A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Posted by apgaylard on February 14, 2008

I’m beginning to think that complaining to the BBC might just be more than a slightly disturbing hobby: it may even get some results.  First, BBC Radio 4’s Questions, Questions programme actually ran a correction piece after the dowsing debacle (I must make it very clear that my whinge was only one of many).

Now I’ve just had some reassurance that there may be some action in the offing resulting from the Editorial Complaints Unit’s (ECU) recent damming indictment of BBC One’s Breakfast News’ endorsement of a bonkers colour ‘therapy’ for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Here’s the relevant part of a letter I received today from the head of the ECU:

“[…] I’m not yet in a position to let you know the action to be taken as a result of my finding, as it is for the management of the relevant programme area to put forward a proposal (or account of action already taken) in response to the draft summary of my conclusions, which has yet to be circulated.  Meanwhile, we are pursuing the point you make about the availability of the piece on bbc.co.uk with the management of BBC News.

In order to follow up your concerns about the Radio Scotland piece, I’m afraid we do have to treat the matter as a separate complaint […] However, to avoid unnecessary complications, we will ask them to respond to us and will contact you again when they have done so […]”

My point about the piece on bbc.co.uk was that the credulous nonsense was still available on the BBC’s website.  Just search the site for “worries over winter blues” and you’ll see what I mean.

The reference to the BBC Radio Scotland piece refers to me remarking in a letter that “[…]I have recently noted that a very similar piece (featuring the same ‘therapy’, Clinic and representative) was run by BBC Radio Scotland; an MP3 is available from the Sound Learning Centre’s website.  (Ed. This seems to have been removed – good job I kept a copy: BBC Radio Scotland Fall For LWS Therapy for SAD) I wonder if it is possible for you to review this item as well; or do I need to make a separate complaint? […]”

It’s very helpful of them to follow this up with BBC Radio Scotland for me.

It will be interesting to see if any meaningful action is taken.  At the moment I am cautiously optimistic.  At any rate this sort of response certainly helps keep my interest up in pursuing the complaint as far as I can.

2 Responses to “Light at the End of the Tunnel?”

  1. ambrielle said

    Those are some great posts. I too will be very interested in the outcome. We all know that BBC Breakfast News is just an advertising programme for their shows, but it’s beyond belief that they are now branching out into promoting woo. I wonder if they got ‘product placement’ money, although I assume this would be breaking the rules?

  2. apgaylard said

    Ambrielle:
    Thanks for your comment. One of the most puzzling aspects of this for me is how such a flimsy (even by CAM standards) ‘therapy’ provided as a small part of the offerings provided by a small private clinic got prime-time BBC news coverage.

    My suspicion is that someone involved in the programme had prior experience of the Sound Learning Centre. In 2005 the BBC covered AIT their ‘therapy’ offering for, among other things, ASDs.

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