...and any other matters that take our fancy
Looks like we got to 32 in the Official Festive Bias Classification with "Bias by Recruitment" (Guardian readers only need apply) being suggested. I agree - a very important self-fulfilling bias category. I'd like to add an obvious one to make 33: "Bias by Vocabulary Choice". This is of course a huge area - one I am surprised I'd neglected to add previously. It covers many things but among my favourites are right wing think tanks "claim", "assert", things whereas left wing think tanks "point out", "conclude", "find evidence"...During the EU Referendum campaign pro-Remain agencies were always concluding, calculating, pointing our and finding...or projecting, predicting (never guessing!)...When they were criticised by the Leave side, the BBC always used the language of emotion and violence instead of cool consideration: the Leave side "angrily denied", "lashed out", "slammed" etc
These are very good, along with additions from others.May I collate and use by way of a hold page on the BBC Complaints site I hope to reactivate over the festive season?
Yes, of course. Needs a bit of editing...some text missing here and there which I am sure you can spot. No. 32: Bias by Paragraphing. Leave the key info to the penultimate para of a long article (not the final para because people sometimes skip to that). You can hope the punters have got bored by then and miss it...thinking the perpetrator was simply a "man" with known "mental health issues".
Sorry my numbering as always was out - that was 34 Bias by Paragraphing.
With reference to 'Bias by Recruitment', the BBC are consistent in their misapprehension that if they add together all the minority groups that they promote, then all that is left is the nasty far-right, uneducated, racist misogynists. The extrapolation of this misconception is that all these minorities' opinions are shared with those of the BBC, but the far-right etc are not -making them the established opposition to their self-declared unchallengeable view. Thus, the BBC ignore the overwhelming majority at the centre of the political spectrum, who do not necessarily identify with any of the minorities, and equally, do not have much time for the far-right.
MB, I don't think you got to my particular bug-bear "bias by vox pop" ? Probably you have it covered under the 35 (and rising!) other types of bias, but the vox pop bias technique kept jumping out of my radio and hitting me over the head so often that I now switch off or don't listen when a vox pop feature occurs. It's very clear that the vox pops are selected in order to push the preferred BBC narratives. It's simply a way of injecting editorial while giving enough distance that BBC can be seen as impartial. The most egregious examples were the uneducated, northern, toothless, slurred, old Brexit supporters versus the young well-spoken, good-looking remainers.Fi Glover's "The Listening Project" is even a whole (seemingly endless) series of this form of propaganda. I always say if I want the opinion of the man or woman in the street i can ask them myself, I don't need to over pay BBC reporters to ask selected people, carefully edit their responses and then bash me over the head with them.
Good point. There's also the emphasis, which can be quite subtle - for instance putting the denial first, so that we hear the report (in knowing voice), "The government denied Labour claims that...", which leads the listener to a Mandy Rice Davies interpretation.
Yes, lets call that No. 33 - Bias by Mandy Rice Davies. The point of that bias is to keep the denial as thin as possible. I think Norman Smith is quite good at that. He's always happy to tell us the unfavoured have "denied" something...but does so in "well wouldn't you too if you'd been found out" sort of way...It's normally the right who get this but there was a phase when the BBC were gunning for Corbyn that he got the treatment (when the BBC thought Corbyn was a vote-loser who would keep the Tories in power for the next 20 years - now of course it's all Christmas jumpers with Jezza's face on it!).
Numbering got out of synch there - Bias by Mandy Rice Davies should be No. 35.
I’m not sure how you would categorise it, but there is also the bias outside of news reporting that feeds into comedy, drama and the rest of BBC programming. Insidious bias? Yesterday I turned on the radio for a some background noise whilst I was working and what else: a play about a nasty group of (naturally) far-right hackers influencing elections around the world by spreading fake news. Predictably Brexit was included. After that I took a break from Radio 4, only to tune in later and hear Jeremy Hardy whining about how much he hated the Tories. Poor Jeremy, he really is the left personified - angry and resentful about anybody and everything.
Terry, I heard a bit of that play the Anti-Social Network)...I don't think it was meant to be a comedy but it was certainly laughable down to the evil character being called Igor and the FBI (because they are a Trump target) being dressed up as some sort of superhero outfit dealing with wrongdoers around the world! And yes they way they rammed in the Brexit theme was hilarious. I think there was already a category for comedy and drama...but you are right it is insiduous. Radio 4 has virtually wall to wall PC Multiculturalist propaganda - it will be pro EU propaganda on Farming Today, the usual anti-Brexit stuff on Today, then maybe a bit of Guardianista History in the Long View, extreme feminism from Woman's Hour, the Listening Project maybe with a bit of PC agitprop, onto You and Yours churning over familiar soggy left themes...on it goes through another news programme, the Archers with some teetotal female Polish migrants saving the day for the village cricket team before a non-corrupt Arab businessman saves the stables...on and on it goes all day long. As you say, insidious...and the comedy/drama propaganda is probably as important as the News drip-feed. through the Archers, afternoon drama
Terry has put his finger on an important, and perhaps the most dangerous, category of bias; as MB says, it's virtually wall-to-wall PC Multiculturist propaganda - it's difficult to keep one's guard up all of the time, even for those of us who are alert to what is going on. The danger is that some of it may slip in subliminally - how about calling it something like 'subliminal brainwashing'?
No. 36 - Bias by Uneven Standards. I don't think I mentioned this before but the BBC applies standards differently around the world. Israel is held to a much higher standard. Russia and China hardly ever get asked about their huge empires and their occupation of territories against the people's will. Representatives of countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada and Argentina don't get asked about eradication of indigenous peoples. Romania's occupation of Magyar lands is of no interest to the BBC. Likewise, while the BBC shows an inordinate interest in civilian killings in the US by gunfire they show no interest in such kiliings in Mexico or Brazil, and absolutely no interest in the murder of thousands of white farmers in South Africa. While the BBC are willing to shed tears over a few thousand Palestinian Arabs losing their homes and being "forced" to flee some 70 years ago, they have no interest in the many millions of Europeans, Jews, Hindus and Christians forced to flee from the Middle East and South Asia.
Fantastic reading. There are some excellent examples on the bias list.A bit of constructive criticism if I may... I think that any list that has 30 points or more is in danger of diluting the message and begins to lack credibility because it begins to display anti BBC bias in itself.A big edit to 10 key biases might help.
To be fair to MB, Craig threw down the gauntlet to reach the Festive Fifty. The Genie of bias is out of the bottle!
Yes, blame Craig - and anyone can choose their top ten. No. 37 Bias by Photo Choice...you can choose a nice one of Jeremy looking either messianic or avuncular, surrounded by happy smiling people, or you can choose one of Theresa looking like she's trying to swallow something on I'm Celebrity, isolated and with a dark background.There's a nice example on the BBC News website at the moment I've just seen: May looking anxious and pensive her frame apparently being squeezed between two EU flags that dominate the photo...and then there's Nicola Sturgeon smiling, looking very businesslike with one of her ministers carrying lots of impressive looking files...Chance choice? I doubt it. Happens too often. In fact photo bias is one of the easiest things to spot.
Yes. I think they learned the technique from the Guardian - the paper always manages to get photos in which George Osborne looks like Dracula. Mind you...
Yes, blame me - and MB is on a roll and very nearly there!
And 37 reminds me of No 38 - Bias by Placard Placement. The BBC knows they are not going to get away with a newsreader saying "The Tory fascists have decided to dismantle the NHS." But there's nothing to stop them showing a placard in a protest that says something like that: "Tory fascist scum will kill the NHS". When they, rarely, cover right wing protests, the placards get far less prominence, unless they think they've found one that is an own goal.
No. 39 - Bias by Soft Interview...This is used particularly when the BBC wishes to put rocket boosters on someone's proposals. So we saw recently Blair being given the softest (and longest) of rides by Mardell because Blair was proposing a BBC favourite: a Brexit Reversal Policy. No. 40: Bias by Celebrity Endorsement...no not the celebrity endorsing a product but the BBC endorsing some celebrities over others. So Jim Davidson and Cliff Richard get the cold shoulder despite being very popular (though not to my taste particularly I must say). People like Lily Allen know that BBC endorsement can be vital to prolonging their career lives way beyond their natural span and the BBC knows it is useful to have people like Lily Allen around to endorse otherwise somewhat difficult policies like "no borders". No. 41 - Bias by Reality Checking. The BBC Reality Check is used to create a kind of alternative universe where matters of policy can be judged objectively by reference to "facts". Of course this universe does not exist in any shape or form but the BBC likes to pretend it does and that it (alone in the UK) can objectively arbtitrate such matters. Anyone who reads BBC Reality Check can see it has nothing to do with "reality" and everything to do with preferred policy, seen by (1)Its choice of subject matter (the BBC never investigates the dodgy social studies it is fond of quoting such "1 in 3" girls are now suffer an eating disorder, that sort of thing) (2) Its concentration on "future outcomes" which by definition have not happened yet and cannot therefore form part of our "reality" (3)Their disregard for their initial starting question (you often find the conclusion has little to do with the question!). (4) Their frequent recourse to "argument from authority" - quoting their favoured sources. No. 42: Bias by Absent or Abbreviated Nomenclature. Trump is more often Trump than President Trump whereas President Obama was nearly always President Obama, certainly for his first term. Just as Thatcher was more often Thatcher than Lady Thatcher. Use of the "criminal" surname is often reserved for those perceived as "right wing" Tories. Jeremy Corbyn is much more likely to have the cosy "Jeremy" attached. Also by a kind of reverse law, titles are much inflated when the BBC wants to make use of them: so you get stuff like Lord Shyster of Plain-Wrong, the ex Lord Chamberlain of High Office and current Chairman of the Lords Select Committee on Matters of Great Import has denounced the treatment of Calais migrants as "callous"... They know what they're doing!
As we're still counting, what about Bias by Emotional Response. The BBC will look for clips where the interviewee is reduced to tears for whatever reason - often a referred emotion such as tears for a WWI 'hero' ancestor who they never met. What was that Smokey Robinson song about 'I second that emotion'? We never see a far-right person in tears.
Bias by Second-hand Emotion?
Yes I don't think we've had that, so No. 43 - Bias by Emotional Response where the BBC acts as emotional gatekeeper to the nation. You can cry about your factory closing down but not about your neighbourhood being changed out of all recognition by mass immigration. If you are the victim of Islamic terrorism we prefer smiling defiance to tears. But other forms of terrorism may be treated differently depending on context.
No. 44 - Bias by Views as News. The classic recent example was James Cook's take on Trump (he doesn't like him - what a surprise!) - a virtually 100% opinion piece appearing under the BBC News banner. Of course a lot of BBC bias involves smuggling views into news but this refers to those blatant examples where a piece should be labelled "A Personal View" if appropriate at all (doubtful).
Not sure how this blog is funded but........... Couldn't the list be copyrighted and then Craig and Sue could sue the BBC?
It's an excellent, useful list. Something must be done with it. This blog has never cost us a penny though. We went straight for Google Blogger's free option and have stuck with it ever since. It literally couldn't be cheaper. It seems to cost other blogs hundreds or thousands of pounds to operate. They even do appeals. I almost feel like saying, 'Why?'.
There is definitely no copyright on the list... :) Completely free to reproduce in any medium...only thing is so far the POV is all over the place...it begins with the BBC's POV ("this is how we distort things") but then moves more into a descriptive text. Think it would probably be better with the BBC POV all through, confessing to their bias techniques! :) If we get to 50 before Christmas I will reproduce the whole lot in a more uniform style and fully edited. :)
You could then do 'The 50 Biases of Christmas' in the style of that famous English Christmas carol:"On the fifth day of Christmas the BBC sent to me, Bias by headline creep, Bias by burying, Bias in perpetuity, Bias by news prioritising, and Bias by news agenda choice in a pear tree."(No seriously, that's NOT a new challenge! :-).
The perfect present ;)
On the twelfth day of ChristmasI turned on the BBCTwelve progressives strummingAcceptable opinionsTen Lords pretendingAnchors obfuscatingNarratives for milkingBias by omissionBe afeared of PutinGas li-ight-tingNon-sequitursSnow on DimblebyChange your genitalsAnd a Trump Trumping in a Trump tree
Then the Christmas appeal: "At a time when many of us are looking forward to enjoying a oomfortable Wintertime with our non-structured families (or person-agglomerations as they are now known), spare a thought for the tens of thousands of snowflakes whose have been triggered by white supremacist fascists like Julia Hartley-Brewer and Boris Johnson exercising free speech and had their lives ruined. Their careless hate speech has reduced many of these snowflakes to tearful inaction. Just £10 from you can set them on the road to recovery. Here's Jake from Surbiton...he accidentally saw a headline in the Daily Mail while travelling on a tube train. He has now been unable to go out of his house for the last three months. With your help we can get him back on demos...Just £30 will see him fully kitted out in a new Antifa black uniform (used to distinguish it from fascistic black uniforms) including face mask, and military style cycle helmet. £50 will help him pay for a train ticket to wherever Trump is staying when he visits the UK in 2018. £200 will pay for a laptop with which he can bombard the BBC with complaints about their fascist programming. Please think of Jake and people like him at this Wintertime...set them on the road to recovery and ensure that the fascistic, pro-Brexit anti-Corbynist front are completely smashed in the year ahead." That was a charity appeal broadcast by Benedict Cumberbatch. It doesn't mean he will be taking in any snowflakes of course.
The BBC prominently featured this story of a shared selfie between Miss Israel and Miss Iraq at the recent Miss Universe contest.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-42009879And fair enough too with their message promoting 'peace and love' in these difficult times. In however small a way, some basic humanity offering hope for the future.No sign on the BBC of the follow up to this story however, now that the family of Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq, have been forced to flee the country due to ensuing threats.https://www.thejc.com/news/world/miss-iraq-s-family-forced-to-leave-over-joint-instagram-photo-with-miss-israel-1.450462I will not be holding my breath waiting for them to rectify their omission.
We've similar stories so often before now. I think the UK promoted a kind of X Factor singing contest in Afghanistan. The poor contestant who accidentally showed a lock of hair had to flee the country.
Well-spotted Rob. The BBC's failure to follow up such stories, especially when they go badly wrong (as here), has become quite a hallmark of the BBC's reporting recently. This one cries out for an update.
The BBC goes a bit vague on the histories of some, who have at least survived but owe little credit for that part of their lives to the BBC. They rather put the crosshairs on Malala, for instance.
Occasionally, the good old Beeb come up with the most interesting of stories. This is one such:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-42283531For once the story comes as a straight reportage of the historical events, and nobody tells you what you should be thinking, what emotional response you should have, and there is no pounding base rhythms, and not a 'star' in sight.
MB, have you covered my two bug-bears, bias by Vox Pop and bias by Newspaper Review? They are both obviously used to maintain the BBC's preferred narratives via careful selection of the Vox Pops or of the paper headlines. Vox Pop has plumbed new depths in the aftermath of the EU Referendum, Leave voters are selected as old, Northern, uneducated, slurring and toothless whilst the Remainers are good looking and articulate. Fi Glover's "The Listening Project" is a (seemingly endless) series of the Vox Pop left liberal narrative technique. If I want to know the opinion of the man or woman in the street, I can ask them myself very easily, I don't need to overpay BBC correspondents to select the people and edit their responses for me.It's similar for newspaper reviews where the Guardian is always prominent or unhelpful headlines to the Government that have occurred on the DT or DM are highlighted. Overall the State Broadcaster rebroadcasting the Newspapers has always struck me as immoral and in breach of the license fee.
This reflects another bias: Bias by Laziness. I suspect that the BBC obsession with US culture and politics is partly due to an abundance of available material which can be edited quickly and easily to suit the BBC narrative. The anti Trump stories are symptomatic of this.
Ozfan - no, shamefully neglected to include Vox Pops. So that's No. 45 - Bias by Vox Pop. They are a really important bias tool aren't they. Included in nearly every national and local news programme. They can really put a nice spin on a story. And there are the visuals - the BBC are very happy to have pro-Brexit vox pops if they are delivered by an old obese bloke on a mobility scooter with a fag hanging out of his mouth, with the betting shop visible in the background.
No, we didn't have bias by paper review...but I think that definitely does deserve a separate bias entry because it is a very particular type of bias and probably a very effective one...it is leading by the nose, isn't it - firstly in choosing what stories to highlight and then in telling the audience what the correct "reactions" should be. Compared with Sky's the BBC's paper review appear almost Stalinist in the narrow range of opinion on offer, which is why I hardly ever watch it. I have noted previously that some years ago the BBC stopped publishing all the newspaper front pages on their website. This was clearly because the Express had taken to publishing anti-mass immigration stories on its front page. They then did a selection of news stories always missing out the Express anti-mass immigration ones. I think the policy might changed back again, but it is clearly a serious issue for them. So No. 46 - Bias by Newspaper Review.
Anonymous, I am not sure we can have Bias by Laziness...they are lazy but are they deliberately lazy?. I think there's got to be a strong element of deliberate bias. The American Thing has been mentioned in a previous category (double standards - only gun massacres in the USA are of any real interest to the BBC...anywhere else gets hardly any coverage compared with the USA). Yes, it's laziness and a love of the US junket circuit...but is it deliberate bias or would that happen even if they suddenly experienced a miraculous conversion and all became Trumpists overnight. They'd be lazy, US-obsessed Trumpists then I suspect. Happy to include it if others feel I am being to strict in my categorisation. :) But for the moment, the running total stands at 46.
Fair comment MB. But, lazy reporting leaves the way open for fake news. Inaccuracies are allowed to slip through. Laziness is about creating sensational stories from unsubstantiated sources.As we know the BBC rarely to follow up a story if the facts no longer fit the narrative and are found to be incorrect. Corrections do not undo the damage caused by biased slapdash reporting.
To see biased newspaper reviewing raised to an art form, watch Martine Croxall doing 'the papers' on the News Channel.
Yep - she's the best. She almost dares the poor, cowed reviewers to disagree with her.
Anonymous - True that laziness opens the door to fake news but so does the licence fee. But I wouldn't have a category for Bias by Licence Fee. These are more structural matters. We could also have Bias by Londocentrism which is definitely the case...but again I feel that is structural rather than being a specific bias technique.
It's amazing what you come across online sometimes. Here's one about BBC TV presenter Reggie Yates. https://forums.digitalspy.com/discussion/2256236/reggie-yates. He made a disparaging stereotyping comment referencing Jews and has stood down from presenting some programme as a result. There's also a report about some further stereotyping and /or misleading business in a documentary he did in Australia about Aborigine people. I don't know whether this was on the BBC website or on the TV News as I don't often tune in to them but I do know how the BBC gives prominence to matters are racist or indeed "racist", even if they are something simple such as a wrong use of a word.
Student vote 'swings further to Labour' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42357159 Should this mention that Labour has already back tracked on their student loan election promises? Bias by omission?
Newsnight:They have an item on Christianity (CofE) and women/lesbian/gays. Evan Davis seems to have a working assumption that Christianity needs to be more tolerant. Fair enough. Let's see what happens on the next item. Tone changes. The item is followed by a pro-Sharia one on a "difficult" year with the emphasis on "Islamophobia". Difficult in what sense Evan? Difficult for BBC Presenters determined to keep the sheep in the pen perhaps? The BBC always betrays its bias with its key words. Things that are "controversial" are things they don't like. Things that are "difficult" are events they would rather happen but can't be denied even though they threaten the PC multiculturalist project. Evan Davis assumed of course that Islamophobia is a real thing and a real thing that is a negative influence on our national life. He made no allowance for two other points: that Islamophobia does not exist but Britophilia does or perhaps that Islamophobia, based on fear of Sharia and second class treatment of Kaffirs, is a rational defence against a dangerous and aggressive totalitarian ideology. Who better to have on that Baronness Warsi, that baleful influence on our political life wished upon us by Idiot Cameron. He commented on the banning of Britain First's Twitter account. Whilst he didn't say it was a good thing...he didn't entertain the possibility that people might be concerned about free speech. There obviously is a free speech issue. Warsi as usual was gifted easy questions. She is not asked whether she condemns Sharia or not. Warsi signs off with a typical bit of BS: "A Very Muslim Christmas". If you've ever heard a Muslim wish you a Merry Christmas (apart from Baronness Warsi I mean) I would be very surprised. You know, you can't watch a programme on BBC without wondering "Why did they choose that now?"...it was Mexican art last week (ah yes - a counterblast to Trump's negative view of things Mexican)...well after Newsnight tonight it's a programme on the Blitz. Big emphasis on the number of bombs dropped - 450,000...you almost get the feeling they are trying to send a message...4 attacks? that's nothing!450,000 during WW2 so stop whingeing about the Jihadi threat.
BBC is very exercised about insultling tweets and other social media posts directed at MPs and others they favour. But I notice on their own, their very own, BBC QT Twitter line they have allowed an offensive tweet directed at Isabelle Oakeshott to stand for 5 days. It was posted by a Corbynista. No argument, just insult. But the BBC likes that sort of insult. Like the vitriol dripped over Tories on their "comedy" shows - that's OK. https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBCQT?src=hash
I said a few weeks ago it felt like our society's decline into a kind of oppressive totalitarian PC multiculturalism is accelerating. I feel that comment was justified by recent events. We have seen material relating to both Pam Geller and Pat Condell (both brave defenders of free speech - one of whom was the subject of an assassination attempt by Jihadis, let's not forget)and similar being censored by You Tube, Facebook and Twitter - including closing down of accounts. Latest is that the Danish cartoons are now judged to be illegitimate and are suddenly being censored. This is only the beginning of course. The idea it will stop there is naive.
What is so frightening is that Youtube and other forms of social media were the only avenues open to any kind of opposing point of view. The mainstream media, whether screen, stage or even to some extent print are totally in the grip of the kind of PC totalitarianism you describe. Imagine the BBC broadcasting play about the disastrous effects of mass immigration on workers pay or The Royal Court staging a play about the intellectual emptiness at the heart of multiculturalism.In the past I have criticised posters on this blog for equating what has become Putin’s dictatorship with the problems in our society. I would still argue that we have not yet reached the point of murdering journalists or imprisoning opposition leaders, but nevertheless less Putin’s power is predicated on controlling the media. Almost by sleight of hand the new left have pulled off the same trick in the West.As much as I abhor hate speech I have always felt that trying to stifle it by legal means, rather than engaging in open argument was a slippery slope. We are now reaping what we have sown.
Yes Terry and as I say it won't halt here. We see with the "Stop Funding Hate" front that the PC totalitarians mean to prevent all the mainstream press from printing stories critical of PC multiculturalism. I would say PC Multiculturalism more or less already has the BBC, Sky and ITV on board. It's very rare to see anything critical of PC multiculturalism there and they all suffer from Brexiphobic Anti-Trumpism Syndrome(BATS). You're more likely to see something realistic on Channel 4 and that's saying something! The PC totalitarians have quite deliberately pushed the meaning of hate speech from dangerous white supremacist racist propaganda that incites violence through to such things as Mail articles criticising, from a sensible common sense point of view, criminal migrants on benefits being allowed by judges to stay in the UK though they are not UK citizens...apparently it's hateful to object to that. They have assiduously promoted the notion that there is something called Islamophobia and that it is a species of racism or hate. Class war peddle hate - they talk about stringing up the bourgeosie, they try to attack Boris Johnson outside his family home and they try to stop elected representatives like Nigel Farage from going about their business. Hope Not Hate do not object to that hate. I am happy for Class War to vent their hate in a free speech society as long as they don't infringe other people's liberties (to have a family life, go about their business or not be threatened with violence). That is part of the rough and tumble of life. We can't all like everyone. Mehdi Hasan thinks Kaffirs are like "cattle" as he told an audience on video (sadly for him). Nye Bevan called Tories "vermin". Diane Abbott thinks white people like to divide and rule the rest of society. And worse than that Gerry Adams used to approve of men and women being brutally slaughtered in front of their children - far worse.
That’s the point isn’t it. We had perfectly good laws to deal with threats of violence and the disruption of peoples lives. We didn’t need to start controlling what people say. The overriding flaw in the idea of making hate speech a criminal act will always be who decides what is hate speech. I don’t remember the details but I remember reading that the term “islamophobia” was deliberately coined at a particular meeting, on the back of the success of “homophobia”. Quite ironic, really.
We certainly have perfectly good laws - sadly they aren't applied when it comes to meetings held by Nigel Farage, where the Police allow violent leftist mobs to get close enough to inflict injury. Yes I think the success of homophobia encouraged Muslim Brotherhood and other pro-Sharia propagandists (e.g. The Runnymede Trust) to use a similar coinage. The irony of course is that under Sharia (male) homosexuality is normally punished by the death penalty and lesbianism is punished by lieflong home imprisonment. There is nothing unique different about the Islamophobia ploy. It is part of a whole pattern of Taqiyya camouflage which includes (a) lying denials of what the religion teaches and what the provisions of Sharia are (b) representing opposition to Islam as a form of racism and (c) using human rights legislation as a wedge to drive forward Sharia.
Never mind the good news, just wallow in the gloom and doom:On 18th December, Anna Leach, the CBI's Head of Economic Intelligence, stated that, "As we head towards the end of 2017, UK manufacturers' order books remain at a near 30-year high, with export order books remaining at their strongest since the mid-1990s." Did the BBC evening news broadcast this information? - If it did, I must have missed it.Yesterday, the influential US business magazine, Forbes, announced that, for the first time, the UK ranks 1st in its annual survey of the best countries for business. Did the BBC evening news carry this story? If it did, I missed it.What I did not miss is that tonight's BBC news devoted aproximately five minutes to the fact that the IMF has downgraded its forecast for UK economic growth...because of uncertainty over Brexit.I have just cheered myself up by re-reading, 'Why you can trust BBC news.' Forget Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder or even Spike Milligan, this is much funnier - if your sense of humour is black, very black.
The Turner Prize 2017 - Perfect Harmony between Tate Gallery and the BBC.Accompanied by fanfares of publicity the Turner Prize was awarded earlier this month in Hull, the 2017 UK City of Culture. The winner of the 2017 prize was artist Lubaina Himid who is based in Preston. https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/turner-prize-2017/The BBC report of the award ceremony echoed with the resonance between them and the Tate Gallery over the true nature of the Turner Prize. From Wikipedia … The Turner Prize, named after the English painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist. Between 1991 and 2016, only artists under the age of 50 were eligible (this restriction was removed for the 2017 award)…See the BBC report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42244324From Analysis by Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor:… Lubaina Himid's Turner win is being put down to the well-documented rule change that did away with its 50-or-younger age restriction, which had been in place since 1991.Clearly, the 63-year-old artist wouldn't - couldn't - have won without the removal of the age cap. But there was another, less publicised rule change this year that also benefited her.For the first time the jurors were allowed to take into account the work each artist displayed in the Turner Prize exhibition."What?" you may ask. "Hasn't that always been the case? Why wouldn't they take the exhibition the public see - and therefore judge by - into account?"Goodness knows why, but they didn't. Which might help explain some of the previous winners, and certainly makes sense of Himid receiving the contemporary art award for an exhibition packed with work she made some time ago.*Her tableau A Fashionable Marriage, a satirical and political 1980s take on a scene from Hogarth's 18th Century series Marriage A-la Mode, was the single best work of art in the entire Turner Prize exhibition.It would have been a worthy winner when she made it in 1986 and - thanks to the rule change - it was a worthy winner last night…*From Wikipedia again:…. Artists are chosen based upon a showing of their work that they have staged in the preceding year….From Himid’s own website:http://lubainahimid.uk/portfolio/a-fashionable-marriage/an extract:… The star of the piece for Hogarth is, of course, the Countess, who has recently had a baby, so lounges casually at her dressing table, having spent the previous afternoon at the auction rooms, while her husband, the earl, is away. She is having her hair done. She is Margaret Thatcher, the first and therefore the last woman prime minister of Britain, leader of the Conservative party, champion of business, destroyer of the unions, the welfare state and staunch supporter of apartheid….The vilification of Margaret Thatcher is a familiar theme from the BBC, but this art piece from Himid gives an opportunity to reinforce their bias towards Thatcher and the Conservative Party.In previous posts, we have seen how the BBC likes to absorb events such as the Turner Prize, the Stirling Prize and the RA Summer Exhibition into their narrative. The 2017 Turner Prize must have been a gift, offering a free hit at Thatcher’s memory, Himid receiving publicity for her political views and being the first black female winner to score points for inclusivity etc etc.From the Tate Modern Home Page:… Tate Modern is Britain’s new national museum of modern art. As class compositions change, each new economic force takes over the mantle of British taste. Each succeeding social elite must have its art, its brand which secret codes and systems of value can be exchanged. This is usually in the form of what is to be tolerated and what is not, what’s in and what’s out, who’s in and who’s out. New money needs to be a part of history. With money you can buy your way into art history. With even more money you can shape that future history…. From the above, we can experience the perfect harmony between Tate Gallery and the BBC.
If I was an aspiring artist under the age of 50 who had produced a piece of art work during the last year and entered the work for the Turner Prize, I might feel that the odds had been stacked against me winning.
Yes, two rule changes which allowed a politically charged piece of work from the 1980 to be eligible in 2017. This sounds more like a lifetime achievement award.
It's always worrying when the BBC feels the need to 'explain' - see Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor above.
The BBC is very assiduous at assailing the ills and injustices of the world but for some reason they steer well clear of tackling nepotism. How many Gompertzes does the BBC employ? Are they all related? How many other mini-Dimblebys are there already circulating in the BBC in succession to their illustrious forebears?
OK, time to put the baby to bed...back to the Festive Fifty Bias Techniques...No. 47 Bias by Some-say. It is rare for an hour to go by without a BBC presenter or reporter having recourse to that well known family "The Somes". "But some say this belief in fundamental biologically-based differences between men and women is just petty-minded fascistic prejudice which will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history." The Somes come in very useful to the BBC want to advance the "progressive agenda" but realise they are on tricky ground. A non-specific "some" is a nice way of suggesting support is building for a "progressive" idea. It's sounds a lot better than "that mad columnist from the Guardian". Given we live in a nation of nearly 70 million people, if you say "some" most people will think you mean a few hundred thousand or a few million at least, if not yet a majority, whereas it might only be the mad columnist from the Guardian, 12 people in Hampstead and five in Islington.
No. 48 Bias by History. The past is not such a foreign country to the BBC. In order for the PC Multiculturalist Fantasy to be realised in the modern world the past needs to be tweakedor worse, given the full Harvey Weinstein treatment. So, looking back at the past through the BBC PC Telescope we see that slavery was something that was only visited on Africans by Europeans. Arabs did not enslave Africans in their millions and if they did, it wasn’t really slavery. Likewise only West Europeans have engaged in imperialism. Chinese imperialism is really of no note at all. Russian imperialism likewise of virtually no important since the end of the Cold War. Through the PC lens of history we see that Islam is a universally benign and progressive force that invented the scientific method and brought the benefits of progress to Europe, India, Africa and elsewhere. The BBC History guide can’t help but be a little obsessive. So the history of the Levant 1917-1967 (no other time) is of great and enduring interest. It is of course the time of the unjust creation and expansion of Israel as far as the BBC are concerned. The history of Asia Minor during that same period is of virtually no interest whatsoever. The BBC’s history can also be very sentimental. As far as they are concerned Native Americans always lived on the Plains hunting buffalo on their horses. Likewise, the Zulus of South Africa never exterminated and drove out the San people of the area in the 1600s. Weirdly although the BBC is highly “romantic” in its view of history outside the UK, it has absolutely no time for “our island story”.
No. 49 Bias by Counterintuitive Injury Reporting. This is mostly used in the context of domestic or American demonstrations. So “An EDL march took place in Rotherham today [Note – don’t mention about what!]. The march was condemned by the local Mayor who said “This Far Right rally has nothing to with our community which is peaceful and harmonious.” There were 7 injuries and 5 arrests.” The set up makes you think the EDL caused the injuries and that EDL supporters were arrested, when the truth is the counter-demo mob caused the injuries and were the source of the arrests. This techniques can also be used with terrorism in far away places. “Terror attack – two Palestinians dead.” No – not an attack on Palestinians by Far Right Israelis…two Palestinian terrorists shot dead while trying to carry out a terror attack. “ Likewise “70 Muslim worshippers killed in Mosque attack” might make you think the religion of Islam was yet again being persecuted by Christians or Hindus. The fact’s it’s a Sunni-Shia thing is nicely obscured. OK - ONLY ONE TO GO TO THE FESTIVE FIFTY. IF ANYONE ELSE WOULD LIKE TO DO THE HONOURS...COMING UP WITH AN AS YET UNREFERENCED TECHNIQUE, PLEASE PUT FORWARD YOUR NOMINATION. :)
Here's one. Bias by Absorption. This is when, as with the Tate Gallery Turner Prize story above, the BBC simply absorb another party's bias and broadcast another's story without question.
Yes, that's a slam dunk...No. 50 Bias by Asborption. Turner, MOBOs...like some giant amoeba, absorbing chunks of other DNA safe in the knowledge that it can replicate inside it and produce a yet more bloated version of the BBC itself. More than Bias by Expert to which it is related. This is more like a cultural absorption or kind of synergy.
I'll publish the full Festive Fifty as soon as I have tidied it up a little.
Here’s a couple moreBias by not correcting a false or misleading story. When the BBC get found out they don’t publish or broadcast a correction. They brazenly let the falsehood stand. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard them say ‘sorry, we got it wrong’.Bias by adjecent objects. (It’s bias by omission or false representation as well).An example being ‘Van mows down pedestrians’.
THE BBC's OFFICIAL FESTIVE FIFTY BIAS TECHNIQUES...A seasonal message from Lord Hall, Director General of the BBC: In this era of fake news, Russian subversion of referenda to produce incorrect results and the installation of a fascist dictatorship in the USA, I thought it apposite and timely, to publish a list of our 50 top Bias Techniques, lest anyone should think we were being complacent about the challenges facing us in the contemporary media world. This list will act as a helpful guide for our staff but I hope it will also reassure the public at large that we have their best interests at heart. 1. Bias by News Agenda Choice. The biggie. If we don’t report it, it’s not news. And we don’t like to report things like the Synagogue attack in Stockholm, no go areas in the UK or the New Year’s Eve events in Cologne a while back. 2. Bias by News Prioritising. OK, sometimes we can’t avoid reporting something but we can certainly give it very low priority. It only needs to appear for a nanosecond for us to be able to say that we have done our journalistic duty. 3. Bias in Perpetuity. If we like a story…”Tories racist says report”…we might leave it up on our website for months to make sure just about everyone gets to see it, even though we are allegedly a “news” organisation. Likewise we will return obsessively to stories we love like Grenfell Tower.4. Bias by Burying. If we don’t like a story we will bury it away somewhere like “News from Leicester” which you get to by navigating four or five pages on our website. In terms of broadcasting you will have to live in the East Midlands to be informed of what happened. I am not going to say what happened, because that would defeat the objective of this particular technique. 5. Bias by Headline Creep. Sometimes we know a story hasn’t really got legs but by using the headline ruse we can make it sound a lot better. So “Boris “racism” claim” on the front page of the website becomes…”Boris claims government is acting on racism”….becomes “Boris has rejected a UN report claiming that racism in the UK is rising at an alarming rate”.6. Bias by Interruption. An old time favourite…if you don’t like what the interviewer is saying, interrupt them to hell and back, so that they can’t get their points across. Some right wing obsessives on the internet try to expose this bias by recording the number of such interruptions and comparing that number with interruptions of favoured guests, but such statistical exposure of this technique can be dismissed by a vague, airy “Notwithstanding this particular interview, we consider the programme, taken in the round, was balanced and impartial”. 7. Bias by Misrepresentation. It’s important that we at the BBC control debate by ensuring we get to mispresent viewpoints. Under this approach, being worried about hardly ever hearing the English language spoken in your neighbourhood (a perfectly legitimate concern) obviously becomes “racist attitudes to migrants”. Of course we don’t simply assert that – to do so would be crass and far too obvious. Instead we imply it via other bias techniques e.g. “Bias by Question and Some Say”. 8. Bias by Concept Merge. Sometimes it pays to be pedantically precise about definitions (a favourite of both Dimblebys on occasion). But with this technique, it is important to be vague and overlap differing concepts until the viewer or listener is taught, in Pavlovian fashion, to associate “Member of Conservative Party” with “Far Right Nut”. Thus we merge “Neo-Nazi” into “Far Right”, which in turn merges into “Right Wing” which then merges into “Nationalist” (as in “Bad Nationalist” – obviously does not apply to SNP, Sinn Fein and Plaid Cymru) and further blends with “Tory” and “Conservative”. By constant mixing and association Neo Nazis, Nationalists and Tories all become part of a dangerous amorphous group that like to persecute minorities. We find this approach very effective at the BBC.
9. Bias by Mirroring. Under this ruse we call extreme radicals like Iranian Mullahs or Chinese Communists “Conservatives” so as to make toxic the whole “conservative” brand. You have to admire our cheek in doing so! But the useless Tories never make any effective protests about this. 10. Bias by Intimidation. We tell our audience that we will report them to their employer or school if they voice opinions of which we disapprove. This can be more effective than you might think. Of course we have combined this with a sustained attack on the Have Your Say function on our website and also by turning the Feedback programme into a meaningless “complaints from both sides” exercise now stuffed full of disguised adverts for BBC programmes.11. Bias by Mockery. The mockery is not just something for “comedy” panel shows or the Now Show. News presenters can also join in the mockery of anything the BBC doesn’t like. Eddie Mair and Jonny Diamond have I think done some excellent work in this area. But woe betide anyone who mocked say Stella Creasy or Chukka Umuna!!! (not that that would ever happen under my watch!) - that would be sexist and racist and would lead to instant dismissal. We of course produce an in-house list of who to mock and who not. Currently Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are top of the list. But such lists can of course change and staff should keep up with developments. 12. Bias by Complaint Dismissal. As long as we keep batting away complaints in the face of the truth and the facts, we can maintain our absurd formal claim of impartiality. It is therefore important that the programmes we claim allow the viewer or listener a voice should be tightly controlled. I have of course instructed all editors and producers to hold the line and deny bias by claiming complaints from both sides and if they cannot defend something, claim a broader overall balance across the piece. 13. Bias by Propaganda Tentacle. The BBC has a long reach. Our correspondents can use Twitter to voice more extreme anti-democratic, pro-Antifa opinions through re-tweeting. We are now going into schools as well to brainwash children with our “Fake News” agenda. Our tentacles can basically reach anywhere. 14. Bias by Question Selection. What questions get asked is vital. If you think we pull the QT questions out of a hat then you are very, very naïve. 15. Bias by Simple Fact Denial or Avoidance. For instance we will not admit even the possibility that the housing crisis might have something to do with mass immigration. It’s rather like that loose thread in a pullover. If you start pulling on it before long the whole thing will unravel. So we have to maintain “Complete Fact Denial” in those very sensitive areas touching on the central tenets of our PC Multiculturalist doctrine. 16. Bias by Expert. We choose the experts. Our experts are guaranteed to support our views. That’s how and why we select them! 17. Bias by Org-Labelling. For instance, that think tank is “right wing”, this think tank (the one we like) is “respected”! It’s not so difficult once you get the hang of it. 18. Bias by Person Labelling. That person (someone standing up for beliefs that were uncontroversial 50 years ago) is “far right”, this person (a Marxist totalitarian) is the “conscience of the left” or a “revered academic and commentator”.
19. Bias by Tone of Voice. So important! When we are children we listen to our parents’ tone of voice before we understand the meaning of their words. Are our parents angry or pleased with us? We know this and so we play on these very human weaknesses. Our presenters sound surprised if a right wing person does a nice thing or somehow escapes justice when we have been looking forward to their downfall. Equally they make it sound like their mother has died if the PC Multicultarist liberal-left suffer a reversal, however minor. 20. Bias by Atypical Person Choice. It may be true that most female followers of Islam in Bradford may wear a Hijab and rarely go outside the family home but we have the resources at our disposal to find one who doesn’t wear a head covering, uses make up, wears tight jeans and has set up her own business. Once we have found her we are going to give her the full PR treatment on your shows, eventually giving her her own series.21. Bias by Drama and Soap. I can’t overemphasise the importance of this bias technique. This is how we really buttress the news and indoctrination agenda. We use drama and soap to signal approval or disapproval and to identify what issues the public should think are important. 22. Bias by Lifestyle Show. We can make frightening things appear comforting all by the magic of lifestyle TV. Of course this has to be managed. It can be an area requiring sensitive handling. We didn’t show a Hijab for years. Big beard presenters are still out and the Burka is I am afraid still a big no-no. But this is a Long March we are on. Eventually we will be able to de-sensitive the backward segment of the British public on such matters by associating such features with nice things like baking, cooking, shopping and home décor. 23. Bias by Over-representation of Minorities. You see a lot of this on TV adverts of course and we have to take our hat off to our commercial colleagues in that regard. The message of course is “resistance is useless”. It is supposed to deliver a jolt and acclimatise people to further volcanic demographic change. We are of course doing everything we can at the BBC to ensure that minorities (officially only 13% of the population) are over-represented in a number of key areas like news presentation. When it comes to drama, we are quite happy to provide misleading representations of classics from the Victorian period now, sacrificing accuracy to our PC Multiculturalist principles. Of course when we talk about ethnic minority representation we mean generally African-Caribbean, African and South Asian. At the BBC we don’t much care about how many Poles, Arabs, Romanians, Chinese, French or Latin Americans are on our screens despite there being very large communities from those ethnic groups in our country. I hope at some point to explain why that is but sadly time is limited and I must press on. (Ahem).
24. Bias by Slow Information Release. We wouldn’t want you to run away with the idea there’s just been a terrorist incident carried out by an IS operative migrant who shouted Allahu Akbar…so we will slowly drip feed the news and then disappear the story altogether. Often we will use the “mental ill health” ploy to justify this. 25. Bias by Local News as National News. Local news is a good way of extending the bias especially in areas where there are lots of Labour MPs and we can call on them to provide a steady drumbeat of public expenditure propaganda . We always favour local news with a national flavour…so expect lots of NHS cuts and not much about the County Show. 26. Bias by Survey. Our opinion polls are frequently wrong. But they always seem to favour the left for some reason. Sometimes our levels of bias are off the scale as was the case with the Newsnight panel of “ordinary voters” that voted 9-1 to remain. BBC Staff should not be embarrassed by this, rather they should see polls as weapons in our hand not instruments of science. 27. Bias by Decree. Here, the likes of John Simpson or David Dimbleby - once respected as cutting edge journalists - trot out the BBC narrative without appearing to have thought about what they are saying first. In our BBC world of bias, if they say so, it must be true. You might call this the “Hillary Good, Trump Bad” approach. 28. Bias by Obfuscation. David Dimbleby is of the view that if he poses a smugly sceptical or irrelevant question "But we don't know that was an official Mosque letter, do we?" (irrelevant - it was clearly being handed out at the Mosque in full view) or "But do you have an example of the BBC saying "despite Brexit"? " (Answer: Guido Fawkes website had plenty of examples the next day!), he has neutralised the critique. Obviously he hasn’t genuinely neutralised the critique, but at the BBC we feel it is “the moment” that counts. As long as he appears to have raised legitimate doubts that is enough. It is my view this is an effective Bias technique as Dimbleby is sly enough to time his semi-rhetorical questions at just the right point so they don't get or can't be answered. They therefore serve our purpose. 29. Bias by Yawn. Sadly this is a rare example of a technique that has been tried but proved unsuccessful. It was attempted in the run up to and during the early part of the EU Referendum campaign as we got nearly all our TV and radio presenters to imply that everyone was bored with the Referendum debate even though we now all know the opposite was true: family and friends often ended up having passionate debates on the subject (some are still continuing to this date!). But we at the BBC were trying to reduce the interest in the campaign, as we knew that was important in ensuring the anti-EU vote did not get mobilised. Frankly, we failed. Though we cannot be blamed for the decision to have a Referendum (we strongly opposed that), we were wrong to pursue that ineffective technique. We should have been much more pro-Remain from the outset. Eventually we realised the yawn technique was proving ineffective: the pretend yawns stopped and it was then we desperately tried "educating" everyone to vote remain. But sadly, it was too late. Personally I feel the Government should have given us more leeway to support the Remain campaign, even though we did our best to back their arguments and rubbish the Leave campaign. Clearly it wasn’t enough.
30. Bias by False Friend. This is one we have been using a lot recently in relation to events in the US: "So let's go over to Washington to discuss Trump's latest tweet. We have leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Republican Governor for Wyoming..." Our audience thinks this sounds balanced since it’s one Democrat and one Republican. But of course, we know something they don’t – this particular Republican Governor hates Trump as much as the Democrat. We see similar set ups with our domestic politics "Here to discuss the Government's proposals are Chukka Umuna, Labour MP and Ken Clarke, Conservative..." only Clarke is going bash the proposals almost as much as Chukka.31. Bias by Herd Instinct. Human beings have a tendency to follow the herd or the “troop” (since we are primates!)…so we at the BBC do our best to create bandwagons for the campaigns we favour. Biased BBC Trending do a lot of good work in this area. 32. Bias by Recruitment . This is what we at the BBC call the “Guardian readers only need apply” ploy. Don’t worry – I am a Guardian Reader!!! lol This is really a very important and self-fulfilling bias category. 33. Bias by Vocabulary Choice. This is of course a huge area of bias. The “bread and butter” of bias you might call it. It covers many things but among my favourites are right wing think tanks "claim", "assert", things whereas left wing think tanks "point out", "conclude", "find evidence"...During the EU Referendum campaign pro-Remain agencies were always concluding, calculating, pointing our and finding...or projecting, predicting (never guessing!)...When Remain claims were criticised by the Leave side, we at the BBC always used the language of emotion and violence instead of cool consideration: the Leave side "angrily denied", "lashed out", "slammed" etc 34. Bias by Paragraphing. We often leave the key information to the penultimate para of a long article (not the final paragraph because people sometimes skip to that). You can hope the punters have got bored by then and miss it...thinking the perpetrator was simply a "man" with known "mental health issues" not someone who visited Afghanistan last year and was carrying an IS flag.35. Bias by Mandy Rice Davies. The point of this technique is to make the denial sound as thin as possible. I think Norman Smith is quite good at this. Norman is adept at telling us the unfavoured have "denied" something...but does so in a "well wouldn't you too if you'd been found out" sort of way...It's normally the right who get this treatment of course but there was a phase when the BBC when we were gunning for Corbyn and we gave him the same treatment (this was when we at the BBC thought Corbyn was a vote-loser who would keep the Tories in power for the next 20 years - now of course it's all Christmas jumpers with Jezza's face on it! – he’s forgiven, for the time being).
36. Bias by Uneven Standards. Of course at the BBC we believe in high standards, we just don’t believe in applying them consistently around the world. For instance we hold Israel to a much high standard than Saudi Arabia (which doesn’t even allow people to profess Christianity). We report obsessively about their “illegal occupation” of Arab land. But illegal occupation of land is a rather flexible concept. We never, or only very rarely, give Russia and China any grief about their huge empires and their occupation of territories against the people's will. We don’t ask representatives of countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada and Argentina about eradication of indigenous peoples. Romania's occupation of Magyar lands is of no interest to us at the BBC. Likewise, while we show an inordinate interest in civilian killings in the US by gunfire we have no interest in such killings in Mexico or Brazil, and absolutely no interest in the murder of thousands of white farmers in South Africa. While we at the BBC are willing to shed tears over a few thousand Palestinian Arabs losing their homes and being "forced" to flee some 70 years ago, we have no interest in the many millions of Europeans, Jews, Hindus and Christians forced to flee from the Middle East and South Asia and in reality not much interest in all the displaced persons in Sub-Saharan Africa.37. Bias by Photo Choice. A picture tells a thousand words and picture bias tells a million. We can choose a nice one of Jeremy looking either messianic or avuncular, surrounded by happy smiling people, or we can choose one of Theresa looking very anxious (as though she's about to try swallowing something on I'm Celebrity) and isolated, with a dark sombre background. We had a nice example on the BBC News website recently: May looking worried and pensive, her frame apparently being squeezed between two EU flags that dominated the photo...and then there's Nicola Sturgeon smiling, looking very businesslike with one of her ministers carrying lots of impressive looking files...Chance choice? Of course not. Nothing happens by chance at the BBC! Photo bias is one of the easiest techniques to spot if you look for it but because people tend to take images on trust they rarely identify or comment on the bias. 38. Bias by Placard Placement. I rather like this one. I used to use it a lot myself back in the day. We at the BBC know we are not going to get away with a newsreader saying "The Tory fascists have decided to dismantle the NHS." But there's nothing to stop us showing a placard in a protest that says something like that: "Tory fascist scum will kill the NHS". Nothing to stop the cameraman zooming in on that as a lingering image to underline a report. When , rarely, we cover right wing protests, the placards get far less prominence, unless of course we think we've found one that is an own goal. We are quite happy to feature old eccentric people covered in Union Jacks opposing the EU in robust terms. That’s an image we like to cultivate. 39. Bias by Soft Interview. This is a technique I think is sometimes underestimate but all staff should appreciate its importance. We particularly make use of this technique when we want to put rocket boosters on a political position we approve of. So we saw recently Blair being given the softest (and longest) of rides by Mardell because Blair was proposing one of our favourites: a Brexit Reversal Policy. We can counter accusations of bias, by claiming these are serious, in-depth, “mission to explain” style interviews though we hardly ever accord such access to viewpoints we oppose.
40. Bias by Celebrity Endorsement. No! This doesn’t refer to the celebrity endorsing a product but the BBC endorsing some celebrities over others. So Jim Davidson and Cliff Richard get the cold shoulder despite being very popular. People like Lily Allen know that BBC endorsement can be vital to prolonging their career lives way beyond their natural span and the we at the BBC know it is useful to have people like Lily Allen around to endorse otherwise somewhat difficult policies like "no borders". 41. Bias by Reality Checking. We brought in BBC Reality Check to create a kind of alternative universe where matters of policy can be judged objectively by reference to "facts". Of course this universe does not exist in any shape or form but it is useful to our purposes to pretend it does and that we at the BBC (alone in the UK – butt out ITV and Sky!) can objectively arbtitrate such matters. Anyone who looks at BBC Reality Check can see instantly it has nothing to do with "reality" and everything to do with our policy preferences. This can be seen by (a) its choice of subject matter (Reality Check never investigate the dodgy social studies from groups like the Joseph Rowntree Trust we are so fond of quoting) (b) its concentration on "future outcomes" which by definition have not happened yet and cannot therefore form part of our "reality" and (c) its disregard for the initial starting question (you will often find the conclusion has little to do with the question!) (4) its frequent recourse to "argument from authority" - quoting their favoured sources. So, please staff, don’t think that Reality Check is going undermine your reports – you can rely on it as a solid backer of everything we at the BBC are trying to achieve. We just need to give it a spurious veneer of independence and objectivity – nothing to be scared of! 42. Bias by Absent or Abbreviated Nomenclature. At the BBC we pride ourselves that Trump is more often Trump than President Trump whereas President Obama was nearly always President Obama, certainly for his first term - just as Thatcher was more often Thatcher than Lady Thatcher. Use of the "criminal" surname is often reserved for those perceived as "right wing" Tories. Jeremy Corbyn is much more likely to have the cosy "Jeremy" attached. Also by a kind of reverse law, titles are much inflated when the BBC wants to make use of them: so you get stuff like “Lord Shyster of Plain-Wrong, the ex Lord Chamberlain of High Office and current Chairman of the Lords Select Committee on Matters of Great Import has denounced the treatment of Calais migrants as "callous"...” Don’t worry, while we are ideological egalitarians, when it comes to pushing the agenda, a bit of peasant-like deference is on offer if it means we can push our ideas more effectively. 43. Bias by Emotional Response. This is where we ensure the BBC acts as emotional gatekeeper to the nation. You can cry about your factory closing down but not about your neighbourhood being changed out of all recognition by mass immigration. If you are the victim of Islamic terrorism we prefer smiling defiance to tears. But other forms of terrorism may be treated differently depending on context.44. Bias by Views as News. This is something we have always practised but these days we have expanded it into all areas. A classic recent example was James Cook's take on Trump (he doesn't like him - what a surprise!) - a virtually 100% opinion piece appearing under the BBC News banner. Of course a lot of our BBC bias involves smuggling views into news but this refers to those blatant examples where a piece should be labelled "A Personal View" if appropriate at all (doubtful).
45. Bias by Vox Pop. Never underestimate the Vox Pop. They are a really important bias tool which you will find used in nearly every national and local news programme. They can really put a nice spin on a story. And then there are the visuals which can add yet another layer of bias: we at the BBC are always very happy to have a pro-Brexit vox pop on our screen if it is delivered by an old pot-bellied bloke on a mobility scooter with a fag hanging out of his mouth, with the betting shop visible in the background. If we can encourage him to have a go at “migrants” all the better!46. Bias by Newspaper Review. This is a specific technique we use to build a kind of Potemkin village of opinion out of MSM news. By using left-liberal reviewers, a left-liberal presenter and a selection of stories biased to the left-liberal view of the world, we are able create the erroneous impression that the BBC’s agenda is very much in line with that of the rest of the MSM. Where necessary the Review can be used to chastise heretical opinions deemed as offensive to PC Multiculturalist beliefs. 47. Bias by Some-say. Let’s be honest, it is rare for an hour to go by without a BBC presenter or reporter having recourse to that well known family "The Somes". "But some say this belief in fundamental biologically-based differences between men and women is just petty-minded fascistic prejudice which will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history." The Somes come in very useful to us at the BBC when we want to advance the "progressive agenda" but realise we are on tricky ground. A non-specific "some" is a nice way of suggesting support is building for a "progressive" idea. It sounds a lot better than "that mad columnist from the Guardian". Given we live in a nation of nearly 70 million people, if you say "some" then most fair-minded people will think you mean a few hundred thousand or a few million at least, if not yet a majority, whereas it might only be that mad columnist from the Guardian, 12 people in Hampstead and five in Islington.
48. Bias by History. The past is not such a foreign country to us at the BBC. In order for the PC Multiculturalist Fantasy to be realised in the modern world the past needs to be tweaked or, worse, given the full Harvey Weinstein treatment. So, looking back at the past through our BBC-PC Telescope we see that slavery was something that was visited on Africans only by Europeans. Arabs did not enslave Africans in their millions and if they did, it wasn’t really slavery. Likewise only West Europeans have engaged in imperialism. Chinese imperialism is really of no note at all. Russian imperialism likewise of virtually no importance since the end of the Cold War. Through the PC lens of history we see that Islam is a universally benign and progressive force that invented the scientific method and brought the benefits of progress to Europe, India, Africa and elsewhere. The BBC History guide can’t help but be a little obsessive. So the history of the Levant 1917-1967 (no other time) is of great and enduring interest to all of us at the BBC. It is of course the time of the unjust creation and expansion of Israel as far as we are concerned. The history of Asia Minor during that same period is however of virtually no interest whatsoever to us! We have also to accept that the BBC’s history can be very sentimental when we want it to be. As far as the BBC are concerned Native Americans always lived on the Plains hunting buffalo on their horses. Likewise, the Zulus of South Africa never exterminated and drove out the San people of the area in the 1600s. Weirdly although we at the BBC have this highly “romantic” approach to history elsewhere, when it comes to the UK have absolutely no time for any romanticised version of “our island story”. No, then we cast a cold, callous, indifferent eye over the history of our forebears. Actually, I don’t think I should say “forebears” but you know what I mean. 49. Bias by Counterintuitive Injury Reporting. At the BBC we use this mostly in the context of domestic or American demonstrations. So “An EDL march took place in Rotherham today [Note – don’t mention about what!]. The march was condemned by the local Mayor who said “This Far Right rally has nothing to with our community which is peaceful and harmonious.” There were 7 injuries and 5 arrests.” The set up makes the audience think the EDL caused the injuries and that EDL supporters were arrested, when the truth is the counter-demo mob caused the injuries and were the source of the arrests. Classic result! Just what we want!! This technique can also be used with terrorism in faraway places. “Terror attack – two Palestinians dead.” No – not an attack on Palestinians by Far Right Israelis…two Palestinian terrorists shot dead while trying to carry out a terror attack. “ Likewise “70 Muslim worshippers killed in Mosque attack” might make you think the religion of Islam was yet again being persecuted by Christians or Hindus. The fact’s it’s a Sunni-Shia thing is nicely obscured. 50. Bias by Absorption. There are many cultural events or phenomena which we seek to make our own. Glastonbury, Turner Prize, MOBOs, Chelsea Flower Show, Women’s Football...we are like some giant amoeba, absorbing chunks of other DNA safe in the knowledge that it can replicate inside us and produce a yet more bloated version of the BBC itself. I think it’s what I would call cultural synergy. By absorbing these other cultural phenomena we make ourselves stronger and better project our cultural aims. I hope you have enjoyed our Festive Fifty and that you now understand better how we operate. The BBC believes in transparency and connecting with its staff and the public at large. Besides we think that you are so brainwashed by now you are probably quite happy that we are so biased. Seasonal greetings and a Happy New Year whatever calendar you choose, Yours ever, Tony
THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO HELPED LORD HALL COMPILE HIS FESTIVE FIFTY! :) Clearly the listed could be added to but I'm stopping there! lol
You did it! Thank you!
This list of types of bias might be useful when it comes to making complaints. For instance a complaint citing Bias by Obfuscation against David Dimbleby over his timely or untimely interruptions of speakers on QT with rhetorical questions could no longer be met by the 'complaints from both sides' justification. The complaint of bias by obfuscation doesn't indicate in which side's favour the bias under complaint is mounted, and therefore what the position of the complainant might be.
Congratulations MB & Lord Hall on a definite tour de force! You deserve another bottle of Port to go with your mince pies - or to go with your Port!I know you want to keep the list down to 50, MB, but I think there's one omission that has to be remedied: Bias by Audience Selection - apologies if it's there and I've missed it!How about making no 14:Bias By Selection:-a. Of Panel. On programmes such as Question Time, we like ideally to ensure that Tories or Brexiteers are outnumbered by 5:1.b. Of Questions. If you think we pull the questions out of a hat then you are very, very, naive! The choice of question is vital - of course we have to ensure that the occasional Tory or Brexiteer gets to ask a question, to create the illusion of balance, but our back of house staff can usually ensure that he, she or ze is as unappealing and inarticulate as possible.Of Audience. We've been doing this for years with QT audiences and did it in the Referendum debates - it's just a question of interpreting the application: things like 'Card-carrying member of the Labour Party' or 'Commissar Momentum Southern Region' are a definite recommendation. I must admit we don't always pull it off - in the referendum debate with Farage, we over-egged the pudding so much that even the Guardian commented on it.It would be good if the adjusted total came in at under 50 - 'The 49 Articles of BBC Bias' would have a certain resonance.