Home Editor's picks Dear BBC, unscientific research is fake news

Dear BBC, unscientific research is fake news

Does your “research” conform to scientific principles? It’s a simple yes / no question.

The now infamous BBC report on “Fake News in India” has seen its share of ups and downs. I mean that quite literally; because the BBC keeps taking it down from their website and then putting it back up. With each new iteration come new amendments, regrets and clarifications.

And then the critics seize upon the new batch of sorry half-excuses, half-apologies and half-truths offered by the BBC. Clearly, they are having fun with it by now, led most prominently by Opindia’s Nupur Sharma. Then, the BBC goes back into its hole with its report, wondering how to patch it up.

The errors and outright lies in the BBC’s “report” are so damning and the excuses so juvenile that it seems they never even considered the possibility of public scrutiny when they put out their “research”. It appears they were relying on “argument from authority”. They assured themselves that the “natives” would not dare to question them and even if they did, their voices would not be heard. Initially, the BBC’s sepoys in India tried just that.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

This is a problem. Because a rising India is prone to asking questions about everything. Which includes both the factual basis and the underlying intent of the BBC’s ‘civilizing mission’.

So if the BBC translates “Diwaliya kanoon” (Bankruptcy Law) as “Diwali law” and goes on to say that a well-established story about the success of Modi’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is “fake news”, they are going to get laughed at.

Let me show you how the BBC broke every single rule of ethical research.

The first rule of research is that sampling must be randomized. Even if you are not trying to do an opinion poll, you must take care to find a range of voices. But the BBC relied almost exclusively on sources like Altnews whose owners have repeatedly shown pathological hatred for the BJP.

When doing “research”, the most important thing is to try and break out of your comfort zone, go far outside the circle of people you know and obtain a diverse sample.

But instead of randomized sampling, the BBC relied on something that can only be called “privilege based sampling”: your voice is recorded only if you are my friend!

How did the English language media try to create a narrative of a wave of cow-related violence in the country after 2014? By unleashing a wave of reports of such incidents.

Then, the website Indiaspend did a headcount of these reports and used this to conclude that “97% of cow-related violence happened after 2014”, effectively recycling liberal outrage into data.

And now the BBC comes in and sources from websites like Indiaspend and Altnews to draw its conclusions!

So, the real primary source of the BBC “report” is not facts, but liberal outrage.

Then, there was the matter of BBC using a sample of just 40 people for their research on our country of 1.2 billion. Again Nupur Sharma worked hard to calculate what the recommended size should be based on mathematical laws governing statistics. In any case, it was immediately clear that a sample size of 40 is outright ridiculous.

But what happened next is the most shameful thing of all.

Untitled.png

Untitled.png

This is pure, unadulterated garbage.

Either the research follows scientific principles or it does not.

If it does not follow scientific principles, it’s not research. There are a lot of words that can be used to describe it: gossip, rumour, hearsay, lies etc, but it is not “research”.

No way.

Unscientific research is not a new or different kind of research. It is garbage.

Just like “fake news” is not a kind of news.

If it’s fake, it’s not news. And if it is news, it can’t be fake. The expression “fake news” is just a catchphrase, an oxymoron.

Exactly like that, whatever you choose to call it, “qualitative research” or “ethnographic research” or whatever … merely putting an adjective in front of the word “research” won’t turn something into research.

In fact, the use of extra adjectives like “qualitative research” or “ethnographic research” to sugarcoat the situation is even more suspicious. Those adjectives mean nothing.

Does your “research” conform to scientific principles? It’s a simple yes / no question.

If the answer is ‘no’, calling it research is like saying that fake news is a kind of news. It’s not.

There’s no middle ground here between scientific and unscientific, no grey area.

Even the claims of ethnography research and qualitative research were shot down. BBC used even those methods of research wrongly to arrive at generalised, fantastical claims like “Nationalism is the driving force behind fake news” when in fact, in qualitative research one absolutely cannot do that.

In fact, it amazes and disappoints me how the BBC can even offer such a sorry excuse and hope to be taken seriously.

How many people would be willing to board an aeroplane if they were told that the plane had been “tested”, just not scientifically?

I’d love to see a BBC staffer go flying in a plane at 30,000 feet that has only been “ethnographically tested”.

So let us apply the same simple logic even when we are not going to be flying 30,000 feet above the ground. If it’s not scientific, it’s garbage. End of story.

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Most read articles recently

Sri Lanka attacks

Sri Lankan millionaire’s family was an ISIS cell: Suicide bombers shatter shameless excuses peddled by ‘liberals’ to justify Islamic terrorism

All over the world, the terrorist attacks by radical Islamists is immediately served with long and extensive excuses about how social ills, discrimination, poverty, hardships, and atrocities lead to terrorism.

Meet the Photoshop artist whose work Akshay Kumar showed to Prime Minister Modi

While mostly people have been appreciative of his artwork, suspended bureaucrat Ashish Joshi has threatened him with police complaint about his cleverly Photoshopped image

Netizens play Jagga Jasoos as Arvind Kejriwal resurfaces days after rumours of him beaten up by AAP MLAs went viral

From 'scratch marks' on nose to 'new frame of glasses', Twitterati had a field day on Kejriwal's first public appearance after a long time
If you believe Google trends, this election is a runaway win for Modi

If you believe Google trends, this election is a runaway win for Modi

It’s fairly clear: Congress hasn’t managed to get its message out.  If you ask Google Trends, this election is over. The writing is on the wall. PM Narendra Modi is all set to win

Coward, gutless, visionless, losers: ‘Neutral’ media has a meltdown after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is not fielded as Congress candidate against PM Modi

The media first put its eggs in the Rahul Gandhi basket, and when that appeared to have holes big enough to fit chickens, they decided to pin their hopes on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

‘Mea culpa’: Rajdeep Sardesai finally admits Modi wasn’t responsible for 2002 and that media sensationalised the riots

Responding to a question asking whether Narendra Modi the then Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 was anyway responsible for the incident, Rajdeep Sardesai admitted that he personally believed that Modi was not responsible for the riots that followed after Godhra massacre.

Propagandist Dhruv Rathee mocks Manohar Parrikar’s death to score political brownie points

Earlier, too, Rathee was caught speaking the same language as that of Pulwama attack terrorist by mocking 'cow urine drinkers'

After getting Bangladeshi actors to campaign, Mamata’s TMC caught running ads in Bangladesh appealing for votes

Mamata's TMC is running as many as 13 ads on Facebook, appealing people to vote for TMC in the ongoing elections

Lok Sabha 2019: Congress not even confident of crossing 150 seats mark, Kamal Nath puts the figure at 122

Congress seems to have even stopped pretending to believe that it will win the elections and form the government.

Student group of TISS demands scrapping of awards like Gold medal as it ‘upholds concept of merit’

TISS student group expressed 'solidarity' with the Student Action Committee that was evidently spearheading a campaign against the provision for awarding 'Gold medal', 'Silver medal', 'Best Student' and 'Best Dissertation Award'. 

Latest articles

Connect with us

157,558FansLike
130,771FollowersFollow
55,426SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans: