Monday, July 22, 2024
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Buried by the BBC in Shropshire


So the BBC finally posted a report on its news website about the Telford grooming scandal at 14:42 this afternoon.

Pressure had been building on it to do so – from Nick Ferrari on LBC to eminent mainstream journalists such as Ed West and Jane Merrick on Twitter.

Ed West: The scale of this across England is simply staggering, far worse than I thought possible, almost too horrific to comprehend. I can’t think of anything in modern British history that comes close. ‘The fundamental rule of political analysis from the point of psychology is, follow the sacredness, and around it is a ring of motivated ignorance‘. Not only is the Telford story not on the BBC news front page, it’s not mentioned on the England news page and not even on the Shropshire page. Bizarre.

Jane Merrick: Yes I looked for it last night. Searched ‘Telford’, nothing. It is very weird and I’m not normally a critic of the BBC.

Ed West: Considering how many talented people work at the BBC, people who understand news so well, I find it very hard to believe they’re not omitting it for reasons to do with racial sensitivity. The enormity and horror of is just staggering.

The only place you’ll find that article now is on the BBC’s Shropshire page.

By several accounts, it never made it to the the BBC’s Home page, or UK, or even the England page and people are now accusing the BBC of burying the story.

According to BBC Radio Shropshire’s Jim Hawkins, however, the story isn’t news:

Jim Hawkins, BBC: Well, there’s nothing new to say apart from the renewed call for an inquiry. BBC’s covered the story in depth and detail for many years.

Millennial Woes: Yes, there is something new to report. 1000 victims.

Jim Hawkins: Not new, says the police.

Update: A much more detailed take on the themes of this post can be found over at The Spectator in a new piece by Douglas Murray headlined The BBC’s shameful silence on the Telford sex scandal.

And historian and Radio 4 presenter Tom Holland has just tweeted the following:

If the Sunday Mirror’s story is true (& I don’t know, is there a case that it isn’t?), then Douglas Murray is quite right: the silence of BBC News on the rape of 100s of girls in a single English city is indeed shameful. Obviously, I totally get the need to tread with sensitivity. Nevertheless, what greater responsibility does a society have than to protect its most vulnerable children from systematic abuse? And shouldn’t our national broadcaster have a role to play in that?

And extending the question beyond the BBC, here’s Andrew Neil responding to a tweet from Caroline Lucas MP:

Caroline Lucas: Pleased that my Urgent Question on bullying and harassment in House of Commons has been granted. I’d ask MPs please to ensure that their focus is on those affected. This is not about settling old political scores.

Andrew Neil: Wouldn’t the appalling sexual abuse and exploitation, including rape and terrible violence, in Telford involving hundreds of vulnerable young women over a long period, as impressively revealed by the Mirror, be a more appropriate use of an Urgent Question?

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Craig Byers
Craig Byers
Craig Byers is a blogger about the BBC, focusing on the issue of BBC bias while living in Britain's finest traditional seaside resort: Morecambe (the one with the Eric Morecambe statue).

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