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Boris, Barbra and the BBC

November 11, 2019


Labour has accused the BBC of bias after it ran a 2016 film of Boris Johnson laying a wreath at the cenotaph rather than Sunday’s shambolic performance. But the BBC may have done the opposition parties a big favour.

Experts in managing bad news will tell you that one great technique is hiding in plain sight. You announce the news in a low key way, so it exists on a website somewhere that is public enough that when someone “discovers” it you can say “this isn’t new, we announced in two weeks ago”.

The reverse of course can also be true.  

By trying to hide something you can draw more attention to it. In digital media this is known as the Streisand effect after the wildly unsuccessful 2003 attempt by actor and singer Barbra Streisand to hide the location of her Malibu estate by suing a photographer who had taken aerial snaps as part of a US Coastguard programme.

By not running film of a dishevelled (and possibly hungover) PM putting the wreath down the wrong way, the BBC has drawn attention to yet another example of Boris not looking like he is in control.

Cock-up, conspiracy or BBC bias?

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