Sunday 26 July 2015

You learn something new every day

(h/t Deegee)

Back briefly to that documentary, The Train that Divides Jerusalem, and a piece by Jerry Lewis in the Jerusalem Post about the controversy it caused headlined BBC under fire for documentary on Jerusalem Light Rail

It gives an interesting insight into the BBC complaints process:
The program, which had its first broadcast last Monday evening, pulled in an estimated 1.7 million viewers, which a BBC representative told The Jerusalem Post is an average audience for such broadcasts. 
What was also disclosed later the following day was that the BBC had received 24 complaints. 
Fair enough? Well, after such a controversial examination of the conflict over Jerusalem, it would be inevitable that many more complained. 
However, the BBC has a strict policy in dealing with such complaints, triggered in part by the constant (and in this journalist’s view, often unjustified) barrage of criticisms aimed at the BBC virtually every time Israel is in the news, by so called pro-Israel lobbyists, who urge followers to flood the BBC with complaints. 
This has led the BBC to decline to give out complaints figures “when there has been evidence of lobbying or where media coverage has influenced the number” and it is known from internal leaks within the corporation that far less concern is taken after such organized campaigns.
Did you know that? 

So, if a 'BBC bias' story appears in a newspaper and lots of people independently complain to the BBC on the back of it, the BBC might very well refuse to give out accurate complaints figures. 

And, similarly, if lots of social media outlets (including blogs like this) are judged to be part of some 'lobbying' process encouraging people like you to complain to the BBC - even if we bloggers are also acting entirely off our own bats (as we are) - then the BBC might again very well refuse to give out accurate complaints figures (as appears to be the case here)....

I suspect that means that anyone (outside the BBC) wanting to know how many people complained about any high-profile, biased piece of BBC reporting regarding Israel will never be able to find out.


  1. “........barrage of criticisms aimed at the BBC virtually every time Israel is in the news, by so called pro-Israel lobbyists, who urge followers to flood the BBC with complaints.”

    Jerry Lewis should have stuck to being a Hollywood comedian.
    The PSC and other pro-Palestinian lobby groups are far more adept than pro-Israel folk at orchestrating such barrages.

  2. Just when you think they must have pushed the envelope of complaints 'management' to its limit, the BBC manages to create a new unique every time.

  3. Further on complaints, I have just been moved to write to my MP, Jesse Norman, who by coincidence now chairs the culture and media committee:

    This is why I complain to the BBC:

    Ms. Mensch is of course now an ex-colleague of yours, and with a reputation for grandstanding, but unlike the BBC and its supporters, I can divorce who the person is from the facts they share.

    Some of which seem pretty damning if accurate (I invite correction, but given none in the comments to the piece have, including the inevitable BBC groupie trying to blame Mr. Murdoch for all ills, and justify the BBC as the last bastion against him for the weak of mind, it seems they are sound):

    Professor Collins expressed disappointment that the BBC had attributed as quotes words Sir Tim did not in fact say, and had wrongly used the word “sexist” without quotes.

    This matters because Sir Tim’s detractors and persecutors are still relying on the BBC’s distortion as a last line of defence.

    In the UK, the BBC also matter because they are the nation’s public service broadcaster. They are required to be impartial and fair. The charges against the BBC are as follows:

    1. They prepared their Today show report in a biased manner; they chose two critics of Hunt as guests instead of balancing the show with an opposing viewpoint. This breaches the BBC’s duty of impartiality.

    2. The BBC misquoted Sir Tim Hunt repeatedly, attributing words to him as quotes which he did not say; either in Seoul or in their audio. This is a further and a very serious breach of impartiality, made worse by a refusal to correct the record when the error was pointed out to them.

    3. The BBC mischaracterized Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks repeatedly, falsely stating he had made observations about women scientists in general in his joke instead of talking about his his own life and marriage to Professor Mary Collins, whom he had met in the lab.

    4. The BBC stated as fact things that Connie St. Louis alleged; and, as we know now, these things did not happen.

    5. The BBC repeatedly breached its charter obligations by stating without quotation marks that Sir Tim made sexist remarks when in fact, his joke was against sexism; and by falsely imputing to him, as fact, views about women in science that he does not hold.

    6. The BBC breached impartiality guidelines by allowing its producers on social media to express bias in the case, not once, but repeatedly; and allowing them to still do so today.

    7. The BBC must know that factual data and witness accounts now completely contradict the account given by Connie St. Louis and Deborah Blum but they have not sought comment from, or broadcast, any correction on the facts. This breaches BBC rules on bias. It is compounded by the original offence of letting the false reporting stand as fact on the BBC website.

    Note: originally I put “The BBC did not correct the record with anything like the prominence they gave the original story”. But having searched I find the BBC has not corrected the record AT ALL. The BBC has not even COVERED the appearance of the audio tape proving Connie St. Louis lied about laughter. NOT EVEN ONCE.

    I have a serious problem with a state media entity that misquotes, fails to use quotes where necessary, breaches impartiality, mischaracterises, makes false statements, passes off allegation (from highly dubious sources) as fact, fails to check, failis to correct once advised of error and stays arrogantly defiant in unaccountability throughout.


  4. 2/2

    All of which they do with the general public too, and in their (as yet unanswered) internal 'investigation' of me that is now back with the ICO.

    If any do complain in the manner advised, the best they will likely get is a template, as the BBC has form on this too:

    If they can do it to a Nobel-prize-winner, they can do it to anyone. Even politicians who think currently the BBC is a national treasure to be protected at all costs (imposed on the public by compulsion), but may wish to revisit some famous words to those you often cite from Burke, that also seem apposite:

    "When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn't a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out."

    Of course, with the BBC and its ideological fellow travelers, the order may differ somewhat.


    I am trying to clear time to make my complaints archive work.

    I see someone at BBBC had the same idea.

    It has become even more necessary as they flout even most basic levels of responsibility and accountability.


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