Andy Goff wrote:
It's supposed to be about this - where the link goes to.....
Global warming 'confirmed' by independent study
The use of quotation marks by the BBC deserves its own thread...
I noticed some time ago that the BBC do seem to make an excessive use of quotation marks in headlines. I think it is starting to reach crisis point. The top three headlines on BBC News at the moment are
Press left McCanns 'distraught'
Civil servants 'to staff borders'
'Honour killing' theory is probed
It sounds a bit like Ian Hislop prefacing anything he says on HIGNFY with "allegedly" as a humorous way to supposedly avoid being sued for libel. By using quotation marks the BBC seems to divest itself of responsibility for checking the veracity of what they report. This takes impartiality to an absurd level, where they will report whatever somebody says, without making it clear whether this is correct or not.
In the examples above, the quotations marks are justified in the McCann headline because, presumably, the McCanns themselves said they were "distraught".
I'm not sure why quotation marks are needed in the second headline - either civil servants are or aren't going to staff borders. If this is a proposal rather than agreed policy this should be made clear, e.g. call for civil servants to staff borders
or plan for...
. Just leaving it in quotation marks is particuarly unhelpful as it isn't clear who the quotation belongs to.
The final headline is the oddest. It may at present be unclear whether the killing was an honour killing or not, but surely the fact that they are calling it a "theory" and that it is being "probed" suggests that there is some doubt about it, so why are quotation marks needed?
Some more examples of quotation marks in headlines currently on BBC news
Lawrence scientist 'made errors'
Home care 'breaches human rights'
FBI downplays water supply 'hack'
'Offensive' Lynx adverts banned
Two injured in house 'gas blast'
NoW whistleblower death 'natural'
'No idea' sons were radicalised
Eviction bid 'not made for banks'
MP campaign leaflet 'defamatory'
'Iron Maiden' airline shuts down
'Biggest classroom in the world'
132 councils 'lost private data'
'Space camouflage' coating claim......................................