By Tony Collins
The police, and civil and public servants in central government, the NHS and local authorities criticise journalists for biased reporting – taking selected facts out of context.
They’re sometimes right. Journalists working for national newspapers can draft an article that is diligently balanced only to find, by the time it’s published, it leaves out facts which would have complicated, blunted, or contradicted the main points.
It’s one thing for this to happen in the world of journalism. You don’t expect public bodies to report on their own affairs with a partiality that rivals out-of-context reporting by some newspapers.
But it appears to be happening so regularly that one-sided self-reporting on organisational performance may be becoming the norm in the public sector.
In the NHS subjective, positive reporting in board papers – where managers tell directors what they think they want to hear – could help to explain why
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