Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Lazy Journalism: BBC, Part Of The Problem. By Jim Thomas.

Taxi Leaks recently ran a story (11 October), about the constant abuse thrown at the London Taxi trade by the BBC and other media outlets. 

The BBC had ran a story which announced a London Taxi Driver had been jailed for causing the death of a fire-fighter and ex-Olympic bobsledder.

A serious allegation.
On further inspection, we came to a sentence which told a different story:
St Albans Crown Court heard the private hire driver for Brent Council had stopped his taxi on the southbound carriageway near the Hatfield tunnel when he thought a stone had smashed the front passenger window of his car.

That's right, he's a minicab driver and his car is a minicab to be precise, not a Taxi. It should have been quite simple for the so called journalist who wrote the piece as he/she was obviously working from a court report that laid out clearly that this was a Private Hire (minicab) driver.

Was this purely lazy journalism?
or is it more of conspiracy?

One of our readers was so incensed with the article, he made an official complaint to the BBC. 

Below is the unbelievably patronising reply he received.

Date: 31 Oct 2014 13:17
Subject: BBC Complaints - Case Number CAS-2965901-39PBGB 
Dear Xxxx

Thank you for your contact.

While we readily appreciate your concerns it’s also the case that headlines need to be concise and so this headline simply referred to a London “taxi” as generally understood to mean a motor vehicle licenced to transport passengers in return for a fare and, in this case, operated in London.

The body of the article subsequently makes clear that Mohamoud Amin was a private hire driver and so we don’t believe the use of the word “taxi” was unreasonable or otherwise materially misleading.

Thanks again for contacting us. 

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints


The email wasn't even signed.

Taxi Leaks also received the same email, word for word

While we understand that it may be necessary for headlines to be concise, surely the BBC has a duty to be accurate. 

The BBC constantly blur the distinction between minicabs and Taxis at a time when minicab related serious sexual assaults are at an all time high.

Was it not the BBC's own "Inside out London" program, beautifully presented by Louise Hulland, which pointed out night revellers are confused about the difference between Licensed Taxis and minicabs?

>Click a Here For Inside about London<

Part of the reason for the rise in minicab related sexual assaults in London is ignorance. It would appear that the BBC is in fact part of that problem, instead of being part of a solution.

Taxi Leaks would like to point out to the unnamed person who replied, that although there may be three extra letters in "London minicab driver" as opposed to "London Taxi driver", there is still plenty of empty spaces in the two line title to describe the accused accurately.

We would also like to take this opportunity to point out that under the London Cab Act, it is "illegal" for a private hire driver or operator to refer to themselves as Taxi drivers. They can not refer to their vehicle as Taxis. In fact they can not use the words Taxi, Taxis, Cab or Cabs in any promotional material or anywhere on their operating centre or vehicle.  

If the BBC is in any doubt of the damage this type of misleading article causes, not just in London but across the UK in general, I would urge them to read and digest the recently published article "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who’s watching the watchmen)" by Wayne Casey on the National Taxi Association website. 

>>Click here for Wayne Casey's article<

Getting back to the article on the BBC website, the accused Mohamoud Amin, 38, of Park Royal, London, was twice referred to as a Taxi Driver and his vehicle twice referred to as a Taxi. 

This is unacceptable and we would ask the BBC to change the article which is still on the BBC News website.

Since this article was written, a number of our friends have also complained. We have found that the replies are coming back from the BBC within minutes. Could it mean that no one is looking at these complaints and that this particular standard reply, is being sent out automatically?

This article was syndicated to local news agencies up and down the contry. Mohamoud Amin was refered to as a Taxi driver in each case and still remains so on the respective web pages. The only website we could find who actually changed Taxi driver to Minicab (apart from Taxi Leaks), was an American site. How come they can get it right and the Beeb can't?

If you the reader feel as insulted by this reply as we do, please fill in this online complaint form. It's long-winded but worth the effort.

>Click Here, for BBC complaints form< 


Anonymous said...

I phoned BBC and complained.the guy took the call was very apologetic. Told me it would be amended as soon as possible.
The only way to tackle this is complaining in greater numbers

Anonymous said...

Tome for a flash on outside Broadcasting or is it lieuf casting house?

Anonymous said...

This isn't lazy journalism Jim.
This is a typical and deliberate ploy used by the BBC for as long as I can remember, to take a nasty swipe at our professional trade.
They know the difference between a mini cab and a Licensed Taxi alright, don't let them kid you.

As you know, I spent three months working extremely closely with this rabble, attempting to highlight illegal mini cab activities on behalf of our trade.
Thousands of e mails were exchanged, photographic illegal evidence of tout action was filmed, and an undercover investigative journalist was working with us throughout.

At my expense, not theirs, I took them to all the hotspots over many weekend nights and pointed out blatant illegal acts of mini cab touts operating in the West End and City.

Hours and hours of footage, and every bit damming!
I will never forget the embarrassment I suffered with yourself and my mates when at last the piece was aired on the TV.
At last, I thought ! Here it is for everyone to see!

You know the rest Jim. They absolutely slaughtered not just me and my evidence, but our trade in general. They favoured the mini cabs totally in their report and portrayed our Licensed Trade as bullying and greedy, and afraid of genuine competition.

The part where I was threatened by the doorman at Crazy Larry's and loads of other footage was cut from the final programme.

I had loads of us all waiting eagerly for the footage and they all watched it down at the garage in Great Southwark Street.

I have never felt such a prick in my life!

They absolutely slaughtered both me and our trade and I would never trust the BBC again.
They know the difference between us and the other shysters Jim, don't you worry about that.

As for their agenda, I'm not sure. Let's hope we find out some day. Most things come to light in the end. Don't they Gareth?

8829 Semtex

Mick Smith said...

I bet they would know the difference between a solicitor and a barrister,if legal action was suggested!

Anonymous said...

As suggested befor, a flash demo should be arranged and we should tip off all other news services ITV, CNN, LBC...etc
Block up the little road infront of broadcasting house around 7oc when the one show is on

Perhaps leave a couple of old FX4s parked there with scrap the licence fee liveries

MickTheCabby said...

There are just too few drivers who can be bothered to complain. Every licensed taxi driver and every friend and relative of every licensed taxi driver should be encouraged to complain to the BBC. This is the only way the BBC will listen.

The pathetic number of complaints leads to a paltry response from the BBC....Why? Because not enough people can be bothered to put in the little bit of effort required.

No wonder this trade is going down-hill !!!