Wednesday 12 November 2014

Is the BBC biased in favour of the EU? Is the Pope an Argentinian who took the name 'Francis' when chosen as Pope?

Now, this is really something, and it comes via Kenneth at Biased BBC (towards whom the proverbial hat is gladly tipped)...

There's a video on the BBC Academy website featuring David Cowling, head of the BBC's political research unit, called EU: Balanced and informed debate? 

If you're interested in the subject of BBC bias then it's a must-see. Many trainee BBC reporters will certainly have seen it too. It lasts under 5 minutes, so (in the immortal words of Mrs Doyle) go on, go on, go on, go on, go on...

David Cowling answers three questions. 

The first is: 
Do voters (our audience) think Europe is as important an issue as our political parties? 
His answer is 'no'. Probably under 3% of people are really bothered about the EU.

The second is:  
What is the significance of UKIP's success in European Elections when it comes to national politics?
His answer is that there is no significance: UKIP do well in European elections but that success doesn't translate into success at general elections. He doesn't foresee that changing. 

[When was this video posted? Sometime after 2010 for sure, but when? Recently?]

The third is:
What should we consider when we cover stories on Europe?
His answer is that 'we' should consider reminding audiences of the potential risks of leaving the EU. 

What does the latter mean for BBC reporters? Well, according to David Cowling, if some member of the public says, "Yes, yes, let's leave the European Union", 'you' should say:
Do you understand what life is going to be like if we do leave the European Union? So would you like me to tell you what the possible consequences are and then make your judgement? 
That he really does mean 'pointing out the the risks' when he talks of 'telling people the possible consequences' of leaving the EU is made clear in what follows:  
So all I'm saying is that when we do address the issue of Europe it's very easy to slip into all of the negatives....{blah, blah, blah}....but I think the thing that's missing - the sleeping tiger - is actually 'What does it mean? What are the consequences of Britain being outside Europe, in terms of our jobs, in terms of our status, in terms of employment, and industry, and...a whole range of things. And those questions I think it's quite legitimate to say, "Let's discuss  those too, and then we can get, perhaps, a more balanced and informed debate"'.
And that BBC desire to 'get' 'a more balanced and informed debate' by 'telling' BBC audiences 'what the possible consequences are' and countering the 'negatives' about Europe (that are 'very easy to slip into') is precisely what people who accuse the BBC of having a pro-EU bias are complaining about. That's what we think the BBC is doing: Pushing 'counterbalancing' pro-EU points at us.  

And, courtesy of this BBC Academy's video, it appears that that's exactly what BBC reporters are 'taught' to do from the very start.

And I missing something, or isn't this a very real proof of BBC bias (and an insight into how that bias is 'taught')?

1 comment:

  1. It's noticeable that he doesn't see as one possible consequence "regaining control of our borders".

    Dan Read


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.