BBC response to my follow-up complaint about "Unvaccinated" documentary
This is a continuation of the saga of complaints against the BBC2 documentary "Unvaccinated".
First of all it is worth noting that if you look at the BBC's complaints summary for the week following the programme's screening, it was the second most complained about programme (although note they can’t even get the channel right - it was BBC Two not One).
Given the relatively low number of viewers for a BBC2 documentary compared to the Prime Minster's debate and Women's Euro final, in terms of complaints by viewer numbers I suspect Unvaccinated might be one of their most complained about programmes for a long time. In many months there is NO programme for which they receive more than 100 complaints.
The BBC's response to my initial complaint is discussed here. I decided to make a follow up complaint (based on the arguments used in the blog post) and have received the following second response:
Dear Prof Fenton Thanks for your further correspondence. We’re sorry to learn you were unhappy with our response. You previously raised concerns regarding two of the experts who featured in the documentary and we have discussed your further complaint on this point with the programme production team again. With regard to Professor Finn, the programme pointed out he has been involved in Covid 19 vaccine research. Prof Finn and his work in relation to Covid-19 vaccines is independent of Pfizer and he did not lead or conduct any trials of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Regarding Professor Khalil, it was stated in the programme that Prof Khalil works at one of the largest vaccine and pregnancy trials in the UK. Professor Khalil has not conducted any independent paid consultancy work for Pfizer - or any other pharmaceutical company relating to Covid-19 vaccines - and Professor Khalil receives no payment or benefit directly from Pfizer. The programme included a range of experts to talk about the latest scientific understanding of the vaccine and, in line with BBC Editorial Guidelines, it appropriately reported the latest science and statistics. With regard to your follow up complaint about the statement ‘there are still around four million adults who remain unvaccinated’, we stand by this as accurate. This is based on adults eligible for the vaccine and eligible adults who had taken up the vaccine. Official figures at the time were: UK ONS 16+ population estimate: 54,353,665 England 16+ vax: 42,415,586 Wales 16+ vax: 2,408,063 Scotland 16+ vax: 4,162,392 NI 16+ vax: 1,372,456 = around 4 million adults who remain unvaccinated
If you remain unhappy, you can now contact the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU). The ECU is Stage 2 of the BBC’s complaints process. You’ll need to explain why you think there’s a potential breach of standards, or if the issue is significant and should still be investigated. Please do so within 20 working days of this reply.
Full details of how we handle complaints are available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/. How to contact the ECU: We’ve provided a unique link for you in this email. This will open up further information about how to submit your complaint. You’ll be asked for the case reference number we’ve provided in this reply. Once you’ve used the link and submitted your complaint, the link will no longer work. This is your link to contact the ECU if you wish: Click Here Kind regards BBC Complaints Team www.bbc.co.uk/complaints NB You cannot reply to this email address. This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored.
Most people who take the trouble of formally complaining do not bother with a follow-up and certainly do not bother with a second follow up if - as in this case - they are fobbed off with the same nonsense as they got first time. But given that they provided a unique link for me to contact the ECU (whihc requires providing a maximum 5000 character summary of the complaint), I have now made the following response:
My original complaint was detailed fully in my blog posting here:
In summary the key points were:
Claim of (only) 4 million UK adults unvaccinated is a massive underestimate
Failure to disclose the Pfizer links of the two key experts (Finn and Khalil) on the programme
Failure to disclose background to FullFact.org
No challenge to the many explicit false claims made
The jellybeans game sequence was not only offensive, but it totally underestimates the known rate of serious adverse reactions
No mention of the failure of the vaccination to stop infection or transmission of covid
Failure to humanize any actual vaccination victims
The ludicrous and misleading MMR vaccination anecdote
No challenge to the powerful claim that 20 out of 21 ICU patients at St Georges’s hospital in Dec 2021 were unvaccinated
Failure to mention reported data on adverse reactions
No mention of the true risk of covid based on world wide data
No mention of the way covid data are by definition fixed to exaggerate cases numbers, hospitalizations, deaths as well as vaccine efficacy and safety
No mention of lack of long-term safety data
No mention of all the protocol violations now known in the main Pfizer trial.
No mention of international data showing strong evidence the vaccine is neither effective nor safe
The BBC responses have focused on the first two points (the number of unvaccinated and the failure to disclose Pfizer links of Finn and Khalil). Even if we ignore the fact that the BBC has not addressed the other complaints, the BBC response to the first two points is totally inadequate and flawed.
The BBC is quoting ONS data for the estimate of adult unvaccinated (they estimate 8%) but fails to acknowledge that this is just one (extremely biased) estimate. Another UK Government agency UKHSA estimates 20% adult unvaccinated (see