Monday 7 February 2022

Accidents will happen

I accidentally listened to Nick Robinson grilling James Cleverly on the Today Programme one morning last week.  

As others have mentioned a few trillion times, surely opposing the government is the role of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition and not the role of the Beeb.

Maybe someone could remind Nick Robinson that the BBC is not yet officially amalgamated with the Labour Party? Or am I missing something?


I was surprised to see this programme at lunchtime the other day, while the TV was accidentally tuned in to the BBC.

I hadn’t come across Jiyar Gol before. He’s a Kurd, I find.   I know it’s a bit of a stretch but this documentary reminded me of Fauda - but real-life!  (I looked at Rachel Shabi’s review of Fauda - in the Guardian, of course. Predictably, Shabi found a way of complaining that (the fictional ) Israeli series (made by Israeli TV) wasn’t anti-Israel enough.) 

I dread to think what the bulk of BBC-educated viewers made of this interesting documentary about the Iranian nuclear programme and Mossad’s efforts to disrupt it. BBC educated viewers will probably see things from a Guardianist point of view, but I found this film surprisingly impartial. Facts. Facts and derring-do. 

On the other hand, it’s possible that viewers more knowledgeable than I will have spotted flaws and biases that went over this viewer’s head. It was well worth watching.


And lo and behold, Camera has supplied more info. I hadn’t seen the BBC web article accompanying the film when I wrote the above. The flaws and biases may or may not have been more egregious in the written piece, but I’m linking to it. You be the judge.


I meant to say something about this several weeks ago. It’s growing more belated with every day that passes.

Straight after the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict, the BBC accidentally aired an interview with eminent lawyer Alan Dershowitz - and, shock horror - without highlighting the fact that he ‘had a dog in the fight’.

We know the BBC believes this was ‘an accident’ because the BBC apologised for doing so. 

The fact that Dershowitz himself drew attention to his own involvement in the Epstein/Maxwell affair - he is one of Virginia Giuffre’s alleged abusers - didn’t seem to materially affect the BBC’s unique display of contrition. The regret was solely that they’d inadvertently given a platform to an undesirable speaker. After the broadcast, the corporation admitted that the US lawyer had not been "a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst" at that time.

“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.” [emphasis added]

I hope that apology sets a precedent for all forthcoming interviews with agenda-driven and partisan spokespersons and that the BBC is obliged to state the interests and biases therein and provide relevant apologies where appropriate. 

Suggest all interviews with agenda-driven spokespersons be automatically accompanied by a sign-language interpreter signing ‘he (or she) would say that wouldn’t he’ 

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