with this stuff as it arises in the media.
And here's the interview in question: