Saturday 25 June 2022

Labelling the IEA

There's another interesting new ruling by the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU). 

The right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is a bogeyman for left-leaning types on Twitter. 'Who funds you?' is their repeated cry whenever someone from the IEA pops up, and they don't like it when IEA people appear on the BBC at all. 

Someone complained that The Papers on the BBC News Channel “repeatedly failed to provide an adequate description of the IEA”. I'm guessing they would like the BBC to label them with something negative. 

Anyhow, the BBC upheld their complaint and will oblige them from now on by making sure its presenters make “particular reference” to the IEA's “free market orientation”.

From what I can see, these instances relate to some rare appearances by Annabel Denham, Director of Communications at the IEA, alongside broadcaster John Stapleton. The latest ones, on 7 June, saw the IEA labelled as a “free-market think tank” each time she was introduced.

It will be most interesting to test again how consistent the BBC are with their labels, especially given that 'bias by labelling' is always a risk. Will they treat outfits from other parts of the political spectrum this way too?

I see, from a preliminary scan of TV Eyes, that the likes of the Resolution Foundation are being labelled “independent” or “a think tank that focuses on people of lower incomes” and Demos is “cross-party”. 

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