Sunday, 8 May 2016


Mishal Husain, tonight

On the subject of tonight's BBC One early evening news bulletin, I can't resist adding to the point I made in the previous post - that it led with yet another pro-Remain talking point on the EU referendum debate (namely the anti-Brexit warnings of the two ex-MI5/MI6 chiefs) and that, as a result, our running total counting 'which side's angle comes first in either the headlines or the whole bulletin' now stands at 9 for Remain and 3 for Leave.

The imbalance just keeps on growing.

Though the balance of direct speech (clips) from each side was precisely balanced during that section today (29 seconds for each side), it has to be said that Frank Gardner's commentary tipped the balance yet further in the Remain direction when he described them as "probably the most authoritative voices so far from the world of intelligence to express their opinion on whether Britain is safer in or out of the EU", thus downgrading the views of (ex-MI6 boss) Sir Richard Dearlove & others who've said that Brexit won't be a problem for security.

And then came a bit on the economy from Vicky Young. This bit led with Michael Gove putting the pro-Brexit case but 'balanced' him with George Osborne putting the anti-Brexit case. A small businessman putting the pro-Brexit case was then similarly 'balanced' by someone the BBC's Vicky introduced as a "leading business figure" putting the anti-Brexit case. Here the balance of direct speech (clips) from each side wasn't precisely balanced with the Remain side getting 8 seconds more than the Leave side. Plus Vicky Young steered the narrative to show the Remain campaign seizing on Mr. Gove's comments as a "significant moment" and her outline of the Single Market's 'free movement of people' policy said "that's why people can come to the UK from all over Europe and lots of Britons retire to Spain" (an 'equivalence' that even More or Less admitted was way off balance. The total number of Brits abroad in the EU (including Spain) are far fewer than EU people abroad in Britain. 


  1. I think it's wonderful that you are carrying on analysing but I think I kind of gave up on this several weeks ago. After an initial false dawn of a balanced QT (balanced panel, balanced question and balanced audience! - shows it is possible) it's been the three Rs ever since: Remain, Remain, Remain!

    The only interesting question is whether people at the BBC know they are being biased. I suspect the answer is that those at the top definitely do, and are determined to be biased. Further down the food chain I think a lot of them are just swimming in the cultural waters that make it seem natural to favour Remain...they probably actually think they are being objective and factual, though clearly they aren't as this website and others have shown now hundreds of times.

  2. So just like the grossly slanted Newsnight, Remain gets solo appearances, while Leave is always balanced out by an opposing view. Is that a fair assessment?