Sunday, December 06, 2009

The BBC Has Learned...

Is there a single more irritating phrase on British Television than "The BBC has learned..."? It's trotted out time after time on stories which are not BBC exclusives. Take this tweet from BBC News

The Treasury is considering a windfall tax on British-based banks, BBC business editor Robert Peston has learned.. http://bit.ly/5Vg3YO

The phrase is repeated on the BBC website HERE.

Do you think it is possible "The BBC learned..." through reading the newspapers this morning? Just like the rest of us.

UPDATE: Several commenters have rightly pointed out that the phrase "Sky Sources say..." is equally as irritating and pointless. Especially when the sources happen to the the BBC...

23 comments:

Jack said...

Sky News do it too but they use, "Sky sources say..." which is often the BBC news website or the News Channel

Matt said...

It is just like the "Skyports News understands' one.

BJ said...

A former boss of mine at the Beeb used to similarly deplore it. "We might as well say 'The BBC has learned' at the start of every story," he would say. "After all, we have learned it!"

There are no rules for the deployment of the phrase, but it does seem to get inserted into stories by Robert Peston rather a lot. Pesto is a tremendously good journalist, but also has an ego the size of Cornwall.

I might add that the "SKY SOURCES" strapline is just as annoying - especially when they get it wrong, like when they prematurely bumped off Megrahi a few weeks ago...

Max Atkinson said...

But one thing BBC News has definitely NOT learnt (yet) is what a disaster PowerPoint and slide-dependent presentations are. Otherwise, they wouldn't inflict rubbish 'reports' like this (from Robert Peston) on viewers night after night http://bit.ly/gkQcU - from which more links to awful BBC slide shows in which reporters travel all the way to the other side of the studio to stand next to a screen to show off their latest slides.

Meanwhile, when it suits them, other BBC departments get people like me to explain some of the problems with PowerPoint - but don't, alas, bother to make the connection with their own increasingly ghastly news programmes, let alone direct the producers thereof to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.

Davieboy said...

I find more irritating from the BBC "Many people are saying...".
Who exactly? Name them please....or have you invented them?

john in cheshire said...

a) the bbc doesn't learn. but that's a characteristic of socialists
b) the most irritating word that the bbc uses is 'well' which precedes every answer to a question. and despite repeated requests to them to refrain from using it, there has been no change.

john in cheshire said...

Apropos Powerpoint - does anyone remember Lotus Freelance? It was infintely better than Powerpoint. Unfortunately, the Microsoft juggernaut prevailed.

Adrian said...

That's weird, I've been listening to Radio 4 all day and becoming increasingly annoyed with the use of that phrase in relation to the banking story. Especially when Gideon acknowledged what i suspected on the Andrew Marr programme this morning - ie that the Treasury had briefed the world and his wife on that story. http://bit.ly/6F8YnZ

simon said...

Journalistic vanity, I'm afraid. The newspaper equivalent is the much abused 'Exclusive' subhead.

cynicalHighlander said...

The BBC =(Brown Broadcasting Corp)
This story only on for a few hours before being relegated into the sidelines.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8397910.stm

Now read local papers reporting (something the Beeb doesn't do)

http://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/roundup/articles/2009/12/03/394772-given-a-grilling/

Unsworth said...

Well, I'd have hoped that the BBC would learn oh, anything at all. Seems to me that the BBC is institutionally incapable of learning about (or from) everything.

Shinsei said...

According to Robert Peston this windfall tax is going to raise £1 billion.

Seeing as even RBS's investment banking division (and they've lost most of their star traders to Nomura and Soc Gen) has made £5-6 billion this year, then it seems a remarkably insignificant sum.

Nick said...

Likely to affect the share price?

Certainly.

Then leaking it is a criminal offence.

Why? The government is an insider. They are a shareholder at large banks.

trevorsden said...

!The BBC/SKY have received a leak ..."

SKY were a few seconds slower than the BBC to 'break the news' that Foxy had been found guilty.

Just so all you people know that you waste your subscriptions (OK I know that SKYNews has to be free).

I do think you all should send a message to Mr Maxwell about the severity of the recession by cancelling your SKY subscriptions.
Except Brown who gets us to pay for his.

wv is 'splamb' which is the sound the economy might make if the ratings agencies do not like Darlings PBR

Scrobs... said...

Almost as bad as "family has been informed", when yet another brave soldier is killed.

Of course they have - why does the beeb try and roll over to the next crap yarn so damn quickly?

Perhaps they need more 'news' items.

JPT said...

Hey - come on! I blogged about this months ago!!

Rush-is-Right said...

They also sometimes behave like they own the weather.

"Here on LBC the weather is going to be showers...."

Cynic said...

Isn't it what gossips always do?

iain said...

'Breaking News' and 'Developing Story' are labels the creatives at BBC nicked from Sky at all because they can't think up any themselves.

And don't start me on 'Many believe': as in 'Many believe that Copenhagen is the most important meeting in the history of mankind'.

'Many believe', is of course code for ' We at the BBC believe...' but they can't say that because they are quote unquote impartial.

J said...

I think "the BBC has learnt" means "we got a leak" whereas "the BBC understands" means "we read it in the papers".

Carl said...

Saints preserve me from armchair journalists...

Didn't you "understand" or "learn" about a certain story which ended up costing one newspaper a pretty penny Iain? All because one very good source told you...

ah well, never mind...

Iain Dale said...

Saints preserve us from idiots who can;t even get basic facts right. I had two sources for the story, and if you knew who they were you would have written exactly what I did.

And for the record, as you well know, I asked the MoS to remove the paragraph but they failed to.

But then you never did let the facts get in the way of your prejudices did you.

Oh, by the way, when was the last time you broke a national story?

Ah, I see.

Rob said...

Re soldier deaths - we say "the family has been informed" because otherwise we receive complaints from viewers that we must be breaking the news before the family has been told (even though we wouldn't do that). Sorry if the phrase annoys you. It is the one the MoD uses. And if you think we should be putting out more details about the death - well, usually there ARE no more details about the death at the time. If there is an official tribute to the dead soldier published by the MoD, we usually broadcast that.
BBC News staffer