Marianna Spring, the BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent, will be a familiar name to many readers of the Daily Sceptic, not least for her far from impartial coverage during the Covid pandemic.
Spring has now turned her attention to the response on social media to the disappearance of Nicola Bulley. For several days Spring’s article on the topic was given a prominent position on the BBC News home page.
A lot has happened since the mother of two’s disappearance. There are many different issues which a writer for our state broadcaster might have discussed in relation to the Bulley case. Speculation online has been rife. Some have allowed their imagination to run riot. And a small army of self-styled amateur detectives and nosey-parkers descended on the village, to the annoyance of both the police and residents.
But what – it could have been asked – were the various and perhaps unique factors in this specific case that led to so much speculation and rumour? Why are a small proportion of people driven to put forward or believe conspiracy theories? What inner need do such theories perhaps satisfy? And in what way did the online response distract the investigation, as the police have claimed?
But instead of examining such issues, as is often the case with Marianna Spring we find her operating yet again in her default position. Whichever subject she is writing about, be it Covid, climate, Ukraine and now about the response to the disappearance in St. Michael’s on Wyre, each of her articles uses the same formula. They all follow a similar pattern and have a single aim. Spring’s message is nearly always that there are legions of malicious actors, whether state-sponsored or otherwise, who want to deceive us and who are inflicting significant damage on society. In short, be afraid.
Yet you don’t have to look too deeply into what she writes to see that her conclusion rarely follows from her premises and is not supported by the facts. What she says does not add up. And, in following her formula, the reasonable opinions of a large number of people who are sceptical of the orthodox views held by politicians and most of the media are not only not given a fair hearing, they are ignored. Or worse, they are dismissed, even smeared. This is achieved by subtly and falsely associating them with what is in fact a very small number of people who hold bizarre and questionable views.
Read More: The BBC Exaggerates the Threat from Conspiracy Theorists