All well and good this story – but how do the consultants define rural? Lets hope those “rural” dwellers who were upset with the badger coverage weren’t just farmers – there are more shades of activity and opinion in rural England than people often simplistically assume. Not that farmers aren’t fully entitled to their opinion!!

The BBC’s coverage of countryside issues is too “squeamish”, ignoring the gritty realities of rural life and favouring images of “fluffy badgers”, a report has found.

There is a deficit in reporting on rural affairs, with important stories overlooked, according to the independent review commissioned by the BBC Trust.

Issues of health, education and employment in rural areas are rarely covered, the report concluded, with the corporation preferring to focus on protests or animal stories with a “feelgood” ending.

Coverage of the badger cull provoked the greatest anger amongst rural dwellers.

The report noted: “The predominant use of images of healthy badgers to open or conclude a report was felt to weight the argument in favour of the anti-cull lobby. People asked where were the pictures of sick badgers with TB, or infected cows being shot, or a distraught farming family coming to terms with the loss of their animals.

 

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