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Yesterday I received the BBC’s third response to my complaint. The back story so far is as follows:

They have continued to ignore my question, not only not answering it but not explaining why they are not answering it.  I feel like each time they respond they give me further reason for concern, not so much regarding their reporting on dog food in the program I complained about, but more the framework in which they operate generally. Specifically the reply states:

“… there is no requirement for the BBC to explore the range of different views on a subject in a programme, especially when that subject is one which is not considered controversial.”

So it seems the BBC can present one view, omitting all others and thus imply that view is the “correct one”. Also the fact that a view is not seen as controversial doesn’t seem relevant to me, surely as journalists and programme makers they should be expected to uncover and explore views that challenge the accepted norm?

I’m not sure how all this leaves me feeling (Ted knows how he feels about it though).

I feel I have adequately made my point regarding pet food to those involved in the making of the programme such that they will be open to exploring what I’ve raised, or will dismiss it as crazy. But I don’t feel that my questions have been sufficiently answered, I have just received a series of BBC statements which when I have questioned how they are able to make such statements they have replied with even more statements! That’s the part that I need to think about whether to go on to stage two or not.  As ever I am interested what you guys think, you can comment here or on tinkerwolf’s facebook page (www.facebook.com/tinkerwolf).

Here’s the response in it’s entirety:

“Dear Miss Marsh

Reference [Removed]

Thank you for contacting us regarding, ‘Food Factory’, broadcast on the 23 July 2012.

I understand you’re unhappy with our previous response didn’t adequately address your concerns.

We appreciate your continued correspondence and we’ve raised these with the programme’s Executive Producer, Jerry Foulkes, who has responded as follows:

“I understand your complaint to be that the programme included a statement suggesting that dog food contains “pretty much all” a dog requires, and that by doing so, without any proper examination of the industry or pet foods, was biased in favour of the industry.

It is clear from reading your complaint how you personally feel about Crown Pet Foods, and more generally about the industry itself, and you are perfectly entitled to hold such views. I think it’s important to start off by saying that there is no requirement for the BBC to explore the range of different views on a subject in a programme, especially when that subject is one which is not considered controversial.

This programme clearly spelt out its intentions at the start – to look at ready-made food stuffs, such as custard and pizza, and try to recreate these in the factory. As a brief aside, the programme looked at what goes into dog food, so comparing a ready-made pet food with pre-prepared human convenience food. We feel that the intent behind this programme, and more generally the series, was clear to viewers, and that this short section on dog food was in line with viewer expectations.

Jerry Foulkes

BBC Executive Producer”

If you would like to take your complaint further, you can contact Stage 2 of the complaints process, the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, within 20 working days, and they will carry out an independent investigation. You can email them at: ecu@bbc.co.uk , or alternatively write to them at the following address:

Editorial Complaints Unit

Room 5170
White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS

Should you choose to escalate your complaint we would ask that you include the reference number provided above in your correspondence.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards
Patrick Clyde
BBC Complaints
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.”

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