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 and Support:
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

Image Source: The Week

Mandya: Actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj attends funeral of Pulwama martyr, villagers expose his hypocrisy towards Armed Forces

Prakash Raj, a left wing ideologue, who is often known for joining hands with the left-liberals to express their hate towards Hindus and the BJP, has plans to contest in the upcoming elections from Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency.

Pakistan quotes The Quint, Karan Thapar and Praveen Swami to brand Kulbhushan Jadhav as a ‘RAW spy’ at ICJ

Pakistan quoted several articles published in Indian to present its case during Kulbhushan Jadhav hearing at the International Court of Justice
Locals even pelted stones at injured jawans

Pulwama attack: Women, children in Kashmir ferried expensive military grade RDX in small quantities for months

The trigger for the explosive was manufactured locally and that ammonium nitrate was used as an oxidizer in the RDX explosive. The military grade RDX was obtained from Pakistan and the device was assembled around 10 km from the blast site.
How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans after Pulwama attack

How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans

Ravish Kumar of NDTV is a man known for many lows. But this may well be his lowest point.
Amar Singh donates property worth Rs 15 crore to RSS-affiliated Seva Bharti.

Amar Singh donates ancestral properties worth 15 crores to RSS-affiliated organisation Seva Bharti

Amar Singh donated Rs 15 crore property to Seva Bharti, an RSS affiliated social service organisation.

Waters of 3 rivers flowing into Pakistan will be diverted to Yamuna as per Indus Water Treaty: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari had said that dams and other developmental projects are being conceptualised on the 3 rivers will choke Pakistan’s water supply

Congress workers used to do booth capturing for me and my father when there was no EVM : Congress leader Kirti Azad

Kirti Azad was suspended from the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015 after he accused senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley of Corruption.
Article 370

Article 370 must go: BJP can’t pussyfoot any longer

So what is this Article 370 which allows J&K to function much against the national (or for that matter, it’s own) interests?
NDTV's misleading headline

NDTV does what it does best: First spreads falsehood over Vande Bharat Express, now twists PM Modi’s statement

Congress President Rahul Gandhi had used the event of technical slag of Train-18 to target the NDA government and had mocked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over reports of India’s fastest train, Vande Bharat Express suffering a breakdown.

Woman claims sexual harassment at NDTV, claims Barkha, Prannoy Roy never responded to her complains

She said she wrote multiple mails to Dutt and Prannoy Roy but her concerns were not addressed

Latest articles

Connect with us

138,142FansLike
111,068FollowersFollow
23,386SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these