Saturday, 5 November 2016

Introspective post

Sue and I began this blog in a genuine spirit of open-mindedness towards the BBC. We wanted to start again, fresh, from scratch, and to try and be as fair as possible to the BBC. The BBC would be given the benefit of the doubt whenever there were doubts about bias. (You can read all our early posts if you don't believe us.) 

And that spirit persisted for some time. (You can read all our slightly later posts if you still don't believe us.) 

It also began to fray over time, and this year has frayed to the point of snapping (at least for me). Why? Because the BBC has regressed, and its regression has got much, much worse this year and is now, frankly, becoming insufferable.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt has started to seem naive. They aren't naive; and I should stop being so naive about them. (Sue has never been naive about them).

When I posted recently about reports of parliamentarians speculating that "a group within BBC senior management have decided that they see their job as actively campaigning to thwart Brexit", I sounded a very tentative note, wedded as I've long been to the 'collective ethos/groupthink' view of BBC bias rather than the 'conspiratorial' take on BBC bias. I just couldn't quite believe it was possible.

Some of you, however, said you had no doubt that the BBC was carrying on the 'conspiratorial' way. And I've since been told from a source I trust that the 'speculation' about a group within BBC senior management deciding to actively campaign to scupper Brexit actually comes from impeccable sources (presumably within the BBC)....

....which is severely alarming - especially as it chimes so closely with what I'm hearing and seeing on the BBC (huge amounts of outrageous bias)....

....and if it can be proven that such a group exists it would sound the death knell for the BBC's claims of impartiality, once and for all. It would surely be the end for them.

If true - and I now think it is probably more probable than not that such a group exists - please, please let the hounds of hell descend on the BBC. 

Meanwhile, I'm also starting to get to the stage where I'm even considering breaking a cardinal rule of mine for this blog - that nothing should be commented upon unless it's been heard - on the oft-mooted grounds that you sometimes don't even need to listen to something on the BBC to just know what it will be like. Among the items listed on the website for today's From Our Own Correspondent, for example, are:
  • Justin Rowlatt, in the smog of Delhi, hears how Theresa May's hopes of brokering a free-trade deal with India could be much harder than the government would admit to. 
  • Gabriel Gatehouse is shown a decades old piece in St Petersburg as the authorities tell people to prepare for the worst.
  • Alexander Beetham, on the US-Mexico border, comes face-to-face with some of those Donald Trump says he will keep out of the US. 
I'm guessing the first won't be a happy listen for Brexit supporters, the second won't make pleasant hearing for Putin supporters and the latter will raise the blood pressure of Trump supporters.

Of course I could be wrong about those items! - he says, the old spirit still lingering on, weakly.

And, thus, just before posting this piece, I gave in and thought I'd better listen after all. It's my duty. But it was, of course, just as I knew it would be. No unexpected perspectives came. The biases were exactly as predicted. Will I ever learn? 


  1. I sounded a very tentative note, wedded as I've long been to the 'collective ethos/groupthink' view of BBC bias rather than the 'conspiratorial' take on BBC bias. I just couldn't quite believe it was possible.

    The line of distinction between the two phases in and out of existence like an opening to an alternate universe/dimension in various episodes of Star Trek. One exists because of the other, and vice versa

    We know there are instances of, not really a conspiracy, but certainly a directive from the top: Multiculturalism, 28-Gate (Warmism), treating Islam differently (Mark Thompson's admission), a temporary attempt to change the anti-American bias (Justin Webb said so), to name just a few big ones.

    Sometimes, as with being anti-Israel, they don't need a directive from on high because everyone already thinks the same way (e.g. Tim Willcox thinking nothing of saying all Jews everywhere should expect punishment for what Israel does).

  2. You've illustrated this article with one of my favourite paintings, Craig.
    It's quite small and very perfect in real life. I'm not really an art lover, but I saw it at (I believe) the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and it jumped off the wall at me.

    I bought the postcard.

    If anyone from the BBC does read this blog, please take note of Craig's post. You're losing your minds and the corporation's behaviour has gone way beyond the pale.

    How can you faithfully report on the US Presidential election without even mentioning the Project Veritas videos and the ensuing Clinton camp resignations ?
    How is that possible ?
    Do you seriously believe that in 2016 anybody with any interest at all in current affairs doesn't know about what you omit ? 1980's tactics in 2016 - seriously ?!

    Do you think and hope we're as thick as some of the presenters you employ to shill for you while they develop their careers? Or is it a question of "fooling all of the people, most of the time" ?
    Do you seriously believe that viewers don't notice the supposedly educated and informed production teams of Newsnight, the news, PM, WATO, etc. casting important information aside as 'inconvenient and surplus to narrative' and therefore not worthy of attention ?
    History will not serve this era well as far as you're concerned. Trust has gone from those who expect quality and facts.

    You're selling yourselves out, BBC - you know it, and the sense of disappointment in the waste of what could be great is sadly reflected in this article.

    And finally, if you could refrain from helping to drag us into WW3, that would be just dandy.

  3. Craig and Sue - please keep with it, as I've said before I appreciate this blog because of it's more even and balanced approach. I know how difficult that must be in these interesting times!

    Have a wonder round the web, every even mildly right of centre and mildly left media outlet that lets us comment, is now full of comments regarding the BBC bias on show on a daily basis.

    1. Yes, Craig and Sue, please 'hang on in there!' Your moderate voice is, I think, far more effective - ie likely to be listened to - than more strident offerings we see elsewhere!
      You, and many others, are quite right to say that the BBC has become insufferable since 24th June & it may well be that highly-placed BBC executives have given the green light to their current antics, but the rot goes far deeper than that: I think we are seeing, neither the corporate persona at work nor a conspiracy, but, rather, a combination of the two. But the real driving force is not just the referendum result but the feeling of impunity the BBC has had since Cameron & Whittingdale let the Corporation off the accountability hook.
      How many of us still write complaints to the BBC? I confess that I gave up a some time ago. Could the answer perhaps lie in well-worded petitions that could not be ignored because the mainstream press (other than the Guardian & Independent) would pick up on them & ensure they were in the public eye?

    2. It's seven years since Nick Griffin Leader of the BNP was brought down by the BBC as the result of an appearance on Question Time. It was at the mid-term of Gordon Brown's tenure of No10, when there was a strong alliance between BBC and Government. I think that was the time that BBC realised that they could, (by orchestrating outraged left-wing groups to demonstrate outside the venue, and by priming the usual carefully chosen audience), ride rough-shod over any political group that didn't fit their mould.

      Buoyed up by this success (as they would have it), the BBC have become evermore ambitious to the point where they are now prepared to take on the majority of the UK electorate. They have tried to discredit UKIP and Nigel Farage in a way not dissimilar to their treatment of BNP. Unfortunately for the BBC, UKIP strikes a chord with many many voters including euro sceptic tories and traditional Labourites alike. Whereas when they attacked the BNP they had the tacit support of the UK electorate to do so, this time with their relentless bias against Brexit, they do not have that widespread support.

  4. Craig, I appreciated your "I sounded a very tentative note, wedded as I've long been to the 'collective ethos/groupthink' view of BBC bias rather than the 'conspiratorial' take on BBC bias. I just couldn't quite believe it was possible." because that chimes with my natural inclinations.

    However, I've worked in large organisations (not the BBC I hasten to add!) and I have to recognise that:
    1. A corporate culture (collective ethos) is not accidental or even evolutionary these days. Far from it. Organisations spend time and money developing a culture. My current organisation is just kicking off on a new culture (employing very expensive consultants to do the spade work). I believe the BBC culture is deliberately what it is.
    2. Again from experience of large organisations, it requires a lot of leadership and managerial effort and coordination to get alignment on a particular topic. The BBC's message on e.g. anti-Breixt is just so consistent and prevalent that it just has to have been orchestrated with considerable effort.

  5. I notice less and less BBC bias! That is because I increasing use the off switch or choose Classic FM (ignore their short news ). But the BBC is an organisation that brings its agenda into everything it does; Bake Off and Countryfile are fine examples. What was meant by Mary Berry when she said that the BBC 'had nurtured her career'? I wondered if it meant guest slots on other programmes, how to do her hair, how she dresses?
    But even a programme like Strictly brings out BBC agenda. Other than the Cliftons, why so many foreign dancers? Are there so few UK ones. Notice how in a reprise some dancers are shown doing their best bits, others their wobbles. We don't know the numbers voting but usually about now one of the front runners is in the dance off to show what happens if the public think they are safe and stop voting. And the judges seems to be increasingly reading the comments from a script they prepared earlier which failing a disaster doesn't always fit with what the public see, eg Darcy may say the couple were in sync when they patently were not. I think the BBC no longer is able to produce a programme without thinking that they need to manipulate their audience.

    1. Talking of Strictly, how did Len manage it? He was sitting in for Paul O'Grady on BBC Radio 2 from 5-00 until 7-00 pm (Sunday) - apparently live, he was talking about hold-ups on the M1 etc. So how could he be on the Strictly results show starting at 7-15 pm? Everyone knows that the results show is recorded after the Saturday show. The public vote is never audited, therefore the assumption is that the BBC programme makers bodge together the results to suit the format. By continually perpetuating this sort of misinformation, the BBC show themselves as manipulative. If the public are expected to accept this disregard for truth and accuracy, why should we believe that political news stories are treated with any more rigour. The BBC's attitude is that the public will simply lap up all the biassed half-truths they broadcast.

  6. A very fair post from Craig, in my view.

    I think the BBC's position will be driven by money: although they do not derive a vast sum from Brussels, we do know how hungry (greedy?) for cash the BBC is,
    the current lack of a credible opposition in Parliament to the Conservative Party and a potential mood swing of the population at large away from controlling liberal Socialism to a more middle of the road, easy-going conservatism.