Victory!!! OK, it took 18 months and a lot of energy from Child Poverty Action Group, not to mention blogs and emails from all of us, but the BBC have ruled that :
"The Future State of Welfare with John Humphrys, broadcast in October 2011 breached rules on impartiality and accuracy" just as we argued at the time.
"The BBC Trust decided that the subject matter of The Future State of Welfare met its criteria for being a ‘controversial subject’ and a ‘major matter’. The programme postulated that there is an ‘age of entitlement’. The Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee upheld the complaints in relation to accuracy and impartiality.
The Trust found that the programme left viewers with the inaccurate view that the benefits the government is targeting are responsible for increases in benefit spending, when in reality JSA is only 3% of the total benefit bill whereas pension spending is 46% of total benefit spend. The Trust also found that viewers were misled by the failure to provide the necessary labour market information - how many people are looking for work, not just how many jobs are available - that would allow audiences to come to balanced judgments about the reasons why claimants had not entered work."To jog your memories, here's the blog I wrote on it : http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/watch-out-theres-humphrey-about.html
and here's the statistically driven Declan Gaffney debunking the entire programme for Left Foot Forward http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/10/john-humphrys-is-wrong-on-social-security/
When the programme aired, so appallingly biased was it, we all live tweeted the anti-view with great success, using the hashtag #TFSOWWJH - you can still go back and see the outrage the programme caused.
Strangely though, the programme had been heavily trailed in the Daily Mail beforehand. That's how we knew how bad it would be, that's how we were able to rally our troops in time for the programme.
So, we are vindicated in the BBC judgement, but I imagine many of you are less than impressed with the pyrrhic victory. I imagine you might be thinking "But it's 18 months later!! People will have almost certainly forgotten the programme anyway. The damage was done at the time, no-one will see the apology now"
Well, even more strangely, The Daily Mail, so disgusted with the BBC verdict, have made it front page news today!!!! Now, I know it's recess, I know it's silly season, but really? An entire front page given over to an apology no-one would have seen? They're really that furious that we exposed the truth in just one, tiny drop in the ocean of welfare nonsense? Not only the entire front page, but a double page spread inside the paper!!! (Sorry, I never link to the Daily Mail, I won't give them the oxygen, but you can check easily if you wish)
Don't you think this is strange? The headline screams "BBC ATTACKS HUMPHREYS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH ON WELFARE" Clearly, from the CPAG announcement, we can see he didn't tell the truth. You've all followed this blog long enough to know that apologies from the BBC over this kind of editorial bias are as rare as hen's teeth. You don't get an apology unless the programme is literally dripping in falsehoods and distortions.
So why are the Daily Mail so upset over a hidden-away little apology? Wrung painfully from the beeb by a charity? Why did they get to trail the programme in the first place? Why is it so desperately important to them that welfare "reforms" not only go ahead, but go ahead based on false statistics & distorted evidence?
I don't know the answers, really I don't, but I do know that, bizarrely, the Daily Mail have chosen to make a huge deal about this. By splashing it all over their front page, they made it the most pressing news, in their opinion, in the UK today!!
But crucially, we can fight back. We can make sure this article is the most read and shared online today. If we all RT it, share it on Facebook and Google and keep it going throughout the day, we can make sure more people see this article online than see the Daily Mail front page. We can make people question their motives. We can steal the one thing they rely on - hearts and minds - and show them up for the DWP mouthpieces they are.
Please join me. I might not know exactly why the Mail have done this, but my radar is spinning. They will have a reason. Let's fight back.
Please RT and share.
UPDATE : IT DIDN'T TAKE AN EAGLE EYED SPARTACUS LONG TO SPOT THIS : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10211915/John-Humphrys-a-victim-of-BBC-Left-wing-bias.html YEP, YOU GUESSED IT, IDS IS BEHIND THIS. He's weighed in, and as ever, his Mail lapdogs have clearly simply bent over and given him the floor. Even more reason to RT, Share and spread the word. IS IDS ACTUALLY THE EDITOR OF THE MAIL? YOU MIGHT THINK SO