Monday 7 September 2015

Impartiality flies out of the window

Here's how David ends his post:
Shame on the BBC. Their duty, as defined by the public purposes, is to offer balanced reporting that reflects all sides of this massive story [the migrant crisis]. Instead, we are getting the Gospel according to the Liberal Left. On Friday night, elements of coverage were actually accompanied by epic movie music. This was not news reporting. You could call it instead what it actually was: propaganda.
I don't doubt for one second that epic movie music was used for some of the coverage, although I didn't hear it myself (as I was away on Friday night and didn't have much time for BBC-related matters). As I returned home on Saturday morning there was a moving piece about Palmyra on Today that made use of one of the most haunting pieces of modern classical music (Howard Skempton's beautiful Lento) to flood listeners' hearts with sadness. (An emotional 'flooding' I fully related to).

It really does seem to be propaganda that the BBC's pumping out though at the moment, doesn't it? 

When Sue and myself started this blog I really wanted to avoid that kind of accusation and to be as fair as possible to the BBC. Well, being as fair to the BBC as possible, I think it is propaganda they are pumping out now. And they ought to stop it.

As well as all the other evidence we've posted here in recent days to back that up I'd just like to add another line of thought - one that's also struck me over the past couple of days, though one I've hesitated about posting about (for some reason)....

There seems to be almost a template for certain BBC reports at the moment. Whether it comes from Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany or Sweden (or wherever) and whichever BBC reporter is doing the reporting, the template usually seems to be: 
Report stories of individual suffering (preferably women's stories, or stories involving children). Tell stories of 'good' people helping/welcoming migrants. Contrast them with 'the other side', using far less positive language about those people. And, above all, keep linking those opposed to the present 'influx' to the far-right. And use the term 'far-right' or 'hard-right' at every opportunity.
There are so many examples of this I've rather lost track of them, but there was Nick Thorpe in Hungary (besides all the other faults in his reporting we've outlined here over the past couple of weeks) welding himself to pro-migrant activists there (all female) and constantly mentioning the far-right in opposition to them. And Bethany Bell in Austria repeatedly talking about a far-right party there leading the opinion polls (as indeed the Austrian Freedom Party does, by quite a significant margin in poll after poll), and only about that party, in contrast to all those nice Austrians rushing across the border to help the migrants in Hungary. And Jenny Hills's cheering crowds v neo-Nazis in Germany. And Graham Satchell and Tom Bateman's ever-present hard-right/far-right Sweden Democrats, getting 20% in a recent poll according to Tom Bateman, always contrasted to all the nice pro-migrant people in Sweden (who stage rallies in favour of migrants). And Rob Cameron's extraordinary From Our Own Correspondent piece from the Czech Republic where nice pro-migrant people were juxtaposed with Hitler-supporting, obnoxious anti-migrant people. 

There may be grains of truth in all of those, but so lop-sided, so intense, so didactic is this kind of BBC reporting that impartiality seems to flying out of the window and doesn't look likely to return any time soon.


  1. "Our own correspondent " was often used for propaganda purposes and it is no surprise that it is still used in this way. It is a very influential programme because it is made to appear as if it is taken directly from only what the journalist's hears and sees and this deeply influences listeners. . . See this example - Appeal to the Governors - responding to Nick Thorpe's propaganda against Israel ( From Our Own Correspondent July 2006)

  2. Looking forward to when editors decide to go for the Tarantino or Clockwork Orange effect of putting a track like 'Singing in the Rain' over a murder scene.

    BBC picture editing on this whole sorry mess has been a Leni Riefenstahl triumph of the hive.


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