Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Chalk and Cheese


Quite a strong contrast between Sky’s report of the Jennie Formby / antisemitism affair and the Beeb’s
One gets a very strong impression that the BBC sees the whole thing from the Formby perspective; that’s the way they present it. Sky does the opposite. 

Bias is a tricky thing. I don’t claim that Sky’s approach is any more impartial than the BBC’s (or that of any of the other MSM) but this is one example of how bias shows through no matter how heavily it’s cloaked.

I mean both reports are roughly factual but look at how they’re laid out. Here’s the BBC’s first para:
Labour MPs have unanimously passed a motion urging the party leadership to do more to tackle anti-Semitism.
Here’s Sky:
Labour MPs have condemned the party's general secretary in an angry showdown at Westminster over the "cancer" of antisemitism.
Those are, believe it or not, reports of the same incident. More from the BBC:
At a parliamentary party meeting, MPs called for more information about inquiries into those who had been accused of anti-Semitic behaviour.
MPs accused general secretary Jennie Formby of refusing to give answers.
But a Labour Party source said Ms Formby gave MPs a "comprehensive update", adding that complaints processes were "confidential".
Ahead of the meeting, Ms Formby said it was important to "eliminate the evil of anti-Semitism" from the party and she was "proud of the progress" that had been made in addressing the issue.
The party has struggled to contain a long-running row over claims of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

The tone of this is extremely generous to the Labour Party. The BBC does go on to report that there was ‘friction’ during the meeting but strongly emphasises Formby's 'case for the defence', so to speak.
By isolating every single quote they reproduce and laboriously (no pun intended) identifying it as verbatim by putting it in inverted commas, (quote marks) the BBC creates a pastiche of strict, cold-blooded impartiality while managing to tinge it with a hint of sarcasm.

Sky’s report uses quote marks too, but in a straightforwardly grammatical format (to denote speech) in other words, the quotes usually appear after (or before) the word “said” - as in:
Luciana Berger, who proposed the motion with another Jewish MP, Ruth Smeeth, said: "If we're serious about tackling the stain of antisemitism in the Labour party, we need transparency and we need answers to the questions we are asking. None were forthcoming today.”

Sky’s report includes some additional information, much of which emphasises the rancour and ill-will that pervaded the event. 

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