It’s time for another episode of “Bury the Lede.” This time the journalistic behemoth guilty of this increasingly common dereliction is BBC News. An article at the network’s website reports that a member of the Teesside Town Council named David Smith faces nine counts of sexually touching of a child.
The 30-year-old, who has resigned from the Conservative party but remains a councillor, denies what he called the “spurious allegations”.
Mr Smith, who was elected in May, is due to appear at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on 7 August.
In a statement, Mr Smith said he was resigning from the Tory party and Middlesbrough Council Conservative Group “with immediate effect”, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
So far, so good. The BBC goes on to quote Smith as saying,”I completely reject these spurious allegations and removing myself from the party will ensure I can focus all my efforts on fighting to clear my name.”
But it’s the detail the network holds back mentioning until the next-to-the-last paragraph that might cause one to question its journalistic integrity. That is Smith’s having petitioned the town mayor to make bathrooms in the community gender-neutral.
In June, TeesdaleLive wrote:
… Cllr Dave Smith, Conservative member for Coulby Newham, is calling for Middlesbrough to become a gender neutral town and is asking the mayor to make a start by designating all council building toilets as gender-neutral.
He said: “On Tuesday June 18, I am meeting Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and one of the issues I will be bringing up is one that I included in my local election campaign – gender neutral toilets.
“I am also intending to contact the relevant executive member and to get a local conversation across the area on this topic.
“Through my time interacting with local transgender and non-binary people, I’ve seen first hand the difficulties faced by these individuals when accessing public toilets and changing rooms.
“The feeling of humiliation is an experience that most of us don’t go through when visiting a public toilet and, in 2019, that is simply unacceptable.”
It’s possible Smith is innocent of the charges filed against him. It’s also possible that his enthusiasm for gender-neutral bathrooms arises out of his support for LGBTQ rights and not some perverse desire to make it easier for sexual deviants to prey on children. The question that remains, however, is why the BBC didn’t see the possible relevance of any of this when preparing its report.