DOOMED TO BE BIASED…

The BBC opposed the liberation of Iraq before it took place, it opposed it when it was taking place, and as US forces prepare to leave, the BBC still opposes it. This could not be more blatant in this headline “Iraq – doomed to fail?” The BBC has not been a neutral reporter during the years in Iraq, it has used the situation to advance its own anti-war anti-US military agenda and in doing so brings utter disgrace upon itself. Worse still, even as British soldiers gave their lives out there in the cause of establishing a form of liberty from tyranny, the BBC worked night and day to perpetuate the “hopelessness” of it all.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST…

A B-BBC reader provided me with this excellent example of how the BBC seeks to sanitise. Same story, two variations.

This is the BBC version where the headline is “Dutch Police Question Two Men on Transatlantic Flight”, whereas this is the NYT version where it’s highlighted the men are from Yemen and the issue is “were detained by the Dutch police after landing on Monday in a bizarre episode that American officials feared might be a dry run for a terrorist plot.”

From NY Times, “carrying $7,000 in cash and that his luggage contained a cellphone taped to a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, three cellphones taped together and several watches taped together, a senior law enforcement official said.” 

BBC did not mention the cash, did not mention their ethnic origin, did not mention what it was that worried US security officials. Oddly, the BBC brings in the last sentance “A Nigerian man was detained in the US on Christmas Day, after flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, and charged with trying to detonate a bomb.” Why is it important that it was a Nigerian when this incident involves Yemani’s and not mentioned?

Now the New York Times is the doyen of liberal opinion States-side and it tells us plenty about the BBC that the Gray Lady seems quite robust and fearless when one compares their coverage of the same story!

CABIN FEVER MARK

I was sent some of the detailed comments from Mark Thompson’s Edinburgh Festival lecture. Reading it he comes across as an arrogant man suffering from BBC cabin fever. What do you think of his comments? There is a stunning lack of humility in what he says, combined with the delusion that if one is antagonistic to the BBC the fault cannot lie with the BBC!

“Systematic press attacks on broadcasters, and especially on the BBC, are nothing new of course the first hostile campaigns began back in John Reith’s day but the scale and intensity of the current assaults does feel different. So what’s the effect of all this relentless negativity?” 

Not the public interest. Not accountability. They just want to trash us.

We should remain vigilant.

Commercial and political forces are undermining the independence of the public broadcasters ….In the UK, they know that a frontal assault will fail so they adopt different tactics. Exaggerated claims about waste and inefficiency. Nit-picking about the detailed mechanisms of governance and accountability. Even some – not all, but some – of the calls for greater transparency.

Transparency is as important for the BBC and the other publicly-owned PSBs as for any other public institutions. But sometimes calls for transparency turn out to be a cloak for something else.

Everyone knows that such proposals have nothing to do with the public interest or real accountability and everything to do with an agenda of weakening and undermining the public broadcaster. In the UK, the tactics are usually subtler, the language loftier. 

Too often the underlying purpose is the same.’

JUST A TRAVELLING MAN…

Nice pro-Gypsy piece here. I love Justin Webb’s first question to mild mannered Government Minster Bob Neil  “So, you don’t like the travelling community?” I also like his snide dismissal of Daily Mail/Daily Express  readers. (Oh to be a sophisticated Guardian reader, eh Justin?)  Not sure why the BBC thinks that Government has a duty to provide sites for Gypsies, in fact I’m not sure how Bob Neil arrives at the conclusion that “Travellers” are an established part of “our” community but that was comment that the BBC did not challenge. The BBC is a firm advocate for Gypsies, romanticising them into something that is not the experience of people who have the misfortune to come across them. Wonder do Gypsies pay their TV licenses?

PROFESSORIAL INCOHERENCE

Monday morning and the sun is shining outside. Time for the BBC to broadcast what struck me as a very odd item on how trust in the IPCC can be “rebuilt”. Let’s leave aside the obvious point that a significant number of people never had any trust in this body in the first instance and focus instead on how the BBC framed this debate. On the one hand we have Professor Martin Parry who sees no problems with the IPCC in the first place and on the same hand we have Professor Mick Hulme who sees the issue as being all about political will to implement the consequences of IPCC conclusions. (The validity of these must not be questioned, evidently) The BBC also choses to focus on the howling Himalyan glaciers error as IF that was the only mistake this body has ever made! What is entirely missing from this debate is the challenging voice of dispute as to the scientific credibility of the IPCC and I dare say the BBC will keep it that way.

A WEEK WITH MARTHA (AND BRIAN)

And if you thought Newsnight was bad…

This week’s World at One was another Labour-heavy zone.

The list of UK politicians interviewed across all five programmes runs as follows:

Labour – Sally Keeble (2.5 minutes)
Andy Burnham, (6 minutes)
David Miliband (8.5 minutes)
Michael Meacher (1 minute)
Ed Balls (4.5 minutes)

Conservative - Damian Green (3 minutes)

Liberal Democrat – No-one

(No mention of anyone declining to be interviewed either!)

There were also interviews with a co-founder of Labour’s sister party, the SDLP; the director general of the Equality and Human Rights Commission; a left-leaning Irish economist; a Democrat mayor; and a trades unionist. Other than Mr Green, no right-wingers were interviewed.

Indefensible, surely?

BECK, PALIN AND AUNTIE!

Had to smile at the BBC coverage of the mass rally in Washington organised by Glen Beck and attended also by Sarah Palin. It starts of by saying…“Tens of thousands…” attended the rally. Oh Really? I have read other US media channels giving the number of a minimum of 300,000 up to 500,000+. But to the BBC, who must view Beck and Palin with something approaching horror, it was just” tens of thousands”. Here’s a picture of those “tens of thousands”…
 

DEMOSCRACY?

I see the BBC are helping push the Demos line that by keeping counter-terrorism secret, Government encourages terrorism! It takes a special sort of leftist mentality to embrace such a lunatic idea but to the BBC the Demos suggestions must seem logical. Also, can we please ensure that the words “left-wing” always precede the use of the term Demos just so people can be clear what they are reading?

NURSE! NURSE!

The BBC News Channel’s coverage of the government’s decision to scrap NHS Direct has descended into self-parody.

The story broke this afternoon. BBC political correspondent Arif Ansari initially reported the story fairly, presenting pros and cons, but the BBC News Channel is nothing if not biased so…

16.03 Frank Dobson, Labour – strongly attacked the move
16.06 Lord John Prescott, Labour -strongly attacked the move
16.33 Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct – spoiled the narrative by being strongly supportive of the move. Presenter Carole Walker sounded a bit taken aback by this and, having realised that he wasn’t the aggrieved quangocrat she was expecting, soon started interrupting, pushing the Prescott points. She thanked him at the end very sourly. Ha!
17.01 Reprise of part of the Chapman interview.
17.11 Reprise of part of the Prescott interview
18.03 Andy Burnham, Labour – strongly criticised the move
19.02 Partial reprise of Burnham attack (following report featuring Mr Chapman and Lord Prescott)
20.02 Partial reprise of Burnham attack
21.03 Partial reprise of Burnham attack
21.04 Gail Adams, UNISON – strongly attacked the move (“the same service but on the cheap”)

Worst BBC interviewer so far? Chris Rogers. Here are his questions to fellow beeboid Ben Wright:

- “Cameron in the early days of the last election said ‘I’ll cut the deficit not the NHS’. It was on their campaign posters. How are they justifying this?” (“Cameron”? Doesn’t he mean “David Cameron”, “Mr Cameron” or “the prime minister”?)

- “A lot of people have been contacting BBC News today saying they’ve used the NHS Direct service. They’re now very concerned at the talk of 60 hours of training for the staff, no real qualified GPs and nurses are going to be on call. Are the government saying that this new service, 111, will be safe?” Of course, they’re “concerned”. Labour and the BBC had been scaring them all evening!

- “Of course the pressure is on though. John Prescott is..I think it’s 2,500 signatures (wow!!) for his petition now..if it gets to a 100,000 – which it could easily do as momentum builds (you can hope!) - this could be an embarrassment for the government?”

So, besides the head of NHS Direct, that’s three Labour politicians, a trades unionist and some biased questioning. That’s BBC impartiality for you!

THE RETURN OF QUESTION TIME…LIVE

Left to right: Ed Balls, Ed Miliband, Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham, David Miliband
Summer is melting into Autumn and that means the return of Question Time. It kicks off on September 16th and it will be an ALL Labour panel. So, no change there then.
When I sat this photo I assumed it was a gathering of the QT production team but it appears these people may harbour political ambitions! Anyway, we will be liveblogging this for the new season and I hope YOU will come along and join in the inquisitorial fun each week.

‘NEWSNIGHT’ – A LABOUR-SAVING DEVICE?

If you were thinking that you seem to have seen a lot of Labour MPs on Newsnight recently, well you have.

Here is a list of all the UK politicians who have appeared on Newsnight this month, whether as interviewees or as ‘talking heads’ in reports. (Duplicated names mean appearances in more than one edition!):

Conservatives: Cllr Gavin Elsey (who opposes the government’s immigation cap!), Damian Green, Mark Hoban, Nadine Dorries, Stephen Dorrell, David Willetts, Chris Grayling, John Redwood, Oliver Heald, Peter Lilley, Michael Portillo, Nick Hurd, Bob Stewart
****Total = 13

Lib Democrats: Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne, Simon Hughes, Lord Taylor
****Total = 4

Labour: Keith Vaz, Ed Balls, Tom Harris, Andy Burnham, Stephen Pound, Ed Balls, David Miliband, Diane Abbott, John Prescott, Tessa Jowell, Lord Myners, John McFall, Lord Dubbs, Caroline Flint, Shahid Malik, Tom Harris, Khalid Mahmood, Chuka Umunna, John Mann
****Total - 19

SDLP (Labour’s sister party): Delores Kelly
****Total = 1

(I didn’t include ex-minister Lord West, as he’s not supposed to be a Labour party man – though he did attack the new government on the programme.)

So, unlike when Labour were in power and the government dominated the airwaves, the main opposition now gets more invites to speak on Newsnight than both of the government parties combined.

That seems a bit odd, doesn’t it Mr Hunt?