Friday 21 June 2019

A week is a long time in BBC politics

The famous Abdullah

It's been a funny old week for the BBC, hasn't it?

Firstly, their Conservative leadership debate programme was widely panned. My 87-year-old dad described it as 'higgledy-piggledy' and said that the woman presenting it - one Emily Maitlis - wouldn't shut up and let people speak. I think my dad spoke for a lot of people. I noted a few of the barbs at the time:
Sarah Baxter: Format a disaster, big mistake not to have audience, answers too earnest because of use of real people to ask questions whom no one dares offend. Chairs silly.
Tim Marshall: Dire format, uninspiring dialogue. Sigh.
Adrian Hilton: Sorry, I've had enough. I'm just appalled that we seem content to reduce the selection of the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the level of the BBC's 'Apprentice'.
Jason Cowley: The biggest loser from the debate was the format and the BBC. A shambles. The Channel 4 event was much better.
Tim Shipman: TORY DEBATE - If the ghost of Keith Chegwin came on stage naked it would raise the tone of things.
Stephen Pollard: This is the BBC at its worst. Trying to be 'inclusive' but actually just a giant mess. It's really not difficult to stage a 5 way debate. Just look at race to the US primaries.
Harry Cole: ITV will be watching this and relishing their head to head format.
Secondly, that same debate programme resulted in not one but two of the eight members of the public chosen to question and critique the five Tory candidates on Tuesday night getting suspended from the jobs. That's surely unprecedented. Despite the BBC's (including Rob Burley's) bullishness, that surely proves that something went deeply, deeply wrong, doesn't it? 

Thirdly, the invite to the 'Islamophobia'-claiming Islamist imam from Gloucester/Bristol, with all his casually anti-Semitic tweets, led to claim and counter-claim about when the imam's tweets were visible to members of the public and the BBC. Others (I  think rightly) were more interested in working out why this Islamist was invited to appear and put the very question he put in the first place - though the answer was obvious: to try to put the heat on Boris Johnson over his quip about burqa-wearing Muslim women looking like letterboxes (which they do). 

Fourthly, today the BBC has found itself in the same position as Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has put in an official complaint to the BBC about something we here at ITBB noted too: that across various platforms (ranging from BBC One to BBC Two to the BBC News website), the BBC sanitised the imam's social media activity as "anti-Israel" rather than "anti-Semitic". It will be very interesting to see how this well-grounded complaint gets on. 

Fifthly, Sir David Amess MP, is doing something (albeit talking about more talking about it): "Following the BBC's decision to take away free TV licences for the over-75s and the dreadful leadership debate on Monday evening, I have called for a debate in the House of Commons on the future of public broadcasting."

1 comment:

  1. " I have called for a debate in the House of Commons on the future of public broadcasting."
    Why ?

    There is already a scheduled debate
    15th July 2019 a Monday
    the HoC will debate the petition
    ‘Public inquiry into the bias in the BBC’

    Of course we expect a whitewash or stitchup etc.
    I paraphrase the official response “It’s up to Ofcom, not us”


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