Sunday 22 October 2017

Was 'The Andrew Marr Show' biased over Catalonia?

Andrew Marr groupie Alfonso Dastis

For your delectation, here's a three-handed Twitter exchange this morning between The Andrew Marr Show's editor Rob Burley and a couple of critics. It followed the interview with Spanish foreign minister (and self-declared AM Show fan) Alfonso Dastis:

Euan Anderssonn: Where was the representative from @delgovuk for balance? Why does BBC & Marr consistently only show one side of argument in Spain?
Rob Burley: How have we "consistently" only shown the Spanish side? We have only done one interview which was today! Will be bidding for Catalan Govt.
Euan Anderssonn: Been happening for months. #BBC consistently sides with Spanish Govt, as shown today with no-one from @delgovuk being interviewed
Rob Burley: In a crowded show domestically, we chose today to ask the Spanish Govt to justify actions. Bidding for Catalans. Don't invent conspiracies.
Euan Anderssonn: No conspiracy. I have to pay #BBC licence for your output, so expect balance. You could have easily fitted in interview with @delgovuk
Rob Burley: No we couldn't. And we don't within a single show balance every issue. Think licence fee payers also interested in U.K housing,Brexit etc.
Kevin Rinchey: It's in the BBC charter Rob.
Rob Burley: What? That every show has to be absolutely balanced? Send me the relevant clause.
Kevin Rinchey: I think you've demonstrated my point.
Rob Burley: While you dig the clause out can I congratulate you for googling "BBC Editorial Guidelines".
Kevin Rinchey: I think your digging yourself a hole here Rob or are you saying Marr is just a random platform for some?
Rob Burley: No. I'm saying we interviewed Spanish Govt today and bidding for Catalan Govt. Impartiality not judged on single programme. Stop digging.
Kevin Rinchey: Fair enough Rob. I watch Marr I realise you only have an hour. I really hope you can get someone from @catalangov
Rob Burley: Thanks Kevin. Asking but we can't compel them to. Hope will soon.


  1. Kevin could always try an FOI.

    But Rob probably knows how that has been set up to work.

    The use of 'stop digging' by a BBC editor is sweet.

  2. I don't think the BBC have been grossly biased towards Madrid over Catalonia, but they have been very "conflicted", shall we say. Catalonia - or rather Barcelona - was always a favourite of the BBC...(a kind of European Cuba) lefty in a trendy way. Catalonia was the model for Scottish devolution long before that happened. I think the idea was that the rest of Spain were supposed to become more like Catalonia not that Spanish police would go in like unreconstructed Falangists ready to crack heads and break up a democratic vote.

    The BBC would like this all to disappear...but it hasn't and isn't likely to...I think overall they see the danger to EU integrity and so lend the Madrid government more support than an unbiased news agency would e.g. referring the other day to the "threat" of Catalan independence.

  3. Maybe on the box for glimpsing moment but on the website for nearly 2 months no way....


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