There’s a warning today from Britain’s berry growers that Brexit could crush the industry.
Zoe Conway’s report included various hard-working, efficient migrant workers (as she portrayed them) worried about their future, plus farm managers fearing the collapse of their business. One farm owner was asked if he regretted his Leave vote, especially if it leads to what Zoe called a “hard Brexit”. No contrasting views featured in Zoe’s report.
That’s par for the course, of course. But tied in with that piece was the reporting that very same morning of the results of a survey among soft berry producers – a survey the BBC itself had commissioned (for reasons known only to itself but guessable by others).
The main BBC News website report on the survey
(by Emma Simpson) is striking for the way it tries to spin its own findings. The BBC’s spin is deeply negative about Brexit and conducive to advancing arguments in favour of retaining free-movement:
UK summer fruit and salad growers are having difficulty recruiting pickers, with more than half saying they don’t know if they will have enough migrant workers to harvest their crops.
Many growers blame the weak pound which has reduced their workers’ earning power, as well as uncertainty over Brexit, according to a BBC survey.
The results themselves, cited later in the article, are strikingly at odds with the mood music of the report as a whole:
These results say to me that only 3% of the surveyed farmers are seriously alarmed about “migrant labour shortages’. Another 18% are a bit worried. And what the other 79% (though the figures don’t actually add up to 100%)? Well, they either say they have have enough seasonal workers or aren’t sure if they’ve got enough. In other words, that 79% don’t sound alarmed about the situation, despite the BBC’s alarmist headline.
I think this is a clear case of BBC bias (conscious or unconscious).
And it’s far from being the first time that the BBC has spun its own surveys in a favoured direction.
Who can forget the particularly blatant way the BBC spun its own survey on the attitudes of British Muslims
back in 2015? While many other media outlets led with the astonishing finding that 27% of British Muslims expressed some sympathy with those who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre the BBC heavily pushed the “Most British Muslims ‘oppose Muhammad cartoons reprisals'” angle.
Plus there was some very dodgy reporting
by the BBC’s News at Six
and the BBC website into young people’s concerns, also in 2015, where both the TV bulletin and the website article omitted all mention of the third biggest concern of the polled young people – immigration. And it was another BBC poll to boot.
As you’ll note, all of the above have immigration as a running theme, whether directly or indirectly. And all of them were spun by the BBC in the same way – the pro-immigration way.