Newsnight editor defends report questioning eye-witness accounts of baby thrown from Grenfell Tower

The BBC’s Newsnight attracted criticism last night after devoting much of its programme to a 20-minute report disputing eye-witness reports that a baby survived being thrown from the Grenfell Tower blaze.

The reports stemmed from a named, on the record video interview with a woman who told the Press Association that she saw a woman throw a baby from the ninth or tenth floor and a man catch it.

The woman told Newsnight: “My memory of that night is fading… I don’t want to talk about it.”

Should Google and Facebook be forced to pay publishers for content?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Broadcaster and architect George Clarke also told Newsnight on the day of the fire he saw a woman catch a “kid” thrown from the eighth floor.
He also did not want to comment on a matter which he said was “so hurtful to so many people”.

The programme used scientific evidence, including throwing a bowling ball out off a multi-story car park (pictured above), and interviews with psychologists and a doctor to conclude that the story “probably never happened”.

Times columnist Hugo Rifkind said on Twitter: “The Newsnight Grenfell baby debunking story is just bizarre. Why are they doing this?”

Newsnight editor Ian Katz responded: “Because it’s a powerful case study in how false narratives become accepted as truth even when lots of people acting in good faith.”

But Nikki Clarke, from London, said on Twitter: “Shame on you Newsnight. What a pointless, wasteful & hurtful report. A complete insult to the ppl who lived in Grenfell.”

David Wrigley said on Twitter: “How odd that #Newsnight spends 20m on ‘was a baby thrown from Grenfell’ story & no recent info over ongoing neglect of survivors @iankatz1000.”

Katz responded: “We report regularly on the fate of the survivors David…most recently a 30 minute film on what became of all residents on one floor.”

When told on Twitter that the report was: “Utterly pointless and so upsetting for those already suffering”, Katz responded: “Obviously not out to upset anyone but odd to suggest that trying to establish whether reported facts are true is pointless.”

Abul Kalam sad on Twitter: “I’m sorry but haven’t the residents of #Grenfell suffered enough that now #Newsnight question the legitimacy of their harrowing stories.”

Twitter user Olivia Smith, who describes herself as a Welcome Trust Research Fellow, said: “Absolutely disgusted by #newsnight Grenfell baby story, which included throwing a bowling ball off a roof. Academic analysis at its worst.”

SIGN UP HERE FOR

PRESS GAZETTE DAILY

Our free daily round-up of the biggest news about the world of news

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ten − 7 =