The ‘SOCIETY OF HOMEOPATHS’ (SoH) have published an official complaint they recently filed with the BBC. As it gives an intriguing insight into their mind-set, I could not resist reproducing it here (warts and all):
“Prompted by the interview with Simon Stevens of NHS England on the Today Programme, on 31st March, the Society of Homeopaths deplores the lack of balance in the BBC’s coverage of Homeopathy and urges you to review your approach to coverage of the subject.
During the Today interview, following wide-ranging discussion of issues around the future of the NHS, Sarah Montague suddenly threw in a question about the amount spent on Homeopathy within the NHS, evidently catching Mr Stevens unawares.
The annual budget of the NHS is approximately £110billion. Of this, £4million per year (0.0036 of the NHS budget) is spent on Homeopathy. This hardly justifies the unbalanced and hectoring approach from Sarah Montague.
We acknowledge that it is not always possible or necessary to achieve balance on a particular topic within a single programme but the BBC seems to have a consistent line across all of its platforms of opposition to, and disparagement of, Homeopathy. A recent example is a piece on the Health section of the BBC website in October 2106 by Nick Tiggle which displayed no balance at all and denigrated Homeopathy and Homeopaths with little or no space given to alternative views.
From these and other instances, it seems clear that the BBC has a biased attitude towards Homeopathy, which may be the result of relying too heavily on a small number of ‘experts’, who openly and persistently campaign against complementary and alternative medicine. These ‘experts’ operate in a similar way to climate change deniers, referring to a limited range of research, often of poor quality, to support their claims that there is ‘no evidence for homeopathy’.
We look forward to BBC programmes which fulfill its mission to explain and provide balance and coverage of the positive effects of Homeopathy.
Mark Taylor Chief Executive Society of Homeopaths”
END OF QUOTE
This hardly needs a comment – perhaps just 6 short points:
- To the best of my knowledge, the BBC has a policy of not being seen to be biased. The discussion referred to above was about the NHS stopping to pay for treatments that are either not effective (e. g. cough syrups) or cheaper to buy OTC than on prescription (e. g. paracetamol). Homeopathy is both. Therefore it would have even been biased NOT to bring homeopathy into the discussion.
- To claim the BBC-interviewer caught Stevens off guard is just silly: when you go on the radio to discuss such issues, homeopathy MUST be on your mind.
- To claim that the BBC is generally biased against homeopathy (on the basis of two anecdotes) is equally silly. The SoH should have done some systematic research on this – perhaps they did and found it failed to support their point? – this would have shown that there is plenty of (far too much) pro-homeopathy stuff on the BBC.
- To say or imply that homeopathy is of debatable or even no value to the NHS does not disclose bias; on the contrary, it is a reflection of the scientific truth which the BBC has an obligation to report.
- With their complaint, the SoH disclose an embarrassing degree of naivety and an alarming detachment from reality.
- Whichever way a rational observer might look at this, the BBC should in future become a much more outspoken defender of the scientific truth – on homeopathy and everything else!!!