Fri 13 Jul 2018 10:01AM

BBC false facts

BJ Bryn Jones Public Seen by 259

Last night's BBC 5 Live programme Question Time: Extra Time included a contribution from the Beeb's US Correspondent John Sopel. In it he said that '52% of the British people voted for Brexit.' Facts are stubborn things'. False facts are even stubborner. It's important to hold BBC to account for this kind of sloppy and possibly tendentious reporting.
Pl;ease publicise the need to complain via: https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/?lang=en&reset=&uid=808630926
Along the lines of this statement: In answer to a question from the presenter of Question Time Extra Time, BBC correspondent John Sopel stated that '52% of the British people voted for Brexit.'. This is patently untrue and gives a distorted picture of the strength of the referendum result. 52% of the population did not vote for Brexit. Approximately 16 million (24%) voted Remain and 31 (47%) million did not vote. Only 28% of the population voted for Brexit.
Given the political uses to which statements such as Sopel's can be put in the present febrile climate of opinion,the BBC should immediately put out on on-air and online correction of his exaggeration.
The more of us that complain the more likelihood the Beeb might issue a correction rather than some placatory PR apology.
Sopel's statement comes about 15 - 20 minutes into the programme that can be heard on: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b90h0j


Jane Riekemann Fri 13 Jul 2018 1:06PM

Absolutely Bryn. It’s important to hold them to account.


Misha Carder Sat 14 Jul 2018 3:41PM

I was so livid that I have penned a letter to the Times


Bryn Jones Sun 15 Jul 2018 11:54AM

Reply from BBC ==>
Thanks for contacting us regarding Radio 5 live’s ‘Question Time Extra Time’ on 12 July. We note your comments about John Sopel’s reference here to the EU referendum result.

It is, however, quite a commonly heard phrase – the result already being well known and widely discussed – and easily understood that someone referring to the result along the lines of “52% of the British people voted for Brexit” is making a shorthand reference to the 52% of the people who actually voted, and voted Yes in this case, that being the nature of a referendum. They’re clearly not referring to, literally, 52% of the population – 5 live listeners would know that not everyone in the country is either eligible to vote or to have elected to vote in a referendum.

That said, we appreciate that you felt Jon Sopel could’ve been clearer in his reference here, and thank you for the feedback. We’ve included your comments in our overnight reports. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC ensuring that complaints can be seen quickly by the right people.

In other words 'we are going to carry on with this misleading type of statement' !!!


Ian Bartle Sun 15 Jul 2018 9:11PM

Yes quite typical of BBC feedback - a bland and rather high-handed dismissal of the comment. It ignores how the language of the mainstream media has used has made the brexit vote and the process much more decisive than it is - the BBC's Laura K being very guilty of this. No wonder so many people can't understand what's going on now as the whole thing is collapsing on itself. To be fair to the BBC I've found their lower profile programmes and web pieces are more accurate and fairer. But isn't it cowardice on the BBC's part not also to be more accurate with higher profile pieces?

And this might seem nit-pickingly nerdish but it wasn't 52% of anything. It was slightly less than 51.9% of those who voted. This routine rounding up is another example of making it seem more decisive than it was. Surely the most relevant rounding is 50:50 - a draw so we need a proper replay but this time with much more info about what it all means.


Misha Carder Mon 16 Jul 2018 9:06AM

No - it isn't clear BBC - that people will know that 52% of population didn't vote to Leave. As Bryn said, this is the kind of fact that will stick. Attempts at conversations with those who close their ears and shout their version of the facts, are the people who will vote in droves if there is a Peoples Vote. Justin Greening on BBC Breakfast, was today proposing a 3-way vote: 'Leave without a deal,' a vote for the Chequers stitch-up, or Remain. That would put us at a disadvantage; knowing the Alt-right/UKIP have mega-bucks to pour into their campaign and cheating has - in effect, been given the all -clear, unless those guilty face imprisonment before the campaign starts in earnest.