Tag Archives: bias

Priti Patel is NOT a ‘people’ person. Travellers are her latest victims. Will you be next?

She thinks it’s all great fun: but whoever put the horns on this image of Priti Patel knew the truth of the matter.

We know the Home Secretary is a full-on, flat-out racist – she deports foreigners, she would deport UK citizens if the Windrush scandal had not happened, and now she has been caught stirring up racial hatred against travellers.

It’s very odd behaviour for a person whose own parents were immigrants into the UK

But here it is: she has been caught fabricating details of a police officer’s death in order to make travellers seem inherently criminal, as an ethnic group.

And she did it in a Zoom meeting with Jewish leaders – hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is itself notorious for its zealousness in defending their own ethnic group from claims that it has any inherently unsavoury traits.

In this, the Board of Deputies is right. No ethnic group is inherently criminal – as an ethnic group.

Yet Ms Patel said she was

determined to stamp out the “criminality that takes place and that has happened through Traveller communities and unauthorised encampments”.

More than 80 leading academics, race equality organisations, and politicians have signed a letter to Patel, urging her to retract her “hate speech”.

One has to ask how she would describe herself – the daughter of refugees who came to the UK after facing persecution in Uganda.

Ah, but that would probably be too close to home.

She seems a perfect candidate for “unconscious bias” training.

Except, of course, she’s probably one of the 40 Conservative MPs who have refused it out of hand. It seems she – and they – have some kind of bias against it…

She is the secretary of state for the Home Department.

She is a racist, to our certain knowledge.

She may also be prejudiced against any number of other traits.

So the question you have to ask yourself, in a country where the Home Secretary is lining people up to be her targets, is:

When will she send people for me?

POSTSCRIPT: Mrs Mike was disgusted to hear about Patel’s behaviour, and asked a very reasonable question: why do we put up with this unacceptable behaviour, these unacceptable viewpoints, from people who are supposed to be our political leaders?

Mrs Mike thinks Priti Patel should be pulled out of Parliament by the ear and slung onto the street.

She cannot understand why nobody has actually used legally-enforcible means to do this.

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Incoming BBC chief wants to restore its reputation for impartiality. But will he?

Tim Davie: will this new broom sweep the BBC clean?

New BBC Director General Tim Davie is set to tell staff it is now a condition of their employment to be politically impartial.

It seems he has realised the Corporation’s credibility has suffered after years of kowtowing to the Tory administrations of the last 10 years.

And there’s academic information showing an “Establishment” bias during Labour administrations that made it hard for that party to get a fair hearing on the UK’s most-used TV and radio news outlet.

Fine words.

But will they cut any ice with entrenched right-wingers like Laura Kuenssberg and Andrew Neil, or the Tory-riddent BBC newsroom?

We’ll know soon enough.

Here’s the gist of the story:

The incoming director general of the BBC is expected to tell journalists that those who cannot leave their politics at the door are no longer welcome in a drive to repair the broadcaster’s reputation for impartiality, it has been reported.

Tim Davie will set out his plans for the corporation from its Glasgow offices on Thursday having taken on the role from Lord Hall, who stepped down from the top job last week to serve chair of the board for the National Gallery.

And the new director general is expected to make combatting accusations of partisan bias a focus of his tenure, The Sunday Times reported, by using his opening address to staff to tell those who cannot leave their politics at the door that they have no place at one of the world’s most trusted news brands.

Source: ‘You have no place here’: Incoming BBC chief to tell partisan journalists to leave bias behind | The Independent | Independent

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Russia report: If Russian influence over the UK is ‘the new normal’, shouldn’t someone be charged with treason?

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko. All perfectly innocent?

Now we can all see why Boris Johnson did not want the so-called ‘Russia Report’ released before the general election last year.

The report – released today (July 21) by Parliament’s new Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) – shows that successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

This has led, the report states, to the growth of an industry of “enablers” who are “de facto agents of the Russian state”. The report does not explicitly state that these enablers include Conservative government politicians, but its assertion that Russia had access to “the highest levels” of political figures certainly suggests that this is the case.

And the fact that Russia has influence “at the highest levels” seems to have made it almost impossible to organise a response.

The report refers to the defence of UK democratic processes as a “hot potato” over which no government organisation wanted to take the lead in conducting an assessment of Russian interference.

In its response to the report today, the Tory government has said it has seen no evidence of interference in (this is the example it gives) the Brexit referendum. It seems clear that there is a good reason for that: nobody was looking. The government has said it sees no reason to conduct a retrospective investigation into such interference, which looks like a tacit admission of guilt in the light of the report. Committee member Stewart Hosie said, “That is meaningless if they haven’t looked for it.”

The ISC states that “social media companies must take action and remove covert hostile state material. Government must ‘name and shame’ those who fail to act”. The latter demand seems unlikely to happen as it seems clear that the Tory government does not want to do anything.

One reason for that may be the fact that the Tories have been delighted to welcome Russian money and the oligarchs who owned it, “providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’.”

It is unlikely that Russia actually interfered in the mechanics of voting in general elections or the Brexit referendum; the UK’s paper-based voting system “makes actual interference with the mechanism difficult” – but “we should not be complacent about other forms of interference”.

The report states that Russian influence seems to have been exerted prominently in the social media, whose bosses had no interest in preventing it.

It states: “There have been widespread allegations that Russia sought to influence voters in the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU: studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories on RT and Sputnik, and the use of ‘bots’ and ‘trolls’, as evidence.

“The actual impact of such attempts on the result itself would be difficult – if not impossible – to prove. However what is clear is that the Government was slow to recognise the existence of the threat – only understanding it after the ‘hack and leak’ operation against the Democratic National Committee, when it should have been seen as early as 2014.

“As a result the Government did not take action to protect the UK’s process in 2016. The Committee has not been provided with any post-referendum assessment – in stark contrast to the US response to reports of interference in the 2016 presidential election. In our view there must be an analogous assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum.”

In their statement, the Tories have made it clear that they will not conduct a retrospective investigation: “The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes.

“We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence, including during democratic events such as elections and referendums.

“Where new information emerges, the Government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence it develops or receives, including whether it is appropriate to make this public. Given this long standing approach, a retrospective assessment of the EU Referendum is not necessary.”

This is hardly encouraging, given that the ISC report makes it clear that the Tory government has deliberately avoided looking for Russian interference.

Labour has delivered the weak-ass response that we have come to expect from Keir Starmer’s sub-Tory party, courtesy of Lisa “I wouldn’t disclose plans to sell off the NHS” Nandy.

“The report is very clear that the Government has underestimated the response required to Russia and it is imperative we learn the lessons from the mistakes that have been made,” she said. “The Labour Party calls on the Government to study the conclusions of the report carefully and take the necessary steps to keep our country safe.”

Fat chance! And she knows it. The people of the UK needed a much more robust response, calling out Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his extremely strong ties with Russians – he plays tennis with them in return for donations to the Tory Party, remember – and demanding a full-strength investigation into connections between Conservative government members past and present and Russians in the UK – both private citizens and representatives of that country’s government.

I’ll say it again, for clarity:

What we need now is a comprehensive and independent investigation by law-enforcement agencies into connections between anybody who has been a member of a Conservative government over the past 10 years (including members of other parties who have allied with the Tories – the DUP and the Liberal Democrats) and Russians in the UK who have been here either as private citizens or as representatives of that countries government. Did – and do – these relationships pose a threat to the UK’s security and to its democracy?

And if so, should those who have created that threat be arrested and charged with treason?

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BBC is trumpeting ‘free internet access’ from Tories – but it was ‘broadband communism’ when Labour proposed it

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and don’t expect better when the new Director General – a former Tory election candidate whose name This Writer can’t even be bothered to remember – takes over.

How two-faced of the Tory Broadcasting Corporation.

Free access to broadband internet connections was an election policy of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn last year.

At that time, the BBC called it “broadband communism”.

But now, with the Conservatives offering it (albeit only for a brief time, through a voucher system), it’s “free internet to help poorer pupils”.

Oh yes, this is an emergency measure because of Covid-19 and the lockdown – but it represents hypocrisy by our state broadcaster nonetheless.

Many thousands of people have stopped paying their TV licence fee because of blatant partisanship by the Tory-run BBC News; this proves they have a point.

And with a newly-appointed Director General who used to be a Conservative election candidate, this situation is only likely to get worse.

We want facts; we get propaganda.

And the nation goes to the dogs.

Source: Free internet to help poorer pupils study online – BBC News

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The British media support the Tory government – when they should be holding it to account

[Image: Before It’s News.]

What a travesty – but then, you will be well aware that the UK’s news media have been backing the Conservatives for many years.

There has been at least one other academic study in the last few years, showing that the media – and especially the BBC – predominantly support the Conservative Party in their news coverage.

Now, Loughborough University has analysed newspaper coverage of political parties during the first week of last year’s general election campaign.

It found that the Labour Party was overwhelmingly targeted with negative coverage, while the Tories were showered with praise.

What is your average, non-political person-on-the-street supposed to think?

Look at the state of this:

The study also showed that the most positive coverage of the Tories came from the highest circulation newspapers, with journalists at The Sun and the Daily Mail relied upon to write deferential, pro-government stories.

“The unweighted results show that only the Conservative Party received more positive than negative coverage across all newspapers,” the academics said in a summary of their research.

“In contrast, Labour had a substantial deficit of positive to negative news reports in the first formal week of the campaign.”

To give you an idea of the scale of the imbalance: the study weighted each news item on whether it contained a negative or positive implication for each party, scoring either -1 or +1 respectively, while balanced news items produced a 0.

The result:+4 for the Conservatives, and -91 for Labour.

At a time when the law demands impartial coverage.

The UK badly needs independent news coverage – or at least a restoration of the balance.

Fortunately, there are moves in that direction – such as the new Facebook page This is NOT the Corporate News.

But then, This Writer would say that – This Site is a contributor to that page. Look it up!

Source: British newspapers heap positive coverage on Tories while trashing Labour, study finds | The Independent

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BBC digs out Remembrance Day clip from 2016 to avoid showing up Boris Johnson. What happened to impartiality?

Now you see it: An image from yesterday’s commemoration service, at which Boris Johnson showed contempt for our Armed Forces by laying his wreath face-down.

Now you don’t: An image from the BBC’s coverage today, showing Mr Johnson laying a wreath in 2016.

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:

Here’s the actual footage used, from 2016, courtesy of another Twitter user:

Suggestions that there was an innocent explanation were batted aside…

… as was the BBC’s ridiculous claim that this was a “production error”:

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:

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.

“Bias.”

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:

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.

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BBC political impartiality is a bad joke. Time to switch to social media for your news coverage?

If you still think the BBC is a source of impartial news coverage, perhaps the following short tweet will convince you otherwise.

It features an animation showing the political leanings of guests on the BBC’s Politics Live over a statistically significant period of time.

The number of right-wingers dwarfs the centrists and absolutely obliterates the left-wing contingent.

People who have seen this have been justifiably outraged:

And consider this:

Of course, with its 70 per cent audience share of the news-viewing public, the BBC can claim to be anything it wants – and with a system that allows it to dismiss complaints about its coverage – it can also claim to have proof that it is on the straight-and-narrow.

But we know it isn’t.

So how about ending its dominance of news – and particularly election – coverage? It’s time to get your information from the social media – and tell your friends to do the same.

Just remember one thing, though:

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More Question Time bias as Fiona Bruce pats Brandon Lewis: ‘I’m just teasing you’

Cute: But would she show such consideration to Diane Abbott?

What the actual …?

If there was ever an example of BBC bias towards the Conservatives, it’s this:

Asked a difficult question by a BBC Question Time audience member, former Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis struggled to answer.

So presenter/chair Fiona Bruce patted his arm and said, “I’m just teasing you.”

Where’s the impartiality in that?

Where’s the responsibility to hold those in power to account?

We have seen this on BBCQT before, and the Corporation might legitimately say it’s bias by the programme-maker Mentorn.

But then, the BBC gave Mentorn the contract to make it, so ultimate responsibility lies with Auntie. Doesn’t it?

There’s a full story on Skwawkbox: Video: Tory MP struggles with BBCQT question. Presenter pats his arm, “It’s ok, I’m teasing you” and moves on | The SKWAWKBOX

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Ofcom is investigating the BBC for bias – and it’s looking bad for Auntie

Not my image: Somebody else made this – indicating that concerns over the BBC’s claim to impartiality are well-founded.

Only on Tuesday this week, I was berating Jo Coburn, presenter of the BBC’s Politics Live, for misrepresenting the assault against Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday.

Now Ofcom is investigating the BBC’s claims to impartiality, after members of the public raised concerns over bias.

I wrote:

Soon after, I was forced to write the following tweet. Note the response I received:

Then yesterday (Wednesday), I noticed a strange attitude towards the Labour anti-Semitism row:

It seems that Ofcom agrees that the BBC’s impartiality has become debatable.

On its website, the regulator announced:

“Our research has revealed many people are generally concerned about both the reliability of content in an era of ‘fake news’, and the negative consequences of disinformation for public trust and democratic processes. Nearly a third (29%) of adult internet users express concerns about disinformation online.

“The BBC has a central role to play in providing trusted, impartial news. Yet our research has shown that audiences consistently rate the impartiality of the BBC’s TV and radio news less highly than many other aspects of BBC’s news output.

“For these reasons we consider it is appropriate to undertake a review, to examine in detail the BBC’s delivery of the first Public Purpose.”

Mention of “the first Public Purpose” is a reference to the BBC’s Royal Charter, under which it has five such purposes.

They are all listed here. The first is “to provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them. The BBC will provide accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world.”

Judging by the behaviour of the Politics Live crew, Auntie will have her work cut out if she wants to avoid a negative report.

(For another perspective on this, please enjoy the Skwawkbox article here.)


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POLL: BBC backtracks over Question Time row – Fiona Bruce DID make unwise comments about Diane Abbott

Fiona Bruce: The Mirror used this image on its article about her verbal indiscretion.

Well, how about that! It turns out the BBC was lying when it said Diane Abbott was not treated unfairly during the warm-up for the show in which she appeared nearly two weeks ago.

The Mirror is reporting that Fiona Bruce made “light-hearted personal comments” and “what she believed were good-humoured remarks” before recording of the show began.

Apparently the admission was made in a private email between the show’s editors and the Shadow Home Secretary.

This Writer had heard elsewhere that the remarks concerned Ms Abbott’s relationship with Jeremy Corbyn, with a suggestion that she is in her current position because of that relationship.

I don’t know about you, but I would say a suggestion that Ms Abbott only became Shadow Home Secretary because of a relationship she had in the 1970s certainly qualifies as an example of her being “treated unfairly”.

The implication is that she didn’t earn her job by merit and doesn’t deserve to have it – and Fiona Bruce had no right to make such a suggestion.

Ms Bruce has hosted just three editions of Question Time, after taking over from David Dimbleby. It seems clear that she is not capable of doing the job properly, considering the amount of political bias evidenced by her remarks.

But Question Time is in trouble for other elements of its production that day. Is it true that another member of the team also made prejudicial remarks about Ms Abbott to the audience? The BBC will have to release recordings of what was said before we know for sure.

And what about the claim that Ms Abbott’s microphone was turned down during the recording of the show itself, so she had to work harder to make herself heard?

The BBC has admitted that it lied about Ms Abbott’s treatment – but the extent of that lie has yet to be established. As for Ms Bruce – let’s have a poll:

I look forward to your responses.

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