BBC labelled ‘propaganda machine’ after slashing Brexit from food shortages report

BBC: Martin Kennedy on the state of Scottish agriculture sector

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National Farmers Union Scotland president Martin Kennedy was quoted in a BBC News website article making reference to Brexit. But a clip broadcast on BBC Scotland appeared to omit mention of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The difference between the written account and video version led some to accuse the BBC of “actively” cutting mention of Brexit.

Twitter user MarinaPurkiss, sharing a link to a report about the interview, commented: “This is insane. [BBC News] is no longer a reliable news source.

“Just a [Government] propaganda machine: [BBC News] actively cutting out mention of Brexit from a report on the issues affecting farmers amid potential food shortages.”

Fellow Twitter users chimed in with martin_berry replying: “The [BBC News] performance on Brexit and holding this Government accountable is pretty shocking.

“I prefer [Channel 4 News] but not the Government is going to sell that.”

Fellow Twitter user supertanskiii wrote: “I’d say it’s unbelievable but it’s not at all.”

SentasTheApp commented: “The BBC was never a reliable news source. It was always the broadcasting arm of the Government. Now it is just more visible.”

The BBC has been approached for comment.

Mr Kennedy, in the clip aired on BBC Scotland, said: “We’ve heard the term before about a ‘perfect storm’, but I have never seen anything like this before.

“And it really is a perfect storm, on the back of the Covid issues where we had a real lack of labour.”

It is at this point that there is a cut, before Mr Kennedy continued: “And now of course, with the Ukraine crisis, the implication that has on energy costs, in particular on feed, fertiliser and fuel, has compounded the whole thing.

“Every sector’s facing some real challenges coming forward and the last thing we want to be doing is winding down on production because the implications that would have on our consumer further down the track will be even greater food inflation.”

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After watching the news item, Twitter user RobertTyreBute pointed to coverage on the BBC website.

It reads: “NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy told BBC Scotland the impact of Russia’s invasion, after a two-year period which brought Brexit and the Covid pandemic, was ‘absolutely devastating’.

“He added: ‘I have not seen anything like this before. It is completely unprecedented. The long-term implications of that is going to have a serious impact right across the food supply chain.

“We have heard the term before about a ‘perfect storm’, but I have never seen anything like this before.'”

Reference to Brexit appears in the written version, but does not in the clip, in spite of it being one issue making up the “perfect storm” Mr Kennedy mentions.

Alastair Campbell recently criticised the BBC for failing to pinpoint Brexit as the main reason for horrendous queues at Dover.

He tweeted: “The often brilliant [BBC News] coverage of Ukraine stands in stark contrast to what happens whenever anything to do with Brexit hoves into view and the Orwellian shadow of Tory appointments hovers over all.

“How can anyone write about Kent Qs without B-word?”

The BBC journalist who wrote the article, Katie Prescott, insisted Brexit was not to blame.

She said: “The extraordinary queues recently at Dover are mainly down to capacity being down by a third as P&O ferries routes are out of action.

“This is why fresh meat companies want a priority lane.”

A separate report published by the BBC on Monday did, however, mention Brexit.

In it, a farmer says 500 tonnes of beetroot was left to rot due to a collapse in demand caused by Britain’s exit from the EU.

The report says that after Brexit, Will Woodhall said he anticipated problems so grew a smaller crop.

As business boomed, he decided to boost production, only to be “suddenly cut off”.

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