As a special B-BBC August bank holiday bonus,

here are a few repeats of a classic BBC News Online error – this one being one of my all-time favourite examples of the ignorance, laziness and inability of BBC News Online journos and their editors (who should know better – assuming they actually read what they edit)!


Rock stages show of strength

[Peter Caruana, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister,] had earlier declared that Gibraltar was “at a crossroads in its future” and called for a future for the island that would be “free of threats, harassment and cajolement”.


Gibraltar deal in offing

The government has admitted what was widely suspected by the people of Gibraltar, sovereignty could be shared with Spain.

There have already been demonstrations this year, bringing most of the island out onto the streets to protest any move to change the status of the island.


‘Killer link’ in missing sailor inquiry

British detectives are in Gibraltar investigating the case of a Royal Navy sailor who disappeared while serving on the same ship as a convicted “serial killer”.

Simon Parkes from South Gloucestershire was a radio operator on HMS Illustrious when he disappeared in December 1986, after visiting bars on the island.


Blair accused of Gibraltar ‘stitch up’

The British and Spanish prime ministers meet to discuss a possible deal on Gibraltar. But the local population is deeply suspicious of plans for the island’s future.

Did you spot it? Yes, of course – Gibraltar is not an island – it’s joined on to the Spanish mainland – hence the border that was closed for many years until it was reopened in 1985 (not uncoincidental with Spain’s desire to join the EEC, as it then was, at least in name), hence the border over which there are still complaints of unnecessary delays and so on.

It’s a very basic, very obvious error – yet BBC News Online journalists make it time and time again. These examples are from a couple of years ago – but there are more in their archive – and other examples that have been fixed (usually after being spotted by telly-taxpayers who write in and complain). But still they do it – they seem to lack a) an interest in general knowledge about the world; and, b) the ability to fact-check their presumptions about the world.

And still we’re forced to pay for this tosh and are expected to believe that the rest of it is accurate!

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23 Responses to As a special B-BBC August bank holiday bonus,

  1. Rich says:

    Hey, they play in the Island games.


  2. Ant says:

    At the weekend they were on about how the church “condemed” something.



  3. Anonymous says:

    A typo?????
    In 10,000,000,000,000,000 words of news output?????
    Surely not!


  4. Andrew Bowman says:

    Indeed, Gibraltar does play in the Island Games – but it doesn’t make Gibraltar an island! (although the 19 year long Spanish border blockade may have made it seem so for while. See Marl Montegriffo’s bit at

    Similarly, the village of Freuchie, in Fife*, won the All England Village Cricket Competition in 1985 – but it doesn’t make Freuchie an English village (the competition has since been renamed! 🙂

    * The London b(i)ased BBC would typically report this as ‘Freuchie, in Scotland’, yet, strangely, places in England aren’t referred to in the same way – e.g. ‘Epsom, in Surrey’, rather than ‘Epsom, in England’.


  5. Andrew Bowman says:

    Another ‘Anonymous’ BBC quisling pops-up – one typo in, allegedly, “10,000,000,000,000,000 words of news output” would be within reason, but how about if ‘condemned’ was spelt as ‘condemed’ in 32 articles? Would that suggest a pattern of sloppiness and illiteracy?

    Check out the ugly reality, courtesy of the News Online search engine – Were you looking for “condemned” it helpfully asks! Tsk, tsk. 🙂


  6. theghostofredken says:

    “Yes, of course – Gibraltar is not an island – it’s joined on to the Spanish mainland” – Was that just for the yanks who read this, or was it for ill-informed populace who think that the moon is made of cheese?


  7. Andrew Bowman says:

    Er no, theghostofredken, that was for the benefit of the BBC News Online journos (we know you’re out there – keep reading, thinking and learning!) – I thought that was pretty clear from the story. Apologies for not spelling it out for you too.

    I did think about putting in a link to the relevant page/map in the CIA World Factbook – but I didn’t want to give you and your fellow-travellers forty fits merely by drawing attention to a useful reference work like that!



  8. theghostofredken says:

    Why are you such a patronising cock? It was a joke..


  9. RB says:

    You’d never catch the CIA making a mistake would you?

    Ho ho ho.


  10. theghostofredken says:

    Actually I apologise for the above, but what you’ve written doesn’t even make sense in response to my post.. Unless you’re an American? In which case your lack of understanding of irony is forgiven.


  11. Andrew Bowman says:

    Yes, theghostofredken, my reply was a joke too – a lighthearted ripost for one of this blog’s collection of pet trolls.

    Honestly, if you must persist with belittling comments about ‘Yanks’, the ‘ill informed populace’, etc. you must also expect to get a bit of a friendly slapping back from time to time – hopefully others will at least find the exchange humourous!

    The reply makes sense to me – you jokingly accuse me of patronising people (namely Yanks and victims of British education) by pointing out the correct answer, I turn it back round, point out it was for the BBC journos, and I apologise for not making that clear to you! Quid pro quo etc.!

    Sorry if your sense of humour doesn’t stretch to coming off worst from time to time.

    And no, I’m not an American – British through and through, living, working and paying taxes (inc. the tellytax) here. But, to quote Ronnie Reagain, “There you go again” about the Yanks 🙂


  12. Andrew Bowman says:

    Apologies for the typos in the last comment (riposte/Reagan) – but at least I know how to spell ‘condemn’!


  13. theghostofredken says:

    Okay Andrew all is forgiven, but your tone does remind me of the bloke you always get trapped in converstation with, usually in the kitchen, at house parties.


  14. RB says:

    House parties?? You’re not a student are you? As everyone knows, students have no right to get involved in discussions about politics.


  15. theghostofredken says:

    No I’m not a student you cheeky beggar.


  16. Andrew Bowman says:

    Hang on RB and theghostofredken – no bickering between the B-BBC pet trolls please!

    You’re supposed to be winding the rest of us up, not at each other! Calm down, it’s only a commercial!

    To paraphrase the Ambassador’s guest, “with these subtleties of humour you are really confusing each other” 🙂


  17. theghostofredken says:

    I can’t believe you’ve quoted that awful Micheal Winner ad, you truly are the bloke in the kitchen at parties!


  18. Andrew Bowman says:

    Ever heard of irony, theghostofredken? You aren’t an American are you? 😉

    While we’re at it, I’m not one for parties – especially of the house-party sort with quasi-leftie-naifs in the kitchen – so you’re most unlikely to have met or to meet me that way.


  19. theghostofredken says:

    Is the thought of meaningful human interaction not enough to drag you away from the lastest edition of The Spectator?


  20. RB says:

    Who are you calling a pet troll sunshine? If you don’t appreciate a good argument I’ll leave and I’ll be taking my ball with me.

    And house parties should surely be left in ‘aspirational’ suburban 80s hell where they belong. Gather your friends and walk to the nearest sophisticated drinking establishment where they have a wider array of alcoholic beverages, you can smoke inside, the decoration is inevitably more tasteful and nobody has to clean up afterwards. If you have no sophisticated drinking establishments in your area then move somewhere nicer.


  21. theghostofredken says:

    Hmm..I think this might be generational thing. I leave you to discuss it over a cup of coco.


  22. Andrew Bowman says:

    RB, I do appreciate a good argument – what I don’t appreciate are comments like this:

    yeah, yeah. you’re just making stuff up now.
    RB | 08.31.04 – 4:32 pm | #

    in response to my post the other day (about the BBC’s prolonged George Galloway hype) – what I said was true, and, was, courtesy of Google’s cache, demonstrably true, yet that was your soul flippant contribution on the matter. What was the point of that?

    Your contributions do suggest a, shall we say, antagonistic streak (sunshine, indeed!) towards the contributors on this blog.

    Meanwhile “nobody has to clean up afterwards” is also untrue – someone has to – presumably someone that you don’t see, or possibly just don’t notice.

    Mind you, “there is a culture of ‘soft’ left wing political correctness in the BBC which needs stamping out and irritates the hell out of me” suggests that there might be hope for you yet!

    Let’s try to get along.


  23. RB says:

    It was actually a joke. I have no doubts whatsoever about your sincerity. I didn’t make any other comments about that particular post because I couldn’t really take any issues with it (By the way, I also post as ‘Rich’, not because I have some shady alter-ego but because I’m too lazy to be consistent).

    I find that being mildly provocative is the best way to instigate a good discussion – presumably the contributors on your site who launch into ferocious assaults on the French, the UN etc feel the same. If you’d genuinely prefer a website where like minded people praise each others views ad infinitum let me know and I’ll refrain.