Remember a few years ago, when Jeremy Corbyn laid a wreath at his first Remembrance Day as leader of the Labour Party? The BBC revelled in criticism of his behaviour (which was in fact impeccable) and his manner of dress.
Fast-forward to this year, and we all saw Boris Johnson looking scruffy and disshevelled, stepping out of line at the wrong time and laying the wreath upside-down.
That’s unless we watched BBC coverage of the event after it happened, of course.
Because the BBC decided to look for images of Mr Johnson at a previous Remembrance Day event – in 2016 – and use them instead, in what is a clear breach of reporting rules and election impartiality; this was an attempt to hide information that – properly – makes Mr Johnson look bad.
Why on Earth did anybody at the BBC think they would get away with it?
The substitution has sparked a wave of outrage which began with this tweet:
Slide One is Boris Johnson, yesterday, laying a wreath upside down on the Cenotaph
Slide Two is the footage BBC News are rolling with this morning – bizarrely, it's from 2016. pic.twitter.com/8BrOyA9Kyr
— Ava-Santina (@AvaSantina) November 11, 2019
Here’s the actual footage used, from 2016, courtesy of another Twitter user:
This is probably the most shocking Tory propaganda the BBC has done to date. Be sure to share it. https://t.co/AfuQKIu0Ha
— Mr Ethical (@nw_nicholas) November 11, 2019
Suggestions that there was an innocent explanation were batted aside…
Innocent explanation my foot.
Absolute proof of @BBCBreakfast bias towards Tories and Johnson.
— Jonquil (@JonquilLucy) November 11, 2019
… as was the BBC’s ridiculous claim that this was a “production error”:
You're liars and we know you are. You lie about things big and small, but always to Tories' advantage.
We don't believe a word you broadcast, because we have no reason to.
You're corrupt, rotten and dishonest, and everyone knows that now.
Labour will reform you.
Bring it on.
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) November 11, 2019
Let’s have a few other comments. Here‘s Matt Bailey: “A production mistake… Where you mixed up yesterday’s VT with one from 2016 that you had to search for in the archives? Yes, that’s very plausible. Thank you for making it clear…..”
Author and scriptwriter Stephen Gallagher offered this: “Editorial policy of ‘Since what actually happened doesn’t make him look good, we’ll substitute something that didn’t but does’.”
And ex-BBC/Sky/Reuters/PA journo Julian Shea weighed in with: “‘Footage from less than 24 hours ago? Where am I expected to find that? What’s that you say, three years ago? Easy, it’s saved on my desktop.'”
The BBC’s claim to have made an innocent mistake is risible. As Evolve Politics notes:
“The BBC would have needed to search through their archives to find the 2016 footage – making the excuse that it was simply a “mistake” highly implausible.
“In addition to BBC Editors ‘mistakenly’ searching through their archives to use footage from 2016, they also appear to have overlooked the fact that the video also showed numerous politicians in attendance who have long since left their positions:
- Theresa May – who is no longer PM
- Angus Robertson – who is no longer the SNP Westminster leader
- Tim Farron – who is no longer the Lib Dem leader
- David Gauke – no longer a Cabinet Minister
- Michael Fallon – no longer a Cabinet Minister
- Amber Rudd – no longer a Cabinet Minister
- Liam Fox – no longer a Cabinet Minister
- Chris Grayling – no longer a Cabinet Minister
“Clearly an easy ‘mistake’ to make.”
It seems likely the BBC will be deluged with complaints like this:
Second complaint today @BBCBreakfast
Shocking, just shocking.
I look forward to your response. pic.twitter.com/m7pFwPOQKb
— Gayle Letherby 🌹 #VoteLabour (@gletherby) November 11, 2019
The written complaint, sent to https://www.bbc.co.uk/contact/complaints/make-a-complaint/#/Complaint states: “I cannot accept that this was a ‘production mistake’ not least because it is clear in the 2016 footage that Theresa May and not Boris Johnson was the Prime Minister. Additionally, it surely takes some ‘skill’ to mix up footage from yesterday with footage from three years ago. I, and I know many others, can only conclude that your intention was to present the PM as more statesmanlike, more respectful, than yesterday’s performance showed him to be.
As this is a clear breach of impartiality, I hope the same people complaining to the BBC are sending their complaints to Ofcom, which is still (as far as I know) conducting an inquiry into whether the BBC has breached its own rules on this.
This Writer missed the BBC Breakfast coverage. So I watched Politics Live in the hope of seeing an apology and explanation.
Did anybody else see one? I didn’t.
So I sent a tweet to the show’s editor, Rob Burley:
@RobBurl I was looking for the #PoliticsLive apology for BBC Remembrance Day coverage showing images from 2016 rather than yesterday, which someone clearly had to go and find, to use it instead of the shots of @BorisJohnson showing contempt for our veterans. Where is it please?
— Mike Sivier (@MidWalesMike) November 11, 2019
No response so far…
There is only one conclusion to be drawn here:
The BBC has outed itself as a propaganda arm of the Conservative Party. Its election coverage – and other news output – should therefore be avoided on the basis of prejudice, and should be reported to Ofcom.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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