The Andrew Marr Show went a bit Covid-conspiratorial on Sunday 27 September. Because the host managed to dismiss the serious nature of coronavirus (Covid-19) in one fell swoop. And he whitewashed everyone who has been sick or died from the virus, too.
Much like 20 September’s show, Marr didn’t take long to cause controversy. His opening speech would have been quite at home at the anti-masker rally in London on 26 September. He talked about the “extraordinary sacrifices” people are making. But then Marr went a bit Covid-conspiratorial to say the least. He posed the question:
Is there another way forward? Is it possible to protect the economy, reopen the stadiums, the offices, the theatres and the shops while at the same time keeping deaths down?
Reopening things (like restaurants) is likely a part of what caused the second wave of coronavirus in the first place. A flagship BBC political programme should be questioning the chaos of the government’s approach – not asking whether or not it is too strong. But then, Marr managed to dismiss the number of coronavirus cases the UK has had.
Sorry, Marr – what…?
Marr and BBC economics editor Faisal Islam were talking about a story in the Sunday Times. It was a dot-graphic showing the UK stats on coronavirus versus the entire population:
— Barry (@use_your_loaf) September 27, 2020
So, not to be outdone by the anti-maskers, Marr blustered that on the graph:
You see tiny little groups of colour here. Confirmed cases – absolutely miniscule.
Islam seemed to see straight away the error in what Marr said. He stuttered slightly, backtracking on the host’s behalf:
Others would [argue]… so there’s diff… that same figure… is… tens of thousands of deaths that on an international scale has been higher in the UK compared to many similar advanced nations.
Moreover, government coronavirus figures are hardly accurate. Officially, there have been nearly half a million confirmed cases, and just shy of 42,000 people have died. Recently, supply of tests has been outstripping demand. And in August, the government changed the way it records coronavirus deaths. So despite improvements, experts warn the way the government records coronavirus deaths is still missing some people.
But Marr calling the number of confirmed cases “absolutely miniscule” is typical of the BBC host.
Low-level but dangerous propaganda
Last week, he said we all need to be more “generous” in politics. But as I wrote:
Maybe Marr would like to tell the families of the coronavirus dead to be a bit more generous. Specifically, he might want to speak to the relatives of the 59% of deaths who were disabled people between 2 March and 14 July. …
Marr might like to try and be generous about the 15,500 people who died of coronavirus in care homes, up to 4 September. He could be generous about the fact the government failed to protect these people at the start of the pandemic. … Still feeling generous, Marr?
This low-level government propaganda is what the BBC does best. And by dismissing the hundreds of thousands of sick people, and tens of thousands of deaths, Marr has once again shown his true colours. And how ugly they are.
Featured image via BBC iPlayer – screengrab
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?