Sunday 26 May 2019

More bias by labelling

Nina Warhurst

Talking of biased political labelling, and continuing with ITBB's much-loved Rorywatch series, this morning's Breakfast saw the BBC's sofa surfers discussing the Tory leadership contenders with Professor Jon Tonge of Liverpool University, one of their regular paper reviewers (and always worth watching). They went through them all, one by one, but when it came to Rory Stewart's turn, out came the biased political labelling from our BBC presenters:
Nina Warhurst, BBC: Let's move on to Rory Stewart, currently International Development Secretary, pretty moderate on Brexit.
Jon Tonge: The most moderate candidate of all.
However it's intended, the word 'moderate' is invariably a positive and always implies a contrasting negative - usually 'extreme'. Choosing to use it to describe the most hardline opponent of No Deal of all the Conservative leadership contenders (see what I did there, BBC?) betrays an opinion. It strongly suggests that Nina prefers Rory Stewart to the others because of his position on Brexit, doesn't it?


Ah, and here's the BBC political correspondent Jonathan Blake on the BBC News Channel a couple of days ago:
So [Boris Johnson] is setting out his stall quite early in this campaign...and it's not quite the gung-ho, No-Deal-or-nothing message that you might have expected him to come out with. So maybe he's trying now to appeal to more moderate members of the Conservative Party, and he does need their support. 
And what about the equally loaded language of "gung-ho, No-Deal-or-nothing message"? 


  1. There clearly is a need for a Mishal grading chart of moderation here, so the likes of Anna, Ali, Femi and Lord Adonis can be deemed 'most excellently' moderate.


  2. "Mirror, mirror on the wall,
    Who is the most moderate of them all?"

    Why Tony Blair of course. He is more moderate than anyone in the land. Did he not moderately take us into a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and ushered in the Caliphate? Didn't he once moderately support CND and then just as moderately support Trident upgrade? Didn't he moderately agree to rub the Conservatives' noses in diversity? Didn't he say with great moderation there would only be 16,000 migrants coming from Eastern Europe to the UK? Didn't he moderately want us to abandon our 1000 year old currency? Doesn't he charge a moderate fee for his speeches? Oh er no, sorry - last one's wrong, no he doesn't.

  3. Is Jon Tonge any relation to Jenny Tonge who was forced to give up the Liberal Democrat whip after comments widely seen as anti-semitic?

    And is Jon Tonge the academic whose salary is largely paid by us the tax payer to act academically not politically?


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