The BBC’s latest coronavirus article is full-on Tory propaganda

Boris Johnson and the BBC logo
Steve Topple

The BBC has published a shocking article on coronavirus. And it’s essentially as well-timed piece of propaganda for the Tory government. But what’s more, the BBC has changed the article since it was first released. Not that we should be surprised by any of this.

The BBC: did it really just say that?

In the early hours of Saturday 21 March, the BBC ran an article on coronavirus deaths. It was discussing the forecasts for how many people might die in the UK due to the pandemic. As BBC health journalist Nick Triggle wrote:

Modelling by Imperial College London – used to inform government – suggests 500,000 could die if we do nothing.

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Even the government’s previous strategy to slow the spread was likely to lead to 250,000 deaths, the research showed.

But this wasn’t the main thrust of the article. Because Triggle’s overall point was to push the idea that some people who might die from coronavirus may well have died, anyway. He wrote:

The figures for coronavirus are eye-watering. But what is not clear – because the modellers did not map this – is to what extent the deaths would have happened without coronavirus.

Of course, this will never truly be known until the pandemic is over, which is why modelling is very difficult and needs caveats.

But given that the old and frail are the most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway?

Yes. The BBC really did go there. As Triggle continued, the:

250,000 and 500,000 figures for coronavirus are simply the number of deaths linked to coronavirus.

The testing which has been done in many countries means we know when a patient dies with the virus inside their body. What it does not tell us is to what extent coronavirus contributed to the death.

He even said that the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance had “conceded” this point.

Twitter: unimpressed

Some people on social media were unhappy that the BBC appeared to be glossing over people dying:

People also pointed out that the UK’s usual death rate was probably increased by other factors in the first place:

Meanwhile, one user amended the text of the BBC piece:

But as a few people also pointed out, the BBC changed the headline after the article was published. It was originally:

Coronavirus: Have UK experts over-egged deaths?

BBC Coronavirus article

Clearly the BBC thought it could get away with a tabloid-esque headline.

Reading between the lines

Maybe the BBC article was trying to calm the public over the exploding death toll that’s possibly imminent. Because, as an FT journalist pointed out on March 19, the UK is on a steeper death-toll curve than Italy:

But it could also be paving the way for something else. As Willshome summed up:

The Independent reported that the NHS was due to release guidelines on which patients it should give priority to if the pandemic gets worse. Or, as the Independent wrote:

which coronavirus victims should potentially live or die

And, as Triggle concluded in his BBC piece:

As we get deeper into this crisis, we will need much greater intelligence on just how many lives are truly being saved, and compare that to the wider cost to society, so the government and the public can weigh up the best course of action.

So, by pushing the idea that some coronavirus patients were probably going to die anyway, the BBC is doing the Tories work for them.

Glossing over chaos

Our NHS is already struggling due to years of Tory underfunding. Social care is also decimated. And the Tories’ response to coronavirus has been branded by many as too slow. Therefore, by encouraging us to think that people needlessly dying from coronavirus is actually inevitable, both the BBC and the Tories are covering up the mess that got us to this point in the first place.

Featured image via Sky News – YouTube and Wikimedia 

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  • Show Comments
    1. Shameful article by the canary, missing important quotes from the original. How dare you politicise the huge crisis the world is facing. Now is truly the time to put differences aside and all come together for the good of everyone. Shame on you!

      1. It is political. The capitalist right wing always put the bottom line before people, and yes I understand we have to keep certain elements of the market afloat, but when things like this happen protecting the big corporations before people is the wrong path to take. They were too slow to act.

      2. How about YOU, unashamedly quote the right parts in context then? … Oh of course, you are only here to hate on The Canary (as you have done since day one. You are a Canary-hating-plant, that only signed up to undermine their efforts), so of course you wouldn’t want to scupper your own ill-thought-out argument with facts and truth.

        The shame is on you, how dare YOU try and make The Canary look like it is politicising this man-made outbreak, when everyone know it is politicians who are doing just that. The author (Steve Topple) is merely reporting the facts, it is you who is trying to sway other people’s viewpoint towards the ridiculous claims you have just made (and have done so regularly).

        You are an anti-The Canary plant, whose goals are equal with, and equal to, those in Westminster who want The Canary dead, this is a publicly known and reported about fact.

        Who the hell pays money to something they hate unless they are forced to? …. apparently you, TheBamforth (like the disease perhaps?), and others who pay to support The Canary, but do so only so that they can publicly deride or lie about The Canary in order to put off subscribers in an attempt to ruin their business model.

        The above article, whilst ON The Canary’s website, is from Steve Topple. The views and opinions of the author do not necessarily coincide with those of The Canary, which is an organisation of Journalists from different backgrounds (physical and political).

        Blaming The Canary for an individual journalists article is like someone blaming The Entire Human Race for your existence. Sure there is a related link, but to blame all humanity for your existence is a major stretch, just like you attacking The Canary is completely and provably unjustified and misdirected.

        Literally the only shame here is your ignorance, none of your claims against The Canary (or Steve Topple) stand up to scrutiny.

        Shame on you. You aren’t trying to unite people with that drivel, you are trying to divide, conquer, and subvert people away from The Canary … it is THAT obvious, and you are the one making it shamefully obvious.

        1. “You are a Canary-hating-plant”
          – Planted by who?

          “ridiculous claims you have just made”
          – What claims?

          “Who the hell pays money to something they hate unless they are forced to?”
          I don’t, it’s free.

          “You are an anti-The Canary plant”
          – You said that in the first paragraph.

          “TheBamforth (like the disease perhaps?)”
          You’re comparing human beings to a disease?

          “The views and opinions of the author do not necessarily coincide with those of The Canary”
          Legally they do unless there’s a disclaimer.

          “which is an organisation of Journalists”
          Are they?

          “from different backgrounds (physical and political”
          -No, they are all Corbyn supporters and Marxists from the far left.

          “Blaming The Canary for an individual journalists article is like someone blaming The Entire Human Race for your existence.”
          – No one mentioned Steve Topple’s penchant for promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories.

          “attacking The Canary is completely and provably unjustified”
          – Prove it.

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