Tag Archives: impartial

BBC is named as least objective news provider – which we all knew already

No wonder I couldn’t find a correlation between what the BBC was reporting and what people were talking about when I compared them!

Look:

I couldn’t read the story in Broadcast (paywall) but found it in the Express, of all places:

Ofcom conducted an annual survey covering the period April 2019 to March 2020 in which the broadcasting regulator asked audiences if they believed news programmes they watched on each of the main television channels were free of bias.

But in the latest blow for the BBC, the Corporation ranked bottom with a score of just 58 percent. Sky News led the way with 69 percent, followed by Channel 4 (66 per cent), ITV (63 per cent) and Channel 5 (61 per cent).

Ofcom said: “There is a risk that future relationships between the BBC and its audiences could be jeopardised if audience concerns around impartiality continue to grow.”

Bizarrely, the report has come to light at the same time as Andrew Marr said viewers would choose “BBC impartiality” over “Fox News-style rivals”.

But then, Marr’s mission is not ours: he’s saying the BBC cannot be accused of left-wing bias – and I’m sure we could all agree with that.

According to the i, Marr said:

“When Hugh Carleton Greene was Director-General (from 1960), he was pushing a much more anti-conservative, anti-hierarchical agenda than anyone is today.”

Carleton Greene was accused of causing the nation’s “moral collapse” by “decency” campaigner Mary Whitehouse, not least for refusing to censor the word “knickers” from a broadcast.

So he clearly equates Conservatism with impartiality. That’s interesting. Then again…

Does Marr welcome the challenge from the Discovery-backed GB News and Rupert Murdoch’s new “opinionated” TV news venture, both set to launch next year?

“You bet,” he asserts. “All competition is good. I hope we’ll demonstrate quite quickly that whilst partisan TV is great fun for a short period, after a while you turn back with great relief to something that is at least trying to be impartial.”

Anything backed by Murdoch is going to be deeply right-wing, so it seems Marr recognises the far-right as partisan, as well as the left. So it’s an Overton Window problem; he simply doesn’t understand where the genuine political centre lies.

Perhaps that’s the BBC’s problem in a nutshell. Run by upper-middle-class elitist twits, its political compass is tuned to their point of view and they don’t recognise and are too dim to understand that it is out of touch with reality.

I was able to work this out by checking the BBC’s output against what people are actually discussing. Anybody with an ounce of intelligence and curiosity could have done the same.

I dare say it hasn’t even occurred to the BBC’s news bosses.

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POLL: Is Commons Speaker John Bercow right to voice his own views on Brexit?

Speaking out: John Bercow at the Bingham Lecture. Is he right to make his opinions known?

John Bercow, the soon-to-retire Speaker of the House of Commons, is being criticised for voicing his opposition to Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit.

Critics are saying he should be impartial and has no right to attack the prime minister and his policies.

Supporters say it is important for him to stand up for Parliamentary sovereignty.

Now he has said he may bend Parliamentary rules – in response to efforts by BoJob and his advisers to go around them.

And he has voiced support for the idea of a written UK constitution, to ensure that the kind of shenanigans we have seen from the Johnson administration (and the May ministry before it) cannot happen again:

John Bercow has threatened Boris Johnson that he will be prepared to rip up the parliamentary rulebook to stop any illegal attempt by the prime minister to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.

In a direct warning to No 10, the Speaker of the House of Commons said he is prepared to allow “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to allow parliament to block Johnson from ignoring the law.

“If we come close to [Johnson ignoring the law], I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook or ticking of the clock will stop it doing so,” he said, delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London. “If I have been remotely ambiguous so far, let me make myself crystal clear. The only form of Brexit that we have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”

He also proposed a written constitution to stop “executive malpractice or fiat”, which could potentially have avoided the constitutional crisis that the UK has found itself in over Brexit.

Simple question: Do you think Mr Bercow is right to speak out? Or should he keep his mouth shut?

Source: John Bercow: I’ll stop Boris Johnson breaking the law on Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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Perhaps he should have been impartial: BBC News’s top Tory James Harding whinges about criticism of election coverage

BBC News chief James Harding is whining about politicians from all sides, who he claims threatened the BBC’s future funding over its handling of the election.

Harding, who is himself a Conservative, doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. The corporation’s news coverage has suffered serious bias for a considerable period of time – not only in the way it covers news, but in its choice of news coverage.

How many of you have attended large-scale anti-government demonstrations recently? How many of them made it onto the news without violence taking place?

“But, along the way, there were people from all parties who made the connection between their dissatisfaction with the election coverage and the fact that the next government will set the licence fee and the terms of the royal charter.

“Some did so explicitly. Nigel Farage, for example, said he was unhappy at Ukip’s treatment on the BBC and proposed cutting the licence fee by two thirds. Others left it hanging in the air.”

Farage had better coverage of his party than any of the other minor players (including the Liberal Democrats) – and more complimentary coverage than Labour! He had no reason to complain at all.

Harding said criticism of the BBC’s newsrooms was “unfair and unfounded”, including the “fabled leftwing bias” which he said he found “increasingly hard to take seriously in the light of the Conservative victory”.

“What’s the argument? That the BBC’s subtle, sophisticated leftwing message was so very subtle, so very sophisticated that it simply passed the British people by?” Harding told a Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference in London on Tuesday.

At least he’s being accurate here – but disingenuous about the reason for this, which is the fact that the BBC’s news editors and reporting team is too right-wing for words. Oh, but hang on…

“I find equally implausible the Labour critique that the BBC is too rightwing,”

… said Mr Harding, who is well-known as a Conservative – as are Fran Unsworth, deputy director of BBC news and current affairs; Mary Hockaday, head of newsroom; Gavin Allen, news editor, BBC News; Keith Blackmore, managing editor of news and current affairs; Jonathan Munro, head of newsgathering; and the chair of the BBC Trust, Rona Fairhead.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson is not only a Conservative; he’s a Conservative activist.

“Let me be clear: the BBC is scrupulously impartial. Of course, we make mistakes. I’m not saying we’re perfect; but we are impartial.”

Harding, the former editor of

… Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing mouthpiece …

The Times and a key lieutenant of BBC director general Tony Hall, said he “got it in the ear from politicians and their spokespeople from all political parties”.

“Labour was angry about the focus on the SNP, the Tories regularly questioned our running orders and editorial decisions, the Lib Dems felt they weren’t getting sufficient airtime, the Greens complained about being treated like a protest movement not a party,” he said.

If he was any good at his job, Harding would have said that none of these complaints are any of his business; the only thing that should have mattered to him was that the BBC was putting out accurate, impartial election coverage.

Considering his own personal history, that of his staff, the coverage we got and his reaction to criticism, this ex-newspaper editor can happily conclude that the BBC did not put out such coverage, and that some of the criticisms are accurate.

Perhaps the BBC would like to tell us where it hides reporters and editors with a left-wing background?

Source: BBC news chief: politicians of all parties made threats to funding | Media | The Guardian

If BBC News was a barrel of apples, would Nick Robinson really be the rotten one that spoiled the whole bushel?

How the Daily Record reported the 4,000-strong demonstration outside the BBC's Glasgow headquarters, after the social media revealed that Nick Robinson had misrepresented Alex Salmond in a report.

How the Daily Record reported the 4,000-strong demonstration outside the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters, after the social media revealed that Nick Robinson had misrepresented Alex Salmond in a report.

When TV licence-fee payers take to the streets in protest against BBC news coverage, you know there’s something rotten in New Broadcasting House.

The Corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, is apparently responsible for kicking up the stink – by broadcasting a misleading report about SNP leader Alex Salmond. Robinson claimed Salmond failed to answer a question during a news conference but footage has emerged on the Internet providing no less than seven minutes of proof to the contrary.

Did you notice the word “apparently” in the immediately preceding paragraph? It is there for a very good reason.

There is no doubt that Robinson knowingly misled the viewing public by making a false claim about Alex Salmond. The SNP leader definitely answered his question as this Pride’s Purge article makes clear. It is surprising that, after multiple debunkings of the mainstream media by their social media counterparts, organisations like the BBC still think they can get away with this kind of behaviour.

The operative question is, why did Robinson ignore what Salmond said? Was it not what he wanted to hear? Was the reference to information that should not have been divulged to the BBC too sensitive for the Corporation to allow onto our screens? Or was there a more deep-seated political agenda?

Frequent Vox Political commenter Jeffrey Davies reckons that Robinson’s report is a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act 1968.

In his comment, he says he bought his licence in the belief that the BBC would follow its Charter and Agreement (Section 3: Accuracy, Principles) commits it to fair, unbiased coverage:

“The BBC must not knowingly and materially mislead its audiences. We should not distort known facts, present invented material as fact or otherwise undermine our audiences’ trust in our content.”

Regarding the Salmond incident, he said it breaches Article 44 of the BBC Trust Charter Agreement, which states: “(1) The BBC must do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.”

He is right, and it is right that Robinson should pay for what he has tried to do.

But what about Fran Unsworth, deputy director of BBC news and current affairs; Mary Hockaday, head of newsroom; and Gavin Allen, news editor, BBC News? According to Private Eye (issue 1369, 27 June – 10 July 2014, p12), “all vie for control of the [New Broadcasting House] newsroom and the historic task of ‘driving the news agenda’.” If that is correct, which of them carries the responsibility for this cock-up?

Come to that, what about Keith Blackmore, managing editor of news and current affairs; Jonathan Munro, head of newsgathering; and their boss James Harding, the director of news? Did they have a hand in this balls-up?

Or did the rot emanate from the new chair of the BBC Trust, Rona Fairhead – who only took up her position last Tuesday (September 9)? What’s her involvement in this cock-and-ball story?

Why mention these directorial types when a news report is the responsibility of the person making it? Simple.

Most – if not all – of these distinguished personnel are also distinguished Conservatives, and it is known that the Conservative Party supports the ‘No’ camp in the referendum campaign.

Robinson is also a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative, as the following (again from Pride’s Purge) makes clear:

NickRobinsonConservative

Therefore we must ask whether any or all of them agreed to ‘slant’ BBC reporting in favour of the ‘No’ camp in an effort to influence voters on behalf of their Tory masters.

We should demand their suspension while an impartial investigation takes place – followed by their resignation if they are found to have any responsibility in this matter.

Do you think that is overstating the matter?

Then perhaps some other matters should also be taken into consideration, including the privatisation of the National Health Service, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the abuse of sick and disabled people by the Department for Work and Pensions – all of which are considered to have enjoyed either biased reporting or have been ignored altogether by lovable, licence-fee-funded Auntie.

38Degrees has launched a petition calling for an independent inquiry into BBC bias regarding the Scottish referendum campaign. To sign, visit this site.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP”

Having Mr Bean in the Cabinet – or at least his alter-ego, Rowan Atkinson – might not be as ridiculous as this image suggests. He talked more sense in a 10-minute presentation about free speech than the Department for Work and Pensions has in the last two and a half years.

Some of you may be aware that police invaded the home of a campaigner for Disabled People Against Cuts, living in Cardiff, just before midnight yesterday (October 26).

Apparently she had been accused of “Criminal acts against the Department for Work and Pensions” – being that she has been highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance.

No charges were brought against the lady concerned and it is generally considered that this was an act of intimidation.

Since then, I have been informed of three other incidents in which police either visited campaigners at home or stopped them in the street to, in colloquial terms, “put the frighteners on them”. Two were vulnerable women with mental illness, one of whom lives alone.

The forces allegedly involved were South Wales, Dyfed Powys and North Yorkshire Police.

I don’t know what legislation these constables were quoting as the legal grounds for these intrusions. It seems likely it may have been the Public Order Act, section five, which states, “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he: (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

But this applies only if a person has been the victim – not an organisation like the DWP.

If it is the Public Order Act, then this provides an opportunity to quote Rowan Atkinson’s speech at the ‘Reform Section 5’ Parliamentary reception earlier this month.

Mention of Mr Atkinson may have already invoked, in your mind, the ‘Constable Savage’ sketch from Not The 9 O’Clock News, in which a police officer is berated for arresting the same man on charges of “Walking on the cracks in the pavement”, “Walking around with an offensive wife”, and “Looking at me in a funny way”, amongst others.

If it didn’t, go and watch the speech because he makes free reference to that sketch in it.

“I suspect [I am] highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile,” said Mr Atkinson.

“My concerns are… more for those who are more vulnerable because of their lower profile – like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse ‘gay’.”

He said: “Even for actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, questioned, taken to court… and then released. That isn’t a law working properly. That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have… a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression and free protest.”

He said: “The reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. It is what you might call ‘the new intolerance’ – a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people; they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process.”

Hear, hear.

Of course, this all makes the police look even worse than they’ve been made to seem in recent weeks. First the Hillsborough cover-up came out into the open, then the (many) Jimmy Savile cover-ups, and now – yet again – it seems the government is using police services across the country as a tool for political repression.

The ability to rely on an impartial system of law and order underpins the whole of British society. Use of the police in this way erodes confidence in law and order and, therefore, in society itself.

Police intimidation of those who speak out against the injustices of the DWP and its Atos employees is not only an attack on free speech; it is an attack on the entire philosophy on which our society is based.