Just as Sue is taken aback by the inexhaustible torrents of pro-Corbyn posts that she's seeing on Facebook, so I'm taken aback by the unending flow of accusations of anti-Corbyn BBC bias on Twitter.
Some may have a point but most just sound ridiculous - like the guy who tweets The World at One pretty much every day to accuse them of being 'Tories'. (Even Mark Mardell got called "the voice of Tory #bbcbias" this week, though it's usually Martha Kearney who's on the receiving end of his "Tory" accusations).
A flavour of the latter - the Twitter world of completely bogus claims of BBC bias - came on this morning's Today and, as newspapers (like the Guardian) are reporting it, it's worth commenting on here.
Today had lined up two Labour MPs - anti-Corbyn Barrow-in-Furness MP John Woodcock and pro-Corbyn former BBC reporter Clive Lewis. The latter began his contribution by protesting against the previous report from Sima Kotecha, who had featured some vox pops from Slough - the constituency of one of the two Labour MPs calling for Jeremy Corbyn to resign:
Clive Lewis: First thing, Nick. Let's just put a marker down here. I think the report that you put on first, I assume that was a polemic because it was so one-sided it was an absolute outrage. I'm going to say that just for the record.
Nick Robinson: Hold on a second!
Clive Lewis: So I'll consider the issue...
Nick Robinson: Hold on a second! Sima Kotecha's a very professional reporter. She'd been to Slough and she's reported what she said. It was neither...
Clive Lewis: The leading questions in that report were quite outrageous. I've been a journalist myself Nick for twelve years. I know a leading question when I hear one, OK...
Nick Robinson: You've made your point. Let's move on.
Was Sima Kotecha's report from Slough a one-sided, anti-Corbyn polemic?
Well, it featured four vox pops. All were Labour supporters. Two approved of Jeremy Corbyn, two disapproved of Jeremy Corbyn.
To the first (anti-Corbyn) member of the public she asked:
You've got the MP for Slough saying he should stand down?
Was that a leading question? Or just a question (based on that fact that the local MP had called for Mr Corbyn to resign)?
She then introduced the second and third (pro-Corbyn) members of the public:
Across from a construction site on a main road, mother and daughter Dora and Gloria are standing by the traffic lights. Both are Labour supporters and both want more unity in the party.
"Both want more unity in the party" can be read as critical of either side, or as both sides, so I wouldn't call it either 'polemical' or 'one-sided'.
And Sima Kotecha's next words (introducing the third vox pop) don't strike me as providing any support for Clive Lewis's charge of anti-Corbyn bias either - quite the reverse...
Her mother Dora isn't worried though and believes Jeremy Corbyn will be the next prime minister. She says that we mustn't forget that he won a quarter of a million votes in the leadership election and has a huge mandate.
...though she did then ask about her "worry" again:
You're not worried?
...so that section of her report also balances out, I reckon.
As, I think, did her interview with the final vox pop here. The first two questions to him could, again, be read as critical of either side, or both sides. The third question, again, asks if the respondent agrees with his own MP. And the fourth question puts a pro-Corbyn point:
- Darren Clews is about to whiz off on his motorbike. He's a traditional Labour supporter but says he's frustrated at the way the members are behaving.
- And at the moment you don't feel that it is [united]?
- Do you think that Jeremy Corbyn should resign?
- Why do you say that, because a lot of people voted for him?
Far be it from me to stick up for the BBC (though I don't see why I shouldn't), but Clive Lewis MP was the one showing outrageous, one-side, polemical bias here. (It's a good thing he's no longer a BBC reporter then!)
The kind of Twitterati described at the start of this post are going crazy about this though. They think Mr Lewis has a point, even though he hasn't actually got a leg to stand on (in my view)...
...which is yet more evidence for the point that if the BBC is getting complaints from both sides it doesn't necessarily mean that the BBC is getting it about right.
It might simply mean that the BBC is getting largely valid complaints from one side and largely invalid complaints from the other side, so the BBC is in fact getting it about wrong.
That said, none of this is to say that all of the complaints that the BBC is biased against Jeremy Corbyn are necessarily wrong - just this one, and plenty of others pouring in daily on Twitter.