On the 12th Jan 2017, the Guardian reported that “BBC sets up a team to debunk fake news.” On the very same day, the BBC website and phone app are reporting that “Orcas reveal the origin of menopause.” Both appear to be untrue.
BBC news chief James Harding apparently told staff on Thursday that the BBC would be “weighing in on the battle over lies, distortions and exaggerations”.
“Orcas reveal the origin of menopause.” Distortion, exaggeration or just a lie?
The BBC article says that “Prof Darren Croft from the University of Exeter, … says the findings, published in the journal Current Biology, could reveal how and why the same phenomenon evolved in humans.” As we get into the article we come to the word ‘could,’ suggesting speculation, the headline was definite, “Orcas reveal the origin of menopause.”
Probably more than half of the people who came across this headline just accepted it as ongoing proof of evolution and the origins of… well everything from life to the menopause. This headline is at the very least deceptive. Come on Reality Check, start looking at the BBC’s website.
James Harding continued “The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either,” Harding said. “We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.” Humm, they can actually edit the BBC news website. The BBC site is very much more influential than the outliers on Facebook, Instagram, so should be held to very high standards.