Saturday 8 August 2015

The BBC, UKIP and Calais

Continuing with last night's Newsnight....

The programme presented a report from Calais from BBC reporter James Clayton (who I think I'm now officially entitled to describe as "controversial"). 

Newsnight presented his report as being done at the instigation of a UKIP MEP, Mike Hookem.

Whether it was or wasn't (and, obviously, like you, I've absolutely no idea), but...

Mike was shown making his point about how easy it is for the illegals in Calais to breach the fences protecting the Channel Tunnel but James (of the BBC), doing his Jon Ronson impersonation, 'innocently' noted that some people on Twitter have accused the UKIP man of acting like a vigilante and then asked Mike if he was a vigilante. 

Still, Newsnight probably thought it was being 'brave' in inviting a UKIP man to feature in its report. 

"You understand the desperation, don't you?", asked James.

James (of the BBC) then invited Mike (of UKIP) to please think of the children....and, predictably, an exchange followed with James of the BBC repeatedly interrupting Mike of UKIP on behalf of  the children.

An Eritrean man wants to reach his wife, already living in Britain. Mike interviews him, and then James interviews him, highlighting the difficulty of his journey. He's come a long way, says James of the BBC.

James (of the BBC) then repeatedly presses Mike (of UKIP) on whether the latter feels "sorry" for that poor Eritrean at all, asking:
How can you not feel sorry for someone who's come from Eritrea, a war-torn country....?
Well, James Clayton of Newsnight, Eritrea isn't "warn-torn" at all. It's horribly oppressive but it's not war-torn. 

Anyhow, James continues, pressing the UKIP MEP: incredible journey. You can say all sorts of things. You can say that they don't have a right to enter the UK but you can't say you don't feel sorry for someone?
What would Mike do about a woman rolling in the grass? I'm not here to be a vigilante, said Mike.

Mike says that some thing are being done by the authorities to tackle the situation, security-wise, but that the problem will never be stopped until people are stopped from crossing the Mediterranean.

And on that point the report ended. 

Was it biased? If so, featuring UKIP, was it biased in favour of UKIP? Or, despite featuring UKIP, was is actually strongly biased against UKIP? Or was it perfectly balanced between those two positions and, thus, impartial?

I think you might be able to guess what I think.


  1. I feel sorry for most people in the World which means billions. Does the BBC think there is room for them all in the UK ?

  2. Perhaps Mike should have asked James what he would do and follow up with the question whether James' answers were bbc policy? In other words, don't allow the bbc to play by their rules.

  3. I followed the same path you took to Robin Lustig's blog, Daphne.

    Jon Donnison sounded oddly cheerful on 'Today' the other morning. He even said something to the effect that it felt good to be English that morning. It was down to England defeating Australia in the Ashes. For someone like Jon Donnison to say that it felt good to be English that day, he really must hate Australia as much as we think he does. His other tweets, when England are playing countries in South Asia, suggest that this reaction isn't normal for him. He's usually much more complimentary about our opponents' performances - and sometimes urges them on.

    Just thought I'd get that off my chest!

  4. Daphne 03:51


    Is Robin Lustig genuinely sincere? I hate that vacuous moral equivalence between Jewish and Muslim immigration. It’s completely disingenuous. Lustig states that his own parents wholeheartedly embraced their new country and seem to have become more patriotic than your average Brit. That was certainly the case with most Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe at the turn of the century and the early 1900s. Hasn’t he noticed that the migrants from Muslim countries tend to be less adaptable?

    It’s this fake ‘Muslims are the new Jews’ and “ ‘Islamophobia’ is the new antisemitism” which always blurs that argument.

  5. Craig, I get the distinct impression that Donnison really doesn't want to be Down Under - his heart is in Gaza. He seems to report Australia Lite - except when he's on the "kick the Abbott government over the Turn Back the Boats" issue.
    Sue, it's such a stupid ahistorical analogy, and I despair that Lustig is running with it.

  6. Only got half of this-so thought he was a union lorry driver, who only seemed to be making sense.
    But UKIP eh?...why am I not surprised?
    This Clayton lad seemed just like Richard Bacon or Jamie Theakston...vacuous, airheaded and clearly interested in nothing but getting some sympathy and emoting done on behalf of the huddled masses in Calais.
    Desperate crap-and clearly the product of watching too much cBBC stuff while on nannys knee at prep school.
    And THIS is yoof product as signed off by Danny Cohen at Newsnight?
    Emoting, no facts-craving tears and emoting-not any practical or moral means of clearing the mess?
    The BBC really is a dead phlegm walking....stop paying for the likes of Clayton to get a free education at the cost of the taxpayer-an irredeemable muppet.

  7. Seems like advocating for the illegal cause, trying to appeal to UKIP's human decency, no? If this was done at Hookem's request to balance out previous pro-illegal bias, it was the exact opposite of that.


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