Saturday 25 June 2022

Is Ofcom biased?

On the dreaded trans issue...

According to James Kirkup in The Spectator, Ofcom, the BBC's regulator, has written “a report about impartiality that is not itself impartial” - which he describes as “quite an achievement”. 

He argues that Ofcom's lopsided methodology is at fault, relying on 6 hours-worth of interviews with trans people, and that by listening to only one side of the trans debate Ofcom thereby distorted and skewed its own findings. 

He says the report “not only fails entirely to mention women’s legitimate and legally-protected concerns, but effectively tells the corporation that its coverage doesn’t lean far enough towards one side of that contested issue” and worries this will tilt the BBC towards an even more biased position. 

Methodology certainly counts. If you conduct focus groups and interviews and significantly overrepresent one side with “loud voices” and don't even talk to the other side then, yes, you are going to get a biased report.

On the background to this, I think this pair of tweets puts it in a nutshell:
Emily Kate: Not surprised by this. Ofcom only left Stonewall a year ago. But I think organisations employ Stonewall to entrench existing views anyway. So leaving the scheme isn't going to change much, ideologically speaking. It won't make the organisation fairer or more balanced, necessarily. 
The beautiful symmetry of the national broadcaster being investigated for bias by a regulator who agrees that Position Normal is the one taken by the broadcaster! It's perfect.

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