The BBC prepares its impartial coverage of the 2017 General Election [Image: Sketchaganda].

This one could make you laugh so hard you cry – or it could simply make you cry. The attempted justification by the BBC complaints department is so bad it deserves to be commemorated in mockery of the corporation – forever.

But it isn’t my story. I hand you over to Vox Political reader Steve Fox:

I submitted a complaint to the BBC last week, after hearing blatant bias by Katia Adler on Radio 4. I couldn’t quite believe what I heard her say (it was almost subliminal) but the BBC response has now confirmed it, and their excuses are totally inadequate.

My complaint:

This morning, reporting on EU negotiations, Katia Adler asserted that EU leaders are hoping for a “strong” leader to emerge from the UK general election, and that when “she” does, negotiations will be better. Theresa May is the only “she” who might be elected. Does the BBC have some empirical evidence for asserting that “EU leaders” want her to win the election? I’m sure the BBC is aware that “strong and stable” is the campaign refrain of the Conservative Party. Is the BBC campaigning on their behalf? This is the second time I have heard Katia Adler make these claims. It doesn’t seem accidental, the bias is very clear. How can the BBC justify this dangerous distortion, misrepresentation and blatant favouritism as “news”?

This morning, reporting on EU negotiations, Katia Adler asserted that EU leaders are hoping for a “strong” leader to emerge from the UK general election, and that when “she” does, negotiations will be better.

Response from the BBC:

Thank you for contacting us to raise your concerns about Radio 4’s ‘Today’, broadcast on 27 April.

I understand you feel Katya Adler demonstrated bias in favour of Theresa May when reporting on a meeting of some of the European Union’s leading figures to discuss guidelines for the Brexit negotations.

I have reviewed the broadcast and note that Katya stated, “Behind closed doors in EU circles they are hoping that a very strong Prime Minister emerges from these elections in June; a strong Prime Minister who, however tough she may be in negotiations, will keep one line – won’t do U-turns, won’t be beholden to minority groups.”

While I appreciate how strongly you feel about this issue, we would explain that Katya was simply reporting her understanding, as European Editor, of the sentiments of leading European Union figures on this subject. Please be assured, all staff are expected to put any political views to one side when carrying out their work for the BBC; they simply try to provide the information and context on the story or issue using their professional insight to allow our listeners to make up their own minds.

Katya was simply reporting her understanding, as European Editor, of the sentiments of leading European Union figures on this subject.

The BBC has in place clear guidelines to ensure that political parties receive an appropriate level of coverage during an election period and our editors are required to follow them carefully.

The key point is that the BBC as an organisation has no view or position itself on anything we may report upon – our aim is to identify all significant views, and to test them rigorously and fairly on behalf of our audiences.

Nonetheless, I am sorry to read you do not feel we achieved our objective in this instance.

We appreciate your feedback on this issue and I have passed your comments forward on a report which will be read by senior BBC management and the ‘Today’ team.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Kind regards
Emma Duff
BBC Complaints Team

Oh, so she was saying the European Union’s top brass want Theresa May to win the general election – but that’s not going to sway anybody voting in a poll that the same Theresa May wants us to think is about Brexit?

Give us a break, BBC.

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