BBC champions Collins dictionary
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.
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.