Tuesday, 26 October 2010


The Mail's latest attack on the BBC is:

If BBC presenters were not wearing poppies, that would be wrong. Now they're being criticised for wearing them too early.

Primly Stable has already blogged on the Mail's article. She points out that their original headline was 'BBC presenters criticised by charities for wearing poppies too early' eventhough there are no 'charities' being critical, just a few individuals (including the usual BBC messageboard people).

Indeed, the Royal British Legion were quoted as saying:

'What we do say to people is that when you receive your poppies – organisations, retailers, whoever – we set guidelines and say the national launch will be from 28 October,' said a spokesman.

'But it's really down to the individual as to when they choose to wear their poppy. We would never say they're wearing their poppy too early.'

So no real problem then.

However, a second version of the article has severely reduced this quote.

The Telegraph, jumping on the BBC-slating bandwagon, have churned out their own version of the same story, but at least they point out that BBC presenters starting wearing poppies on 23 October this year - exactly the same date as they did last year. The Independent was also concerned, explaining in an editorial:

The wearing of poppies, like the preparations for Christmas, seems to start a few days earlier every year. The artificial red flower was already adorning many a BBC presenter's lapel on Saturday, more than three weeks before Remembrance Sunday on 14 November... By stretching out the time in which the poppy is worn, we devalue its significance.

And yet, this year, the Yeovil branch of the British Legion launched its poppy appeal on 23 October. Will these papers criticise them too?

Or will they criticise the Sun and Express for flaunting their poppies before the official appeal launch date on 28 October?

And what about the Daily Star? They were equally happy to report on the criticism of the BBC, but there was just something about their article which made it feel a little hypocritical:

Yes - their own banner poppy rather undercuts the message 'don't put on poppy too early'.


  1. I think this is a bit harsh. Although you are right in that no-one has explicitly been told that they are wearing poppies 'too early', the Royal British Legion themselves have set a guideline for launch of 28th Oct, then...well you know, I have a degree of sympathy for the reportage.

    Incidentally, I do believe that the value of the poppy is devauled and it does seem to be getting worn earlier every year. It's like Christmas cards appearing in September, know what I mean?

    As far as the poppy on the papers is concerned, all it needs is one, and the others follow suit on the grounds that they can't be seen to be less appreciative.

  2. I may be wrong, but I get the impression the BBC ensures all presenters wear one from mid/late October up to Nov 11th so that they aren't criticised!

  3. Well, let's see if the Daily Mail have a go at David Cameron as he has just been seen LIVE on BBC news buying a poppy in front of Number 10.

    Not only was he getting it off of some people with collection tins (before the 28th), but it was being done on Live TV before PMQ's...in other words a photo op. The British Legion request that politicians don't politicise the poppy and this seems like our very own PM has done that this morning.

  4. Anon no. 1, I fail to see how you can sympathise with the coverage when many of those same outlets are displaying poppies in their own damn logo. It's brazen hypocrisy that treats their readers like blind idiots.

    And if their point is that wearing the poppy early devalues it, surely they would make a point of NOT displaying it early, rather than following the herd? Again, complete hypocrisy.

  5. Royal British Legion spokesperson on R4 Today this morning. Perfectly relaxed about when people start wearing them - some people wear them all year round, apparently.

  6. I actually thought the Telegraph article you linked to wasn't terrible. The headline might have overstated the case a little (or quite a lot, if I'm to be honest), but they did go on to give the other side of the story, and pretty quickly, too, even suggesting that the British Legion might actually benefit from the BBC's actions (while the Mail indirectly accused the BBC of recycling last year's poppies). As far as I can see, the Telegraph article doesn't actually criticize the BBC, but rather reports on the fact that criticisms have been made, and that's not the same thing at all. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it was, for the Telegraph, unusually sympathetic to the BBC.

  7. Anon no. 1, I fail to see how you can sympathise with the coverage when many of those same outlets are displaying poppies in their own damn logo.///

    If they themselves were saying that displaying poppies too early, then I'd agree with you. However, they're not - it is not the papers' view - they are just reporting someone else's view (or what purpotedly is someone else's view).

    //And if their point is that wearing the poppy early devalues it///

    But it's not THEIR point, is it? The 'devalued' comment was written in an editorial of The Independent - NOT one of the papers that displayed the poppy in the logo.

    I agree, however, that the reportage is, as usual, shoddy, and is worth illustrating as the blog owner has done here.

  8. I don't understand why people complain about this! What does it matter when you wear them? The people who died protecting the freedoms we have today in the two world wars, and who have died in all the wars since, both pointless/illegal ones and legitimate ones, whould NEVER be forgotten. So wear the poppy whenever the hell you want I say, and show you CARE that they died for us.


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