Sunday 20 November 2016

Half an hour in the life of the BBC News Channel (continued)

Susana Mendonça

Continuing to focus on that 5.00-5.30 period on the BBC News Channel this afternoon (as part of my new, random-sampling mission)...

Susana Mendonça's report on the road-related bits of the upcoming Autumn Statement included the following, ramping up the negatives re the consequences of Brexit:
This focus on on roads isn't just about rebuilding infrastructure though. It's about boosting confidence ahead of the Brexit negotiations at a time when economic forecasts are pointing to slowing growth. The Chancellor has admitted there is greater uncertainty and he wants to calm nerves ahead of any economic storm that may lie ahead
With a bumpy road to Brexit ahead the government will be hoping its road plan makes it smoother.

Then we had Jenny Hill reporting on Mrs Merkel's plans to stand for a fourth term as German chancellor. 

Jenny gave Mrs Merkel a favourable review, quoting a poll showing that 55% of Germans support her and saying that her approval ratings are "still the envy of many world leaders", even though they've gone up and down because of her "refugee policy":
She will be going into battle though against the tide of populism that, of course, has swept Donald Trump to victory in the States and is washing across the whole of Europe too.
Ah yes, those "populists"! (like "populist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim AfD".) And Jenny then gave into temptation (being her own tempter) and speculated: 
It's very tempting to wonder what it is that's make Mrs Merkel make up her mind. I suspect...She's a woman with a strong sense of duty. She wants to finish what she began with the refugee crisis, to try and shore up the causes of the problem. She's also a passionate supporter of the EU and she's very concerned about its future and its survival, particularly in the light of the Brexit decision. But I wonder too, it's very tempting to speculate whether Donald Trump's victory has ultimately pushed her into this decision. She's congratulated him but, remember, at the same time she reminded him of his duty to respect the shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Very uncertain times, not just for the continent but, of course, for the world too. 
Jenny Hill

The language there is striking, isn't it? She's positive about Mrs Merkel ("She's a woman with a strong sense of duty"). She insists on calling 'the migrant crisis' "the refugee crisis". She talks of "reminding" in connection with what Mrs Merkel said to Donald Trump). And she ends by being negative ("very uncertain times") about the state of the world, post-Brexit, post-Trump).

Jenny then went on to opine:
I think that he decision will be met with relief, generally-speaking, all round.
At which I will admit to thinking, "Yes, including at the BBC"...which, no sooner had I thought that, then Jenny inadvertently reinforced that impression by ending:  
In the words of one public broadcaster here this morning. "Angela Merkel the Indispensable". 
One public broadcaster here seems to be taking the same view at the moment. (See last week's Newsnight too).


Later came a section on the centre-right Republican Party's primary election to choose their presidential candidate. I had to smile at the captions accompanying the mini-profiles of the front-runners. 

Hugh Scofield

I'm guessing the BBC aren't too keen on M. Sarkozy because he's "moved to the right on immigration and security issues":

Nicholas Sarkozy, 61
Failed to be re-elected
Moved to the right

Alain Juppe, 71
Campaigned as moderate
Led polls for months

Francois Fillon, 62
Campaigned as a centrist
Wants deep economic reform

Hugh Schofield, in Paris, then reported on the vote. It's not looking good for Nicholas Sarkozy, due to the high turn-out, Hugh is saying. M. Fillon, "the dark horse", is "very much a man to be reckoned with". (The facts seem to be bearing that out tonight).


The BBC then reported a "reported" attack on a school in Assad-controlled West Aleppo by rebels, which counters persistent claims that the BBC rarely reports attacks on civilians by the rebels. The bulletin spent 9 seconds on that and then spent 15 seconds recounting earlier attacks by the government side on rebel-held Eastern Aleppo, which probably counter-counters that countering of those persistent claims, if you know what I mean.


And there was a preview (plug) of an undercover Panorama report, featuring secret filming, in a private nursing home in Cornwall. I read comments elsewhere earlier today wondering why it always seems to be the case that the BBC uses secret filming against private businesses but rarely against public sector institutions. Is that fair? (It does ring true).


Sarah Corker

And the half hour ended with a report on what will keep the lights on here in the UK and, guess what? It turned out to be wind farms.

There have been calls for the government to back wind power more and the BBC reporter, Sarah Corker, certainly enthused about the wonders of wind farms and their economic benefits here. Does your company need more clarity from the government? she asked. "These energy companies are brushing off any Brexit uncertainty", she gushed.


I think I've faithfully recounted what happened during this half hour of BBC News Channel broadcasting. Taken in tandem with the two previous posts about another item during this half hour, doesn't it show BBC bias in full flowering?


  1. Jenny Hill is a piece isn't she? She might as well just come with a "I Love Angela" badge.

    You wouldn't have got the impression from her item that German women had been sujected to hundreds of assaults by migrants on New Year's Eve, that because of public resistance to her "refugee" policy Merkel had had to execute a complete U turn on the policy, and that the migrant influx is costing Germany tens of billions of Euros (even before all the "dependents" start coming over as well).

    On the European wave of "populism" I don't think Le Pen will get elected - the Front Nationale carry the taint of disloyalty, of anti-Republicanism and of Petainism. Marine le Pen is an impressive candidate in many ways but I doubt she can overcome the 2nd round jeopardy.

    Merkel. I would say that 55% is well overstated. I think to some extent a German Chancellor is, although not head of state, still in some sense more of a figurehead than just the head of government. To that extent I think in polls she probably benefits from a "loyalty" vote.

    A lot will depend on events of course. Who knows what might happen before the General Election and how Merkel might react.

  2. Poor old Jenny seems to be the epitome of the over emotional, easily led, desperate to please her boss, tow the BBC line reporter.

    Has she read no history or studied any politics? If she had, she may have used her piece to reflect upon the farcical presumption of a German Chancellor lecturing a US President on democracy and the rule of law.

    Did she not even stop to wonder why Obama was not allowed to run for a 3rd term, while Merkel is now, to Jenny's delight, going for a 4th? There is someone a little further to the East who is now on his 5th term, I think. Like him, Jenny and her BBC seem to prefer their democracy with less "uncertain" outcomes.

  3. ...and saying that her approval ratings are "still the envy of many world leaders".

    That bar is set so low as to make this a meaningless statement, and Jenny "You're safe now!" Hill knows it.


    Why does Jenny Hill call Mrs Merkel's party the "Conservatives" when they are called the Christian Democrats, and are in alliance with the Christian Social Union? There must be a reason. BBC reporters never choose their words innocently. I guess Jenny doesn't like the idea of a champion of Muslim migration to Europe having the word "Christian" in the title of her party and doesn't want to be seen to be cheering on politicians who self-identify with Christianity. So although the BBC usually reserves "Conservative" for mad Islamic radicals, recalcitrant elements in the RC Church or old fashioned communists, Jenny prefers to use that label rather than give the actual name of the party.

    1. Anyone to the right of Gramsci is 'conservative' or 'right-wing' from the BBC editorial perspective. It also serves the current agenda to paint anyone thinking Merkel is wrong on immigration as 'far-right', as they would clearly be to her right on the issue.


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