Monday, October 25, 2021
HomeBBC WatchChallenging the BBC’s Project Fear narrative

Challenging the BBC’s Project Fear narrative

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YOU may have seen some of my recent threads which have slowly been gaining traction in the Twittersphere. They have covered a range of topics, including defending TV presenter Beverley Turner from unwarranted attacks on Good Morning Britain and the Jeremy Vine Show, to questioning Sage scientist Susan Michie and exposing the government’s approach around mandatory vaccinations.


Nothing prepared me, however, for the reaction I would get following a Twitter thread published on Thursday afternoon questioning a BBC headline report into an apparent ‘third covid wave’ in the North East, specifically within the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHNFT). In the days that followed it had tripled my Twitter following, attracted 1.5million views (impressions), and was amplified to audiences in Dutch, Spanish and Arabic, among others.

I’ve been followed by scientists, blue tick celebrities, political commentators, teachers, business owners, concerned parents, and everyone in between. It was also the lead item on Friday’s UK Column news where they discussed it at length. And now I find myself writing in a publication which I’ve long been an admirer of. The reaction has been overwhelming.

Why did it resonate with so many people, I wondered? Before I answer that question, here’s a recap. It’s a long read but please do follow it to the end.

Now a predictable few have tried rubbishing the thread by claiming either ‘there’s a lag on deaths, so it’s too soon to see an uptick in fatalities’ or ‘a lack of deaths doesn’t mean a hospital is not overwhelmed’. The former point neglects to mention that cases have been rising for weeks and the latter fails to consider the context of the supposedly deadly pandemic we’re living through. Both of these arguments have, of course, an element of truth in them but they deliberately sidestep the central point of the thread.

The reason it resonated with so many people is because British citizens have become totally fed up with the relentless fear-based propaganda espoused by the UK government, the NHS, and the mainstream media. It’s a narrative so strong and underpinned by a poisonous culture of cancelling those we disagree with, that professionals like myself feel that writing under a pseudonym is the only viable option. It’s a conundrum I eventually hope to overcome. As we get to winter, when deaths from respiratory viruses naturally rise, we will no doubt have ‘deaths with/of covid’ plastered all across our television screens once again. Until that time, whilst deaths are negligible over the summer months, cases are used to sustain the fear despite it not necessarily translating to sick or infectious people. No context is ever given to the viewer that, yes, from an extremely low base cases and hospitalisations may be rising, but that still isn’t translating into many (or, any, in the case of NTHNFT) deaths.

There has been a long and palpable silence from Hugh Pym since my thread challenged his impartiality although if I had been the press officer advising him, I may well have come to the same conclusion. Why? Well, there is simply no justification for a supposedly balanced health editor not to give the context of mortality figures, whilst running a segment which would terrify many of your average viewers through its hyperbole and emotional, fear-based rhetoric.

As I said in conclusion to a previous thread, if the mainstream media won’t do their jobs by offering context and balance then I will have to keep shining a light on these shoddy examples of journalism.

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James Townsend
James Townsend (pseudonym) is an investigative journalist and communications professional. Follow @james_townsend9on Twitter.

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