BBC Invents New Germ: the E. coli “virus”

E.coli airlift for four-year-old: "A four-year-old boy suffering from the E.coli virus is airlifted to hospital as the number of cases rises to 108 ."


The BBC invents a new Germ


(Via BBC News.)

They describe E. coli, a bacteria, as a virus. Twice. This is not to make light of their outbreak, but makes me wonder about the basics of medical reportage.

Update 9/25/04 @ 0845: the story has been significantly rewritten.  Viruses are no longer referred to, but E. coli isn’t described as being a bacteria, either.


  1. After living three years in the heart of BBC country, I’ve lost all respect for them as a ‘news’ agency. They precipitated the suicide of a doctor by lying about what he said, and then blamed Blair for it.

    They have no checks-and-balance system to ensure accurate reporting, so don’t be suprised if MSRA now gets caused by the Gods versus Doctors and Nurses not washing their hands.

  2. Goat Whacker says:

    It’s funny they even show a picture of bacteria and still get it wrong. Maybe the article was written by the same reporter who thinks popliteal aneurysms cause strokes.

  3. And this surprises you?


  4. they now know something we don’t. *lol*

  5. Maybe they thought it was Eboli (sounds like E. Coli). You never know. Medical charades, maybe.

  6. Actually e. coli is a bacterium (singular) one of many bacteria (plural).

  7. OK stop the BBC bashing. The BBC’s reporting is head and shoulders above that of the US networks – they have much better international coverage and they do not let politicians get away with their standard glib platitudes. Will we ever see Bush interviewed by Jeremy Paxman? No, because “Paxo” would rip him to shreds, and reveal him for what he really is, an incompetent idiot. The US media are far too deferential to their politicians — we cannot question them directly, so the media must do the job on our behalf and there is no better media outlet than the BBC. Ever wonder why they are called biased by both Labour and Conservatives — because they are pretty much down the middle.

  8. Hehe. Pointing out factual errors is now “bashing”, and brings out the moonbat.

    As for ‘deferential’ US media, you’re kidding yourself.

  9. I was responding to Rhianna’s general BBC bashing as opposed to your original report of the error in that report. As to “deferential” you have obviously never seen Mr Paxman in action — interviewees have been known to walk out of interviews on air because of the pressure he was applying.

  10. The problem of substantively changing your blog post, news report, or other information programming after you’ve put it up and detect a significant error is a huge problem for the Internet. People’s reputations can be affected negatively by issuing a correction or debating a questionable assertion and then have the underlying post changed out from under them.

    What’s an even more fun trick is to lay false claim of an error and then assert that the article had been changed, those dastardly meanies. Having a clear policy that errors will be corrected when detected and noted on the original page is really the best policy. It’s a pity that the BBC is so caught up in maintaining its appearance of being head and shoulders above anybody else that they can’t be bothered to earn that status for real.