Monday, March 13, 2006

BBC champions Collins dictionary

Back when TAE last received a communication from the BBC, I was assured that an explanation of the BBC's characterization of President Bush as a "champion" of Intelligent Design theory would be soon forthcoming. Last week that promise was (finally) fulfilled:

Further to my email of 28 February, I am now in a position to respond to your email which you sent to our Complaints Website regarding the article entitled: Churches urged to back evolution

I raised your concerns directly with the News Website Team who have asked me to forward the following response to your concerns:

Thank you for your e-mail relating to Paul Rincon's article on intelligent design. According to numerous newspaper accounts and an official transcript of the event, George Bush made the remarks to a group of Texas reporters invited to the White House. The whole point of these conferences is for reporters to question the President about his position on issues that matter to their audiences. Given that, we don't think the argument over whether President Bush made the remarks in response to a question he fielded, or of his own volition, has much bearing on what our correspondent wrote. Those were views he expressed on the record, at a pre-arranged press conference where he knew his remarks would be reported.

We would however concede that to describe President Bush as a 'champion' of ID was misleading. This was not the phrase that our reporter used, but was mistakenly introduced in the subbing process. The sub concerned failed to make the distinction between being a champion of ID and being a champion of the teaching of ID. Incidentally, the word 'champion' is defined in the Collins dictionary as 'someone who defends a person or cause'. This does not necessarily imply the kind of proactive role you talk about, but we agree it could be interpreted as such. We have therefore amended the article, replacing the sentence you refer to with the following:
Intelligent Design has also received backing from US President George W Bush, who has said schools should make students aware of the concept.'

We would be grateful if you would direct any future correspondence about BBC news website output through the normal channels.
[This, presumably, refers to the fact that TAE e-mailed Paul Rincon directly.] This will allow us to deal promptly with any points you raise. Paul Rincon did not ignore your comments; he was away on holiday.

With best wishes,
The BBC News Website

I do hope this response addresses your concerns. Thank you again for contacting the BBC.
Yours sincerely
Denise Tattersall
Divisional Advisor
BBC Information

A new question: What is the "subbing" process? Is that the process by which the opinions of an editor are substituted for the plain facts as reported? If anyone out there knows, please let me know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


subbing - sub-editing, undertaken by one who is yet only an acolyte in the great belief system of the BBC but who one day may advance along the path of enlightenment to being a full BBC editor...:)

The Order is of the Dark Side though...but we'all know that.

Subbing, optionally, may be defined as practised at the BBC it simply involves substitution of the party line for reality.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) Oops. Should have read the sentence between the question and the request in the last paragraph. Went from question to request to typing a reply.

Oh well, blatant plagiarism in my first comment.

How very Beeb like.:)

Still, not all things Beeb are bad. Dr. Who opens on Sci-Fi channel this Friday. I suppose they made a profit on that sale.

When did the Doctor become 'the last of his kind', according to the tag line, though? Last time I watched there was a planetfull of Time Lords.


9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent Design has also received backing from US President George W Bush

Happy with that? Still sounds like Bush is an enthusiatic supporter of the theory - for whixh thre is no evidence.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry , that is no evidence for Bush's support, not no evidence to support ID.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

"subeditor" (UK) pretty much equalls "copyeditor" (US)

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Chipper said...

You don't know what subbing means? Shows just how much you know about journalism, but obviously doesn't stop you waging your politically-motivated campaign against the BBC. Thankfully, Britain has a healthy public broadcaster which tries to strike an objective middle ground. It doesn't always succeed. But thank God it tries because on a recent rip to the US I saw what passes for `news' programming there. If the BBC's not to your taste there are plenty of right wing shock jocks available on the internet for you. You can pretend you're at home.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How typical of the American species to tell other countries how things should be done. The country that gave us "GOD TV".

Head back across that water and kneel in awe before your TV screen...

FOX news is about to start in 5 minutes Mr Callahan...

Now there's impartial news if I ever saw it!

3:27 AM  

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