Sunday 5 March 2017

"He is not a happy bunny"

There's nothing like a BBC-on-BBC discussion to brighten up your Sunday morning, and this morning's Andrew Marr Show featured Jon Sopel and Andrew Marr (plus ex-BBC Stephanie Flanders) chatting amongst themselves (again) about the man of the moment.

Opinions poured forth....

ANDREW MARR: Now Jon, let's talk about President Trump and those tweets. What a story!
JON SOPEL: Extraordinary. It's hard to describe what it is like living in the US at the moment, where you wake up and you think, "I wonder what he's said now". Yesterday was an absolute classic. And I thought it would be interesting to contrast the way the British press are covering it, which is "Trump launches Twitter storm". So this is the Washington Post: "Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of Nixon/Watergate" Just so you don't think it's the liberal media, I'm just going to bring up the Wall Street Journal here: "Trump faces furore over unsubstantiated claim Obama wiretapped him". Of course, the Wall Street Journal owned by Rupert Murdoch. We can carry on. The LA Times now: "Citing no evidence, Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones during the election". So it seems that even the American media think they have to point out that, "Look, he's said all this stuff, we're going to cover him, he is the leader of the free world after all, but evidence is there none". 
ANDREW MARR: And he has called Obama "sick" and "sad" and "bad", and all the rest of it. What is going on? Is this purely an attempt to deflect from his own problems with Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, under trouble over his Russian links, and so on. Throw something into the social media, everyone will follow it, and they will forget what was going on before. 
JON SOPEL: Possibly. He has used that to good effect in the past. But the problems come back to Russia and the links. There's a lot of circumstantial evidence. There's absolutely no evidence of any untoward contacts. But it is just so strange. I mean, the joke going around Washington at the moment is that the Russian ambassador, Kislyak, is the most boring man in the city. Why? Because no one ever remembers meeting him! And that is one of the narratives. Why are there so many meetings with the Russians - and Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, had two of them that he completely forgot to mention when he was under oath at his confirmation hearing? 
ANDREW MARR: Looking from the outside, you'd think that somebody making that kind of, quotes, "mistake" under oath in front of Congress would be out. 
JON SOPEL: Well, to use the verb that got currency this week, he has recused himself from any investigation into the link. I think that he's...Andrew, to use a Scottish phrase...I think his coat is hanging by a shoogly peg, I think they say...
ANDREW MARR: Absolutely!
JON SOPEL: And I don't think he can afford any more mishaps. And I think Donald Trump is raging at the world. He is raging in Mar-a-Lago in Florida at the leaks that are taking place, that the Washington Post newspaper managed to find out about the Jeff Sessions meeting with the ambassador. He's raging at his own officials for the way they are handling it. He's raging at the media over the way we're reporting it. He is not a happy bunny. 
ANDREW MARR: Stephanie, you've been following this story too. It is one of the most extraordinary moments in modern American political history. We've never had a president behave like this before. 


  1. Yes, Sopel,keep saying it's so odd that Sessions should meet with an ambassador. Best your vierwers do not see this:

  2. Mardell and Webb both showed their bias when they were Washington correspondents, but Sopel is streets ahead of both in his unbalanced (unhinged) reporting, and is manifestly unfit to occupy that post. Fortunately, he is digging his own grave.

    1. One would hope.

      But Jeremy Bowen remains the BBC's man in the Middle East so perhaps fit, hinged balance is not their concern?

  3. Strange that we haven't heard from the BBC about the alleged GCHQ collusion in "tapping" Trump. You'd think they'd be straight on to such a juicy story.

  4. The ten Bs of BBC bias:

    1. Blind eye (nothing bad happening in Sweden or Paris or Rochdale for that matter).

    2. Billing (put those Trumpophobic and Brexiphobic stories top of the bill every day throughout the year).

    3. Bending the truth (just because the Calais unaccompanied children are clearly adults doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to refer to them as adults).

    4. Bigging up nonentities. (Rosie O'Donnell was unknown over here but didn't stop the BBC bigging her up as representative of American opinion when she was spouting her Trump hate but since she called for martial law to prevent Trump assuming office, she is not used so much now!)

    5. Being PC at all times. (Being PC at all times sends the message that every right thinking person has to be PC at all times, so stifling free debate.)

    6. Blatant weighting when it comes to presentation. (Always interrupt populist spokespeople disproportionately. Use a sneering or disbelieving tone. Give more time to BBC-approved opinions than their opponents.)

    7. Bland assertion. (More effective than you might suppose. Just blandly assert that Trump has lied about's surprising how effective that can be, even if not true.)

    8. Branding with hate. (No one likes to be thought of as a hateful brand your opponents as hateful, thus reasonable critics of Sharia law become haters of Muslims for instance.)

    9. Brag about non-existent successes you'd like to think were true. (Arab Spring, Obama's healing of racial divisions, EU's effectiveness in foreign policy, free trade always bringing about increased prosperity, etc etc)

    10. Blast honest opponents. (Doesn't matter what the weakness is - use it and persecute them relentlessly, even though you don't apply the same high standards to your friends - people like John Major, Peter Mandelson, Nick Clegg, Alan Yentob, Hillary Clinton, Shami Chakrabarti etc etc)

    1. You could add to that list the constant assertion from the likes of Humphrys and Webb that the BBC is the one bastion of truthful reporting in the world, and apparently all their listeners agree.

    2. Yes you can add "Blowing your own trumpet" as no. 11. Important to define the BBC (along with CNN, New York Times and Guardian) as fact-based and authoritative.BTW the second "adults" under 3 should of course have read "children".

  5. Is the BBC bias, corrupt and a broadcaster of fake news? Sadly Yes. with the BBC's reply that "These decisions are made by our news editors" "These decisions are always judgement calls rather than an exact science" - without acknowledging the facts of fake news broadcast by Sally Bundock that UK PM Theresa May's visit to India was “UK PM May’s first visit outside the European Union since Brexit”, UK PM May's travel to the USA & meeting with Rupert Murdoch being too much of an embarrassment to report on or even acknowledge. British Libraries UK London's fake archives of newspapers [largely imported from Australia] also too embarrassing to acknowledge or to ask Rupert what he knows of it.

  6. The BBC can be accused with a lack of objectivity and I've no problem with that - but most, if not all, of the critique here tends to leave the impression of a pro-Brexit, pro-Trump, anti-left, anti-liberal crowd.

    Console yourselves with the fact the BBC is unlikely to survive in its present licence-payer funded form for too many more years and remind yourselves in the interim you don't have to watch, read or listen (to) anything you don't want to.

    1. Given the BBC, at best, cannot be argued as being Brexit-neutral, Trump-neutral, left-neutral or liberal-neutral across the board, daily, it is perhaps unlikely that the 'crowd' at a web forum concerned with BBC Bias would not be interested in and keen to discuss how it mainly manifests.

      There are of course those who may disagree and seek more who think like them.

      For 'balance'. If not reality.

    2. I'm starting to wonder what the point is though? There are already countless sites and forums with viewpoints like the ones espoused on here - and let's be clear here, the pro-Brexit and pro-Trump campaigns did a good job saturating social media, blogs and forums - so why another one dedicated to taking an agenda-driven swipe at the BBC? It's far from being the only blog of its kind.

    3. The point is to raise awareness of both the extent of the bias (e.g. by revealing the left-liberal leanings of nearly all BBC journos who tweet)and also the methodology of bias. If the bias was relatively harmless, say confined to climate change, feminism and increasing government spending, that wouldn't be so bad. But the BBC also pushes a very damaging agenda covering: no border access for all who claim asylum and wish to come to this country, the alleged benefits of mass immigration and the resultant population increase (currently running at a completely unsustainable 500,000 per annum), support for the EU and disguising the nature of Sharia. The BBC is supposed to be impartial, not pushing it own public policy agenda. It doesn't matter who is pro-Trump here - it matters that the BBC is, with absolutely no warrant and against its Charter vehemently anti-Trump.

    4. "I'm starting to wonder what the point is though?"

      The irony of you devoting time here so often to so wonder is not lost.

      The sensible option is of course to steer clear, free of charge.

      Not one of course offered to the British public by the BBC unless prepared to forgo a fair chunk of legitimate broadcast output.

      And if like minded folk find a place to gather, chat and in so doing attract others who knows, maybe change in how the state broadcaster that claims to speak for a nation shapes its reporting to accurately reflect its interests, is yet possible.

      But for some, the best is to let the sleeping dog lie, and share the fleas.

    5. "The BBC is supposed to be impartial, not pushing it own public policy agenda."

      You sure it's theirs and not the State's? There probably should be some acknowledgement that the Government of the day is not impotent and lacking influence with regard to the BBC.

      "The point is to raise awareness of both the extent of the bias (e.g. by revealing the left-liberal leanings of nearly all BBC journos who tweet)and also the methodology of bias"

      These claims already exist on many other sites and are not new. This site itself, for example, uses BBCWatch as a source. How impartial is that site, I wonder, and just who would be so moved to found a site devoted to keeping a "watch" on what the BBC have to say about Israel?

      "It doesn't matter who is pro-Trump here - it matters that the BBC is, with absolutely no warrant and against its Charter vehemently anti-Trump."

      "And if like minded folk find a place to gather, chat and in so doing attract others who knows, maybe change in how the state broadcaster that claims to speak for a nation shapes its reporting to accurately reflect its interests, is yet possible."

      It probably matters if you were already of the same mind anyway, and in no way will you attract others of a different political leaning if that's the case. Echo chambers and all that.

      "The irony of you devoting time here so often to so wonder is not lost."

      Thanks Peter, so kind. I think I was asking the question why this site exists - is its true intent to burst the bubble of BBC's objectivity or is it yet another in a series of anti-left, anti-liberal cock-waving sites?

    6. Silly comments. BBC Watch has no statutory duty to be impartial. If can be as partial as it likes.

      If you can find me one BBC journo who tweets right-leaning stuff in apporving fashion, then I'll be interested to see it but will be able to supply you with 50 who do the opposite.

      It's not populists and conservatives who are afraid of debate and need to live in echo chambers: it's the snowflakes, socialists and soft-left. I am quite happy to debate all issues, and have frequently done so in other forums like the Guardian. I like having my ideas challenged. The problem with the BBC is that it does not challenge the PC consensus: an example from today, Adrian Chiles on Radio 5 Live this morning, was happy to discuss the (real) crisis in education funding but as ever, there was no mention of population increase (beyond the observation that in the past few years some 500,000 children had joined the school rolls) and certainly no mention of the fact that this populaiton increase is migration driven. The BBC refuses to address these issues.

  7. Again I do not disagree with you - however this blog is aimed at BBC bias which mainly manifests itself as being anti Brexit, anti Trump, anti Tory and strangely anti SNP etc etc. So it would be hard not to be.

    Although everyone suffers from confirmation bias, probably more so in this internet age when you can pick where you get your "information" from fact or fake.

    1. I'm not sure how "anti Tory" they've been, certainly in recent history. Short of a North Korean production team, could Theresa May have had an easier time of it?

      The constant retread of Brexit and Trump stories....well it actually helps the current Government IMO, taking the focus from everything else of importance.

      Anti-SNP - well, I wouldn't agree they particularly are, but it would not be so curious given it's ultimate goal is to secede from the United Kingdom.

    2. I would agree that the BBC mainly gave Theresa May a fairly easy ride for the first few months of her premiership. I recall remarking at the time how refreshing it was to see the BBC being positive about a female Tory PM. But Theresa May isn't 'the Tories'. They get different levels of treatment depending who they are and what issue is at hand.

      When it's Brexit, Ken Clarke gets treated as a legendary figure dispensing pearls of wisdom, whereas May and cabinet ministers are usually strongly challenged and their policies are framed in the worst possible terms. A good example of this would be Marr's weak interview with Phillip Hammond the other day.

      When it's immigration, it appears to be Style Guide policy to conflate immigration in general with rapid, mass immigration of third-world Muslims. Objecting to the latter is attacked as wanting to close the borders to everyone.

      Similarly, the EU is conflated with Europe, which is a specifically Remain talking point.

      When it's the NHS, it's Nasty Tory Cuts and the only acceptable solution is to throw more money at it. 'Social Care' is the latest manifestation of that agenda.

      And don't get me started about their US coverage which, aside from the occasional online article rehashing an AP report or regurgitating something they read in the NY Times or WaPo, it's basically all opinion, which is not supposed to be the BBC's remit. Needless to say, all those opinions are from the Left, some father Left than others.

      If the BBC's obsession with Trump and Brexit serve mainly to help the current Government, it's an unintended consequence. They're so outraged and terrified of Trump, and so sure that Brexit will be the end of the world, they cannot help themselves. Certainly there was a sense that they could damage May by association with Trump.

  8. It is of course in the eyes of the beholder - someone more left leaning my not see it as bias, however even using the term Tory and not conservative and the way the word is pronounced and pitched could be construed as bias, to some.

    As to what is the point of this site? I think we are achieving it by this discussion aren't we? The premise is, is the BBC biased? Which we are now debating.

    I don't like the BBC so I don't watch it. As you are perfectly welcome to leave or continue the debate here, it's all the same to me.

  9. The BBC went through a lot of effort to cobble this attempted dismissal of Trump's claim that Obama spied on him:

    No mention that Comey lied, or that Clapper has previously lied to Congress. We're just supposed to trust them even though they have already lied for partisan purposes.

    Also just breathless dismissal of Mark Levin. The BBC says there's no evidence of his claims, but there is also no evidence of Trump's collusion with Russia - also according to the FBI - yet here's Sopel still pushing it as a valid story.

    Also, no mention that Obama has form on spying on political opponents. He spied on AP reporters, spied on Congress, and tried to indict a Fox News journalist as a criminal co-conspiritor on a leak.

    Additionally, the BBC fails to point out that the story about Trump's ties to Russia is a thing specifically because the NSA was syping on them. That didn't happen because of banks. It happened because they were spying on Russia and partisan activists in the intelligence agency decided to leak it. Or, because they really were spying on Trump's people. If they were spying on them, it makes zero sense not to spy on him as well, or that there was no spying on him in the process of spying on them.

    If it weren't for double standards....


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