Tuesday 8 September 2015

'Panorama' and Jeremy Corbyn

Last night's Panorama on the rise of Jeremy Corbyn provoked massed howls of outrage from the battalions of Corbynistas on Twitter - and, according to Mr Fawkes, from Mr Corbyn's own team as well

The terms "character assassination" and "hatchet job" were widely banded about. 

Even some people on largely right-wing forums are saying that the BBC appeared to be trying to stick the knife into Jeremy Corbyn here.

And I have to say that I think they're right about that. (And, from my own biased point of view, quite right too!)

Of course, Panorama isn't averse to putting out hatchet jobs. (The makers of Panorama do seem to like the odd hatchet job from time to time.) 

The thing that connects those politicians is that they aren't establishment ones, so that could indicate a pro-establishment bias on the BBC's part....

....except that twice, in 2010 and 2012, Panorama doggedly went after a top Conservative donor, Lord Ashcroft. (Complications, complications!)

Now, both Sue and myself have had good things to say before about the Panorama reporter responsible for last night's Jeremy Corbyn report, John Ware. He's a BBC reporter who often goes where most other BBC reporters wouldn't dream of going. 

His pursuit of Mr Corbyn's dealings with Islamist terrorist groups and his linking of Mr Corbyn with a conference in Cairo which advocated attacks on British troops fighting in Iraq were, to my mind, worthwhile but, it has to be said, I really don't think he got very far at all. Jeremy Corbyn said enough not to come anywhere near close to incriminating himself, and didn't look at all rattled by John Ware's questioning. 

And John Ware couldn't get anywhere beyond those statements from Jeremy Corbyn, other than by asserting that Mr Corbyn didn't give a straight answer to the Cairo question....

...A bit of what I, in my younger years, might have called 'a damp squid' then.

Except for some pro-Corbyn vox pops and a pro-Corbyn comedian, all of Panorama's 'talking heads' were from what might be called the 'Labour establishment' - Bob Roberts, David Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt. Their message could hardly have been clearer: Don't vote Corbyn! Even the only other talking head, Chris Mullin, who had some nice things to say about the hero of the Corbynistas, didn't think Jeremy Corbyn could win an election.

At this point in a blog post, of course, a conclusion should come. Unfortunately, I don't have one, so please make of this mess of impressions what you will.


  1. ....except that twice, in 2010 and 2012, Panorama doggedly went after a top Conservative donor, Lord Ashcroft.

    No, see, they're still Left-wing. This is the post-modern Establishment we're talking about, remember, not the Establishment of your youth. Ashcroft is an evil Thatcherite in their view, not Establishment Right like Cameron or Patten. Even I don't consider him that kind of Establishment soft Left-of-center Tory. Panorama is just more honest than Newsnight - and has a different remit, really - and not influenced by Left-wing titled editors, so they cast a wider net. They didn't do this to secretly help the Tories.

    You list their choices of leading Labour figures and elder 'big beasts'. Did Panorama give any serious time to a single person who actually would serve in a Corbyn Cabinet? (It is sooooo tempting to start both words with 'K'.) No Diane Abbott? None of the elite Leftoid celebutards who have been outspoken in their love for Corbyn? If that's not enough, I'd say the final proof of a deliberate anti-Corbyn agenda is the absence of Universal Owen.

    This seems to support my theory about what's going on internally at the BBC. I don't know this 'wronged' commenter enough to say, but it seemed a sober assessment and not a resident defender of the indefensible or troll, so the Panorama piece must have been pretty poor for it not to elicit a reaction like, "Thank God the BBC are finally getting it about what a @#$%^ commie 6#%^$ muzzie lovin' ^%&#$ Corbyn is, etc."

    The producers will definitely have had a meeting or three about how to approach this, and we know the ludicrous management structure means we can be sure somebody higher up had to approve it as well, i.e. Establishment BBC approved. And possibly put an order in for it.

    If "Red Andy" Marr's open fretting about how destructive a Corbyn leadership might be wasn't enough to convince you something is rotten in Salford, then this surely must be convincing. Oh, man, I hope there's an internal revolt about this. I will be checking that ex-BBC forum and Digital Spy.

    Exit question: Agreed about John Ware, largely learned from this blog. But who is the editor that lets him do it? I'd say that's at least as important.

  2. Seems pretty much par the course. Corbyn as leader of Labour will not serve BBC interests as well as others.

    Ergo, the BBC now being an overt policy-shaping entity with billions to go shaping with...

    The best bit is, they can also claim it shows how balanced they are.

  3. Have you seen this? Be prepared to laugh out loud.


    Jeremy Corbyn Panorama Special: BBC Refuses To Confirm Number Of Complaints Because Of 'Lobbying'

    The BBC has refused to disclose the number of complaints it received from viewers following the Jeremy Corbyn Panorama special which aired on Monday evening.

    Hundreds of Corbyn's supporters took to social media to express their anger at the programme, which prompted comparisons with Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News and accusations of a "hatchet job".

    Ofcom says it received six complaints questioning the programme's 'due impartiality' but said this is an issue for the BBC and BBC Trust to adjudicate.

    However, because some of those expressing their anger did so while publicising the telephone number and postal address of the BBC's complaints department, the corporation has now refused to say exactly how many people have filed objections.

    Oh, dear, complaints from both sides, eh? Still, it's nice to see the other side having the complaints door slammed in their faces for a change.

    Curiously, Sarah Montague was very tough on Jon Cruddas this morning. She was constantly on the attack, even a bit strident at times, on his position that a Corbynite Labour would be a disaster. She wheeled out every possibly excuse for supporting Corbyn, and tried to tell Cruddas he might be the one on the wrong side. She was rather more challenging than I would have expected, really. I had her pegged as Establishment, as dopey and Progressive as her questioning can sometimes be. Although, she's certainly dim enough to be a fan of Corbyn's politics.


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