Saturday 16 September 2017

Committees and Panels

For those who are hoping that Parliament might closely scrutinise the BBC's output for bias over their Brexit coverage then the new composition of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee will probably prove a deep disappointment. 

It's eleven members all opposed Brexit in the EU referendum (though one of its members, Julian Knight, has subsequently taken up cudgels against the BBC's negative reporting of Brexit).

That almost makes BBC panels look balanced. 

Julia in the Remainers' Den

Talking of which, Julia Hartley-Brewer raised that very point about BBC panels on this week's edition of Question Time. The famous David Dimbleby naturally leaped in instantly (in the manner of all BBC presenters whenever the BBC is criticised):
Julia Hartley-Brewer: The reality is, that's not what the British people want, that's why people like me...and I note, once again, that I'm the sole Leaver on the BBC panel...
David Dimbleby: (interrupting) How often are you the sole Leaver on a BBC panel?
Julia Hartley-Brewer: Most of the time...
David Dimbleby: (interrupting) Every time you've been on this programme you've been with Nigel Farage as far as I can see. (Laughter from audience).
Julia Hartley-Brewer: I've never been on the panel with Nigel Farage.
David Dimbleby: Have you not? Have you not?
Julia Hartley-Brewer: Never. Never.
Checking back, Julia has been on Question Time ten times, first appearing in 2004, and, yes, David Dimbleby was wrong. She has never been on the panel with Nigel Farage.

That said, in the past ten years she's only once before been the sole Leaver on the QT panel (8 May 2015) and in the run-up to the referendum (25 February 2016) was actually on a panel where Leavers outnumbered Remainers.

But there are plenty of other BBC panels she's been on besides QT panels. She could be right about those.


  1. Clearly, David Dimbleby had already pigeon-holed Julia Hartley-Brewer into the same slot as Nigel Farage, and from the transcript, it appears as though he treated her in the same dismissive way as he would have done to Nigel Farage. This tactic of making the audience react with laughter (a sign would be displayed - laugh) is used to diminish the status of comments from off-message panelists, and effectively silence them without allowing them the chance to speak. I don't find Dimbleby funny in the slightest. I see him as one of the Principals in the hierarchy of BBC bias.

  2. That exchange with DD was a classic. He comes out with this stuff knowing he probably isn't telling the truth and you can see him blush ever so slightly as he does - like he did with that guy waving the leaflet he'd been given at the Mosque (when DD was claiming on the basis of no knowledge that there was nothing to suggest it was an official leaflet).


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