Saturday 26 December 2015

Mark Mardell surpasses himself

Thank you to the commenter who pointed out on an earlier thread a staggering example of sustained pro-immigration bias on The World at One last week, courtesy of Mark Mardell and George Alagiah. They were discussing economic migration.

I agree with the commenter's criticisms completely and would urge you to read the comment in full (if you haven't already done so).

In summary, however, George Alagiah presented a thoroughly one-sided report on the issue, using nothing but pro-mass immigration advocates:
  • Leonard Doyle from the International Organisation for Migration
  • UN Special Representative for Migration Peter Sutherland 
  • Civitas's Anastasia de Waal
  • A Bangladeshi immigrant business owner

...and making nothing but pro-mass immigration points:
  • that immigration brings economic benefits 
  • that we're going to have to get used to mass immigration to Europe whether we like it or not
  • that this country has sent out large numbers of our own people to the dominions over history (implying, 'So it's only fair that...')
  • that millions of British ex-pats now live abroad (also implying, 'So it's only fair that...')
In no way was that impartial reporting.

Then came a Mark Mardell interview with people from both sides of the argument: the left-leaning economist Jonathan Portes representing the pro-mass immigration side and Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch representing the other side. 

That might be thought 'fair' except for the way Mark Mardell behaved here. In no way was it impartial interviewing.

He essentially gave Jonathan Portes a free run, asking him soft questions (including one mentioning the 'cuts' - something Mr Portes is known for opposing). Alp Mehmet, in contrast, was asked tougher questions, repeatedly interrupted and even asked a personal question in order to amplify MM's pro-immigration point. The tone was also different, with a notable degree of added stridency entering the BBC presenters voice in some of his questions to Mr Mehmet.

Here are the questions put by Mark Mardell, in full:

To Alp Mehmet:
  • If I could start with you Alp, we've heard various people there express the view that economic migration is a good thing and, anyway, we've got to get used to it. 
  • (interrupting): Who would you stop?
  • Alp Mehmet, do you accept that there is economic benefit?
  • But there are so many people whose families come from a migrant background in Britain these days that even sort of discussing putting up the borders does sound offensive to them?
  • (interrupting) So would you send your family back?

To Jonathan Portes:
  • Jonathan Portes, the point is that the infrastructure isn't there and, of course, we're making cuts at the moment anyway.
  • Jonathan Portes, I mean, it's also about culture, isn't it? About the way society changes and some people love that; others don't?
I would stress that Mark Mardell - and I'm not imagining this, as you can confirm by listening for yourselves! - really did put a lot more passion (heat, even) into the most striking question in those lists: 
But there are so many people whose families come from a migrant background in Britain these days that even sort of discussing putting up the borders does sound offensive to them?
Is this the 'argument' the BBC are going to start regularly deploying from now on?

I bet it's not the last time we'll hear such an astonishing question from a BBC presenters' lips.


  1. Happy Christmas Sue and Craig-and thank you for this "multivitamin site"-it complements "Biased BBC" and is essential reading.
    Owe you both greatly for your media scientific techniques that can be applied to coverage of politics in general (interviews with the percentage interruptions etc)-and Green, Israel and Religious bias at the BBC in particular!
    My point?
    Your mention of Peter Sutherland re migration-I`m sure I recall the BBC hack introducing his as "somebody who`s been giving this issue some thought for a long time already"...words to that effect anyhoo!
    I`ll say he has...been a fine lifeboat..that doubles as a cruise liner or even yacht for himself and all the others who do rather well out of waving a shroud,showing a stump or signalling a need for the lower orders to pay up and shut up-whilst bedding down in the Luxembourg Raddison and having the BBC on standby for incontinental our expense of course.
    No-Peter`s well fed, padded and troughed to emote for Europe-funnily enough, his own native Ireland hardly leads the field in "generosity"...nor, for that matter does Ban Ki Moon of South Korea-not a place the UN deems worth the thumbscrews to take in their share of vulnerable Muslims.
    Why so Peter...why so Banki?
    Hypocrite in Gaelic or in Korean?...same root derivation of liberal guilt trippers on the public sector lotus leaves and lily pads of empty unelectable privilege.

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Chris. And a happy New Year too. As Sue would say, onwards and Jedwards!

  2. Yes, I was the commenter who initially raised this. Thanks for highlighting this in a separate post - I think it does deserve highlighting, given the new depths to which Mardell (who, ironically, I used to rather like and admire) was prepared to sink in the cause of mass immigration to the UK. Why? He's an intelligent chap. I find it difficult to believe he really thinks he is doing the job he's supposed to - explore arguments on ALL sides of a matter of contentious public policy.

    These last few weeks I have felt the bias at the BBC just spinning out of control. It's as if they have given up any pretence of balance. I suppose this is bound to happen as more and more people brought up in the culture of political correctness now attain high office.

    As for Sutherland - Ireland does seem to do a good trade in exporting bleeding heart internationalists, whilst nevertheless maintaining one of the most nationalistic and ethnically isolationist set ups back home!

    1. Yes, I have also felt that the BBC has given up all pretence of balance and has now openly declared to be pro-(mass)-immigration, feminist, EU and other left-leaning liberal causes. I think it's because the BBC staffers have noticed that Cameron will not make any attempt to rein them in, perhaps even agrees with them.


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