Friday, 13 April 2012

Mail clarifies 'inaccurate' article about the BBC

On 17 February, the Mail published the article 'Half of BBC staff who pocketed £4m pay-off carried on working in the same job'.

The paper claimed:

The BBC spent £4million laying off staff – only for nearly half of them to continue working as normal.

The money was paid to around 70 workers as compensation because their posts were being relocated north to Salford.
But after accepting the ‘redundancy’ money – £57,000 each, on average – about 17 of them simply carried on in the same jobs, it is understood.

The BBC responded with a statement that said the Mail's article was:

inaccurate and misrepresents the facts

Today, the Mail has published a clarification:

An article on February 15 suggested that 17 BBC workers had carried on in the same jobs after accepting redundancy money of £57,000 each. We are happy to clarify that, while their leaving dates were delayed, the workers did not in fact receive their pay-offs until they had left.

Once again, we see the Mail trying to downplay the original claim, reducing it to just a 'suggestion'. 

Moreover, the Mail says it is now 'happy to clarify' that the pay-offs were not received until after the workers had left.

But this is exactly what the BBC told the paper in the original story:

It confirmed some staff did stay on working ‘to help manage the transfer of the operation’ but said they did not receive their payoffs until they left.

Needless to say, this was left to the third-last sentence of the article. But clearly it was ignored by the paper and its journalist Sam Greenhill. If only the Mail had listened, rather than writing the story it wanted to write regardless, then this clarification - which includes no apology - wouldn't have been necessary.

Furthermore, at time of writing, the original article remains live on MailOnline with the inaccuracy intact. It has not been edited, and the clarification has not been added.

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