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Friday, September 21, 2007 

New lies fiasco shames Daily Mail (shurley shome mishtake?).

Out of all the supposed scandals over deception, the latest crime committed by Blue Peter in lying to small children also has to be one of the most mystifying. As is the tradition, a new pet was introduced, in this case a cat. They provided a vote on what the new kitten should be called: among the options were Socks and Cookie, with the programme revealing the winner as Socks. Only err, it seems it might have not been.

Or was it? According to MediaGrauniad, the editor sacked over the "deception" was actually correcting what he and others thought had been a rigged poll, with mass-voting shortly before it closed for "Cookie". Initial reports suggested that the proposed name was "inappropriate", hence why it was changed, causing much confusion when the name was revealed to be Cookie. Is this another case of political correctness gone mad, with the BBC concerned that children might be encouraged to eat more biscuits if the cat was thusly named? Or was it that they were worried that Cookie is apparently slang for the private parts of the fairer sex? I've never heard of that particular definition, and I don't have a copy of Viz's Profanisaurus to hand, so we'll have to go with urbandictionary on this one. Either way, it seems unlikely that many 8-10 year olds would have heard of it if it had been the latter, and we'll have to hope that it certainly isn't the former.

Whatever the explanation, it's not exactly front page news, and nor are the other three examples that have now been revealed, mostly repetitions of the other "the show must go on" type errors that were exposed in the previous trawl. The naming of the cat as Socks rather than Cookie, while not completely honest, was hardly the equivalent of an infamous Daily Mail deception, namely the Zinoviev letter, which helped to bring down the first Labour government, or more modern examples such as the constant misinformation on immigrants exposed almost every other day on FCC. Blue Peter to make up for the mistake has introduced another new kitten, this one named Cookie regardless of any cunnilingus-type connotations, and is again going to apologise for its error. Case closed.

Although it doesn't seem to be. The witch-hunt for the slightest of errors, whipped up by a press which prints lies left right and centre every day of the week, seems to have gone out of control with more lowly staff now taking the blame rather than the executives that must have known what was going on. None of the BBC's errors, and remember that the Queen editing example was the fault of RDF, have come even close to matching GMTV's or Richard and Judy's defrauding of premium rate phoneline callers to their competitions. In those cases no one has actually been sacked, except for the companies that ran the competitions, and none have taken on the sackcloth and ashes in quite the way that the BBC has, promising to send its employees on the equivalent of re-education courses. The BBC has to be aware of the dangers of constantly whacking itself on the back in penitence; it tends to only invite others to join in.

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i think it is indicative of my own failings that I spent many a minute trying to guess the inappropriate name for the pussy.

Good to see the Zinoviev Letter mentioned.

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