Newsnight apologises to Ms Thorpe


3:44 pm - May 30th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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After this blog took up the case of Shanene Thorpe and how she was misrepresented on BBC Newsnight by Allegra Stratton, the BBC has finally apologised.

A statement emailed over today said:

Newsnight was sorry to hear Shanene Thorpe was unhappy following her interview.

While the BBC is still yet to receive a formal complaint, Newsnight contacted Shanene to hear her concerns.

We are happy to accept her contention that her current situation was not made clear and have apologised.

The BBC Newsnight segment is below.

Shanene Thorpe disputed how Newsnight represented her in tweets after the film was aired:

To set the record straight, I work for tower hamlets council, I’ve worked since 16 and I only get help towards my rent because it is so high.

I pay the same amount of as paying a mortgage, full rent on a council property, or someone living outside of london, they top up the rest.

It happens that I’ve worked in retail for years up until now so never qualified for a mortgage and wasn’t handed a cushty council flat.

The council offered to pay my deposit if I found my own accom as it was part of a scheme the had at the time. Unfortunately u can’t get much.

I got a call from my supervisor asking if I’d be happy to be filmed at work to show the side of the working single parent/ young person.

I did not expect to be personally scrutinised, have judgements made about my choices and asked why I didn’t choose to get rid of my child.

As we reported this morning, shadow minister Toby Perkins had also waded into the debate, calling for Newsnight and Allegra Stratton herself to apologise.

UPDATE: I asked the BBC whether the programme itself was going to make an on-air apology or say anything further than issuing a statement to this blog.

They said they wouldn’t say any more at this stage as Ms Thorpe hasn’t actually made an official complaint yet.

The BBC usually wait until there is an official complaint in such circumstances. But due to the coverage on this blog and the online petition, they released a statement early.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Shouldn’t Newsnight appologise to their viewers for misleading them as well as appologising to her. In fact shouldn’t their appology and correction be as prominant as the original story.

@steve

Yes, in a perfect world, it would. But tell me where you’ve ever seen a media outlet apologise with the same prominence as the original mistake?

And besides, who cares really if the viewer was misled in this case? It doesn’t affect us – if she’s happy with the apology, then it’s no odds to me.

@2 Chris

Doesn’t matter if a news programme misleads its viewers? Really? So if they lied a lot but paid off the people they lied about regularly you’d be happy would you?

If I watch something that claims to be factual then I expect it to be factual.

4. David Moynagh

Its utterly disgraceful that this young woman should be forced to go to such lengths to receive a PROPER apology. It is typical of the the ongoing media vilification of single mothers and sick and disabled that we read about and which the present westminster government encourage. That lot are more parasitic than anyone but they will be out on their ear soon enough.

Its win -win for the bbc,
Newsnight can now claim its not left leaning / labours propaganda department because it set up a straw man ( or in this case women) to get in some left wing complainants. and has also avoided reporting on far more serious cases of benefits scroungers. trebles all round

6. Paul Trembath

It matters to this viewer.

First, even though Newsnight could have found a genuine unemployed interviewee, they chose instead to misrepresent the one they had. This isn’t even an anecdote, it’s effectively fiction. How often to they do this, and about which important matters?

Second, that fiction was used to push the Establishment agenda that unemployed wastrels are spending huge sums of your money when they have the family wallpaper fortune to fall back on and could easily live in their parents’ stately home. This is nasty propaganda aimed at those in need and creates a public mood to accept even nastier policies..

I think it’s fairly clear that they simply didn’t care if she was employed or not. Given Stratton’s mighty interviewing skills, where she didn’t even manage to learn that the person she was interviewing was in employment, it’s fairly clear that the newsnight team itself is of the belief that claiming any benefits whatsoever automatically means ‘scrounging scum’. They’ve apparently tried blaming Thorpe’s boss, claiming they asked for an unemployed single mother to interview, because she would have apparently have been fine to wag the finger at and question why she didn’t abort her child, such is the apparent difference having a job makes.

What?! She hasn’t even submitted an offcial complaint. She can’t have felt that slighted then. I’d already have a libel lawyer on the case.

The BBC could have done some proper jounalism looking at benefit fraud. For example exploring how much is done my organised crime with identiy creation/theft and how much by individuals.

Or it could have looked at ATOS and the way disabled people are being bounced between the ESA and JSA because people are so ill as they turn up to JC+.

They could look at issues like rent inflation and how that is affects the benefit bill and individuals.

But no that might be too much effort

Instead they go with the benefit scronger line. Its easy and clearly they believe it. And this creates a culture where people who are disabled or cannot find jobs can be treated like subhumans. It does matter that they try to mislead.

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/the-end-of-the-deserving-poor/ there is a lot of this about …the irony was that her Housing Benefit would have gone straight to a Tory Buy to Let Landlord …you don’t hear them complaining too much ?

As for Allegra Stratton ..she apparently shares a pillow with The Spectator’s James Forsyth …the kindest thing you can say is that Auntie must be terrified of Cameron and Murdoch with this Fox News style yellow ” journalism ” to confirm the mobs illiterate prejudices . http://order-order.com/2011/11/21/allegra-up/

congratulations on an excellent and successful campaign.

They should buy her a new flat as compensation. That would be true justice for inflicting such insults.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Muna Optimist ?

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  2. Yrotitna

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  3. Robert CP

    BBC Newsnight apology on misrepresenting single mother on benefits admits, "her current situation was not made clear" http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  4. ATDM

    BBCNewsnight forced to apologise to a single mum portraying her in an inaccurate report stereotypical benefit sponger. http://t.co/abXPByK2

  5. Kayleigh Anne

    RT "@sunny_hundal: BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother aft @libcon highlighted it – http://t.co/nuXB6LRb">> great news

  6. Wil Andersen

    BBC Newsnight apology on misrepresenting single mother on benefits admits, "her current situation was not made clear" http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  7. Tom Millard

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  8. Richard Webster

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  9. Staffordshire UNISON

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  10. Alex Bevan

    How brave of this Newsnight reporter to barrack and misrepresent a working single mother. Proper truth to power stuff http://t.co/5S8RvVDC

  11. Emma Dennis-Edwards

    BBC Newsnight APOLOGISE for misrepresenting single mother after @libcon highlighted story – http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  12. @GrannyWils

    Newsnight apologises to Ms Thorpe | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/EETiKmsN via @libcon

  13. ann driver

    Newsnight apologises to Ms Thorpe | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/EETiKmsN via @libcon

  14. sunny hundal

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  15. TeresaMary

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  16. Sam hussain

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  17. pip

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  18. Shaunyboydotcom

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  19. Elle Griffiths

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  20. Performativcontra

    Sunny sorts newsnight http://t.co/SuC87FIU

  21. John Finucane

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  22. Pink Humanist

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  23. Mehdi Hasan

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  24. Fiona McMahon

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  25. John Finucane

    http://t.co/eObdTHpU It appears the BBC is losing touch with the citizens yet another display of their stupidity and bias. Shocking.

  26. Dan Sanderson

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  27. Bethan Hutton

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  28. Mark Martin

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  29. Kesh Badhan

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  30. Bronya

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  31. Collin Whittaker

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  32. Stuart White

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  33. Calum

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  34. michael emonds

    BBC Newsnight apology on misrepresenting single mother on benefits admits, "her current situation was not made clear" http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  35. Mankindneedschange

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  36. NORBET

    Newsnight apologises to Ms Thorpe | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/fNtY5gud via @libcon

  37. Chris Townsend

    Newsnight apologises for misrepresenting mother | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/bZaiJnw5

  38. Mark Murphy

    I asked the BBC if they would go further or make an on-air apology re: Newsnight piece on single mum. See update http://t.co/EeiXoGir

  39. Laurie Penny: Shame has become our stick for beating the poor | Social Warriors

    […] Newsnight apologises for misrepresenting mother(liberalconspiracy.org) […]





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