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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

BBC Watch


Story headline:
Alcohol is largely to blame for an "alarming" rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.

Quote from one of said experts:
"Tobacco is, by far, the main risk factor for oral cancer."

Another quote from said expert:
"Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and the trend we are now seeing is likely to be linked to Britain's continually rising drinking levels."

The truth:
Alcohol consumption has been falling for the past four years and looks likely to continue to do so.

And, of course,
Picture the BBC use to illustrate the story about rising alcohol consumption:

Despite this expert quote at the bottom of the piece:
"The really lethal cocktail is drinking strong spirits and smoking"

And in contradiction to the truth about trends in alcohol consumption:
Beer is at its lowest level of consumption since the 1930s. It is lower in alcohol, on average, than wine and spirits. Wine and spirits are taking an increasing share of total alcoholic drinks. So if there is one drink that cannot be blamed for alcohol-related mouth cancer, simple statistics show it's beer - the drink that is, of course, linked to the story.

[Update: I did email the BBC complaining about the beer pic. An hour later, it was replaced by video footage of an interview with an oral cancer sufferer. I'm sure it was a coincidence. Thanks to Peter Russell for letting me know.]


9 comments:

Peter Russell said...

I heard this morning on the Today programme and expected you would have something to say :)

It appears they have now removed the Beer image.

However, it seems to me an ideal subject for the Radio 4 show about the misuse of statistics and misappropriation of "science": http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/default.stm

in fact they covered something similar in May 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8040011.stm

Woolpack Dave said...

Bugger, that's my Christmas treat of a cigar and a good malt scuppered then.

Jeff Pickthall said...

It's sad to see the BBC recreating the style of journalism of the Daily Mail.

Laurent Mousson said...

Indeed, the BBC gets pretty worrying these days...

It also supposedly represent excellence on the comedy field, right ?
Yet the trick they tried to pull at GBBF on the Thursday night misfired badly. On stage, 15 minutes or so after the "breweriana" auction started, with four cameras set up and running, the auctioneer introduced a "comedian" lady who was to auction a spoof item in a, erm, "funny" way.

As the production team obviously hadn't even thought of coming over to what the auctions and get a feel of the - rather erm, interesting - kind of crowd they involve, the stand-up monologue fell flat on its face, no sense of timing at all, nobody even giggled, the blabber dragged on and on, half the audience left, and finally the auctioneer - whose witticisms admittedly aren't always in the best possible taste, and I should know ! - was cheered by the survivors as he returned and removed said lady from the stage.

The cameras nevertheless kept running for an other 20 minutes, notably the crowd bidding and cheering.
I fear that if the shooting is ever aired, we might have to expect a complete fabrication to hide the fact a BBC team came over with the usual prejudices and went straight into the wall with them. Tough thing, reality.

Fatman said...

Well done Pete - I'm sure constant, and consistent, pressure from people like you will gradually get them to mend their ways.

To whom does one write on these occassions?

(Maybe Dr Goldacre could be persuaded to take a look....)

Anonymous said...

"As the production team obviously hadn't even thought of coming over to what the auctions and get a feel of the..."

I certainly didn't want to come over to the auction. There was a huge hairy bloke with a stupid moustache with his arms folded scowling at people in front of the stage. I think he fancied himself as a Hell's Angel at Altamont or something.

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Huge hairy bloke with a stupid moustache said...

Oh bugger, was it really that obvious ?
I'll have to try harder next time.
What about fancying meself as Nero watching the Great Fire of Rome ? Would that be grand enough ?

Curmudgeon said...

It seems we've read this all before:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4438938.stm

Alongside fakecharities, maybe we need a website for fakehealthscares.