Sunday, 29 January 2017

Reporting 'responsibly'

Samira Ahmed was impressed with today's The World This Weekend:

It met her criteria for responsible broadcasting by featuring only 'responsible' guests - namely, (a) an immigration lawyer, (b) a Democrat congresswoman, (c) an Iraqi activist, (d) a former Labour foreign secretary and (e) a Conservative MP, all of whom are opposed to President Trump's executive order on refugees/immigration. 

No 'irresponsible' defenders of the Trump order were given airtime - a situation the Newswatch presenter appears comfortable with, however one-sided the resultant coverage might be. 

In fact, this edition of TWTW has been typical of most of what I've seen and heard on the BBC over the past day. 

Last night's PM on Radio 4 was just as 'responsible' in its 'guest choices', featuring three interviews in a row about President Trump's executive order on immigration - one with an Iraqi politician, one with an American Muslims campaigner, one with a British MP - all of them appalled by the presidential order. Again, there were no 'irresponsible' balancing voices to be heard.

On Radio 4's Broadcasting House's paper reviewa similar uniformity of view prevailed. Oddly, the earlier debate between a Guardian and an Independent journalist provoked the most disagreement on any of these programmes. 

Watching this morning's The Andrew Marr Show, every guest who expressed an opinion on the subject also expressed the same view. They too were all appalled by the order. 

On BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel early this morning, it's was also wall-to-wall critics of the order (often highly vehement ones) - from interviewees to press reviewers.

Only The Sunday Politics broke Samira's Law and invited on an 'irresponsible' Trump defender, Nigel Farage (someone Samira believes is on the BBC far too much anyhow. As she repeatedly writes on Twitter, she thinks he shouldn't be 'normalised').

The BBC is clearly as relaxed as Samira Ahmed about the narrowing of debate on this issue to merely various shades of one particular viewpoint (with very limited and controlled exceptions). 


  1. Certain to be "responsible" reporting Samira.
    Responsible for Cologne, Bataclan, Florida, San Bernardino, Berlin, Brussels, Fr Jacques.
    AND-responsible for Nigel, Brexit, Donald Trump, Geert, Marine, Tommy and Frau Petry of AfD.
    Keep up your "responsible" utterings Beeb-Stourton is "responsible" for much of the BBC spiritual death, Despite the likes of Lisa Tarbuck, Brian Matthew, Nigel Ogden and Alex Lester-the BBC elects to commit social hari-kiri...Laura K thinks she`s a suicide bomber, but she`s merely a pathetic Roman Candle of liberal uselessness.

  2. The ban is on a list of countries put together by the Obama Administration. Obama, by the way, banned Iraqis for six months. Nobody said a word.

    Only one of the ten countries with the largest Muslim populations is on the ban list, so it's nowt to do with Islam. Only an idiot would make an anti-Muslim ban on smaller countries and not the big ones.

    1. The BBC, at least in the form of its youth wing, seems keen to drive a wedge between cultures using what could at best be deemed 'inaccurate news'. Maybe James Harding could take a look?

      5 hrs ·
      All you need to know about Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban'
      What are executive orders and how much power do they give President Trump?

      The term 'muslim ban' appears in the linked piece considerably lower than in the Facebook version for da kidz.

      "In his first week in office President Trump has issued 14 executive orders, ranging from American industry to the right of some Muslims to enter the US."

      "Critics of Trump's Muslim ban say that it goes against one of the key parts of the constitution - that one religious group cannot be "preferred over another"."

      Have to appreciate the use of 'critics of' again, as the BBC more often than not starts the ball rolling.

  3. The Pandora's Box on what constitutes responsible anything from the reporting community seems now well and truly open.

    The BBC and staff will weather it, of course, but others may struggle.

    I have a complaint in now about Newsbeat's commitment to accuracy and community cohesion, but I doubt it will be on Samira's show any time soon.