NICK THE KNIFE!

BBC favourite Tory in name only Ken Clarke was on the BBC this morning to discuss his alleged u-turn on prison sentencing discounts. To be fair to Clarke, he gave a pretty decent account of himself but the bit that fascinated me was the intro interview with Nick Robinson on Clarke.(Not on the link, alas) Robinson made reference to the “Tory Press” undermining poor Clarke at least three times in a minute or two. Is this the same press that supported Blair for years? Will Nick be also using the term “Labour Press” to describe his soul-mates in the Guardian, Indie, Mirror – in the interests of balance?

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35 Responses to NICK THE KNIFE!

  1. cjhartnett says:

    Anyone tell me about the “Rehabilitation Revolution” that Evan Davis barked out about as I was trying to hear Ken Clarke?
    Liked also that Ken said that all Evan was doing was qouting the Bar Councils soundbite about “apples and oranges”. Clearly Evan had to say it whilst it was still in his head and before he forgot it!
    Such is the quality of those we pay to question the politicians.
    In short-Today is hopeless and has long lost any point. Will soon be going the way of the Courts/Royal Appointments pages of the press-in fact, it`s just the J-cloth for the “new Royalty” like Blair or Hari.

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  2. Moise Pippic says:

    The daily politics TV show today after PM question time had a similar reference by Nick Robinson to the “Right Wing press”. Has he been given new throw away lines from his BBC masters?

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  3. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Robinson has to toe the BBC line more carefully these days since Laura K. got that job at ITV.  He won’t have anyone to call up right before he goes on air to ask about what to say, so he has to step up his game.  No more lazy eye-rolling on his blog or leisurely-paced special documentaries.  For now, anyway.

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    • My Site (click to edit) says:

      No more lazy eye-rolling on his blog’

      Is it still operational? I thought they’d gone from 5pm closing to no bothering at all.

      While there is no excuse for the uni-tribal press prefixes, I have to say that this was not the best performance ever…

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13960458

      I am a bit concerned that in a world where ignorance of the law is deemed no excuse, it seems Ok for law makers and enforcers if not those whose lives they can ruin.

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  4. wild says:

    ‘Will Nick [Robinson] be also using the term “Labour [supporting] Press” to describe the …Guardian, Indie, Mirror – in the interests of balance?’

    About as likely as him asserting “tax funded Labour Party supporting broadcasters such as the BBC”

    Nick Robinson is the man who said that the Labour Party would struggle to form a minority government because (wait for it) the “Tory Press” would be against it.

    This is a bit like saying Gordon Brown would be popular, if it were not for the fact that he is unpopular.

    The Labour government was unpopular because the “Tory Press” was against them? Oh silly me. Here was me thinking it had something to do with their record in government.

    Thank goodness the BBC seeks to educate my thinking. Going into a shop and opting to buy the paper of my choice is clearly a very dangerous freedom.

    What next? Where will it all end? The Leftist establishment hanging from street lamps?

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  5. MarkE says:

    What next? Where will it all end? The Leftist establishment hanging from street lamps?

    I like the idea, but I am realistic enough to know there are a lot of them (leftist establishment that is).  Where do I buy shares in street lamp manufacturers?

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  6. Craig says:

    Talking of the use of the word “Tory”, Radio 4′s anti-Tory chief political correspondent Norman Smith hardly ever uses the word “Conservative”. (Peter Hain and John Prescott are the only other people I can think of who use the word “Tory” so much and avoid the word “Conservative” like the plague.)

    Just listen to him go from 0.32.52 on the i-Player this morning:

    “the Tory Right…the Tory Right…the Tory Right…the frothing of the Tory Right (a very revealing choice of words)…the Tories…Tories..the Tory party…Tory MPs…the Tory Right…the Tory Right.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/b006qj9z/console

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    • Craig says:

      Should really have brought that out more…

      “the frothing of the Tory Right”
      Norman Smith, Radio 4 Chief Political Correspondent, Today, 29/6/2011.

      Not very impartial, is it?

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  7. Dabble says:

    I cannot be doing with many of Clarke’s “wet-wing” conservative views; however, I thought he was great this morning in dealing with the biased BBC interviewer. I just wish other conservative MPs had displayed such a robust attitude (when interviewed by the BBC) over the past 20 or so years.

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    • cjhartnett says:

      Agree completely!
      At least he wasn`t cowed or defensive about his policies-crap though they are!
      He needs to get the lesser lights in for media training.
      Shows how bankrupt politics are now when the Today interviewers-all private school or foppish wannabe Celts-can worry ANY politician…is it some fagging or masonic thing…no other reason surely!

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  8. OWEN MORGAN says:

    Robinson was at it again during a programme called “Decision Time” (8 PM, Wednesdasy, R4), when hosting a discussion about the future of nuclear power.   He managed somehow to slip in a reference to “the Tory press”, when listing those who (in his impartial opinion) could be expected to lobby for new nuclear power stations.

    Naturally, given the BBC’s genetic disposition to impartiality, not one member of the panel expressed a scintilla of doubt regarding the “science” of global warming, which Robinson treated as beyond question throughout.    The former government scientific adviser, Professor David King, a man who just about defines “discredited” (google his name with “foot and mouth”,for a reminder why), kept referring to “de-fossilisation”.   Apparently, fossilisation is a reversible process.   Who knew?   That must be why so many trades union dinosaurs are suddenly getting so much air-time.

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  9. Nihilarity says:

    From Wikipedia: “Robinson was interested in politics from a young age, and went on to study a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics degree at Oxford University, where he was also President of the Oxford University Conservative Association.”

    “His history of Conservative affiliation has been controversial, particularly when allegations of bias were made during his coverage of the 2010 United Kingdom general election.”

    “Robinson has been criticised for allegedly reporting with a pro-Tory bias”

    Robinson is right-wing. ‘Tory press’ might be an unfortunate turn of phrase, but if taken to mean ‘right-wing press’ (and on the whole the two are pretty interchangeable) none of the instances of its being used are inappropriate.

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    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Do let us know when Robinson says “Left-wing” or “Labour press”, won’t you? Or when any Beeboid does, for that matter.

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      • Nihilarity says:

        There’s rarely any cause to say ‘left-wing’ because the left really isn’t represented in our politics. And there is no Labour press, most of the top-selling papers in this country are terribly right-wing, and usually do support the Tories (hence Tory press). Can you refute the fact that Nick Robinson IS right-wing? What about Andrew Neil, the BBC’s top political presenter? He founded Sky TV, wrote for the Daily Mail, ran the Spectator, oh.. and was a research assistant for the Conservative Party once.

        You see the BBC’s reporting as biased to the left because it’s to the left of YOU, not the general public. You’re a bunch of right-wing nutters :-P

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        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          Is this a joke?  No Left in British politics?  You are Leon Trotsky and I claim my five pounds.

          No Labour press?  What about the Guardian, the Independent, the Mirror, the Observer?  Robinson’s youth does not balance out all the BBC employees who were or are Socialists or Communists.  Andrew Marr, for example.  And if we’re to take your logic seriously that nobody changes their stripes after age 19 and adults have the same politics they did as youths, then consider that Robert Peston was Gordon Brown’s biographer.  Stephanie Flanders is an open Keynesian who dated both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, and she supports Balls’ economic plans in her BBC blog.  How many examples of BBC employees openly stating their enthusiasm for The Obamessiah are there now?  I’ve lost count.

          Nihilarity, your name is very apt.  You have no idea what you’re talking about.  You are a far-Left ideologue to whom even the center appears to be extreme right.

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          • Nihilarity says:

            You’re using my point: if you’re far off on one side of the spectrum, you see something that’s fairly balanced as being way on the other side. It’s exactly what you’re doing. I do see lots of right-wing bias on the BBC (the need for austerity never being questioned despite there being alternative economic theories, or the refusal to refer to the proposed change in voting system as ‘reform’ because of supposed positive connotations, while happily calling the coalition’s savage actions on the NHS and tuition fees ‘reforms’), but I understand fully that it’s more obvious than left-wing bias from my viewpoint. The BBC has always had lots of leftys working for it, but I judge its balance on its output, not staff. It rarely ever takes a foot off of the beige centrist line. Most people who accuse it of bias just can’t stand Tory policies being put under the weakest scrutiny – go read the Murdoch rags if you don’t want right-wing views challenged.

            P.S. Robinson might not be president of a Conservative association any more, but his reporting does attract accusations of right-wing bias. The people here are the only ones loopy enough to suggest the opposite.

            P.P.S. All 3 main parties are centre-right, based on their policies and recent history. The press is overwhelmingly right-wing, and of those left-wing papers you identify (which are dwarfed by the rest in terms of financial and political clout) only the Mirror explicitly supported Labour at the election.

            P.P.P.S I’m not Trotsky O:-)

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            • David Preiser (USA) says:

              “The need for austerity never being questioned”?   So much for your credibility.  They spent the last year questioning it, from Peston to Flanders to Robinson to Marr, all the way down the line.  Except Andrew Neil, of course.  Both sides should be challenged, but the Left simply doesn’t get the same scrutiny.

              I assume you have never seen this blog before and jumped in based on some link a fellow traveller sent you about a specific issue, and so have no idea of the evidence presented here over several years.  And you still dismiss it all out of hand without a single thought or attempt to debate any of the points.

              How is Labour “centre-right” when the party leader and the Shadow Chancellor are both self-declared Socialists?  Do words have different meanings where you’re from?  Centre-right of what?  Gramsci?

              If you’ve got evidence that the BBC is biased to the right and not to the Left, let’s see it.  And I don’t mean hearsay that “other people accuse them”.  Let’s see your own analyses.

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              • Nihilarity says:

                I’ve heard BBC reporters lay into left-wingers over and over again about having ‘no alternative’ to the cuts – I’ve never heard them ask a coalition member if there really is no alternative, they always get away without having to explain why their approach is superior to, say, a keynesian one. I never said the BBC is biased to the right. This site has plainly got it wrong on Robinson, and I think you are falling over yourselves to find these examples of ‘bias’ and exagerrate the hell out of them because you are coming from rather extreme viewpoints yourselves. To nit-pick the tiniest detail of the BBC’s reporting while ignoring much more blatant and dangerous bias in the rest of the media – it betrays the real point behind your complaints: it’s not that the BBC is biased, it’s that it’s biased the wrong way.

                Centre-right generally means slightly authoritarian, and slightly in favour of private business over collective ownership. All the parties fit that bill pretty well right now – indeed, the coalition are following on from many of New Labour’s policies.

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        • Millie Tant says:

          Are you a leftwing nutter, Nohilarity? :-P

          It’s no good trying to say “we” (we are not a collective, by the way), are to the right of the people. The likes of the Beeboid Corporation (the dominant and national broadcaster, by the way),  media chatterers in the papers mentioned by David Preiser, the Loony LidDems and the Labour ideologues and class warriors are all to the left of the majority of people in the country and have a disproportionate influence and sway over what happens in this country.

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          • Nihilarity says:

            I’m left-wing, I guess that means I’m a nutter too from your perspective. Perspective is what it’s all about – you see people whose views are closer to yours as sensible, and those that aren’t as irrational loons (even those whose opinions are probably closer to the average or the centre-ground than your own). People on both sides do this, and I probably do too a bit, though I try to stay aware of it. It might well be that I’m ignoring some mild left-wing bias in the Beeb’s reporting, but still I refuse to believe that it could be anywhere near the level of one-sidedness that you see in the rest of the media. The Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, Sky News… – I see blatant and shameless bias all the time  from some of these, and much cleverer and subtler partiality from others. On the other side of course The Guardian and the Independent very much come from one side of the debate – no better or worse than the right-wing papers really. But all of these, all of them, are so much more biased than the BBC. You could of course argue that the BBC should have higher standards than them as it’s state-funded, but you still have to compare like with like.

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    • Roland Deschain says:

      Nihilarity

      You worry about Wikipedia, we’ll worry about what BBC presenters actually do and say when on air.

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    • Grant says:

      Any Beeboid who is not 100% anti-Tory all the time is considered “controversial” by the BBC.

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  10. London Calling says:

    “Tory Press” is pure dog-whistle, a coded signal which lets everyone in earshot know you have all the right “right-on” Leftie credentials, and know you can confidently use it on air, because you are surrounded and protected by people with the same mindset. 

    By the same token “Labour Press” would show up the whole game and mark you out a class traitor.

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  11. Little Black Sambo says:

    What Tory press?

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  12. wild says:

    “All 3 main parties are centre-right”

    In other words the BBC is not as Left as you. Let me guess. You are against a free press.

    The press is overwhelmingly right-wing”

    If only newsagents sold only the Socialist Worker (plus the Morning Star for political balance) like in all other good Democratic Socialist Republics.

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    • Nihilarity says:

      Pitching a midpoint in between left and right is obviously going to end up differently for different people. How is it that you can apply that fact in attacking me yet not recognise that it affects you also? Christ on a bike.

      A free press is a good thing, but the editorial hold the paper-owning tycoons have over their publications leads to constant unrestrained bias. Are you really trying to tell me that the left and right are evenly matched in our media?

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      • wild says:

        “Pitching a midpoint in between left and right is obviously going to end up differently for different people.”  
         
        Do you realise that statement is completely empty – a bit like your head. It is analogous to saying “Some people like more and some like less”.  
         
        The issue (putting it in simple terms so that a halfwit Leftist like you can understand it) is “Is the BBC politically neutral” or to put it even more simply “Does the BBC reflect the political views of Middle Class Labour voters more than it reflects the political views of Conservative Party voters.  
         
        Saying that from your perspective all the major political parties are Right Wing is irrelevant. It is like saying the most popular cookery programmes all promote meat eating, and yet you are a vegetarian.  
         
        You got it yet?  
         
        Your political views are is irrelevant. The question is “Does the BBC accurately reflect the political views of the population to which it broadcasts?”  
         
        To put it is newspaper terms, does it represent the views of Daily Telegraph & Daily Mail readers as much as it represents the views of Guardian and Independent readers. The fact that (exercising your free choice) you refuse to buy any newspaper but Maoist Weekly is irrelevant.  
         
        “Are you really trying to tell me that the Left and Right are evenly matched in our media?”  
         
        If by this you are asking “When people go into a newsagents do more people buy The Sun or The Mirror, the Daily Telegraph or The Guardian, The Spectator or the New Statesman, then the sales figures tell us that more buy the former than the latter. It is called having a free choice. Spot the difference with the licence fee.  
         

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        • RCE says:

          The BBC shouldn’t reflect any political views. End of.  
           
          The news should report the facts and external commentators should provide analysis. This would also save a fortune by reducing BBC staff, who, of course, would be snapped up by other media companies.

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        • Nihilarity says:

          Wild, your own perspective is extremely important, because it determines what bias you see. From yours in particular (a choleric and belligerent one that would rather chuck around pathetic insults than try to understand the point) you see mildly left-wing comments from BBC presenters and journalists as much more prominent and common than the mildly right-wing comments that correlate better with your own views. The BBC doesn’t reflect the views of its audience or the population as a whole – it tries to steer directly down the middle to avoid conflict. I don’t doubt it veers off at times, but to a far lesser degree than the private media does habitually. The media as a whole is biased to the right, and I don’t think sales figures really justify that since it’s not just political alignment that makes people choose one paper over another (many Labour supporters buy The Sun, for instance – I guess they care more about the tits on page 3 than the tits on the rest of the pages). Our perspective effects how we see balance and bias, but I think there is a more objective mid-point between left and right – where ideas from all sides are accepted and debated equally. I think the BBC get’s closer to this point than most of the rest of our media.

          RCE: That’s pretty much what happens. There are no opinion pieces or editorials on the BBC like there are in the papers.

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          • John Anderson says:

            Tosh

            The BBC holds huge sway over UK news services and therefore over how public opinion is formed.  More people listen to the Today programme than most if not all of the UK daily press.  And then add in news cobverage on BBC’s TV stations and the other radio channels.

            Saying that the BBC does not engage in “opinion” is rubbish.   It massages the news,  by omission and commission,  by its choice of stories (eg obsession over Palestine), and many of its presenters make it quite clear what their opinions are – if only by the manner in which they conduct interviews.

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            • My Site (click to edit) says:

              Saying that the BBC does not engage in “opinion” is rubbish’

              Well, we’ve learned today that they do, but by saying it’s personal in places littered with BBC logos and links that somehow makes it nothing to do with the outfit that, for some reason, deemed them hive material…. that ‘doesn’t count’. It’s like dealing with a spoilt toddler.

              And looking at the few places that any feedback is entertained, the shutters are slamming down left, left and left of centre.

              Nick R’s blog is now a joke for accessibility to the actual working classes.

              When it’s not broadcast only it’s closed.

              And now he even adds extra to it after closing to rub in the people’s opinion counted for diddly, counts for diddly and will count for diddly.

              While the ‘views’ of the BBC, its staff and selected special invitees will always be welcome to be shared, 24/7, to a home near you, uniquely funded to the tune of £4Bpa.

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  13. wild says:

    I wonder why somebody whose political “perspective” is revealed by his assertion that all the major political parties in the UK are Right Wing, is so keen to defend the political content of the BBC; on the grounds that, unlike all the other media, it is not biased to the Right.

    It’s a puzzle isn’t it.

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  14. Craig says:

    Nihilarity, there is, as one of the commenters here once observed, something of a cottage industry of blogs in the UK chronicling (with vast numbers of examples, often in very great detail) what they see as left-wing bias at the BBC. Where are the equivalent blogs chronicling right-wing bias at the BBC? If there’s an equal but opposite reaction to ours on the Left, as you suggest, surely by now it should have resulted in a few dedicated blogs? As far as I’m aware – and I will stand corrected if you can link to any – there are no such blogs.  
     
    I’d say it’s reasonable to suggest that this strongly suggests that the the Right is much more unhappy with the BBC than the Left. The explanation is surely that the Right has much more reason to be unhappy about the BBC than the Left.  
     
    Just on this very thread, Norman Smith, Radio 4′s chief political correspondent, is quoted talking of “the frothing of the Tory Right”. (Follow the link and you’ll see he wasn’t quoting someone else. That was his choice of word.) A mildly left-wing comment balanced by all his many mildly right-wing comments? Hardly. I wouldn’t describe the use of “frothing”  there as ‘mildly’ anything. It’s an insulting term, spoken by a reporter with a track record of not making counterbalancing right-wing comments.  
     
    There are plenty of examples daily from posters and commenters highlighting such things here at this very blog, which has been detailing such examples for some ten years now. It’s a huge body of evidence, which you might like to explore.  
     
    Where is its equivalent on the Left?

    I don’t want the BBC to push right-wing views instead of left-wing views. I don’t want it to push any views. I want it to be scrupulously fair and politically inscrutable. It fails far too often to be either at the moment.

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    • Craig says:

      Talking of “frothing”,  I had clean forgotten about the far-Left Media Lens blog, but that regards every mainstream media outlet, including the Guardian, Channel 4 News and the Independent as dangerously biased towards the Right!

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