Tweeter 1: I've just watched the BBC News item on cutting foreign aid. The opening clip shows food being dropped directly to the people. That's the image they want you to take in - not grants to NGOs and Governments. Manipulation.
Tweeter 2: Said exactly the same thing myself when I saw that last night. They also opened up with the comment ‘widely criticised policy’ as opposed to ‘widely supported’ which it undoubtedly is across the UK. Total bias yet again in the way they portray/report!
BBC Newsreader: One of the more controversial aspects of the spending review is the Chancellor's decision to cut - for the time being - the amount of money the UK gives in aid to poorer countries. Mr Sunak told MPs that to carry on spending abroad when we have a domestic emergency would be difficult to justify to the British people. Here's James Landale.
James Landale: For years, the sight of a plane delivering British food and medicine has brought hope to millions. The humanitarian assistance and development that can, for some, mean the difference between life and death.
Isn't British aid wonderful!
James Landale: But now the Government has decided it's got to cut back.
How awful of the Government!
After that first op-ed came a brief 'balancing' quote:
Neil O'Brien MP, Conservative: This is not something anybody wanted to have to do, but the truth is the NHS and helping people who are unemployed has to be the priority next year.
James Landale then 'contextualised' it. But just look at his language:
James Landale: Last year, the UK spent £15 billion on foreign aid, about 0.7% of national income. Now the Government wants to cut that legally binding target to just 0.5%. That means spending only £10 billion on aid next year. This will leave the UK spending less in Germany on 0.6%, but more than France on 0.4%.
The use of "just" and "only" there is loaded language, language that sends a message that 0.5% is both not much and not enough.
It's not neutral language.
A nod towards balance then followed, swiftly pursued by the first of James's onslaught of critics:
James Landale: The aid budget has long faced questions about priorities, such as why some goes to India, with its own space programme. But those who work to reduce poverty and disease say today's cuts will bite deep, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Romilly Greenhill, One Campaign: Cutting aid will make it harder to get vaccines to people all over the world, harder to get the treatments people need and ultimately it will extend the lifetime of the pandemic.
The onslaught continued:
James Landale: The Archbishop of Canterbury said the aid cut was "shameful and wrong".
The onslaught went on:
James Landale: The Foreign Office Development Minister Lady Sugg resigned, also saying it was fundamentally wrong.
James Landale: And her old boss, the man who enshrined the targets in law, was equally unhappy:David Cameron: Well, I think it's a very sad moment. It's not just that we are breaking a promise to the poorest people in the poorest countries in the world - a promise that we made, a promise that we don't have to break - it's that that 0.7% commitment, it really said something about Britain.
And then came another op-ed, hymning UK overseas aid and raising concerns about the cut:
James Landale: For years, Britain's had a reputation as an aid superpower. And that's got Britain a hearing on the international stage. It's opened door for ministers and officials here at the Foreign Office. The question is what impacts today's decision will actually have on that reputation just as Britain tries to carve a new role for itself after Brexit.
And then, finally, came this more factual-sounding bit of reporting:
James Landale: To spend less on aid, the Government will also have to change the law. That means a long Parliamentary battle ahead. James Landale, BBC News.
Does this feel like impartial reporting to you?
It doesn't to me.
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