Friday 3 April 2015

Did Radio 4's 'PM' forgo impartiality today?

Talking of today's PM on Radio 4, the whole thing could, if taken in isolation (and I heard it in isolation) have sounded very biased. 

During an election period, individual BBC programmes must ensure impartiality over the course of the election. 

After today's programme, PM is surely going to have to paddle like mad to make up for its anti-UKIP bias today from what I heard.

The biggest knock for UKIP came during Eddie's discussion with More of Less's Ruth Alexander. They were fact-checking last night's leaders' debate on ITV. They began by checking a stat from Nigel Farage, and finding fault with it. Then they moved onto another stat from Nigel Farage, and ditto. Then another from Nigel Farage. Then another from Nigel Farage. 

I'll admit my jaw dropped at that. (And a complaint is going in questioning why this was done). 

A Carolyn Quinn report from Hastings and Rye did feature the UKIP candidate, but made sure to mention that he appeared on a reality show and that he's replacing a disgraced UKIP candidate who'd been forced to step down.

Then came Chris Mason's 'election desk', featuring spin from the leaders or leading supporters of all the parties taking part in last night's debate, except UKIP (and Plaid).

And then to cap it all came an audio piece from "journalist Gareth McLean" (who, after Googling, turned out, naturally, to be a Guardian journalist) on rail replacement bus services, which featured gratuitous digs at the dangers of UKIP entering a coalition with the Conservatives (and at Katie Hopkins).  

Will PM balance all this out or not? And is anyone checking?

Update (h/t Sue):Rod Liddle heard this too, and feels the same way about it:
I caught Radio 4 PM programme on the way home, on Friday. Its coverage of the debate consisted of taking three statements made during the debate and subjecting them to what they called statistical scrutiny. All three statements came from Nigel Farage and all three statements were deemed inaccurate by some supercilious bint. 
No other leader was subjected to similar scrutiny and even if the supercilious bint’s figures were correct, the points Farage made still pertained. (In other words, for example, while Farage said the vast majority of people obtaining new HIV treatment in the UK were health tourists, the supercilious bint pointed out this was only 54 per cent. And that some of those had every right to treatment etc, and might come from rich countries like the USA. Where of course they would have to pay for treatment, or have the requisite insurance, she failed to add.)
There was another dig at UKIP later in this execrable programme, during a piece of staggeringly unfunny “whimsy” about rail replacement bus services. I think I shall listen to PM each day until the election and monitor its commitment to fairness and impartiality. And then never, ever, listen to it again.


  1. Rule #1 about guests still in effect, I see.

  2. (And a complaint is going in questioning why this was done).

    :) You are, after all, on a roll.


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