BBC Politics: Peoples Vote March organisers say more than a million people joined protests in central London.Tim Montgomerie: The BBC has become Remain’s propaganda vehicle.Chris Mason, BBC: I should arrange a lunch for you and Andrew Adonis. A table for two, a couple of cameras at a discreet distance...Tim Montgomerie: BBC uncritically repeating organisers’ claims that a million marched today. Last time the organisers exaggerated by 450,000.Denis MacShane (former Labour Europe minister): Tim, BBC TV News gave equal billing to Farage and 50 anti Europeans in car park to one million of our fellow Brits expressing concern. BBC bias against EU this century is shameful.
And enter stage neither left, right, nor centre (as the BBC is, of course, wholly impartial), here's Rob:
Rob Burley, BBC: Maybe you're both wrong...
So who's right?
Well, let's start with Denis MacShane's claim. Saturday's three main BBC One news bulletin's all led with the pro-Second Referendum march and none of them mentioned the pro-Brexit protest ("50 anti Europeans in car park") at all. So his complaint is false in regards to BBC One. And the BBC News website has also been leading with the march and placing a brief mention of the '50 anti Europeans in car park' at the back end of its long report - quite literally the back end, i.e. the final three paragraphs of a 32-paragraph report. And that doesn't even includes the eight paragraphs of pro-Second Referendum 'voices from the march'. So his claim is false about that too.
As for Tim Montgomerie's claim, well, I must say that reading and comparing the BBC, Sky and ITV news websites earlier this evening, I thought the BBC actually put in rather more caveats that either of its broadcast rivals as far as the numbers go. And, checking out their respective main late evening news bulletins, their opening headlines ran as follows and reinforced my first impressions:
Sky: Demanding their voices be heard - As many as one million people take to the streets of London calling for a second EU referendum.
ITV: An estimated one million people marched through London today demanding a second referendum to break the political deadlock over Brexit.
BBC: A huge march in central London by protestors demanding another EU referendum. Organisers claim more than a million people took part and say it's one of the biggest protests in British history.
So I'd said Rob Burley has a point that both sides are wrong here - though Denis is much more wrong than Tim. Denis is plain wrong; Tim is wrong because the others are even worse.
Update - It continued:
Update - It continued:
Denis MacShane: Both?Very civilised.
Rob Burley: Yeah, you and Tim.
Denis MacShane: Ah. You are probably right.
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