Tuesday, 11 February 2020

BBC re-edits minimum pricing story

In early December, the BBC outdid itself by reporting statistics that showed a rise in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland under the headline 'Alcohol death rates dropping in Scotland' and linking this supposed decline to minimum pricing.

This was garbage on stilts. The number of recorded deaths rose in 2018 and has risen in nearly every year since 2012. 

I complained to the BBC about this and was fobbed off with a condescending e-mail implying that I was unusual in wanting to focus on the latest year of data - or even the last few years - rather than comparing the figures with 2008 and framing the news in the present tense, as the Beeb had done.

I complained again - as you have to if you want to get anywhere - and received a more satisfactory response on Friday. The headline has been changed to 'Scotland's alcohol death rate highest in UK', which is not very newsworthy but has the merit of being true.

See this thread for the details.

It's a minor victory since almost no one will read a two month old news story, but it would be nice to think that the BBC might think twice before pursuing its campaign for minimum pricing so overtly in the future. We can dream, can't we?

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