BBC bias strikes again in coverage of junior doctors

The BBC News website’s politics index page labelled its story about today’s (January 12) industrial action by junior doctors Patients hit by junior doctors’ strike.

Oh, very fair, balanced and unbiased, BBC!

Someone should remind the Tory-supporting BBC newsgathering team that the only reason junior doctors have walked out at all is the fact that so-called health secretary Jeremy Misprint Hunt is trying to impose a new contract on them with vastly inferior pay and working conditions.

Someone should remind the Tory-supporting BBC newsgathering team that Mr Misprint spent much of last summer lying about the service offered by the NHS at weekends, because he was trying to pretend that the new contract was necessary in order to provide a full seven-day-a-week service – which the NHS already provides. The issue was highlighted by a letter to the minister, pointing out that Hunt himself doesn’t work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even though he receives far more money from the public purse than junior doctors and is much less qualified for his job.

Someone should remind the Tory-supporting BBC newsgathering team that the new contract offers junior doctors a pay cut of around 22 per cent. Would these BBC reporters accept that kind of offer?

I think not.

Hospitals in England are facing major disruption as junior doctors have gone on strike in a dispute with the government over a new contract.

The doctors are providing emergency cover only during the 24-hour walkout, which got under way at 08:00 GMT.

The NHS has so far postponed 4,000 routine treatments – about one in 10 planned – including knee and hip ops.

A West Midlands hospital has also asked doctors to come off the picket line to help after a surge in patients.

Bosses at Sandwell raised the alarm shortly after the strike got under way, saying beds were filling up and they were struggling to discharge patients.

But the British Medical Association has so far refused to agree to the request, arguing it is not clear whether it qualifies as a major incident.

Source: Junior doctors’ strike: Treatments postponed amid walkout – BBC News

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32 thoughts on “BBC bias strikes again in coverage of junior doctors

  1. philwoodford (@philwoodford)

    The constant sniping at the BBC is just pathetic and shows how out of touch the Corbynite left is with public opinion. Most people recognise that, on balance, the Corporation is pretty even handed. Reading Labour forums online at the moment reminds me of the web pages of conspiracy nuts.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Are you for real?
      There would be no criticism of the BBC if its coverage were fair and impartial – but it isn’t.
      I notice you do not mention the report that is the subject of this article. It speaks volumes about your own point of view that you are prepared to criticise others’ without even considering the subject matter at hand.

      1. Creasey

        Mr Woodford is right that the BBC is pretty objective, and probably more so than any other news source in the UK, and is rightly highly regarded around the world. However that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be criticised when they get things wrong.

        BTW Mr Sivier – where did the BBC say “Patients hit by junior doctors’ strike”? That would certainly be untrue because there are no data to support the assertion that any harm has come to any patients, but I can’t find that particular headline…

      2. Creasey

        No, it doesn’t seem to be there. The best way to is to provide the link where you found it. Please can you do that, thanks.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        The BBC politics index page is updated every day. If you can’t see it now, then you missed it.
        Are you suggesting I made it up?

      4. Creasey

        No, I don’t think you’re that daft. I think they rapidly changed the headline to “Treatments postponed amid walkout” (as can be seen now on I would say that’s responsible reporting by the BBC, not bias. I expect the author of the first headline was rightly criticised.

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        You have no evidence to support any of those claims.
        Bear in mind, I was referring to the link on the index page – not the story headline itself.

      6. Creasey

        If you think the text of one temporary web link is evidence of BBC bias then you plainly don’t know who writes them. You need to understand how the medium works before making accusations about institutional bias.

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        Having interviewed for a job at the BBC, and being a professional reporter myself, I reckon I know enough.
        That is the end of this discussion.

      8. Terry Davies

        the question which showed bias was the unanswered one directed to jeremy hunt.
        he didnt respond and ignored the reporter. But nothing was focussed on by the BBC . there was one condemnatory comment made as an aside.
        This comment said in summary doctors were trusted more than MPs.
        I believe this to be an indicator of public perceptions especially after hunts refusal to be interviewed. the health spokesperson was predictable when the Trust perception and government perceptions were biasedly reported.
        however it was not believable to many.
        I believe the lack of focus on Hunt declining to be interviewed, selective reporting of oppositional comments to Hunt and those supportive of strikers effectively culminated in a false picture of the strikers and public support for them.
        therefore a conclusion of biased reporting seems appropriate from my observations.
        A similar biased reporting was evident in Manchester march against the tories when police ensured delay of a substantial number of protestors not allowed outside the tory conference despite claiming to be a ‘ party of the people’
        BBC omitted to report these facts and misrepresented in their estimate numbers in the rally.
        Again biased reporting.

    2. Florence

      Well, as we always used to say, if it causes you such pain / outrage / worry, you should stop doing it. So stop reading “left wing” sites, stop reading this blog, stay on home territory that’s safe for you, like the Mail and Telegraph, and you will no longer suffer these troubling symptoms


    3. Barry Davies

      The BBC is the governments mouthpiece and always makes out that it is wrong to be against them, they have been attacking the NHS on behalf of the government for far to long.

  2. Martin Odoni

    The doctors have made a clear, sustainable and eloquent case, while the Government is basically offering nothing. Hunt has made clear that he will impose the new contract, and he will give no concessions at all. So how can the BBC frame its report in terms that make the doctors sound like the ones who are being unreasonable?

  3. colin wilkes

    Just been listening to Jeremy Vine on radio 2 interviewing a lady and feeding her lots of leading questions and putting words into her mouth. It was a disgrace. However at the end the Lady told Vine she gives her whole heated support to the doctors.

  4. John

    And I understand that the doctors are only allowed to discuss one out of 12 or 13 points or something like that? (Victoria Coren pointed this out on BBC QT recently). I’d hardly call that a fair negotiation. Would you?

      1. John

        Jeremy Hunt is clearly taking the absolute p*ss. And he’s got the nerve to threaten to impose it as well! I just wonder how much of this is actually being fed to him by that bully Camoron?

  5. mrmarcpc

    And the BBC have the cheek to wonder why the public have turned on them, they’ve always been right wing biased, especially with this shower that resides at Number 10, at their core, the BBC has always been conservative!

  6. Dez

    yes the whole Government PR Machine does seem to be at full stretch spreading their half truths and negative stories and most of the usual media gullibles seem to be as usual just reprinting without bothering getting any balance or real comment regarding the truth. Even the Cons MPS are working overtime with local radio stations condemning the doctors and the strike. However our local cons automaton really knew diddly squat actually showing up that he was just a mouthpiece when the real front line comments made sense of what was going on. It’s just another part of their master plan to privatise the lot.

  7. daijohn

    This alarmist shouting and screaming does not impress me, yes we expect it from the ‘usual suspects’ but the BBC should realise that their audience is a little more aware of Hunt’s tactics ( or those any employer in such industrial action) and report accordingly.

  8. roybeiley

    The Tory propaganda machine ie BBC News- seems to be trying to present the junior doctors strike in the same vein as the proposed Tube Train drivers. That is providing an inconvenience to the public of which they should be ashamed.

    Bit different. Night Tube service you can live without. Junior doctors are Vital to the public. Hunt as picked on the wrong group with the doctors. Public support is pretty solid and any prospect of that eroding as Hunt hopes is pretty reckless. He needs to get real and start negotiating for a good outcome.

  9. Thomas

    All it takes is one of the patients to die and the government will most likely put a new law through banning strikes by medical staff.

  10. casalealex

    If BBC insist on using these odious negative ‘political’ reports, blatantly showing their prejudice in favour of the government, then I see no reason why we should be asked to support the BBC, snd even sign a petition to save them….

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s a lot more to the BBC than news, and the news department can be restructured easily enough.

  11. Peter Wyatt

    ITV MERIDIAN 6pm news was the same, all about what had been cancelled no comparison with how many Patients dealt with. Totally biased reporting!

  12. Barry Davies

    I notice that none of the government ministers was available for comment and misprint deliberately stayed silent when he was asked a question before being whisked away in his car.

    1. Terry Davies

      it was thought that if Hunt was interviewed and then the doctor. Hunt wouldnt be believed as the public see Drs as trustworthy but dont trust politicians.
      The commentators were Trust or NHS managers. However they were also not believable. noticeably Keogh was conspiciously absent to my current knowledge so i believe the government have no justification for the new contract.
      However they rely on threats of Hunt imposing the contracts.

  13. joanna

    Of course the bbc is going to be right wing at the moment, they are not going to risk alienating the hand that feeds them.

    As for the license fee being partly because non adverts on the bbc, then what about the programme about Oxford Street? That is wall to wall advertising, from shops to designers. (I saw the programme at a friends!) I do not pay the fee, and I have put woira on them so their Crapita agents can’t step foot in my front garden without them breaking the law.

  14. Terry Davies

    hunt refused to defend his position when offered the opportunity to do so. Seems that he was relying on the BBC to be his voice piece.

  15. Tony Turtle

    I had to laugh when Angela Rippon went and reported on the strike for the One Show and then she announced that she’s in the upper echelons of an organisation that is all for the new contract! Talk about biased reporting!

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