Friday, 18 November 2011

State Television, BBC, Ignore complaints.

The BBC have issued the following response to my complaint about their misleading hate propaganda:

"Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC One’s ‘Britain on the Fiddle’ on 3 November.

We have received a wide range of feedback about this programme and feel it’s worth highlighting that considerable correspondence to us has been generated by online lobby activity. Bearing in mind the pressure on resources, the response below strives to address the majority of concerns raised but we apologise in advance if not all of the specific points you have mentioned have been answered in the manner you prefer. Please be assured we’ve raised your concerns with the programme and have done our best to issue a substantive response.

Panorama's ‘Britain on the Fiddle’ looked at a number of issues surrounding public sector fraud, including benefit fraud, the nature and extent of the unlawful subletting of council properties, the issue of identity fraud and the misuse of blue badges. The programme also followed the work of some local authority fraud investigators and by doing so revealed how time consuming and costly inquiries into suspected fraud can be.

The programme made it clear that fraud effectively takes money from all of us, especially those in genuine need. On benefit fraud, including incapacity benefit specifically, the programme stressed that most people on benefits really need them and don't cheat the system.

Far from concentrating on the economically deprived, the programme featured, for example, the case of a man claiming benefits to pay for a council flat whilst owning and running a pub business many miles away - travelling between both destinations in a luxury car.

Furthermore, the film featured fraud investigators tackling the misuse of blue badges. Many people have since written to Panorama to express their gratitude to the programme for highlighting the problem which causes them distress and much inconvenience.

We don’t agree that the cases featured in our film were extreme or were not broadly indicative of instances of benefit fraud. That is not the experience of the local authority fraud investigators who were kind enough to allow us to film their work. Dr Mark Button, from the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies said in the programme:

"I think a lot of organisations are not realistic about the levels of fraud that they face because in any organisation there are large levels of fraud that are undetected. So if they rely on detected levels of fraud they are not getting the picture of the levels of fraud within their organisation."

Emphasising this, it is important to note that just recently the Audit Commission released its most up to date figures for detected fraud against local government which explains that these figures are only the tip of a very large iceberg.

We believe the programme explored a subject which is clearly in the public interest and did so in a fair and impartial manner.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Stuart Webb

BBC Complaints"

So, using "undetected" fraud as the basis of a theory that there is widespread fraud and then treating it as fact? Do you see a fraud in there somewhere? 'Undetected' means precisely that.

And notice that they did not answer either of the two points that I raised.

"It is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him."

Abraham Lincoln.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

My complaint to the BBC about Panorama.

This programme had very serious problems with misleading information and reckless language. These problems are too numerous for me to set out in full, so I will provide two examples:

Firstly, the programme referred to a figure of 'twenty-two billion pounds.' This not only conflated fraud with error but also included fraud across all government departments. This is grossly misleading.

Secondly, the programme implied that disabled people cannot play sports such as golf and claim disability benefits. In fact, many disabled people, such as those with deafness, autism or diabetes, for example, can play golf and other sports.

Along with using inflammatory language such as 'on the fiddle' and 'swindle,' the misleading impressions given by this programme could contribute to the rise in hate crime against disabled people, which the Equality and Human Rights Commission recently reported as already a very serious problem.

Link to programme: