If you’ve spent today believing that the BBC actually broadcast the ‘C-word’ on Radio 4 at 6.30pm, you’ll probably appreciate the point I’m about to make.
Whether intentionally, accidentally or merely as a victim of poorly informed authorities or malicious japes, journalists need to be more and more careful about the information they’re giving out.
The impact of a piece of incorrect information can be huge. For example, many cucumber traders in Europe are apparently facing huge losses because of the current e-coli outbreak being hastily – and wrongly – blamed on Spanish cucumbers. According to The Grocer:
Suppliers were reporting that cucumber wholesale prices were down by as much as 30% in the immediate wake of the crisis, despite there being no evidence at all that the UK was implicated in the outbreak.
One Dutch supplier to the UK reported a decline in cucumber prices of 25% to 30%, and said he was “effectively throwing away” produce. “It shows how misinformation can damage the entire sector, the entire country in terms of the sale of fresh produce,” he said.