There was a report last night on Channel 4 news last night about how an urban fox had got into a house and attacked two 9 month old twin baby girls. The girls were injured but thankfully survived and are now being treated in hospital.
The thing I wanted to focus on though was a particular aspect of the reporting. It's only a minor thing (in the grand scheme) but it is reflective of how reporting often happens nowadays. Normally Channel 4 has very high standards but even they can slip a bit sometimes.
The report covered the initial story and then went on to mention how foxes very rarely do anything like this to humans. They then had a segue that was worded something like "However the next-door neighbour is not so sure" and interviewed a woman who lived next door to the victims of the attack who went on to give her view that foxes can be a bit bolshy. The exact expertise of the next-door neighbour in this area was not revealed. The reason why her view was basically given equal airtime with a real expert (who made it clear these things are very rare and that the fox was probably just investigating with its mouth rather than deliberately attacking) was not really clear.
Scott Mills on his Radio 1 show has a phrase he sometimes uses when they go to vox pops: "We went down to Stupid Street to gauge opinion". It always makes me laugh because of how apt it is.
Surely if the news is going to seek views they should be informed opinion on subjects rather than random neighbour/man in the street. I can get that by wandering up the street and asking someone myself.
Or getting into a taxi and not asking anything!