(this post in large part thanks to commenter “cheesed off”)
In a short article about a woman called Zoobia Hussein, the BBC get just about everything wrong that could be got wrong. What were they trying to do with this report?
For a start, Zoobia Hussein is described appearing in court in her niqab (or “full veil” as the BBC report it). In fact she finally submitted to showing her face to the judge she was facing, behind a screen to protect her from the rest of the court. The judge in this case was a woman. Point one of misrepresentation.
Point two, Zoobia Hussein and her five children were not “thrown out” of their accommodation, but subject to eviction according to due process. At least one of the local tabloids managed to represent this clearly, unlike the BBC.
Third, in her latest appearance in court Ms Hussein was found guilty as charged of causing £1,500 worth of criminal damage. The BBC say only that “Ms Hussain denies the charge and her case was adjourned until 24 July.”. In fact she will return to court for sentencing.
Fourth… well, enough- how much more can they get wrong? It’s difficult not to suspect that this misreporting was intended to foment wrong impressions and bias in the minds of readers. The focus of the BBC report is the “aggrieved” woman; the person under scrutiny the man who took charge of her original trial. It is not news but selective interpretative trendsetting.
Update: the BBC have corrected their erroneous report on the point of the conviction. Maybe John Reith alerted them.
Nb- John Reith. I do not accept your argument. The PA is a organisation not without its own bias and political persuasion- see here, for example, an analysis. Its report was rambling and in no way adequate to sustain an effective news update on the Z. Hussein case. The BBC reporter found it quite adequate, however, with its ignorance of the actual case in question and its focus on the man who originally handled the trial where the refusal to show her face became a cause of controversy. Still, the distillation would have taken some time. The BBC’s simplification enhanced rather than decreased the bias in the AP report. The local journalists did far better, and were a couple of clicks away at most- really, probably staring at the operative in question from a newsfeed. I never suggested that the BBC sat in some darkened room shaping a biased article, merely that the misreporting was not without reason. I stand by that.
I would add that I know that BBC journalists are not idiots who go out on a limb to lie to the public. Most of the time, anyway.