On Lazy Reporting
Posted 19th \2010f March, 2010on:
I follow the BBC’s RSS news feed. The format is on of headline, followed by a single sentence summarising the story. This is quite useful, because most of the time I can read the summary and decide I don’t care enough to read the full report.
However, sometimes the single sentence is so context-dependent that it makes no sense.
For instance, one of today’s stories reads: “Duncan Bannatyne accuses fellow dragon and non-dom James Caan of having an “unfair” advantage in business.”
On deeper consideration, I realise that this means “Duncan Bannatyne accuses James Caan of having an unfair advantage in business. Both men (or just James Caan; it’s not clear) are registered as non-domiciled for tax purposes and appear on the television show Dragon’s Den as investors.”
It’s remarkably unclear. “Dragon” is a real word that has its own meaning. It might be used in one particular television program to mean “intimidating investors,” but if you don’t make it clear that that’s what you mean, I’m going to read “dragon” as “large fire-breathing reptile”. Similarly, “non-dom” is almost meaningless. The two rich men are, presumably, not doms. Not dominoes? Not called Dominic? Not members of a particular ethnicity? I’m guessing “non-domiciled for tax purposes” is what’s meant simply because there’s been a lot of talk about that particular legal status recently.
Come on, BBC. This is not doing your job properly.