UK

BBC Lashes Out At The Sun Over Front Page Showing Journalists Asleep

'Even with our eyes closed, it’s good to know the public trusts BBC News more than the Sun.'

16/11/2017 13:43 GMT | Updated 16/11/2017 16:21 GMT

The BBC has hit back at a Sun exclusive which claims to have exposed a culture of laziness at the broadcaster.

The corporation’s press office stated in a tweet: “Even with our eyes closed, it’s good to know the public trusts BBC News more than the Sun,” highlighting statistics showing 57% of the public trust it, as opposed to 0.3% for The Sun.

The Sun’s story, entitled ‘here is the snooze’, was illustrated with a smattering of pictures claiming to show BBC News Channel staff sleeping during night shifts at Broadcasting House over a four year period.

It cited a source who claimed: “In a 12-hour shift I would estimate some staff do around an hour of work.” The same unnamed source added: “There are far too many managers so once they have delegated, there’s isn’t anything for them to do – so they go to sleep or watch Netflix.”

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was apparently outraged by the scoop, tweeting: “What a joke! We’re paying for this!” Farage earned a swift response of pictures of himself sleeping open-mouthed on a train, and images of former Ukip MEP for the East Midlands Roger Helmer visibly snoozing at the European Parliament in Brussels. 

However the story has been losing legitimacy fast, with BBC journalist and presenter Babita Sharma tweeting: “I left the newsroom at 2am with journalists working round the clock on Zimbabwe story. The only scandal is your headline.”

James Glynn, formerly of the BBC World Service described it as “a piss poor front page.”

He said: “Shame on the Sun for this splash, I’m sure they have journos on nights too. It’s knackering so you have a nap, I used my ‘lunch break’ to sleep on nights.”

The story is, he added: “Another basic attempt to erode trust at the BBC.”

“Often had a power nap as part of my break around 3am”, tweeted Richard Leeming.

Some just openly mocked the story... 

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the BBC said the Sun had wrongly identified the workers as BBC News Channel staff, pointing out it is not on the air overnight and has no night shift team.

She added: “This is a misleading story about people working a long night shift. When they take a break, whether they walk around the block, go for a cup of tea or just simply rest, that’s surely up to them. The BBC is hugely grateful to its journalists who work through the night to make sure the country has the best possible news service when it wakes up in the morning.”

While several companies including HuffPost, Google and Facebook have nap rooms/ pods, there is not an equivalent at Broadcasting House.