According to the BBC, there’s hardly been any formations this year because of Foot and Mouth… Excuse me?
Given that the sceptic quote which ironically sits at the top of our Headlines page comes from the great ‘BBC News Online’ website, one should hardly express surprise at the latest example of poorly researched – and, quite honestly, cheap – journalism which has emanated forth from the same source.
This week, on their ‘Sci/Tech’ pages, a marvellous article entitled ‘Disease Brings Poor Crop of Crop Circles’ asserts, among a number of inaccuracies, that due to the Foot and Mouth crisis, there has been a drastically reduced number of formations this season and that the first didn’t appear until after the land restrictions were lifted. Swirled News readers will know that neither of these insinuations are true, but hey, it fills a few megabytes for the BBC, doesn’t it?
The article, which appears to have been derived almost entirely from one phone conversation with farmer Tim Carson, then goes on to speak about the new stunning fractal at Milk Hill (see other headlines). The article gets a little more open at this point – but includes NO photographs of the new pattern. Instead, we are treated to one or two early 1990s pictograms and the Milk Hill formation of 1997!! The fact that they couldn’t even be bothered to find a visual reference for such an astonishing event speaks volumes.
Swirled News has received a number of complaints from people disgusted at the attitude of the BBC website, which follows in a tradition of badly-researched circle articles from them over the last couple of years. However, don’t leave it to us to fight all your battles for you! If you don’t like what you read on their site, e-mail their Feedback pages with something along the lines of what we sent them yesterday (below), which reveals something about the content of the article. There appears to be no outlet to print your comments, but it does say factually wrong news items may be corrected, so the more who write and complain, the better! Their e-mail facility can be found through the site by clicking on ‘feedback’. The original article can be found at:
Here’s what we wrote to them, anyway:
“Your crop circle report of 17 August (Sci/Tech pages) is sadly ill-informed.
Several crop formations DID appear during the height of the Foot and Mouth crisis, and annual numbers are only slightly down on some previous years. This, in itself, could be a statistical blip, as numbers fluctuate to a degree each year.
Choosing one farmer to focus on creates a misleading impression - the farmer in question has had other seasons where formations didn't appear until June-July and the report does not mention the many other crop patterns which have appeared on other land across the country right through the season, not just in Wiltshire, but also in places like Hampshire, Sussex, Cambridgeshire and counties in the North of England, not to mention other countries, such as Germany and The Netherlands.
Comments in the captions are also misleading. For instance, "experts" do NOT say "elaborate patterns are man-made". SOME researchers have said this - many equally experienced 'experts' disagree.
It is unfortunate that, despite a particularly spectacular current formation being discussed, the report features not one contemporary photo, just ancient archive material. There are websites and other resources bursting with easily available photographs. To not show the patterns in question does no justice to the story, nor to the continuing development of the crop circle phenomenon, which, though there are some man-made designs, remains a mystery despite all the sceptic propaganda.”
UK readers who log onto the BBC News Online website may like to bear in mind, as they read through the crop circle article, that they are PAYING for this ‘service’ through their television licences. If this is the accuracy shown towards crop circles, God alone knows how reliable the other news items are...