What Is the Deal at the BBC?

I just do not understand why the BBC makes wholesale editorial changes to the stories it posts without noting that a story has been edited or even having some basic policy posted somewhere that the story you read now might be substantively different tomorrow.

Recently, Matt Drudge got caught by this when he posted a link to a BBC story that contained a line by a Washington Post employee to the effect that even the Post wouldn’t be interested in a John Kerry affair story even if it were true. By the time many people got around to reading the story, however, the BBC had excised that line and Drudge’s critics accused him of lying.

Here’s another example I happened to run across, which isn’t political. When this story was first published on the BBC site, the first sentence read,

A rapist told his victim to say she loved him as he attacked her, a court has heard.

But a few days later, the BBC changed the first sentence to correct that,

A man accused of rape told his victim to say she loved him as he attacked her, a court has heard.

A totally sensible change, but why not make it clear that the story has been edited since its initial publication and make it clear what has changed?

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