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« Brand management | Main | Meet Guillaume Périgois, our new man in Brussels »

BBC News Wales surpasses itself – again

You may be aware that BBC News online regularly tests our patience.

BBC News Wales is the major culprit, happy to report anti-smoking stories and initiatives without a word of opposition. A typical example would be:

Ban smoking outside nurseries and GP practices, says Public Health Wales (December 7, 2016)

On February 1, however, they surpassed themselves with no fewer than three reports that were little more than propaganda:

Children's plea to stop smoking outside Welsh hospitals
Stub it out: Smoking challenge for hospitals in Wales
Calls for tougher smoking and junk food rules in hospitals

Together these reports prompted an official complaint from Chris Snowdon (Shameless BBC bias).

The BBC eventually updated one of the three reports with a comment from Forest but it took them six days, which is a lifetime in news terms.

A few weeks later BBC News Wales reverted to type with yet another report that failed to include a single balancing comment, initially at least.

After I complained they tacked on a quote at the end, which you can read here – Smoking quit targets 'should be legally-binding'.

With all that in mind I thought this might amuse you. It certainly made me laugh.

As you know we released a poll at the weekend that found that 58 per cent of people living in Wales would allow separate, well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and private members' clubs.

We gave the story to Wales on Sunday/Wales Online before releasing it to the rest of the media in Wales.

BBC Radio Wales picked it up but even though my colleague Jacqui Delbaere rang the newsdesk two or three times on Sunday and Monday morning, BBC News Wales was resistant to running it.

Yesterday afternoon I rang the newsdesk again and spoke to someone who denied any knowledge of the poll.

She did however say she would add our contact details to the 'diary' in case they were to write something about the smoking ban at the weekend.

So far so dull. Here's the interesting bit.

When I pushed her on why they wouldn't run a report about the poll in its own right she asked me how many people had been questioned.

"One thousand," I replied, at which point she said they had a policy of never reporting polls with such a small sample.

That, I said, beggars belief because 1,000 is a perfectly normal sample size for the UK's top pollsters.

I pushed her several times on what number BBC News Wales would consider acceptable and she eventually said, "3,000."

Dear reader, after I rang off I checked the most recent poll BBC News Wales ran as a story. Oddly enough it was an ICM poll for BBC Wales and the sample size (not mentioned in the report) was ... 1,002!

You couldn't make it up.

So I emailed her as follows:

Dear X

On 1st March you ran a report (EU migrants should have skills, public tells BBC Wales poll) based on an ICM poll for BBC Wales:

The report doesn't mention the sample size but I have tracked it down and it was 1,002 (not the minimum 3,000 you say you require).

Our sample size was exactly 1,000. Is there one rule for the BBC and another for everyone else?!!

I shall wait with interest to see whether BBC News Wales reports the result of our poll later in the week.

My guess is they will publish an article lauding the 'success' of the smoking ban, with a passing reference to the poll at the very end of the report - if we're lucky.

Watch this space.

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Reader Comments (2)

So much for unbiased reporting of the news! It seams BBC Wales is more interesting in suppressing democratic process and suppressing public debate. By doing so they betray the public trust.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 19:00 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

My guess is that without checking, they are happy to repeat any old rubbish stats put out by the antismoker industry. Shameful.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 9:57 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

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