The BBC versus Donald Trump

The first original essay we’re pubishing on the Daily Sceptic is by Dr Freddie Attenborough, a former lecturer in sociology and a Lockdown Sceptics regular. Freddie’s contributions to the site have been among the very best – he wrote the essay about how Britain responded to the 1957-58 Asian Flu epidemic that you can read here, as well as this angry tribute to those laid low by the lockdowns on 1st January.

His latest essay – which you can also read at his newly-minted substack account – is about the BBC’s double standards when it comes to ‘misinformation’. On the one hand, it publishes ‘fact checks’ that supposedly expose the crackpot conspiracy theories being peddled by ‘Covid deniers’; but on the other it regularly pumps out hysterical, pro-lockdown propaganda that, by any rational measure, is also ‘misinformation’. Here is an extract:

In March 2021, the BBC reported that one of their investigative teams had, “Been tracking the human toll of coronavirus misinformation”. During this investigation they claimed to have found links to “assaults, arsons and deaths”. Worryingly, experts also told them that, “The potential for indirect harm caused by rumours, conspiracy theories and bad health information could be much worse”. Sounds like an interesting investigation, doesn’t it? Public service output at its finest, you might think. Just the kind of article we’d all like to read.

Alas. Not quite.

The problem with the BBC is that it simply can’t help itself. Having teed an ostensibly interesting story up in this open, investigatory journalistic type of way, its authors then proceed to devote a good-ish chunk of what follows to that most favourite of all BBC pastimes, namely, implicating Donald Trump in the act of mass murder. As with the butterfly so beloved of chaos theory (you know the one: that little blighter who’s always flapping his wings and causing tsunamis to crash into the coast of Bangladesh) no sooner have the BBC shown us Trump tweeting about the FDA’s preliminary research into hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against Covid than the magic of non-deterministic linear physics kicks in and people all over Nigeria and Vietnam suddenly start mopping up the old bleach-based products like vacuum cleaners.

In the end, then, the only interesting thing about this article is the way it reminds us just how little time and attention the BBC have paid to exploring the link that surely must exist between Covid ‘misinformation’ (as they themselves insist on calling it) and the huge rise in cases of psychosomatic disorder – health anxiety in particular – that we’ve witnessed in the UK since the dawn of the Age of Lockdown (2020-present). Let me explain what I mean.

And to do so, let me start by asking a question: what might disinformation likely to precipitate new, or to heighten existing, levels of anxiety amongst those suffering from psychosomatic disorders look like? How, in other words, might we define such a thing? Well, perhaps we might say that it would be information that unduly exaggerated the risks associated with Covid. Perhaps we might go further and say that it would represent the risks associated with Covid in a highly misleading and/or a sensationalist way. Come to think of it, perhaps we might end up concluding that it would look rather like the BBC’s recent article, “Long COVID funding to unearth new treatments.

Worth reading in full, as is Freddie’s recently published collection of essays about the pandemic Notes From the Blunderground.

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