Saturday 22 December 2018


It's the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be much mistletoeing, and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near. Yes it's the most wonderful time of the year. 

And it's also the time of year when Monkey Brains passes on Lord Hall's annual Christmas message and this year's Official BBC Festive Fifty Bias Techniques countdown.

So raise your mulled wine glasses again please, ladies and gentlemen, and here we go...

A seasonal message from Lord Hall, Director General of the BBC: 

This year we can look back over twelve months of rising bias that has finally begun to pay results. We have derailed Brexit. If our biased reporting continues to have the desired effects we will soon overturn the results of the democratic vote in 2016 and secure our remaining in the EU - a stunning victory for BBC bias.

On a global scale we continue to play a major role in the World Coalition Against Trump along with our allies such as CNN.

In 2018 we welcomed new media friends in the UK - the Mail and the Express who now back our suite of progressive policies including enthusiasm for EU membership. I have already issued instructions to the News Quiz, HIGNFY and the Now Show to stop all satirical jibes directed at those two august publications.

We have seen progress elsewhere of course. Radio 4 is now operating a full 24/7 Bias Service, covering drama, science, the arts and comedy, as well as news and current affairs. We hope to see this 24/7 approach extended to our TV services in the New Year.

Congratulations to all our biased staff! Whether it's Jon Sopel in Washington, a humble telephone operator misrecording a complaint, a researcher deciding which left wing cleric to invite on to Thought for the Day, or a regional news presenter pulling a face at the mention of Nigel Farage's name, we all have a part to play.

And so in conclusion may I wish you a very happy time during this outdated festive period. Who knows? - in years to come, with our steadfast Sharia allies we may even be able to bring an end to this absurd distraction from progressive politics. For the moment you will have to make do with the Festive Fifty.


Tony (Hall, not Blair but it might as well be!!)

The Festive Fifty

1. Bias by News Agenda Choice. The biggie. If we don’t report it, it’s not news. And we don’t like to report things like Juncker's Me Too fondling of female staff, numerous knife attacks across Europe by mentally disturbed individuals with something else in common or the economic success of Hungary and the USA under Orban and Trump respectively

2. Bias by News Prioritising. OK, sometimes we can’t avoid reporting something but we can certainly give it very low priority. It only needs to appear for a nanosecond for us to be able to say that we have done our journalistic duty. 

3. Bias in Perpetuity. If we like a story…”Tories racist says report”…we might leave it up on our website for months to make sure just about everyone gets to see it, even though we are allegedly a “news” organisation. Likewise we will return obsessively to stories we love like Grenfell Tower (though we managed for a long time to avoid all mention of culpability on the part of the fire it's come out, we are doing our best to play it down).

4. Bias by Burying. If we don’t like a story we will bury it away somewhere like “News from Leicester” which you get to by navigating four or five pages on our website. In terms of broadcasting you will have to live in the East Midlands to be informed of what happened. I am not going to say what happened, because that would defeat the objective of this particular technique. 

5. Bias by Headline Creep. Sometimes we know a story hasn’t really got legs but by using the headline ruse we can make it sound a lot better. So “Boris “racism” claim” on the front page of the website becomes…”Boris claims government is acting on racism”….becomes “Boris has rejected a UN report claiming that racism in the UK is rising at an alarming rate”.

6. Bias by Interruption. An old time favourite…if you don’t like what the interviewer is saying, interrupt them to hell and back, so that they can’t get their points across. This is something we have been using to great effect in fact we've become so good at it that a few right wing fascists (like Peter Lilley) have started accusing us of bias during we will have to think about how to respond to that (probably keep them off our airwaves in future). 

7. Bias by Misrepresentation. It’s important that we at the BBC control debate by ensuring we get to mispresent viewpoints. Under this approach, being worried about hardly ever hearing the English language spoken in your neighbourhood (a perfectly legitimate concern) obviously becomes “racist attitudes to migrants”. 

8. Bias by Concept Merge. Sometimes it pays to be pedantically precise about definitions (a favourite of both Dimblebys on occasion). But with this technique, it is important to be vague and overlap differing concepts until the viewer or listener is taught, in Pavlovian fashion, to associate “Member of Conservative Party” with “Far Right Nut”. Thus we merge “Neo-Nazi” into “Far Right”, which in turn merges into “Right Wing” which then merges into “Nationalist” (as in “Bad Nationalist” – obviously does not apply to SNP, Sinn Fein and Plaid Cymru) and further blends with “Tory” and “Conservative”. By constant mixing and association Neo Nazis, Nationalists and Tories all become part of a dangerous amorphous group that like to persecute minorities. We find this approach very effective at the BBC.

9. Bias by Mirroring. Under this ruse we call extreme radicals like Iranian Mullahs or Chinese Communists “Conservatives” so as to make toxic the whole “conservative” brand. You have to admire our cheek in doing so! But the useless Tories never make any effective protests about this. 

10. Bias by Intimidation. We tell our audience that we will report them to their employer or school if they voice opinions of which we disapprove. This can be more effective than you might think. Of course we have combined this with a sustained attack on the Have Your Say function on our website and also by turning the Feedback programme into a meaningless “complaints from both sides” exercise now stuffed full of disguised adverts for BBC programmes.

11. Bias by Mockery. The mockery is not just something for “comedy” panel shows or the Now Show. News presenters like John Sweeney or Jonny Dymond can also join in the mockery of anything the BBC doesn’t like. But woe betide anyone who mocked say Stella Creasy or Chukka Umunna!!! (not that that would ever happen under my watch!) - that would be sexist and racist and would lead to instant dismissal. We of course produce an in-house list of who to mock and who not. The favourite remained Boris Johnson as he is still viewed as extremely dangerous. Michael Gove has dropped down the list to be replaced by Jacob Rees Mogg.

12. Bias by Complaint Dismissal. As long as we keep batting away complaints in the face of the truth and the facts, we can maintain our absurd formal claim of impartiality. This year things became a little more complicated as we had to pretend to take seriously complaints from Lord Adonis and Alistair Campbell about anti-Remain bias!!! (I know - absurd!!! but the other Tony insisted we had to go along with it, so I told people to be respectful of the complaints). 

13. Bias by Propaganda Tentacle. The BBC has a long reach. Our correspondents continue to use Twitter to good effect. We are now going into schools as well to brainwash children with our “Fake News” agenda. Our tentacles can basically reach anywhere. 

14. Bias by Question Selection. What questions get asked is vital. If you think we pull the QT questions out of a hat then you are very, very naïve. 

15. Bias by Simple Fact Denial or Avoidance. For instance we will not admit even the possibility that the housing crisis might have something to do with mass immigration. It’s rather like that loose thread in a pullover. If you start pulling on it before long the whole thing will unravel.

16. Bias by Expert. We choose the experts. Our experts are guaranteed to support our views. That’s how and why we select them!

17. Bias by Org-Labelling. For instance, that think tank is “right wing”, this think tank (the one we like) is “respected”! It’s not so difficult once you get the hang of it. We have added the Institute of Government to our list of respected think tanks despite it being madly Remainiac. 

18. Bias by Person Labelling. That person (someone standing up for beliefs that were uncontroversial 50 years ago) is “far right”, this person (a Marxist totalitarian) is the “conscience of the left” or a “revered academic and commentator”.

19. Bias by Tone of Voice. So important! When we are children we listen to our parents’ tone of voice before we understand the meaning of their words. Are our parents angry or pleased with us? We know this and so we play on these very human weaknesses. 

20. Bias by Atypical Person Choice. It may be true that most female followers of Islam in Bradford may wear a Hijab and rarely go outside the family home but we have the resources at our disposal to find one who doesn’t wear a head covering, uses make up, wears tight jeans and has set up her own business. 

21. Bias by Drama and Soap. I can’t overemphasise the importance of this bias technique. This is how we really buttress the news and indoctrination agenda. 

22. Bias by Lifestyle Show. We can make frightening things appear comforting all by the magic of lifestyle TV. Of course this has to be managed. It can be an area requiring sensitive handling. We didn’t show a Hijab for years. Big beard presenters are still out and the Burka is I am afraid still a big no-no. But this is a Long March we are on. Eventually we will be able to de-sensitise the backward segment of the British public on such matters by associating such features with nice things like baking, cooking, shopping and home décor. 

23. Bias by Over-representation of Minorities. Following the example of TV advertisers we are trying to reinforce the “resistance is useless” message. Of course refers only to certain minorities. Poles, Japanese, Filipinos, Chinese and South Americans need not apply. 

24. Bias by Slow Information Release. We wouldn’t want you to run away with the idea there’s just been a terrorist incident carried out by an IS operative migrant who shouted Allahu Akbar…so we will slowly drip feed the news and then disappear the story altogether. 

25. Bias by Local News as National News. Local news is a good way of extending the bias especially in areas where there are lots of Labour MPs and we can call on them to provide a steady drumbeat of public expenditure propaganda. So we rarely feature real local news stories, preferring to echo national politics. 

26. Bias by Survey. Our opinion polls are frequently wrong. But they always seem to favour the left for some reason. Also our representative panels are of course insanely imbalanced (think of the weirdo May-supporting Rev! - how we laughed!!!). 

27. Bias by Decree. Certain of our reporters and pontificator - heavyweights (in every sense of the word) like John Simpson or Jeremy Bowen think they can make something true by fiat. 

28. Bias by Obfuscation. David Dimbleby has been a past master in this department always ready with a smugly sceptical or irrelevant question if a member of the public (how we shudder at those three words) manages to puncture the PC consensus. 

29. Bias by Yawn. In 2018 we tried recognising this with a "Bored of Brexit (BOB)" campaign. We got out Breakfast presenters, DJs and other airheads involved but it had no more success than our "Bored of the Referendum" campaign back at the start of 2016, when we hoped to douse enthusiasm for leaving the EU. We are thinking of dropping this from our Festive Fifty. 

30. Bias by False Friend. This is one we have been using a lot since Trump's election: "So let's go over to Washington to discuss Trump's latest tweet. We have leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Republican Governor for Wyoming..." Balanced? Nope - the Republican hates Trump as much as the Democrat! Happy days!!!

31. Bias by Herd Instinct. Human beings have a tendency to follow the herd so we at the BBC do our best to create bandwagons for the campaigns we favour. Biased BBC Trending do a lot of good work in this area. 

32. Bias by Recruitment . This is what we at the BBC call the “Guardian readers only need apply” ploy. This is really a very important and self-fulfilling bias category. Our 2025 Vision Plan aims to ensure that in 6 years' time all BBC news presenters will have worked for the Guardian at some stage in their career. 

33. Bias by Vocabulary Choice. This is of course a huge area of bias. The “bread and butter” of bias you might call it. It covers many things but among my favourites are right wing think tanks "claim", "assert", things whereas left wing think tanks "point out", "conclude", "find evidence"...

34. Bias by Paragraphing. We often leave the key information to the penultimate para of a long article (not the final paragraph because people sometimes skip to that). You can hope the punters have got bored by then and miss it...thinking the perpetrator was simply a "man" with known "mental health issues" not someone who visited Afghanistan last year and was carrying an IS flag.

35. Bias by Mandy Rice Davies. The point of this technique is to make the denial sound as thin as possible. Norman Smith remains a key player in this regard. He is adept at telling us the unfavoured have "denied" something...but does so in a "well wouldn't you too if you'd been found out" sort of way...

36. Bias by Uneven Standards. Of course at the BBC we believe in high standards, we just don’t believe in applying them consistently around the world. Israel is always held to high standards. 

37. Bias by Photo Choice. A picture tells a thousand words and picture bias tells a million. Add in a misleading caption and you have "Bias Heaven".

38. Bias by Placard Placement. I rather like this one. I used to use it a lot myself back in the day. We at the BBC know we are not going to get away with a newsreader saying "The Tory fascists have decided to dismantle the NHS." But there's nothing to stop us showing a placard in a protest that says something like that! 

39. Bias by Soft Interview. This is a technique I think is sometimes underestimated but all staff should appreciate its importance. Kirsty and Emily on Newsnight have recently given master-classes in the "good cop-bad cop" approach to interviewing...where they each play both! 

40. Bias by Celebrity Endorsement. No! This doesn’t refer to the celebrity endorsing a product but the BBC endorsing some celebrities over others! We keep a list of "Approved Celebrities" - it doesn't matter if they are drug addicts, prostitute users or people with serious criminal records. As long as they spout PC platitudes, that's fine. They know the score - their agents warn them they won't be invited back if they tell the truth. 

41. Bias by Reality Checking. This was one of our most popular bias techniques in 2017 and we thought it would go on to great things...but with Chris Morris live filleting on radio by Peter Lilley we are not so sure. That was an embarrassment. But we hope we can get things back on track. We will of course be "Reality Checking" Peter Lilley at some point in retaliation...

42. Bias by Absent or Abbreviated Nomenclature. At the BBC the "criminal surname" is often reserved for people for whom we have a visceral hatred. 

43. Bias by Emotional Response. This is where we ensure the BBC acts as emotional gatekeeper to the nation. You can cry about your factory closing down but not about your neighbourhood being changed out of all recognition by mass immigration. 

44. Bias by Views as News. Like smugglers of old we are always smuggling in contraband views into our news reports. As long as it is done subtly there should be no problem. 

45. Bias by Vox Pop. Never underestimate the Vox Pop. They are a really important bias tool which you will find used in nearly every national and local news programme. 

46. Bias by Newspaper Review. This is a specific technique we use to build a kind of Potemkin village of opinion out of MSM news. By using left-liberal reviewers, a left-liberal presenter and a selection of stories biased to the left-liberal view of the world, we are able create the erroneous impression that the BBC’s agenda is very much in line with that of the rest of the MSM. Of course now the Mail and Express are on board, we have a lot less to worry about. 

47. Bias by Some-say. Let’s be honest, it is rare for an hour to go by without a BBC presenter or reporter having recourse to that well known family "The Somes": "Some say"/"Some believe"/"Some argue". In truth the "some" are normally Guardian columnists. 

48. Bias by History. We are slowly turn the past into an inspiring version of the present where intrepid women excel in science, exploration and the arts, black people take the world of mathematics by storm and a backward Europe is taught rationality and tolerance by the wonderfully advanced Islamic world. 

49. Bias by Counterintuitive Injury Reporting. At the BBC we use this mostly in the context of domestic or American demonstrations. So, "twelve people were arrested in violent scenes at a demonstration led by Far Right leader Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Laxley-Lennon" means the demonstration was attacked by violent Far Left anti-free speech activists posing as anti-fascists. 

50. Bias by Absorption. There are many cultural events or phenomena which we seek to make our own. Glastonbury, Turner Prize, MOBOs, Chelsea Flower Show, Women’s Football...we are like some giant amoeba, absorbing chunks of other DNA safe in the knowledge that it can replicate inside us and produce a yet more bloated version of the BBC itself. I think it’s what I would call cultural synergy. By absorbing these other cultural phenomena we make ourselves stronger and better project our cultural aims.

Well that's the Festive Fifty for 2018! If you have any suggestions for what techniques might be bubbling up, please let us know! 


  1. How about Bias by Education. Got to get them young. Example:

    1. The BBC have improved on the Jesuit it's "Give me a child at three and sit them in front of CBeebies...and I'll give you the demoralised PC snowflake adult."

  2. A work of genius. The perfect present.

    I hope it is OK to cite, with credit, as appropriate?

    1. It's brilliant stuff from MB. I lifted it for this post!

  3. A wonderful list. And bang on as they say. Why don't we send this list to the Director General himself.

    But what is irritating me once again at this time of the year is that yet again with only days to go before Christmas, The BBC still hasn't put up the annual BBC Newsroom Christmas tree. It seems to go up later and later each year. Is this because they feel that they might be irritating their flock of people of other Religious persuasions. Perhaps it'll go up tomorrow on Monday 17th.
    I always say that the BBC festive tree is the very last one to go up anywhere.
    Even Radio 2 is ruled by company policy in that no festive music must be played until the second Monday of the month, although it wouldn't surprise me that got stretched out for a third week.

    And is the cost of The Radio Times escalating each year? Someone asked me recently why there's no new comedy on tv anymore. All we have now is the annual Mrs Brown and her fecking swearing along with hordes of repeats. Repeats I'll only watch on my original dvd box sets where many of the jokes haven't been (pc) tampered with.
    Personally I believe that The BBC is turning down new comedy scripts by the hundreds... weekly, all because writers wont adhere to the BBC's strict pc rules. And of course what the BBC does then the other channels follow suite.
    This British disease we call political correctness emanates from one place only. The bowels of The BBC. And from the sounds of it after last weeks media frenzy, it sounds like they want Sajid Javid as our new Prime Minister.

    Ever remember that classic Pete and Dud sketch (as Derek & Clive) where Dud says to Pete "Where do I write to complain to the BBC." And Peter Cook responds by saying about what to put on the envelope, "Oh just put C**T, then it'll get there." A Classic!

    John...N. London

  4. Great stuff MB! Rumour has it that the Beeb has decided to use it as a training manual for new staff.

  5. Sir_Arthur_Strebe-Grebling19 December 2018 at 19:55

    bBBC 'news' website today has a perfect example of 37. Our country is swampled by foreign fruitpickers, coffee-baristas and hotel cleaners, but to illustrate the government's new immigration restrictions, the bBBC displays an image of three NHS workers.

    1. Yes, that's a classic technique. Immigration is running at something like 600,000 every year. From when I've looked at the numbers, I've concluded the NHS takes something between 20,000 - 30,000 migrants per annum. But the UK MSM, and the BBC in particular focus on the tiny 3% of migrants who come to work in the NHS rather than the 97% who don't.

      Another technique used in Vox Pop bias is to ensure that the people you interview expressing concern about mass immigration should have clearly evident health problems - ideally find someone on a mobility scooter to voice such opinions.

      John Sweeney had the classic mobility scooter interview in his biased report from Peterborough for Newsnight today. It also started with that other classic trope about the fact we like to enjoy a wide ranging cuisine means we also have to love mass immigration. The greatest non-sequitir ever - proved by the fact that countries throughout Asia like western cuisine but don't allow Europeans easy access to their countries and their citizenship.

    2. Even better if the man has a union jack on the back of his mobility scooter and says "At the end of the day, I'm not racist one little bit". Bingo (for John Sweeney)!

  6. I was just wondering who manages to smuggle in the most techniques into a single report. I'm thinking probably John Sweeney is a contender - his immigration policy on Newsnight tonight must have included a good techniques. Mardell's "Love Story" series probably bagged all 50 techniques in the course of his multi-part series.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.