BBC Nonce: The Story That Never Was “Two plus two equals five”

Two plus two equals five
"Two plus two equals five"

Self-evident truth and self-evident falsehood

“Two plus two equals five” (2 + 2 = 5) is a mathematically incorrect phrase – George Orwell.

In George Orwell’s seminal dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, the phrase “Two plus two equals five” (2 + 2 = 5) represents a mathematically incorrect statement used to illustrate the totalitarian regime’s manipulation of truth. The novel’s protagonist, Winston Smith, encounters this distortion of reality during his torment in Room 101.

O’Brien, the interrogator, explains to Winston that the Party’s control over physical reality is inconsequential as long as the citizens of Oceania surrender their own perceptions to the political will of the Party.

The concept of doublethink is introduced, where individuals must simultaneously hold contradictory beliefs and accept the Party’s version of truth.

O’Brien declares that the number of fingers held up by the Party can be whatever they choose it to be, stating, “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes it is four fingers. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once.”

In our current climate, this fictional phrase takes on a symbolic resonance as we witness various forces attempting to manipulate public perception and shape reality to suit their agenda.

It seems we must all repeat, “Two plus two equals five”

‘Nothing inappropriate’ in BBC presenter row – young person’s lawyer

Claims made by the mother at the centre of the BBC presenter scandal are being challenged by the lawyer representing the young person involved. In a letter addressed to the BBC, the lawyer casts doubt on the prevailing narrative that has dominated headlines over the weekend. As the BBC prepares to present its annual report, the director general can expect the crisis to dominate discussions.

The lawyer firmly asserts that “nothing inappropriate or unlawful” occurred, and emphasizes that the young person denied the claims to The Sun even before the article was published. The Sun initially reported allegations that a BBC presenter had engaged in inappropriate behaviour involving explicit photos and claims to have evidence supporting the mother’s allegations.

However, the lawyer’s letter, sent on Monday, reveals that the young person had sent a WhatsApp message to The Sun on Friday evening, denying the claims made by their mother and stating that the statement published in the newspaper was entirely false. The lawyer further criticizes The Sun for proceeding to publish their “inappropriate article” despite the denial. The lawyer also highlights the invasion of privacy caused by press reporting and questions why neither The Sun nor the BBC contacted their client before publishing the allegations.

Responding to the lawyer’s assertions, The Sun defended its reporting, stating that the story pertains to concerned parents who filed a complaint with the BBC regarding the presenter’s behaviour and their child’s well-being. The Sun claims to possess evidence that supports the parents’ concerns and calls for a proper investigation by the BBC.

The Sun doubled down on its accusations stating in a headline:

‘BBC ARE LIARS’ Family of youngster ‘paid by BBC star for sex pictures’ says corporation ignored bombshell testimony given 7 WEEKS ago

In a subsequent article published on Monday evening, The Sun references excerpts from the young person’s legal letter that were disclosed by BBC News. In the new interview, the mother and stepfather reaffirm their allegations. The step-father, in particular, contradicts a previous statement by suggesting that allegations were presented to the BBC for an hour, contradicting the claim that the family was not properly interviewed after the initial complaint.

The BBC star is accused of paying the youngster for sexual photos and video calls – with the money allegedly spent on a “spiralling” crack habit.

The family said they complained to the BBC hours after the presenter tried to meet the youngster at a train station.

The stepdad insists he only wanted them to get the star to stop sending cash.

The article also mentions that the stepfather had reported the matter to the police, but was told that no action could be taken as it was deemed non-illegal. It should be noted that BBC News has not directly spoken to the young person and is unaware of their identity. Furthermore, the BBC has not had access to The Sun’s body of evidence or the dossier that the family reportedly handed to the corporation over the weekend. The BBC has confirmed the suspension of a staff member but has not disclosed their identity.

While the Metropolitan Police is currently assessing information provided by the BBC, no investigation has been launched at this stage. Detectives held a virtual meeting with BBC representatives on Monday to discuss the matter.

In its initial report, The Sun alleged that a BBC presenter had paid the young person tens of thousands of pounds for explicit images, beginning when the individual was 17. The BBC has acknowledged receiving a complaint in May and receiving “new allegations” the day before The Sun published its claims.

The Sun’s report on Sunday conveyed the family’s dissatisfaction with the BBC’s response, claiming that no proper interview had been conducted by the corporation after the initial complaint. The article also mentioned that the BBC presenter made two “panicked calls” to the young person, who is now 20, following the publication of the original story.

For anyone trying to get a sense of how this situation unfolded, here’s a timeline of all the events so far:

  • Friday 19 May: The young person’s family complain to the BBC about one of its presenters, according to the Sun newspaper
  • Thursday 6 July: Allegations “of a different nature” are put to the BBC, according to director general Tim Davie
  • Friday 7 July: The Sun publishes claims that a BBC presenter paid a teenager £35,000 for sexually explicit photos
  • Saturday 8 July: The Sun on Sunday publishes more details of the presenter’s alleged actions
  • Sunday 9 July: The BBC confirms a presenter has been suspended and the corporation is in touch with police – with the Met confirming an “initial contact” has been received

The reality is until it was published by the SUN, the BBC looked very much like they were hoping it would all go away…

As the intricacies of this story continue to unfold, it remains imperative to approach the claims and counterclaims with a healthy dose of scepticism, while ensuring a thorough investigation is conducted to uncover the truth behind these allegations.

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