The BBC has hit back at a Sun exclusive which claims to have exposed a culture of laziness at the broadcaster.
The corporation’s press office stated in a tweet: “Even with our eyes closed, it’s good to know the public trusts BBC News more than the Sun,” highlighting statistics showing 57% of the public trust it, as opposed to 0.3% for The Sun.
Even with our eyes closed, it’s good to know the public trusts BBC News more than the Sun. pic.twitter.com/RBogyQSjVa
The Sun’s story, entitled ‘here is the snooze’, was illustrated with a smattering of pictures claiming to show BBC News Channel staff sleeping during night shifts at Broadcasting House over a four year period.
It cited a source who claimed: “In a 12-hour shift I would estimate some staff do around an hour of work.” The same unnamed source added: “There are far too many managers so once they have delegated, there’s isn’t anything for them to do – so they go to sleep or watch Netflix.”
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was apparently outraged by the scoop, tweeting: “What a joke! We’re paying for this!” Farage earned a swift response of pictures of himself sleeping open-mouthed on a train, and images of former Ukip MEP for the East Midlands Roger Helmer visibly snoozing at the European Parliament in Brussels.
However the story has been losing legitimacy fast, with BBC journalist and presenter Babita Sharma tweeting: “I left the newsroom at 2am with journalists working round the clock on Zimbabwe story. The only scandal is your headline.”
It’s true @TheSun we do sleep on the job. Our work is a bit taxing at times. @BBCNews doesn’t do lazy journalism. How about you? pic.twitter.com/5VBjL9zlEl — Quentin Sommerville (@sommervilletv) November 16, 2017
This is a piss poor front page. 1. Shame on @TheSun for this splash I’m sure they have journos on nights too 2. It’s knackering so you have a nap, I used my “lunch break” to sleep on nights 3. Another basic attempt to erode trust in the BBC https://t.co/ttLycasccy
November 15, 2017
A sense of how we’ll factchecked this “story” is: 1 BBC News Channel is off air by midnight 2 Its shifts finish then (tho staff known to stay beyond hours-unpaid-to cover breaking news). 3 Overnight newsroom tech staff may remain at desk to rest during an unpaid overnight breaks https://t.co/kPamq5cnFn
November 15, 2017
James Glynn of the BBC World Service described it as “a piss poor front page.”
He said: “Shame on the Sun for this splash, I’m sure they have journos on nights too. It’s knackering so you have a nap, I used my ‘lunch break’ to sleep on nights.”
The story is, he added: “Another basic attempt to erode trust at the BBC.”
“Often had a power nap as part of my break around 3am”, tweeted Richard Leeming.
Didn’t see this before the conversation I had with my children over breakfast about how bad night shifts are for your health. Did loads for BBC news. Often had a power nap as part of my break around 3am https://t.co/chCEb3f3Ga
November 16, 2017
I genuinely thought this was a spoof when I first saw it. Yes, the Sun has merged with the Onion https://t.co/7dV1nKRkVm
New shocking Snoozegate revelation – had to wake this @BBCNews employee who was asleep on the NEWSROOM CARPET! pic.twitter.com/Qf13qECQBC
When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the BBC said the Sun had wrongly identified the workers as BBC News Channel staff, pointing out it is not on the air overnight and has no night shift team.
She added: “This is a misleading story about people working a long night shift. When they take a break, whether they walk around the block, go for a cup of tea or just simply rest, that’s surely up to them. The BBC is hugely grateful to its journalists who work through the night to make sure the country has the best possible news service when it wakes up in the morning.”