Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BBC opinion on Liam Scheff's journalism

Re: Guinea Pig Kids

Following a complaint, an investigation by the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit has identified serious failings with this programme and ruled that some of the online material based on it was misleading."

"A correction will be published on, as part of the pages on which the material complained of appears, with a link to this summary. In addition, the ECU will contact other websites featuring the material in order to draw their attention to its ruling. The management of BBC News is addressing the issues arising from the ruling for the commissioning and supervision of independent productions of this kind."

Interestingly a private letter from the BBC notes not only the difficulty of convincing people who are inherently biased that they are wrong (i.e. AIDS denialists), but also talks about exploring copyright breaches by those who might have propagated the video online without permission.

While it doesn't fully appreciate the fact that AIDS denialists used the HIV+ foster kids at the ICC in a cynical attempt to promote their own views and pseudoscience, the findings do at least recognize that an attempt was made along those lines.

The really sad thing is that it took the BBC so long to make these statements, and in fact that the programme should never have been allowed to have been made, never mind aired. It's a shameful example of journalism of the worst kind. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. By all means criticize and comment, whether about HIV/AIDS, clinical trials, stem cell research, or whatever, but do so from a position of truth and honesty. Blatantly lying about something, or simply not telling the truth because it conflicts with your story, is simply inexcusable.