Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017 Open Thread

This thread is well-and-truly open. It could not be more open. If it was any more open it would risk becoming infinite, and then Professor Brian Cox would be bound to turn up. And that would probably mean Robin Ince too.

All the very best for 2017, and thank you for reading us!


  1. Thank you both for being there to be read! Without sites such as yours, BBCB and Guido, I should be wondering if my small circle of good friends and I were just a bunch of dinosaurs!
    Happy New Year to you and all your contributors and readers!

    1. I'd like to start the ball rolling by asking readers what, for them, was the most egregious example of BBC bias over the last twelve months - apart, that is, from the last six months of relentless campaigning for the Remainers. My own example was going to be giving air-time to Asim Qureshi of CAGE, so that he could tell us that Jihadi John was a ' beautiful young man' but I find, to my surprise, that that was in March 2015. That it seems so recent gives the measure of the outrage.

    2. Good question!

      For me, my fave has to be the BBC Newsnight representative panel of ordinary EU Referendum voters! Just thinking about it makes me laugh. For those who may not have seen it, this was a regular feature during the EU Referendum campaign. The Panel was made up of ten people, ten "ordinary voters". It ended up being 9-1 in favour of REMAIN!!! This was one that the BBC actually grew embarrassed about. By the end Evan Davies came out with some k-rap about it now being scientifically representative! - as if the £5 billion BBC hasn't got enough money to pay for a scientifically representative panel. And it was in any case put together by a polling organisation. Anyway, for bias so clear and incontrovertible, for me that wins.

      Other contenders would be for the "quiet ones". Despite being the world's biggest and most trusted news organisation in the world (or so they tell us), the BBC (with Jenny Hill based in in Germany) had NO IDEA that over 1000 women were assaulted by migrants on New Year's Eve in Cologne and elsewhere. In fact the BBC only got round to reporting the story about 5 days after it first appeared on Breitbart. Breitbart is, according to the BBC, a Fake News outfit run by racists.

      Another "quiet one" has been the BBC's sudden complete lack of interest in Wikileaks E mails. Compare and contrast a couple of years ago when they were all over them...before Assange targetted the Clinton crime conspiracy that is.

      As for pro-Sharia spokespeople being on TV, I don't mind that...the more the better as far as I am concerned because people need to know the reality of that. The BBC and other UK Channels are now much more careful about exposing the population to the reality of Sharia - does anyone remember Sharia TV on Channel 4?

    3. Mine have been :

      1) The sheer amount of obfuscation and false reporting about Syria.
      I am very much looking forward to the BBC documentaries on those Al-Nusra heroes the White Helmets, (who aren't even the real Syrian Civil Defence Force), and Russia's bombing of the UN convoy. I assume these docs will be narrated by Dr David Nott and MP Andrew Mitchell.

      Peter Ford (former UK Syrian ambassador) has been interviewed only twice on the BBC since 2014 as far as I know. On both occasions, the presenter started arguing with his point of view (!!). They couldn't wait to get him off air as he clearly wasn't playing ball. Meanwhile, a selection of BBC stenographers hung around in satellite countries using Jihadi supporting sources for their 'news'.

      2) The complete and utter rubbish spouted surrounding the debate as to why Clinton lost the presidency.
      As they sit around in frowning circles scratching their heads trying to work it out, they wilfully and completely ignore the effects of the Project Veritas videos, the Trey Gowdy grillings of Clinton during the Benghazi affair, Obama's policy failures and lies, the reality of the open Mexican border and the catch and release policy, Clinton's desire to act like a Yankee Merkel, Podesta's dicey emails, The Clinton Foundation corruption, the MSNBC and CNN corruption, the inner city problems in DC and Chicago (among others), and Bill Clinton's sexual predation history.
      It's not rocket science if you tell the truth and allow all the evidence.

      3) Finally, the desire to remove Obama from all negative history - the extra judicial overseas killings, the support of Al Qaeda in the middle East and his health policy failure. Over the last month, the narrative has already started to drift to suggesting that negative events in the US are somehow Trump's responsibility even though he isn't president til Jan 20th. Barack 'The Dog Ate My Homework' Obama has actually been responsible for 8 years, but he gets a pass every time.

      There are two types of fake news, and the BBC is master of one of them. The trick is to employ a few senior journalists, pay them really well, then get them not to make a fuss if the news that's actually happening isn't quite what the powers that be want to promote.

      Jenny Hill is a perfect example. If Merkel loses this year it won't be because a truck killed 12 people. It'll be all the other small events that go to make up the whole - the stuff Hill hasn't mentioned - the rapes, the lack of desire to deport repeat offenders, the paid voluntary repatriations (45,000 to date), the demographic concerns, the massive crime spike, the 'lost' 250,000 migrants.
      The BBC ignores these things precisely so it can sit around tables scratching its head and wondering 'why?' for another day. Pathetic.

    4. Any Newsnight item with Crispin Blunt or Dan Hannan. Any trainee interviewers should be shown those interviews as an example of how to act in a completely partisan and unprofessional manner.

      Happy New Year

  2. Who would have thought this time last year that the political landscape would change so much in the space of one year?

    I thought at the end of 2015 that Leave while in with a chance were unlikely to was only really once Cameron started lying about the Brussels deal and then began on the absurd Project Fear that I felt we could turn things round. Proud to say I must have done about 10,000 postings on Mail Online, Guardian and elsewhere in support of Brexit, so think I did my bit!

    I was never a Trumpite (though it now seems to me he may yet prove to be a good president...) but I hated the smug BBC-MSM dismissal of his candidacy and their determination to protect Clinton.

  3. Istanbul massacre: January 1st and the BBC is at it already - reporting from Istanbul for the News Channel, their man-on-the-spot has just informed us that the Turkish government "is calling it a terrorist attack." With thirty-nine innocent people shot dead in a nightclub, what the hell else would anyone call it? Ah, of course, the preferred BBC euphemism would be something like 'a militant event'!

  4. Sadiq Khan spoke last night about an increased police presence in London for the New Year celebrations saying something like ... 'keeping us safe from the bad guys...' These comments were broadcast in an upbeat manner by the BBC. Will 2017 bring forth more such softening of the broadcaster's attitudes towards the naming of terrorist groups intent upon destroying our way of life?

    1. I found the whole of BBC One's New Year content very strange indeed. We had a pre-recorded Graham Norton Show which was average. And then, we had the spectacle of a suitably pumped up Robbie Williams performing his hits. The concert was strange in itself. The venue was inappropriate, the audience were hand-picked (I know this because they all seemed to know the words of the songs so well that they could sing out the choruses when Robbie faltered).

      We had coverage of the fireworks. It appeared that the TV coverage was 'over the shoulders' of the suitably well-behaved crowds. I discovered that these were fully paid-up spectators with tickets.

      The strangest part of the evening was the strangely positioned BBC man, Marvin. He was on a rooftop balcony. It appeared that he wasn't invited into the concert. Robbie came out to see him at one stage, but Robbie was still wired for the concert, so there was a lack of rapport between the two and therefore between Robbie and the BBC viewers.

      To say that the whole event was London-centric would be an understatement. This opens up the whole debate about the BBC's relationship with the rest of the UK.

      If last night's New Year celebrations were anything to go on, we can expect the same attitudes to continue into 2017. The BBC think that they are a world-leading broadcaster in London, one of the world's greatest cities, with a second-rate country in tow. All this biased reporting is symptomatic of the BBC's inability to come to terms with the reality that it is the whole of the UK that pays for them, and the time will come when Parliament can no longer ignore the protests from their constituents against the BBC's biased and antidemocratic activities.

    2. Marvin was 'owed' due to the way he was kicked off Strictly when Anastasia was injured and couldn't appear with him in the dance off. I expect Marvin to pop up everywhere including some very odd places on the BBC. Sorry to lower the tone on this site.

      But thanks to Craig and Sue for their observations about the biased BBC. It's others highlighting bias that makes me more aware on things I watch. Happy new year to them and those visiting this site.

    3. Anon - don't agree.

      For years, the New Year's coverage was Edinburgh-centric. Why?

      Robbie Williams is from Stoke on Trent, Graham Norton is from Dublin.

      Plenty of coverage of Hull as City of Culture, 2017.

      And I'm from Leeds, not London.

    4. We, the UK viewing public and Licence payers, were 'allowed to look in' on an event staged by London. The celebration (at whatever cost) was put on by London to show the world that London is one of the greatest cities in the world - nothing to do with the UK as a whole. This was an event to compete with Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore etc.

      The BBC are an integral part of the London-centric elite which has little regard for the majority the UK population. This prejudice has become all too obvious since the Brexit vote which has shaken their cosy way of life to the core.

      As for Hull and its award of the UK City of Culture status, let's see how much publicity and economic benefit flows their way over the course of the year. In the light of Londonderry or Derry's experience, I guess the coverage will be spread very thinly.

  5. It's like something from a Disney Movie for 7 year olds...Bad Guys - we know who they are and what inspires them.

  6. You know those neighbours from hell who play Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You" on repeat day and night...

    Isn't the BBC a bit like that? Same stuff over and over again at full volume. Just heard some of TWTW 1pm Radio 4...after a discussion of Trump, a huge segment given over to a history lesson about the rise of Hitler and UK media coverage of same (opportunity for a dig at the Daily Heil).

    Not very subtle. If they are looking for history lessons they could have gone to 1980 and looked at how Reagan was treated by the liberal-left media. They would have found him decried as a know-nothing cowboy actor who was going to lead the USA into nuclear war...not the guy who would end the Cold War and reaffirm America's supremacy in the world.

    1. Yes heard it too, the reason for the history lesson on Hitler's rise was very obvious. In fact Paddy Ashdown on R5 Pienaar's politics just before was busy making the same comparison. I don't believe in such coincidences.

      Before the history lesson wasn't just about Trump, it was a very biased discussion with message that globalism with open borders is the only good way forward.

    2. Mark Mardell pursued the comparisons on TWTW at the start of December and has blogged about it at least twice so far. It can't be a coincidence.

  7. BIAS ALERT...BIAS ALERT...Just seen a trailer for a programme called "Common Sense" on BBC. Very odd. Seems to be like a Vox Pop compilation (and we know how BBC loves vox pops for their distortion potential)...but heavily edited for comic effect. The trailer seemed to be selling the "way too complex for us thickies to understand" meme re Brexit...

    1. That does look grim. They've put the trailer on YouTube:

  8. The BBC Media Centre says this about it:

    Common Sense
    A weekly round-up of the week’s most talked-about topics and newsworthy events, bought to life by some of the funniest people in Britain.
    The topical comedy news show will showcase real people and their real opinions on the week’s topical talking points whilst in conversation with one another in everyday situations - whether at work, on a tea break or relaxing down the pub.
    Whether it’s general events from the news or the latest in politics or current happenings in the worlds of sport and popular culture, Common Sense will bring genuine and immediate reactions that collectively highlight the nation’s hilarious and unfiltered take on the biggest talking points that week.
    Contributors will talk about any news story, from any news source. Everything from newspapers, radio, magazines, websites and social media threads will be discussed, lampooned and ridiculed.

    Yeah, I bet it's "unfiltered"!!

    1. It will be about as unfiltered as the air in a 747 jumbo jet cabin!

      "Everything from newspapers" will be ridiculed? Somehow I doubt any Guardian editorials will find themselves in the frame.

    2. :-

      Yes, and I suspect the Daily Mail is likely to get the odd mention (or thirty).

    3. You could always try an FOI on what guides the 'filtering' process.

      For the Lols if nothing else.

  9. For me the most obvious example of BBC bias was the "terrorist house" fake news.

    After complaints from the Police the BBC were forced to change their "story" with a vague apology, and The Guardian pulled the "story" from their website entirely. Of course by then it mattered little, the lie that a boy had been arrested over a spelling mistake and this was directly because of the Prevent strategy, is now widely believed.

    To prove that the BBC has now dropped any pretence to impartiality, just a few weeks later Adrian Goldberg on his R5 programme had an episode critical of the Prevent Strategy in which this piece of fake news was presented as the main evidence, and the boy and his brother were given time on the programme to repeat the lies.

  10. On Radio 2 this morning I listened to 'Pause for Thought' on what would normally be the Chris Evans Show - but Sarah Cox was standing in for Chris. Pause for Thought comprised of a 'me, me, me' item full of self-woe about how the 2016 love-boat had sailed away without this person - she hoped for a better 2017 on this front, and then she spoke about the difficulties of on-line dating for a Muslim girl. The crux of the piece: It could have been inspired by the lyrics of Doris Day's Que Sera Sera.

    Sarah Cox was most sympathetic saying something like: 'I'm sure there's a nice Muslim boy just waiting for you out there somewhere'.

    Who was this contributor to Pause for Thought? Ramona Aly. A quick Google search for the name showed that she had written an article for the Guardian about H&M's clothing (for Muslim women) and the Bake-off Champion Nadiya Hussain. In the BBC world that must be sufficient qualification to contribute to Pause for Thought.

  11. On today's BBC News website is the usual 'Explainers' section. If you wish to see blatant political bias, take a look now. These are the headlines:
    Conservatives: Brexit trouble ahead for May in 2017?
    Labour: Labour in 2017, can Corbyn ride anti-elitism wave?

    These two articles are unashamedly pro Labour - that there will be a split in the Tory ranks - who will be the first to resign? etc., and for Labour, Corbyn might be able to ride the anti-elitism wave in the same way as Donald Trump!

    This is from The BBC Political Research Unit. They show photos of a grim-faced Theresa May close-up, and a picture of Corbyn as he won the 2016 Leadership vote - all smiling and confident-looking.

    Does the BBC not realise that anti-elitism does not equate to being pro-Corbyn - far from it. The liberal left London elite already form the core of Corbyn's support.

    1. we need to keep a look-out here. The Explainers section of the BBC News website had three windows this morning Conservative, Labour and Liberal-Democrats. By Lunchtime there were Just Conservative and Labour, and now at 1730 there is just the 'Conservatives: Brexit trouble ahead for May in 2017?' window.

      This is a trick played quite often with BBC news - to get the bias out-there and then back-pedal once the damage has been done.

    2. And now, 1940, the BBC Political Research Unit's pieces have disappeared altogether!

  12. So the BBC now has a perfect forum for pumping bias into its output...keeping the awful "Reality Check" brand going.

    It's odd for a "reality check" item that it should give such prominence to an opposition spokesperson's soundbite and photo...

    Leaving that aside, I have a more fundamental problem with Reality Check: the teenagers who write the stuff often come out with completely illogical gobbledygook. Try this from the above article:

    "In a recent consultation the government said under the new system at least 22% of all new builds would be starter homes. That means almost one million new homes would have to be built by 2020 to hit the government's 200,000 target.

    In 2015, there were a total of 170,730 new homes built, which would not be enough over three years, even if all of them gave 22% as starter homes."

    What does that mean? It switches from talking about the target percentage of starter homes to "new homes" - which in context could mean the overall total or the total of new starter homes. But seems like the overall total. But then why do they say that overall total would be LESS than a million ("almost one million") if starter homes are supposed to be 22% of the total. On their figures, then if 200,000 is 22% of the overall total, then the overall total is 1,004,000...that's MORE than a million, dumbos, or are Reality Check pioneering a new meaning for "almost" i.e. "about".

    The percentage of starter homes has nothing to do directly with achievement of the overall target - 200,000. The article reports that already 170,000 homes are being built, so increasing that figure by 30,000 to get to 200,000 seems eminently doable. The BBC give not a single reason why's just an excuse for a bit of a moan.

    Of course as with all BBC Reality Checks, it fails to get close to reality. The reality is that many of the 200,000 new homes are destined to become underused company lets, homes for some of the 8 million "business visitors" to the UK each year, or largely unoccupied investments for foreign oligarchs - in other words of absolutely no use to UK citizens at all.

    I also note this pathetic article has no useful graphs or historical references e.g. to the fact that a previous Tory Government in the 1950s managed to build 500,000 homes in one year.

    Lamentable, lazy and loaded - that's the modern BBC for you.