Wednesday 3 September 2014


As my blogging will be rather slack this month (before bursting out with renewed vigour in October), I think another introspective post is required. (Oh, we do like our introspective posts, me and Sue!)

I'm feeling a little like Dante tonight:
Midway upon the journey of our life
  I found myself within a forest dark,
  For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Or like Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress:
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a blogger, sitting in a certain place, a laptop in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him switch on that laptop, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?
Alas, Beatrice and Paradise, and the Celestial City, seem far away tonight - at least as far as blogging about BBC bias is concerned! (And what sensible human being wouldn't connect those things to blogging about BBC bias?)

The forest dark/wilderness contains many strange things.

Look on Twitter and search under the hashtag #bbcbias and you will find a lot of activity.

Much of it comes from Scottish nationalists. They absolutely loathe the BBC and claim it's an integral part of the pro-union 'no' campaign. 

Plus, besides the inevitable sports-related uses of the #bbcbias hashtag ("Radio 5Live love/hate Man U, #bbcbias"), there has also been a humongous heck of a lot of anti-Israeli #bbcbias tweeting -  at times even outnumbering the Scottish 'yes' supporters (during Operation Protective Edge).

And I've got to say it: The anti-Israel brigade have clearly stolen a march on supporters of Israel (and fair-minded neutrals) by marching in such numbers against "BBC pro-Israel bias" and tweeting/facebooking en masse against "BBC pro-Israel bias". Their absurd claims have hit the headlines (and the world's attention), well beyond the BBC...

And I rather fear that all [tempting as it is to stick our heads firmly into the sand] all of this rather leaves the patient, deeply analytical blogging and proof-building of bloggers like me, Sue and Hadar at BBC Watch [my kind of blogger] somewhat lagging behind....

...and though I would hope that our blogging will eventually win out - like Aesop's tortoise to that mange-ridden anti-Israel hare - I still suspect that it probably won't (at least in the short term.)

The quicker forms of social media certainly seem to be winning out [for the time being], whether we like to believe it or not (and "our" Islamic State boys certainly seem to believe it)...

...which brings me back to a familiar theme. Twitter can be a force for good, for combatting such nonsense...

For everything BBC Watch, Biased BBC and Is the BBC biased? have achieved (and, yes, do I really need to brag about that again?), I remain staggered by the sheer effectiveness of Biased BBC's DB in wreaking havoc at the BBC through the medium of Twitter.

More than one BBC newsroom head (namely Mesdames Helen B and Mary H) has been forced into public action as a result of it (warning their staff about biased tweeting that might bring the BBC's reputation into disrepute).

For myself, I won't be engaging with Twitter any more than is strictly necessary. In spite of everything, I like to expand on a as much length as I like. (I hope you do too). We may be doomed, DOOMED, Tony Blair, I have no time for soundbites. I feel the hand of history on my shoulder, but I've noticed something else too...

The energy seems to be going out of the 'the BBC is biased (in the ways we think it is)' portion of the internet these days.

Even a year or so back I could have linked to plenty of articles on large-readership, mainstream, right-leaning newspaper/magazine websites alleging BBC bias (of the kind we recognise).

Even within the past twelve months there was a brief spike of energetic anti-BBC reporting from the Telegraph, Times, Spectator and Daily Mail...

But those articles have almost entirely vanished in recent months (and the few exceptions have been overwhelmingly feeble and halfhearted).

Lost tonight in the dark forest and wilderness of this world, the thought struck me that many of those articles (in places like the Telegraph, TimesSpectator and Daily Mail) might just have come about because of Leveson (i.e. out of pure self interest/spite on those newspapers' part).

Because the BBC, rather blatantly, pursued the right-leaning, non-BBC part of the British media, that section of the media understandably hit back forcibly at the biased BBC.

Now, however, as the threat of Leveson recedes, that section of the media which felt threatened by the BBC's evident backing of Leveson has backed off again in its BBC bashing...and backed off pretty much to a full stop.

Is that too cynical?

The most high focus of BBC bias-related blogs - the long-established Biased BBC - keeps on keeping on though, thankfully, and the effort Alan, now pretty much running the blog single-handedly, is something to behold .(I don't envy him. Single-handed blogging ain't easy).

But still I'm sensing the same lack of impetus there that I'm feeling here. Most of the comments at Biased BBC these days [at best] are only tangentially related to specific claims of BBC bias - and most of those specific claims [however ardently expressed] simply fall to dust when you actually examine them [as I can't stop myself from doing].

Why is this happening? Why is the fire seemingly going out even as the BBC - post crisis-after-crisis - seems particularly vulnerable? Why is this happening despite years of proven bias from the likes of Mark Mardell, Jeremy Bowen and Jon Donnison? Why aren't politicians galore, journalists galore, campaigners galore stamping relentlessly on BBC bias? Why, why, oh why?

It's particularly funny (in the 'strange' sense of 'funny') that the BBC's privileged position, and its license fee, really did seem at risk recently. The BBC has shot itself in the foot so often in the past two of three years that it almost risked committing accidental suicide.

Has that moment passed? Is the BBC safe again? Is it business as usual?

I put these thoughts out tonight before retiring for a couple of day or so.

What do you think? Is it time for us to give up? Is it time for us to stop trying to prove BBC bias and stick with just asserting it instead - just doing so much, much, much, much better? Or it really time for us to get serious again and really get to work at trying to prove BBC bias, for the large majority who don't share our concerns? 


  1. Keep your head up, Craig. DB's amazing work does get more results than almost everything the rest of us have done combined, yes, but that probably has more to do with the fact that the Beeboids and loads of other people not normally concerned about the BBC read that and not these blogs than the relative quality of your work. DB still deserves the highest of accolades for what he does, though. If only it was made more public.

    Interesting that you mention the equivalent of the West Lothian Question. I've often wondered if that is evidence of confirmation bias, and it has made me question my own opinions of BBC output. That's why I always tried to stick to pointing out factual errors and consistent patterns, and highlighting when they really do reveal their personal opinions, along with my own interpretations of what the Beeboids were thinking and trying to accomplish. I was not always successful, but I know there is hard evidence of patterns and agendas.

    But I don't really see that the air has gone out of the "The BBC is biased" movement. There are still regular instances of complaints in the mainstream media. Ed West recently published a study on the BBC's bias about immigration. Rod Liddle has made several damning observations over at the Spectator, much of which is nearly verbatim to what Biased-BBCers have been saying for years. There's something in the Telegraph or Commentary a conservative blog almost every week.

    I often wonder, though, if the lack of progress you correctly observe is due to the almost total absence of coordination between the various people who are dedicated to exposing the BBC's bias. BBC Watch, for example, is, if not a one-blogger blog, certainly a one-note blog. Biased-BBC is pretty much as you say. Sometimes I feel like updating the Tweets page, but feel it would be hypocritical or sneakily rude to do so now. I don't really understand why DB hasn't done that himself. Rod Liddle is on his own, and there's no real connection between the Right-wing columnists who do occasionally point out the BBC's bias.

    The question is, how to coordinate it all? The only way the Leviathan can feel the sting of the gnat is if a bunch of them get together and hit the same spot all at once, and then hit other spots with equal strength. And I don't just mean the occasional link to another blog. I mean there needs to be an organized, concerted effort when a good target arises. I can think of quite a number of prominent journalists and pundits who share these concerns, an might be persuaded to move as one if the situation is right. The BBC's malfeasance on multi-culturalism and the grooming gangs would be a good place to start. There's plenty of evidence.

    Despair is a sin. Do not succumb to it. Spend a couple hours this weekend watching this fascinating concert instead:

  2. "The anti-Israel brigade have clearly stolen a march on supporters of Israel (and fair-minded neutrals) by marching in such numbers against "BBC pro-Israel bias"..."

    So true. A month ago on 'Over to You' on the World Service a Palestinian comedian complained bitterly about the BBC announcing,"in a cold, icy tone" that, "Israel had bombed Gaza and Gaza had fired rockets at Israel." She was objecting to the apparent lack of appreciation on the part of the BBC that Hamas is "a resistance movement." She also complained that there were no human stories on the ground in Gaza from the BBC. She obviously never listens to the World Service, with Kevin Connolly, Lyse Doucet, Jon Donnison, Chris Morris and others doing little but human interest stories and faithfully following the Hamas line.

    I guess 'Over to You' chose this stupid woman because it was so easy to refute her claims and have the BBC looking good:

  3. Just a quick reaction to some of your points Craig.

    The Israel-bashing brigade does have the upper hand. It has done for as long as I can remember. Forever, actually, apart from a brief spell immediately after the six-day war until the ‘plucky little Israel’ phase wore off.

    I have always been baffled about the substance of the complaints about pro-Israel bias at the BBC. I mean, what can there possibly be to complain about? I think they seem to consist of claims that the BBC hasn’t mentioned the words ‘siege’ and ‘genocide’ often enough. In other words ‘why let facts get in the way?’

    No matter how factual BBC Watch, Is the BBC Biased? and all the other fine pro-Israel blogs care to be, it makes not a jot of difference. No matter how diligently they stick to concrete examples and statistical analyses/ The anti-Israel movement is entirely emotional. It’s a coalition of Muslims and the left-leaning with a smattering of old school antisemitic FCO types. They’re vociferous and numerous.

    The BBC has pitched its ‘voice’ with the Palestinians. Everything they tell us is as seen from their perspective. They have thoroughly embedded themselves within that position and through that mechanism it has been firmly established that Israel is the bad guy and the Palestinians are the hard-done-by underdog, permanently and irrevocably. They’ve created an upside-down reality.

    Now that there’s this horrendous upsurge of barbaric Islamic violence and turmoil with the overtly aspirational intent to create a world-wide caliphate, we’re seeing cognitive dissonance, where our emotional identification is once again with our own side. In other words we empathise with our own people rather than the ‘other side’. You could call it a ‘reversion’.

    How long it will take before people put the last piece in the jigsaw I know not. The BBC has it in their hands, and by the look of it we shouldn’t be holding our breath.

    1. The complaints are always the same: the BBC is Zionist because they don't openly state that Israel is bent on genocide. The BBC is controlled by Zionists because they don't openly state in every report that every Israeli action is a war crime, or show enough footage of the evils done by the Jews. Any report suggesting Hamas might have done something slightly naughty is dismissed as Israeli propaganda. Then there's apparently Universal Mark Regev, given a regular free platform on the BBC to spread Israeli propaganda. He's never off the airwaves, right? Paul Mason even said the BBC was biased in favor of Israel because of their Gaza Flotilla reporting and the decision not to air that propaganda/charity appeal a couple years back. Of course, the latter has since been balanced out by broadcasting that recent appeal, but that's never enough for the anti-Israel crowd. The just doesn't wave enough shrouds to suit them.

      The sad part is that the BBC uses this as proof that they're not biased because they get complaints from both sides.


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