The nonsense that passes for news

One can’t push back against it all, but Dizzy has a great go at a story which the Independent-echoing BBC report about food waste. It’s probably supposed to make the supposed food crisis more, you know, “interactive”. An absurdly long BBC report misses most of the points which Dizzy raises. The money quote as far as I am concerned occurs almost at the bottom: “WRAP receives government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” (WRAP is the niftily named organisation which carried out the food waste study. Nb- interesting how Gvt funding is pointedly devolved). Good of them to tell those readers who actually consider the matter newsworthy enough to read to the bottom.

Picture the little group hug that all this involves: the Labour Gvt, WRAP, the Indy, and the BBC. On second thoughts don’t- wouldn’t want you to waste your dinner.

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26 Responses to The nonsense that passes for news

  1. GCooper says:

    Yes, I heard this report on R4 and thought similarly. I’d add another body to that cosy little group hug, too – the EU.

    In all fluff earlier this week about whether Mcbean was going to rescind the bins charge, the BBC carefully obscured the fact that the real driver here is the association that represents local government bodies, who are scared stiff of the fines faced by local councils when they fail to meet the fatuous landfill targets imposed by the real government in Brussels.

    The ‘food waste’ scam, I have little doubt, is all a part of the same propaganda drive, inspired, ultimately, by politicians who, though unable to win elections here, actually control significant parts of our legislation.

    The BBC, being an active arm of the ‘Green’ movement, has no problem with furthering their cause at every opportunity.


  2. Millie Tant says:

    Bread is one of the main foods allegedly “wasted”. Well, why don’t they ask why bread goes off? I must throw bread out most weeks. That’s because it has gone off! Or it has turned as hard as a plank of wood.


  3. adam says:

    The question is what are they up to.
    Is this just about new food recycle bins?
    be suspicious!
    Anti-food behaviour orders, on the spot fines or prison sentances, dont rule those out.
    NuLiars Gore worshippers are bonkers.


  4. Reversepsychology says:

    How do the BBC, (on shows such as (Don’t)question(Labour)time) always manage to locate the 23% of our deluded population, that still fully subscribe to the sorry propaganda of this Nu Liebour junta. – Sorry Government.


    Are the audiences: vetted? – rigged? – Drugged? – bribed?

    To have members of the audience Eulogise over Red Ken, somehow doesn’t ring true in this current climate.

    But when you add thunderous applause, to the views espoused by ministerial, non-entity James Purnell,

    And then, (and as if that wasn’t enough) top it all off, with hoots of dissent, for all other panelists.





  5. 1327 says:

    Yes I also wondered what this leading to as well – Aren’t we a suspicious lot 🙂 All of a sudden a charity/organisation appears out of what seems like nowhere with a report that gets top billing on the BBC news. So I was interested to read that they are a government (read taxpayer) funded organisation no doubt doing as they were told. Odds on this is the softening up stage and soon the Beeb with be breathlessly announcing a new tax our lords and masters have devised for us which will be for our own good.


  6. Pete says:

    The BBC excels at the mass manufacture of trash TV like Eastenders, Flog It and celebrity dancing competitions. Its staff should recognise where their strengths lie and refrain from offering advice and propaganda to us in the form of pseudo news articles on how to live our lives. Do we really need advice and guidance from the chroniclers of the goings on in Albert Square and Holby Hospital?


  7. MarkE says:

    This also has the advantage (from a BBC perspective) of deflecting criticism of the EU from criticism over the part it plays in the current world food price inflation. The problem is not the artificial restriction on the supply of food, it’s the plebs (thee & me) wasting so much food.

    The CAP (designed to help farmers in times of oversupply) deliberately restricts supply to increase the incomes of (mainly French hobby) farmers.

    The requirement that all fuel sold in the EU include a proportion of biofuels (to save the planet from MMGW of course) diverts the use of farmland and thus restricts the supply of food for eating so it only increases costs accidently. No one (at least in the EU) could have foreseen this happening when markets are distorted, and the BBC is no better informed.


  8. archroy says:

    Yes, Reversepsychology, a very curious audience in Dorking last night. Tremendous support for NuLab, rather at odds with the General Election figures for Mole Valley, which is the Dorking constituency:
    Con: 27,060
    LibDem: 15,063
    Lab: 5,310
    Others: 1,982

    That’s about 12% Labour. (lost deposit level on the old rules) Certainly not represented in the audience composition


  9. Phil says:

    Millie Tant:

    Toast was invented to use stale bread, as was bread and butter pudding. Delicious!


  10. Millie Tant says:

    Let them eat (mouldy) bread!

    That’s the message from the Beeb and the hand-wringers. Well, you eat it if you want to. I’m not going to. So there!

    It’s cereal for breakfast in this house and I draw the line at serving toast for dinner. Or mouldy-bread pudding. Ugh! (We won’t dwell on butter and how bad it is for you (allegedly))

    I think I am already sufficiently holier than thou, what with eating muesli, organic apples and warming up the odd bit of pitta bread on top of the kettle or a saucepan lid. But I draw the line at toast – which incidentally for doom-and-gloomers is probably a major contributor to “global warming”. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Oops…not allowed to smoke, either. Sorry about that.


  11. Gordon says:

    Who was the food Nazi on the Today program this morning, saying that restaurants should be banned by law from serving out of season products?
    Talk about a tinpot Hitler!
    When are greenies in season? Is it all year round or do we have to wait until there’s an “r” in the month?


  12. Jack Bauer says:

    Sure .. here’s me thinking the biggest problem in the UK is government and the waste that endemic with anyone who appropriates other people’s money.

    But no — it all that food that people voluntarily buy with their own cash. If we didn’t waste it, it could be sent to Burma right now.

    Let’s not forget that other Gordon: Ramsey. He was the tosspot Gordon… sorry!

    We don’t have enough rules in Britain do we? What we need is more laws make like making it legal to usel strawberrys imported from Dubai in January.

    Oh — and he’s got a book out this week, so perhaps it’s just a cynical attempt to garner even more TV face time.

    Let’s make meals that cost more that £50 illegal eh Ramsey?


  13. will says:

    The nonsense that passes for news

    Yesterday we had a HYS seeking critical comments about a new Rough Guide to England (links from the BBC online report show an almost identical story about a previous edition). I turned on “BBC News Channel on BBC1” this am & it is still a story. a google news search indicates little interest in the story by the rest of the media.

    As the BBC now own the Lonely Planet range of lefty travel guides, should they steer clear of being the leaders on a story about a competitor?


  14. Alex says:

    How, by anyone’s standards, does covering the same story as the Independent count as bias?


  15. p and a tale of one chip says:

    I’ve worked with WRAP. It isn’t a silly little charity and certainly isn’t a Labour stooge. It works pretty closely with retailers and food manufacturers to help eliminate waste and to drive innovation in food packaging.

    All the major food retailers have signed up to the Courtauld Commitment, the raison d’etre for WRAP and several of the retailers and food manufacturers have received grants from WRAP for innovation. It’s largely well liked and respected by industry.

    Particularly as oil prices rise, and therefore both the cost of plastics rise and the cost of producing, storing and moving food products about has risen fairly dramatically. On top of that, food prices for various commodities are much higher, which causes a pinch for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. The economic arguments for eliminating waste from the supply chain are pretty strong – for retailers who have to ship and store stuff, manufacturers that have to produce it and consumers that pay for it.

    While WRAP has a nominally green agenda it talks to business in economic terms.

    So portraying this as a green/EU love in is, as usual, B-BBC commenters and resident nitwit Ed have simply attached their own little bugbears to something which most ordinary people would see as normal and commonsensical.


  16. Alex says:

    So portraying this as a green/EU love in is, as usual, B-BBC commenters and resident nitwit Ed have simply attached their own little bugbears to something which most ordinary people would see as normal and commonsensical.

    Quite common here. They have this bizarre tendency towards gut feelings, loose associations and general ‘magical thinking’ and get quite angry when you bring up logic and reasoning or ask them for evidence. I particularly like it when they get so infuriated over a story that they forget to mention the BBC until the last minute.


  17. Ed says:

    Alex and P.

    Every time someone cries nonsense to the so-called gut feelings and I have done extra research, I have found that there were indeed substantial connections between the BBC, a special interest group on the left, and a current political agenda- see the last post on drugs for one example. Scott started a contemptuous sceptic, and ended up acknowledging we had a least half a point (that we had substantiated).

    I don’t know if I am a nitwit, but I am usually proven right when all the detail is examined. The thing I consider really impossible to believe is that people believe the BBC is somehow able to be impartial- that I know must be a little white lie on their part.


  18. p and a tale of one chip says:

    “I have found that there were indeed substantial connections between the BBC, a special interest group on the left, and a current political agenda”

    Go on then. Lay out the connections between WRAP, the BBC and the left.


  19. Peter says:

    It is many things, but agreed, WRAP is not ‘a silly little charity’. It’s a lot bigger than that. With the amounts, and stakes, being anything but silly.

    I’m also still working on the possible inferences between this:

    ‘…several of the retailers and food manufacturers have received grants from WRAP for innovation.’

    …and this:

    ‘It’s largely well liked and respected by industry.’

    I, for one can’t imagine why that would be:)

    Though I have often wondered why WRAP’s largesse with the public purse seems to be mostly of benefit to those well able to fund their own innovations and/or to act as an arm’s length mechanism for government agenda in deed and word.

    Meanwhile I remain fascinated by how much money gets spent via them that exists with little easy accountability. While there is much to commend, especially in the ‘grubbier’ areas, the vast comms budgets on such as Recycle Now and ‘Love Food: Hate Waste’ do deserve challenge (along with ActonCo2 and others under a slew of other departments and their tame quango mouthpieces) simply on what the actual result is, bar a ticked box under some less than environmentally significant category. I actually thought using the public’s money to pay for ad campaigns to the public to raise awareness was quite cute, but when bonuses seem to be accorded on this basis as well it smacks of a conflict of interest. There is little incentive to DO anything, and a lot to simply LOOK like things are being done. Let’s not forget, this is money that could be ploughed into all manner of real projects that may well be worthy of public support and, amazingly, confer a public benefit.

    I would be hard-pressed to accuse the BBC of bias in this case, but certainly find it woefully lacking in professional journalism. It takes any old press release from a government-nodded quango and trots it out without even thinking once what is going on, why, who pays or what the actual intentions or results might be.

    Of course food waste is bad news and the public should be encouraged to resist doing so. But personally I’d question any PR or ads I’ve seen on this topic to have done anything positive bar providing an ‘isn’t it terrible’ headline.

    Ironically, much of the food waste message at the moment is almost at odds with the recent anti-packaging ones being pumped out. It seems that some like having it all ways. What would have been worth investigating is the barking mad legislations or industry practices that cause such waste. Other than a few mentions of sell-by dates and BOGOFs or new immigration polices leading to no more fruit pickers, what is the poor consumer actually supposed to make of all this over-hyped, breast-beating, navel-gazing tripe?

    It’s just a pity the homemaker, the budget, and the planet are getting little if any benefit from the current relationships between several entities that draw from the public purse without accountability, or the opportunity to withdraw support if one deems it to be an elite club devoted to self-sustaining, unchecked consumption of our money ‘for our own good’ (sound familiar?).

    By the by, and as worthwhile a subjective comment here as any other, I have also worked with WRAP and, good golly, a lot of others who have too, and our experiences are… different to those suggested by the poster above. So I guess we have two opposing viewpoints now. But on current evidence, which would end up in a BBC HYS panel do you reckon?


  20. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    “They have this bizarre tendency towards gut feelings, loose associations and general ‘magical thinking’ and get quite angry when you bring up logic and reasoning or ask them for evidence”

    ROFLMAOWMP. Abu Alex talks about logic, reasoning and evidence????


  21. Ed says:

    p etc.

    “Go on then. Lay out the connections between WRAP, the BBC and the left.”‘s

    In this case it’s too obvious really, but if you trawl through the WRAP annual financial statement you find quickly that it’s a 70m per year organisation almost entirely funded by DEFRA and the Assemblies (which of course use central money anyway). It was also set up by the Labour Govt in 2001.

    It is evidently a sugar-daddy for environmentalists, and works intently to expand the activities and influence of Govt at all levels of society, including the integration of Govt into private enterprise.

    The BBC just think such activities are wonderful because it so closes follows their own updated, NULab remit. Obvious, innit?

    The bias is in the instinctive trust they offer WRAP and its agenda and the free publicity they give.


  22. Ed says:

    BTW- P obviously thinks WRAP is great. In that case, why is the recycling policy pursued in the UK so draconian, reducing rather than improving end-user circumstances?

    Check out this story on DV’s blog:


  23. Nick Reynolds (BBC) says:

    The story about food waste and the statistics behind it was comprehensively pulled apart on the programme “More Or Less” – brought to you by (surprise, surprise) BBC News:

    A great programme by the way and well worth listening to.


  24. Ed says:

    Hi Nick,

    Nice programme- took a long time to get to the matter of waste! (It’s the last 3 mins of so of the 20 min prog for anyone else who tries it) It’s really a bit too leisurely to make any difference when people mainly just get fed the news pap and rarely take in the deeper perspective. It’s the BBC’s job to put the scrutiny and simple good sense up front.


  25. Peter says:

    Nick Reynolds (BBC):…ess/ default.stm
    A great programme by the way and well worth listening to.


    Just wanted to thank you for that link. An interesting programme I had never heard of before, which offered some interesting insights into the use… and abuse.. of facts by various media either through simple poor reporting standards and/or by establishment media/gov/quango combos to ‘help’ agendas.

    Shame you have to wade all through (my Mac doesn’t seem to have a FF facility) but I believe they were talking numbers that go from 1/3 to 1/5 in the blink of a rational challenge, and factors of 100 wrong.

    That said, I do still think many pieces trotted out on such as the BBC Breakfast sofa could also stand such rigour on occasion.


  26. Peter says:

    Some might find this of interest: Waste mounts as £100 billion web of quangos duplicates work

    Which leads to this:

    Not so O/T as a few mutual chums emerge in there.