Given the state of the world today: conflagrations and uprising in various parts of the globe; the recent hotel bombing in Pakistan proving al Qaeda is still alive and flourishing, despite woefully inadequate measures by western governments to kill them off; the economic crisis threatening to further destabilize the planet; global warming wreaking its own particular blend of havoc, more than ever it’s necessary for our media to present an honest and informed face.
Without honest, truthful, news reporting, unembellished by the stark, emotion-raising headlines more suited to Hollywood blockbuster dramas, we are unable to form frank opinions and adapt our thinking to take account of the true nature of what is happening in this world we all inhabit.
For the last week or so, media news has informed us North Korea is restarting its nuclear program, frozen a few months ago with much fanfare and demolition of a cooling tower. Now, it seems, nasty, wicked North Korea has renegaded on its promises, raised a digit at the West, and is rebuilding its nuclear facilities.
It’s unlikely many Americans viewed it, after all it is broadcast between 5.00 and 5.30 each morning in the US, but BBC World News from London announced this morning, as one of its major headlines:
“NORTH KOREA HAS REMOVED UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG SEALS FROM A KEY ATOMIC FACILITY”
It wasn’t until some twenty minutes later that the program cut to a reporter at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna who informed us:
“Mohammed El-Baradei says the North Koreans have asked the IAEA to remove their seals and surveillance equipment at Yongbyon. They said they wished to run reprocessing test work which, they said, wouldn’t involve nuclear material.
This information was only received this morning and its understood the seals and equipment are still in place.“ [my bold]
This gross error by the BBC (who were in fact only echoing earlier reports from other media outlets) is a typical example of the sloppy journalism now rampant even among the more respectable of news media. We’ve come to expect hideous distortions, frequently outright lies, from the likes of Fox News, CNN, and even BBC America’s evening news show, which from its inception has aspired to the sensationalist format of its US counterparts.
The BBC brags it’s World News program reaches “276 million homes in more than 200 countries and territories around the world”.Given that many people switch on for the headlines before dashing off to work in the morning, how many heard the BBC’s headline announcement, but missed the later clarification?
It happens so frequently – a blazing headline broadcast to the world, before any attempt is made at verification – one has to wonder: is it becoming deliberate?
 BBC Press Office “BBC World News” April 2008
Filed under: Media hype