We have previously blogged about how BBC1 gave Scott Quinnell a golden opportunity to plug Dore (a non-evidence based treatment for dyslexia and various learning difficulties) uncritically. We complained to the BBC about this, and have just had a response: it was very disappointing.
The BBC simply replied that
it was never intended to give Quinnell a platform in any way to promote Dore. It was more of an attempt at reflecting a human interest story whereby an international sportsman has had to cope with this disadvantage.
If this interview was not intended to give Quinnell an opportunity to plug Dore, then it was seriously mishandled (watch this YouTube clip to see what I mean). However, the BBC do not seem to acknowledge the extent of their failure, and there is no mention of what (if any) action they will take to prevent similar failures in future, and no apology for the poor standard of the interview with Quinnell.
Science coverage in the media is sometimes criticised for offering ‘balanced’ discussion that attributes equal value to both evidence-based position and non-evidence-based arguments. In this case, though, the BBC gave all the air time to the unchallenged advocacy of a time-consuming, expensive treatment that lacks a good evidence base.
This standard of broadcasting would not be seen as acceptable in – for example – BBC politics coverage. So why should it be tolerated with science coverage?