Saturday 14 November 2015

BBC guest lists

Sticking with the cast list of guests who appeared on this morning's BBC Breakfast/BBC News Channel,,,

It was striking how familiar many of them were. 

After the Charlie Hebdo killings, I noted that "Agnes Poirier is the first person the BBC turns to whenever anything major happens in France", and there she was at 7.18 this morning on BBC Breakfast. 

Agnes Poirier is one of the three regular French guests on Dateline London. 

The second is Nabila Ramdani, who appeared three times later in the morning. 

And the third in Marc Roche, who duly appeared at 11.52.

The actual existence of that mythical 'BBC speed dial' becomes ever more likely.


The second interesting trend - now re-adding Newsnight and Today to BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel - is the complete absence of voices critical of Islam and critical of politicians/media outlets that try to obfuscate reality on behalf of the followers of Islam.

In contrast, there were plenty of voices - from Nabila Ramdani and Professor Peter Neumann on Today to Newsweek's Janine di Giovanni on Newsnight and  Dr Asiem El Difraoui on Today and the BBC News Channel (among others) - fervently asserting that Muslims face undue stigmatisation as as result of these attacks, or that Muslims have great cause to feel alienated in today's France.

That such a bias is wholly expected from the BBC doesn't make it acceptable.


The third interesting trend is the dominance of the airwaves by voices of the Left, considering last night's Newsnight, this morning's Today and  BBC Breakfast/BBC News Channel between 6 am and 5 pm. 

(I exclude UK politicians from this as Newsnight had Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi (somewhat inappropriately plugging the Snooper's Charter) and the News Channel had Jeremy Corbyn).

This morning's Today was the oddest. It had interviews with four French politicians: (1) Christophe Premat, French Socialist MP for northern Europe; (2) Corinne Narassiguin, French Socialist government spokeswoman; (3) Edith Cresson, former Socialist prime minister of France and (4) Bernard Kouchner, an independent socialist. The BBC News Channel later added former Socialist defence minister Alain Richard to that list. 

The point here is that the BBC didn't interview any right-wing French politicians here - neither from the Front National or M. Sarkozy's Republicans. Why ever not?

Something similar happened with the French journalists who appeared across the BBC. Pierre Haski, former editor of the centre-left Liberation, was the French journalist on last night's Newsnight. Laurent Joffrin, editor of Liberation, appeared on BBC Breakfast alongside Agnes Poirier, editor of the left-wing Marianne, and Sylvain Courage of the left-leaning Nouvel Observateur. Only Marc Roche represented a right-leaning paper, Le Point - and he's a self-professed anti-capitalist. 

Where were the right-leaning French journalists here? 

None of the other French voices on the News Channel leaned rightwards either (Jacques Reland of the Global Policy Institute and Francois Sergent,, formerly of Liberation).

The voice of the French Right was one we should have been hearing here. That we weren't hearing that voice doesn't reflect well on the BBC, does it?

And as you would expect most of the above voices expressed views which were closely aligned themselves with those of their fellow BBC guests. The same points kept coming up, again and again. None of them spoke out of line. 

It was rather uncanny.

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