Here’s what I’ve just received from the BBC regarding my complaint about the almost-complete lack of coverage of the constant – and constantly increasing – damage that’s being done to our NHS under Lansley’s ‘Health & Social Care Act’ stealth-privatisation and of the attack on the disabled and vulnerable by Ian Duncan-Smith:
Dear Mr Walker
Thanks for contacting us regarding the ‘BBC News’.
We understand you feel there has been insufficient coverage of the Health & Social Care Act and the effect it’s have on the NHS.
BBC News Editors have a difficult choice in deciding which story to report, the place it should take in the running order and the length of time afforded to it. A number of factors are taken into consideration when putting together the content for each news bulletin. These include the importance and magnitude of a story, the level of public interest, the kind of audience watching or listening, and also how engaging a story is.
We’re aware that our audience members are individuals and as such, they have extremely wide-ranging views and preferences. Therefore we recognise that a news story that has been singled out as one of particular importance for one person will be of little or no interest to another, and no matter how carefully such editorial decisions are made, we know that not everyone will agree with them. However in order for us to cater best for as many licence fee payers as possible, we aim to provide a variety of news stories across our output, including TV, radio and online.
In essence, choosing a particular story to report is an art rather than an exact science, but we do appreciate all feedback on the level of coverage we provide, positive and negative, and we rely on the comments we receive from our audience members to help make our news judgements easier.
We’d like to assure you that your feedback has been registered on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
I find this response to be utterly inadequate – can anyone really say that the dismantling of the NHS, one of the greatest treasures and achievements of our country, and the demonisation and victimisation of vulnerable people in our supposedly-civilised society are not matters of importance, magnitude, public interest and engagement of the highest order?
As for the disabled – horrendously but all too typically, they don’t even merit a mention in the response. And while some have commented that this looks like an automated response, it isn’t. It might be a proforma that someone has filled in, but the rewording of my complaint and the complete ignoring of my comments on the disabled (not to mention the bad punctuation which certainly isn’t mine) show that someone has read my complaint, parsed it into a reply and considered these two massive issues weren’t worthy of proper consideration – because they’re not matters of sufficient public interest and engagement.
Tragically, the BBC has joined the other media in collusion with those who want to destroy the welfare state that was constructed by giants of our politics and history, and which any right-minded person should treasure and protect. And by confirming that the omission of the crimes against the NHS and against disabled and vulnerable people from its news coverage is an editorial decision, the BBC has just admitted it.
The one glimmer of hope lies in the fact that complaints are included in a digest that is circulated within the BBC – including to executives. If we flood their feedback facility with a mass of complaints on the same issue, just maybe someone will start to pay attention.