The BBC and euthanasia

Hi there,

Journalists are amateur bioethicists. Not just yours truly, but all of us who supply the news. And sometimes journalists have their own agenda. Another instance of this came to the fore this week in the UK. Ray Gosling, a veteran broadcaster and gay rights activist, was found guilty of wasting police time by fabricating a cock-and-bull on-air confession about mercy-killing a lover with AIDS some time ago.

It turns out that the story – which cost British taxpayers a pretty penny to investigate – was a complete fabrication. The 71-year-old told the court that “I would have done it. I would have, the tenses were wrong.”

As the judge pointed out, a bit more than the tenses were wrong: “You know the power of television celebrity and the trust the public and television producers have in you. You have to match this with the responsibility of identifying and telling the truth to the public.”

But, to my mind, the real scoundrels in this fantasy were the BBC producers whom Gosling told about the “murder” and did nothing. For them it was just an appealingly sensational yarn. They did not shrink from collaborating with Gosling’s aggressive promotion of euthanasia. Isn’t that evidence of unabashed prejudice on the part of the BBC, Britain’s premier source of news?

Any comments from the UK?


Michael Cook


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