The BBC admits that John Humphrys got a crucial fact wrong in the antisemitism debate

John Humphrys and Radio 4 Today programme logo

The BBC has admitted it got a crucial fact wrong in its coverage of Labour’s antisemitism row. But it’s possible you may not have noticed.

On the Today programme on 4 September, John Humphrys introduced a segment about whether Labour’s NEC would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and examples in full. As The Canary previously reported, Humphrys stated that the IHRA definition had:

been accepted by almost every country in the world.

But following a complaint, the BBC conceded it got it wrong. While the 31 countries that are members of the IHRA alliance supported the IHRA using the definition in its work, only nine countries have “adopted and endorsed” the definition.

The complaint

Twitter user @RickBlaine123 made the complaint:

Read on...

The BBC published the correction on its “Corrections and clarifications” page. But although the page does include “apologies”, it did not apologise for this mistake.

The damage is already done

As one Twitter user pointed out, the damage caused by Humphrys original statement has already been done:

But as the complainant pointed out:

Prominence

Another problem people pointed out was how many people would see the correction:

Although people did have a solution for the BBC:

https://twitter.com/eileenbgibson/status/1043054172751495168

Others went one better:

Changing the narrative

In all probability, Humphrys made an honest mistake. But at a time when Labour’s antisemitism row is hitting the headlines on a daily basis, this is not a mistake he should have made. The BBC and Humphrys should apologise for the mistake. And that apology should be prominent.

Because it’s comments like his that set the narrative. It’s a common misconception that nearly all countries have adopted the IHRA. Humphrys added to that. And while antisemitism needs to be challenged, it needs to be challenged with facts. Mistakes like this only add to the fear that some people are feeling.

Luckily more and more people are noticing the problems with the Today programme. So, it’s no wonder 800,000 listeners are switching off.

Get Involved!

Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via YouTube and screenshot

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed