Questioning aspects of BBC’s Smiler coverage

The SmilerThe British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a world-renowned media organisation, particularly respected for its impartial news coverage.

However, it could be argued that the corporation has somewhat overindulged in the coverage of the Smiler accident at Alton Towers.

They have provided much quality coverage, staying away from the unverified and bizarre claims made by other news outlets.

But there have also been some elements open to question.

Three days after the accident, the BBC News at 6 was headed by the story that three other Merlin Entertainments rollercoasters were closed in the UK.

This was deemed to have been more significant than 68 suspected illegal immigrants, including two pregnant women and 15 children, being been found inside four lorries at a port in Essex.

Also on Friday, the BBC News website included quotes from someone who had been on the front row of The Smiler “a few days ago” – hardly a unique person, given that around 250 people per hour filled those seats.

Today, the basis of an article was that testing on the Smiler’s trains is to begin tomorrow, even though that news was already reported by the BBC on Friday.

Articles have also appeared top of the BBC News website during the past few days.

The demand and public fascination is not in question, it is the nurturing of that fascination that possibly is.

While far from sensationalising in the order of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media, some aspects of the BBC’s coverage do raise eyebrows for an organisation known for its sense of perspective.

Particularly in the online environment – where international visitors provide valuable advertising revenue – the temptation to capitalise on the interest rollercoaster crashes inevitably have, was possibly too much for the BBC to resist.