The BBC just shot itself in the foot over Corbyn and PMQs

Jeremy Corbyn Theresa May and the BBC Logo
Steve Topple

The BBC made a bit of an own goal with its fact-checking service on Wednesday 10 October. Because when it attempted to ‘reality check’ Jeremy Corbyn’s use of figures, it actually used outdated figures itself. Altogether now: ‘aww!’

PMQs: May on the ropes

The Labour leader put it to Theresa May that:

today is World Mental Health Day. And today, there are 5,000 fewer mental health nurses than there were in 2010. The Prime Minister said last week that ‘austerity is over’. When will austerity be over for the mental health services?

A squirming May spluttered:

Now, he raises the issue of mental health. And I’m pleased he’s raised the issue of mental health. Because this is a government that is actually ensuring that mental health is given the attention that it needs. It is… it is… it is.. this government that has ensured that there will be parity of esteem for mental health and physical health in the National Health Service. And it is this government that is putting record levels of funding into mental health.

How many more times May could say the word “health” is unclear. But Corbyn claimed it was Labour which forced the Tories into giving parity of esteem to mental and physical health. The Canary fact check shows it was actually a crossbench peer, Lord Patel, who first introduced this, although Patel did work for the Labour Party.

Enter the BBC

But BBC “Reality Check” (don’t laugh) decided to look at Corbyn’s 5,000 nurses claim. It tweeted:

But the eagle eyes of Evolve Politics were on hand to give the BBC a ‘reality check’ of its own:

Indeed, NHS figures do show that in January 2010 there were 40,719 nurses in mental health. This fell to 35,674 by June 2018 – a drop of 5,045 nurses.

The BBC‘s fact check didn’t impress social media users. One spotted the Beeb’s mistake:

Some threw some sarcasm into the mix:

As did Dylan:

But Rabble Cat made the best point:

But hey – at least the BBC is trying. It’s just a shame that it takes indy media and Twitter users to prove how crap at fact checking it really is.

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Featured image via BBC iPlayer – screengrabs and BBC News – Wikimedia 

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Steve Topple