Sunday 2 October 2016

John Simpson: "We let our viewers and listeners down"

Here's a post from early this morning, 'bumped up' to the top of the blog as it's a particularly striking example of BBC thinking:

And here's yet another senior BBC figure calling for the BBC to behave differently during electoral campaigns such as the EU referendum vote...

The BBC's world editor John Simpson, speaking at the One Young World summit, told the Huffington Post:
The BBC is obliged legally to be balanced between different political ideas and different political viewpoints. That enabled all sorts of people, on both sides, to lie their heads off about what would happen, what might happen, if we left or if we didn't leave the EU. 
So I would say if people looked to television and radio for a clear guidance about what to do, well, we certainly didn't give them clear enough guidance about the lies that were being told. 
I suspect that if people had known the facts and had judged in a more balanced way the outcome would have been a bit different, yes. 
We let our viewers and listeners down.
To paraphrase, Mr Simpson is saying that the BBC could have changed the result of the referendum (i.e. brought about a Remain win) if it had been more active in giving "clear guidance" to its viewers and listeners, and that the BBC should have given them such "clear guidance".

So says the BBC's world editor, sounding for all the world like an embittered Remain campaigner.

Update: You may have heard it here first (or nearly first), but now the Express is onto it.


  1. Enter the "Thought Police"... Who is John Simpson (or the BBC for that matter) to say that the Brexit vote was somehow a failure of the BBC and the Remain Campaigners' strategy? Or, with a little fine tuning, the result could have been reversed?

    1. To take the 1984 analogy a step further, and with the present Licence for mobiles initiative, and the impending requirement for 'log-in' to watch i-player, I believe that the BBC is developing the tools in order to promote their agenda - to 'educate' the dissenting voices into their way of thinking. 'Thought police" - Big Brother Corporation.

  2. In just a few sentences Simpson has inadvertently summed up everything that is wrong with the BBC.

  3. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the British people vote for Brexit despite weeks of pro-Remain propaganda from the BBC?

  4. You're right Craig. This makes a liar of every single defender of the indefensible who has claimed over the years that the BBC doesn't have the influence we say it does. The notion of impartiality at the BBC is finished.

    He's upset about lies being told on air? Considering plenty of Beeboids were telling those lies - anti-Brexit ones - I'd say Simpson needs to shut up.

  5. I expect we should be thankful that although the BBC is clearly pro-EU it has actually put very little effort into promoting it over the last 40 years, confining itself to reports about the UK being 'out of step', i.e. pushing the anti-British line as usual so as to demonstrate its 'independence'.

    1. Yes, and for many years the EU (or EEC) wasn't actually mentioned. Instead they kept referring to something called "torysplitsoverEUROPE"

  6. There were plenty of people, experts in their fields, who could have provided a very decent foil to Johnson et al, but the BBC went mainly for the unconvinced and unconvincing - people who argued the moral points of belonging to a cuddly club that clearly isn't cuddly.

    It would have been very easy for the BBC to make short, fact filled informative films and disseminate them on You Tube. But it didn't, and I believe the reason for that is that the BBC would have had to qualify and quantify negative aspects of EU membership.
    The BBC would have had to confront ALL of the truth.

    It's doing the same thing now with Syria, Yemen and the migrant crisis, and because it insists on sticking to a pre-arranged narrative masquerading as news, it paints itself into a corner when alternative facts and opinions become available.

    In short, because the BBC chooses narrative over substantive factual reporting, its news service has become a portal to an alternative universe.

  7. Enough @ 13.04, succinct and spot on. The truth of the bBC in a nutshell.


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