Tuesday 23 February 2010

BBC in basic error - tsk, tsk, tsk

The BBC website is carrying a story that's headlined "Knife killing at record high rate" and begins:

The percentage of knife killings are at an all-time high, according to the latest Scottish homicide figures.

and it includes a wee table:
2005-06: 34 (36%)
2006-07: 54 (45%)
2007-08: 55 (48%)
2008-09: 57 (58%)
If only the reporter had included the figures from the previous year, 2004-05 where knife killings accounted for 72 murders in Scotland, 53% of the total, giving a lie to the headline - given that all the figures come from the same sheet in the same document and this was the only year left out, I wonder whether the BBC reporter has sexed up the story by omitting uncomfortable facts or whether she or he given the story and just didn't bother to check the facts.

The story claims the highest percentage ever, which might be true, but that doesn't indicate that murders with a sharp instrument are increasing. If you look back further, you'll see that the numbers of knife murders were:
1997-98 - 39
1998-99 - 39
1999-00 - 67
2000-01 - 48
2001-02 - 56
2002-03 - 60
2003-04 - 55
2004-05 - 72
2005-06 - 34
2006-07 - 54
The reason the most recent percentage is so high is because the number of other types of murder has decreased. For some reason, what should be a good news story has been turned inside-out by the BBC. Someone at the BBC seems to think that it is acceptable to talk Scotland down, to tell us that we're somehow failing - even when the truth is directly contrary to that assertion. I know it's not Brian Taylor because he's a decent, fair and balanced political editor who does his homework, does the digging, and has a fine understanding of Scottish politics (in spite of the football team he supports), but someone else in the organisation is failing. We should be able to trust the BBC to be impartial, and we should be able to trust the Corporation to do its homework. Failures like this are a right scunner.
I'm off to campaign now. Mind how you go!

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