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The BBC owes nothing to Conspiracy theorists

July 25, 2012

Over at his conspiracy blog Craig McKee makes the ludicrous claim that the BBC broke their own rules when reporting on conspiracies surrounding the New terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11th, (http://truthandshadows.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/media-and-the-911-cover-up-bbc-accused-of-breaking-its-own-fairness-rules/).

The key section that jumped out at me from the blog post is the following:

Peter Drew, Paul Warburton, and Adrian Mallett are using the publicly funded television network’s own rules to highlight its failure to fairly report the facts of 9/11. The three have launched their complaints with the BBC Trust claiming that the network failed to live up to its own Royal Charter and Agreement in two documentaries released last year – The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 Ten Years Onand 9/11 Conspiracy Road Trip. The complaints allege that the docs were not fair, not accurate, and that critical information was deliberately withheld from viewers to further an agenda supporting the official story.

The complaints have reached the highest levels of the BBC complaints process, and the complainants are now requesting a face-to-face meeting with BBC Trustees to discuss the situation. A possible result could be an apology or the screening of some documentaries with different points of view (such as films produced by AE) to balance out the record.

The BBC’s Royal Charter and Agreement states: “The Agreement accompanying the BBC Charterspecifies that we should do all we can “to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality” in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.”

I have previously reviewed one of the programmes mentioned (https://vteclimey.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/ponderings-on-the-tenth-anniversary-of-9-11/).

Impartiality does not mean everything is equally valid

The thing that gets forgotten by people that argue that the BBC should give more and better air time to conspiracies is that they actually only want their particular brand of conspiracy promoted. They don’t want conflicting or opposing conspiracies given any time at all. After all, the person who believes that the airliners that flew into the World Trade Centre had external pods attached holding explosives does not want exposure of the theory that the planes were simply sophisticated holograms and it was explosives in the building that brought them down. Similarly, the person who believes that the building was rigged to many explosives does not want to share air time with the person promoting the idea that it was actually a small number of nuclear devices, or even some ultra-high tech beam weapon mounted on a satellite in orbit.

That’s the trouble with conspiracies, there are far too many of them and they all claim to explain the evidence, and yet by definition, most of them must be wrong because they certainly can’t all be right.

So, when the BBC says its impartial, it is not at all talking about the myriad conclusions that misguided people come to. It is talking about the accurate portrayal of facts and the explanation of conclusions based on evidence. Sadly for those who continue to peddle the truth denialism that is the 9/11 conspiracy movement, this means that evidence does not explain their position and impartiality does not apply to their erroneous conclusions. It only extends to the acknowledgement that they exist.

If impartiality meant giving time to every alternative idea there was, can you imagine the chaos? Science programmes about health or how humans came to be would be intolerable as each regional myth was recounted as though it was of equal value. History documentaries would be confusing and impossible to follow as each biased interpretation was given its time.

No, Peter Drew, Paul Warburton, and Adrian Mallett are wrong in their assertions and the BBC will be right not to pander to them. Of course, those on Craig’s blog who have predicted that the BBC will stonewall the complaint will believe themselves proved right that the BBC is complicit. Sadly that’s the price of standing up against nonsense; thankfully the deniers of the truth of those September 11th attacks are a small and shrinking minority and over the passage of time their noise will grow fainter.

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