Courtesy of the UKLP blog and The Register, we have a fine example of the BBC’s comically bad attempts at being an unbiased news organisation. About 5 or 6 completely different accounts of Ubergruppenfuhrer Smith’s latest ID cards wheeze came out from the BBC in one day.
Here’s the story
On the 6th of November the BBC announced to an astonished world that “People ‘can’t wait for ID cards’. Breathlessly repeating the words of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s speech that morning, Auntie reported: “I believe there is a demand, now, for cards – and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don’t want to wait that long.”
And added that the market for fingerprints, photographs and signatures* garnered in post offices and retailers would amount, according to Smith, to “about £200 million a year.” The Beeb neglected to mention that the £200 million a year represented a laundered price hike of up to £40 a throw, but there are a few other things the Beeb neglected to mention – or more properly, stopped mentioning – that day, too.
The report’s revision history, documented by News Sniffer, takes us on an impressive Odyssey from “Smith to unveil airport ID scheme”, through “Shops may take ID Card biometrics” to the final sales-pitch version, cunningly deniabled with quote marks.
The final – at time of writing, anyway – version isn’t an entirely uncritical commercial for ID cards, containing as it does (balance, balance…) comment from Phil Booth and the two main opposition parties. But if we’re talking about developing stories in the wonderful world of Web 2.0 reportage here, what one must assume represents a day’s ferreting by the Beeb’s finest (or a day’s being shouted at by Home Office spin doctors) does look very much like a fail.
Remember that you’re compelled to pay for these cack-handed totalitarian collaborators if you have an idiots’ lantern in your dwelling.