Monday 15 August 2022

Is That True Or Did You Hear It On The BBC?

One of the things that justifies blogs like this - unless the blog gets deleted - is that it provides a permanent, searchable record for those interested in researching the BBC's claims to nigh-perfect impartiality. 

We hope it helps.

Sue's better than me at standing back and drawing things into an overarching overview, as I tend to just record endless individual instances of bias, but a book-length overview of the past few years of BBC bias has been urgently needed, and David Sedgwick's latest book has filled that gap wonderfully. 

It's called Is That True Or Did You Hear It On The BBC? 

I swallowed it down virtually whole in just over a day, and then re-read it much more slowly. It's clearly laid out, much more forensic than Sir Keir Starmer and ought to be damaging, maybe even devastating, for the BBC. 

Some of the instances examined in its chapters will be familiar to readers of this blog, but David retells them with comprehensive gusto and brings them to a conclusion, often pursuing them further than we did down the rabbit hole of the BBC's complaints system. 

On which theme, the book proves that the bottommost part of this complaints system - which might be called 'Wonderland, namely the supposedly semi-distant ECU - even when it concedes a few things is forever engaged in bottom-covering manoeuvres on behalf of the BBC, of which it is a part. 

There's the 'Christian convert' Liverpool bomber who 'wouldn't hurt a fly'; and the 'Nigel Farage has blood on his hands' 'Brexit-related murder', which was no such thing; and the Oxford Street antisemitic incident with the 'anti-Muslim slurs'; and the assault on the Eric Gill statue outside Broadcasting House 'by QAnon'; and the BBC's skewed slagging-off of Israel over Covid vaccines for Palestinians. 

It's hard to choose a favourite chapter but I'd go for one that we only touched on here - and mainly did so thanks to you, our ITBB family, on the open threads: the BBC's absolutely atrocious misreporting of Brexit-backing 'prominent Conservative supporter' [not] James Dyson. The BBC behaved badly at every stage of the way as far as this story goes. It's fascinating seeing it all laid out and demonstrated. 

And, as a bonus, I'd go for the one where the BBC falsely claimed 'the director of a large NHS trust has contacted the BBC', which is a tour-de-force of what used to be called 'fisking'. All I'll say is that every single word of 'the director of a large NHS trust has contacted the BBC' was false. The man in question wasn't the director of an NHS trust, there was no large NHS trust involved, and he didn't contact the BBC [the BBC contacted him], and the attempted BBC cover-up that followed shows BBC kneejerk defensiveness at its typical worst. 

Other chapters [including that 'NHS trust' piece I've just mentioned] deal with matters we've been reluctant to touch on - namely Covid/lockdown and Russia/Ukraine. I took a different attitude to Covid/lockdown to David [though I've been rethinking that for a while] and take a different attitude to Russia-Ukraine too [though I'm growing less sure about that too], but you don't have to agree on such things to see that his demolition of case after case of BBC misreporting holds water. He proves most of them beyond reasonable doubt, and got me seriously thinking on the rest. 

It may be cherry-picking, but these are huge cherries of no small importance and he's right to pick them, chop them up and lay them out before us. I was taken back, again and again, by the sheer inaccuracy of the BBC's reporting, often clearly ideologically-motivated. Some of the grossest examples, naturally, spring out of the corporation's hostile reporting of Donald Trump, but others clearly go beyond such simple partisanship. The BBC, David argues, pushes a much broader agenda - a globalist agenda. 

One of the recurring figures in the book is the BBC's latest 'flavour of the month', Ros Atkins. David takes quite a few of his much-praised fact checks apart. I must admit to being rather uncomfortable about Ros's 'aggressive impartiality', as the BBC calls it, and took exception to my longest exposure to him when he presented an episode of The Media Show and played the part of the BBC's Little Mr Perfect defender rather too passionately

If there's one group of journalists - or as David calls them 'activists' - at the BBC that need closely watching and fact-checking it's the BBC's growing legion of disinformation specialists and reality checkers. The watchers, as ever, need watching - especially when they often appear so one-sided in who they watch. 

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