Sunday 11 December 2016

Complaints from two sides


As Sue noted the other day, it seems as if the world and his wife appears to be noticing BBC bias at the moment - particularly over the past couple of years, and the last year especially (post-Brexit, post-Trump). 

The BBC appears to be facing a populist uprising (as they themselves might put it).

The interesting thing, however (for me), is that it isn't just from 'our side'. The 'other side' seems to be just as riled about the BBC - though, it has to be said, given their ideological propensities, they appear much less willing to call for the BBC's scrapping, or privatisation, or the abolition of the licence fee!

That 'other side' is, of course, the Left or far-Left - whatever you want to call it. And it likes the soggy-left, 'left-liberal', Blairite, "Tory" BBC about as much as 'we' do.

It particularly dislikes Laura Kuenssberg. 

And that 'other side' is now doing what 'we' were doing and saying about the BBC a few years back and often in much the same language, albeit from the opposite ideological direction - often uncannily so (including disparaging talk of the 'MSM').

The left-wing Huffington Post reports that the BBC has yet again had to remind its staff that they ought to be impartial on Twitter.

Previously, that's come about because of left-wing tweets from BBC types.

Not this time though, as a freelance Question Time audience producer (i.e. someone who assembles QT audiences) recently appeared to share posts by Britain First on Facebook and promote messages supportive of Vote Leave (two things which the Huff Post blithely appears to link together).

This all came originally via the far-left Canary website. I checked out the QT producer's tweets at the time and found them wholly innocuous but the Huff Post insists that her Facebook feed was much as the Canary site suggests. 

That said, the Huff Post article suggests to me that the sharing of Britain First's call for people to wear the poppy of remembrance was indeed shared innocently (out of reverence for the poppy) by the QT audience producer - but maybe that's just me being 'right-wing' and giving her 'the benefit of the doubt' because of my own bias.

The article also notes that QT has been accused of favouring MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn "after it was revealed no member of his shadow cabinet had appeared for five weeks". Checking the QT lists, that run ran from 3/11 to 1/12 and featured non-Corbynite Labour MPs Lisa Nandy, Yvette Cooper, Chris Bryant, Chris Leslie and Alan Johnson. 

Looking at QT since its summer return, however, I'd count the pro-Corbyn/anti-Corbyn ratio (Labour-backing-politician-wise) as 7 for Mr Corbyn and 8 not for Mr Corbyn (if you include Yanis Varoufakis as being a 'Labour-backing-politician'.) Check it for yourselves here.

Complaints from two sides.

Not 'both sides', very importantly to note, but 'two sides' - against the central centre/centre-left/left-liberal BBC standpoint. 


  1. Soggy left consensus is what the BBC pushes. Soggy at home. Abroad, it can be quite hard, depending on what's in favour. Sometimes they are members of the war party...sometimes they put on their Peace Pledge sashes. They hate Corbyn not so much for his views but for fear he is making the main soggy left vehicle unelectable.

    I'm expecting some serious bigging up of Keir Starmer over the next few weeks.

  2. Invariably when one examines the cries of bias from the two sides one side complains that only policy 'X' is being pushed and the other side compains that policy 'X' isn't being pushed enough. The BBC calls that 'balance'. Whatever it is called it does mean that the alternative to policy 'X', policy 'Y', is never discussed, which is bias by omission.

  3. Now that is hilarious. We know the QT producers reach out to activist groups if they think a certain viewpoint on the issue of the week isn't represented enough by the public applicant pool. They say it on the website and have said so elsewhere. The producer may very well have held their nose and contacted a non-Left group one week, or been doing so under instruction, or just done it because they know they can't rig the audiences against Brexit with very rare exceptions. We also know the BBC instructs staff to use social media for newsgathering and reaching out to the audience, so this is just standard practice, nothing to see here at all. At least, without further Facebook evidence, anyway.

    As for stacked (or un-stacked) panels, the week before your starter date, they had Keir Starmer on. For the five weeks in question, I see only one Tory Cabinet member (my knowledge may be lacking here). So expand the target by one week, and we have "balance".

    The thing is, I think it's fair to say that the division these days is between Brexit and Remain ('Soft' Brexit when it's at home), and not the usual Tory vs Labour dance. That seems to be the consensus from both Nick Robinson and Andrew Neil today. From this perspective, the panels have been weighted against real Brexit.

    If, on the other hand, the Canary muppets had made a complaint about Andrew Neil, I would agree with them wholeheartedly.


    Isn't this nauseating BBC report totally reprehensible? Coptic Christians have been "hit" apparently. Can't they write headlines properly? Any objective human being would head it up "Fatal Terrorist Attack on Innocent Christian worshippers". Then when you read the story apparently "militants" were responsible...not murderers, not Jihadis, not Islamic extremists, not terrorists but "militants"...the same people who used to organise strikes at British Leyland in the 1970s.

    1. It is both nauseating and reprehensible. But unsurprising. The BBC values lives according to who kills them, and this is just another incidence of their editorial bent.

    2. Mishal Moral Equivalence Rules apply.

    3. I made a formal complaint to the BBC about the substitution of 'militant' for 'terrorist' a couple of years ago - they gave me the usual BBC brush off. As many people have pointed out, they're busy re - writing the English language in the hope that we will no longer be able to express ideas of which they disapprove.

  5. From a read-through of today's BBC News website article about the FA, it appears that 'Elderly White Men' has become a term of derision from the BBC aimed at those who do not share their views - Leave voters, the old-and-out-of-touch, the racists from up-north, the Tory supporters, the UKIP supporters etc etc.

    1. Yes. To the BBC the phrase is the perfect triple - whammy, with the added attraction that each of the three words can stand alone as a term of abuse. I wonder if Greg Dyke has thought of adding 'hideously elderly' & 'hideously male' to his notorious 'hideously white' comment!


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