Earlier this week, Head of Shooting at the Countryside Alliance, Liam Stokes, wrote for The Spectator Coffee House blog about a number of misleading social media posts that Chris Packham has published over the past week. To read the comment piece in full, please follow this link: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/much-ask-facts-balance-bbc-presenters-like-chris-packham/

In the piece, Liam argued:

“On Sunday evening, the BBC presenter Chris Packham took to social media to tell the world that they should support his anti-shooting campaign because declining populations of lapwings are ‘still being shot’. Unfortunately for him, this is utter tosh. No one is shooting lapwings, as Packham acknowledged five hours later in an apology on Twitter. 12 hours after that, a similar retraction appeared on his Facebook page. Yet even now, almost 48 hours on, neither of the original posts have been deleted.

“This fixation with the passing of mere hours may sound petty, but in the context of social media 48 hours is a lifetime. Packham has 48,608 followers on Facebook and 175,000 followers on Twitter, all of whom have had 48 hours to see these posts and react. And a reaction is exactly what these posts are designed to elicit; in a classic case of modern animal rights campaigning, they blend celebrity social media presence with a false accusation and a link to a parliamentary petition seeking to ban something.

“That these comments appeared ‘under his name’ is another question for the BBC. In his retraction, Packham wrote that the misleading post ‘was posted on this account’, suggesting that he didn’t write it. If this is the case, who exactly is using the BBC presenter’s name to push these campaigns? People follow Packham because they want to hear from the friendly face on Springwatch. Surely they deserve to know who is actually posting – particularly if his accounts are going to be so campaigning so stridently?

“The whole sorry episode is obviously embarrassing for Packham, but it is also decidedly awkward for the BBC and the whole idea of parliamentary petitions. As long as the former is giving its onscreen talent free rein to share misinformation and distort the latter, how can either one claim any credibility in the eyes of the public?”