By Their Tweets Shall Ye Know Them

As many people here will be aware, I’ve been collecting a list of biased Beeboid tweets, compiled largely from DB’s fantastic work on catching them, as well as contributions from several others. It’s now over 100, from around 50 different BBC employees from many departments, across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. What follows is my attempt to explain what I see as the problem with BBC Twitter policy, and why all these biased tweets add up to a serious problem which needs to be addressed. This is ultimately intended to be read with and accompanying display of 100 tweets revealing bias from BBC staff. I have the list ready, but I want to get feedback on this first before making the full publication.

Once the content of this essay is finalized, I’m going to either make it a separate page on this blog with all the embedded tweets on full display, or make it some kind of epub for distribution. For now, please read this with the idea in mind that there are loads of examples to follow.

******************

The use of Twitter as a news tool has for many become ubiquitous. Media pros use it for both newsgathering and for pushing a story. Journalists use Twitter to track trending memes as well as to reach out to people to set up interviews and gather information on a story. Tim Weber from BBC News Interactive put it this way:

Audience engagement and interaction are equally important. Broadcasters know all about talk radio, and social media let us extend this expertise into the digital space. However, the size of our audience and the cost of curating their contributions – bearing in mind the UK’s stringent libel laws – present tough choices.

But arguably the most important use of social media, from a journalist’s perspective, is newsgathering.

Yes, we subscribe to text, picture and video feeds from news agencies, but selecting the right mix of sources for my Twitter stream provides me with a customised and curated news feed that complements, but does not replace, traditional sources.

Monitoring social media lets us gauge public mood, find case studies, and spot trends and breaking stories.

At times it can seem like Twitter is the first place people go to follow breaking news stories. Indeed, some have remarked that during the recent US presidential debates, they spent more time watching Twitter commentary than they did the actual broadcast. One might begin to suspect that many opinions people formed might have been more informed by what they read on Twitter than what they saw and heard themselves. Because users choose whom to follow, circles of like-minded people form naturally, self-selecting as with any social group. It’s quite easy to get caught up in an echo chamber. This raises the question of what opinions are expressed there.

The Twitter output of BBC staff reveals a significant contingent of Left-wingers. On their own, the tweets aren’t necessarily proof of biased reporting. However, there are enough examples of personal opinions that one can make a case that there is, in Andrew Marr’s words, a “cultural liberal bias”.

The official policy on employee use of Twitter is the part of the problem. Staff are encouraged / required to use Twitter as a way not only to promote BBC news stories, but to connect with their audience. They preach this at the BBC College of Journalism.

The courses offer guidance on how to use social media as a newsgathering tool. Services like Facebook and Twitter provide quick and convenient avenues of communication with both subjects of and sources for news stories. One often sees a BBC producer reaching out to someone on Twitter to discuss a story or arrange an interview.

This by definition turns their Twitter feeds into an extension of BBC broadcasting. The directive to then communicate directly with their audience enhances this. Which is, of course, the point. The BBC has specific guidelines on all of this, which can be read here (NB: pdf file). It’s for staff use of social media in general, including things like Facebook, although our focus here is on how it applies to Twitter. These guidelines break staff and their accounts and usage into three basic categories:

1. Your own personal activity, done for your friends and contacts,
but not under or in the name of BBC News
2. Activity for core news (eg breaking news), programmes or genres
carried out officially in the name of BBC News
3. Activity of editors, presenters, correspondents or reporters
carried out as part of official BBC News output.

“Personal activity” accounts seem to make up the bulk of the Twitter accounts. The guidelines for these accounts include the following:

a. You are not discouraged from doing any of this, but as a BBC member of staff – and especially as someone who works in News – there are particular considerations to bear in mind. They can all be summarised as: ‘Don’t do anything stupid’.
b. Remember that even though you are acting in your own personal capacity, you are on show to your friends and anyone else who sees what you write, as a representative of the BBC. If you are editorial staff, it doesn’t make much difference whether or not you identify yourself as someone who works for the BBC.
c. You are allowed to say that you work for the BBC, and you can discuss the BBC and your work publicly. But your name/title should not contain BBC in any form. And you should make clear that the views expressed are personal, and not those of the BBC.
d. You shouldn’t state your political preferences or say anything that compromises your impartiality. Don’t sound off about things in an openly partisan way. Don’t be seduced by the informality of social media into bringing the BBC into disrepute. Don’t criticise your colleagues. Don’t reveal confidential BBC information. Don’t surreptitiously sanitise Wikipedia pages about the BBC.

It couldn’t be more clear, really. As we’ll see, staff seem to have problems casually ignoring the instructions in Section “b”, and often violate “d”. This is very important, as former BBC radio head of future media and technology, James Cridland has said, “‘There are some people out to ‘get you’ on the web, so it’s important not to give them too much ammunition.’

Guilty as charged, I suppose, but it is a target-rich environment. It’s also important to examine staff output in order to hold them accountable for their actions, as the BBC doesn’t unless prompted by a complaint.

North America editor Mark Mardell admitted during an appearance at the BBC College of Journalism (@36:45 in) that he and staff in general believe that the BBC considers Twitter to be a free-for-all, and “doesn’t follow BBC guidelines”. This is clearly not true, but is illustrative of the attitude held by staff. It’s pretty obvious that the “personal” Twittter accounts are barely monitored at all, allowing staff to freely express personal political opinions until one of those people “out to get” them successfully registers a complaint. Morale and compliance is probably harmed by this hands-off approach, as staff do what they like for ages until getting a reprimand for something they thought they were allowed to do. The complaint must then seem petty, or just noise from haters. Lessons are most likely not learned in this atmosphere.

In fact, so easily and freely do BBC staff feel able to express personal opinion that the BBC recently had to issue a directive to stop them tweeting their grumbles about the Newsnight scandals and management problems.

This brings us to consider just how official or unofficial these Twitter accounts are. Officially, most of them aren’t.

Some BBC Twitter accounts are officially sanctioned, as understood in the above rules. The staff member gets approval to use the BBC logo, and it becomes an official outlet, required to abide by all the usual rules of professional integrity and impartiality. However, the majority of staff accounts do not have the logo and are not officially sanctioned. These accounts will necessarily have some form of disclaimer, generally some variation on “Views my own”. This makes it officially unofficial, a kind of “get-out-of-bias-free” card. However, as Section “c” shows, they are allowed to use these personal accounts to promote BBC reporting, which complicates matters.

The problem is, interacting with the audience and getting personal is built into the official policy.

The tweets by themselves aren’t necessarily proof of bias in the BBC’s output. Certainly the majority are the usual assortment of mundane personal activity, notices of their latest piece for the BBC, comments on sport or pop culture, brief conversations on a topic of interest, and casual exchanges with both friend and stranger alike. They are, however evidence of a shared worldview, an overwhelming tilt to the Left – at times further Left than others – among staff. It’s also evidence that the behavior is spread throughout the organization.

There doesn’t need to be an editorial directive sent from the top for there to be a form of institutional bias in the Corporation. There’s  no need for a conspiracy or a memo passed around or a secret cabal planning the day’s editorial slant. If they all think the same way, share the relevant perspective, the biased reporting happens naturally. Their tweets are evidence of this shared mindset.

This reflexive behavior can be reinforced when nearly all one’s colleagues approve, or one is rewarded for it. People feel quite free to express their personal political opinions without concern.

While the occasional expression of partisan opinion can be overlooked, when there are a lot of them over time, it adds up.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, sometimes the plural of anecdote really is “data”‘.

Some BBC staff are worse than others with the regularity of personal opinion or the enthusiasm with which it’s expressed. Others are more circumspect, only rarely letting their opinion on an issue slip through. The problem, however, is that nearly all those opinions are on the Left of the political spectrum, some much further Left than others.

It would be one thing, of course, if it was just a handful of people, say, regional pop music radio personnel, lightly passing on their liberal thoughts on an issue of the day every once in a while. Only it’s much more than that: BBC staff from many departments, both in Britain and internationally are tweeting Left-wing opinion.

A reader of staff Twitter feeds often sees a preponderance of Left-leaning voices. A person’s Follow list can also be revealing. While nearly all the News & Current Affairs people will be following political figures and media outlets on both sides of the political spectrum – as they should, in order to do their jobs properly – there are also plenty of things which betray personal opinion.

Tweets about favorite bands or football clubs, or outbursts about an X factor result are all about sharing personal opinion. It’s not a stretch at all to read tweets about politics or public figures the same way.

When one tweets only Left-wing opinions, it’s equally as telling as  tweeting about rock concerts one has just seen. Patterns emerge. Just as musical taste can be gleaned from the latter, political opinion can be from the former.

With this in mind, the public figures outside of politics – that is to say, aside from politicians, party officials, and the like – the commentators, pundits, and special interest advocates on a Follow list and in a Twitter feed can be can be telling. For example, BBC staff are more likely to be following Left-wing pundits and writers than voices from the Right.

Similarly, they’re more likely to be following something from Occupy Wall St than from any Tea Party group, and are far more likely to retweet something from a Left-wing perspective in a complimentary fashion than one from the Right. A number of BBC staff openly mocked even the most minor of slip-up of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, but not a single one of them has ever laughed at or even lightly mentioned any error made by Barack Obama, either as candidate or President.

The Twitter activity of BBC staff is very revealing of their personal political and ideological leanings. When viewed as a whole, over a period of time, it’s clear evidence of a shared mindset, a kind of groupthink. There’s certainly a lack of intellectual diversity. If it was just a few of them, or was a more or less isolated phenomenon among light-entertainment on-air talent, it wouldn’t be an issue. But clearly it’s a problem in many areas of the BBC, across the spectrum of broadcasting as well as on the website.

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55 Responses to By Their Tweets Shall Ye Know Them

  1. Span Ows says:

    David, this is a tour de force and 100 tweets from FIFTY different users is not only astounding but sufficient to make even the BBC take notice of yet another failing.

       23 likes

  2. Jim Dandy says:

    Looking forward to seeing the list. Do you plan to differentiate between people who have influence ( so senior editors, broadcasters) and fairly junior or freelance types? This isn’t a numbers game. You could for instance take the BBc’s top fifty or so journos and analyse what they say over a set period. I think to be truly meaningful you will need to be honest when one makes a right leaning tweet ( so eg Brillo) and be forthcoming when their tweets are perfectly balanced.

    And who knows, you might have a case at the end of it.

       3 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      All titles/positions/departments will be indicated for each and every one of them. At the moment, it’s mostly one or two tweets from each one, because the point is to establish that the mindset is Corporation-wide, and not whether or not the majority of BBC employees abuse Twitter one way or the other. A forensic examination of the output by a single Beeboid is a separate task.

      Furthermore, it defies belief to claim that a Beeboid openly worshiping The Obamessiah will also be heaping praise on Right-wing politicians.

      Putting up Neil against 50 of them is hardly going to prove that it’s all perfectly balanced, is it? It is, in fact, a numbers game. Groupthink requires a group. This is about showing that there’s a group, and they are everywhere.

      Looking at the output of the top 50 journos won’t necessarily prove anything, as some are responsible and don’t tweet opinions at all. In case you’re missing the point, let me repeat: I’m not trying to prove that they all abuse Twitter, but rather to prove that the ones who do abuse it give evidence of a widespread, Left-wing mindset at the BBC.

      In the end, this is merely an opening salvo. Everyone will be invited to click through any tweet to the relevant Beeboid’s page to judge for themselves.

         17 likes

    • Jeff Waters says:

      Jim – Re: ‘And who knows, you might have a case at the end of it.’

      Who knows, we might make a convert of you yet! ;)

      Imagine if your reasons for trusting the BBC were disproven. You might need to make up some new ones… :)

      Jeff

         1 likes

  3. Chop says:

    “you will need to be honest when one makes a right leaning tweet ( so eg Brillo) and be forthcoming when their tweets are perfectly balanced.”

    Never mind the “Eg”, there is ONLY Brillo who might say something right leaning…lets have it right Mr Dandy, old bean. ;)

       10 likes

  4. Albaman says:

    “It’s now over 100, from around 50 different BBC employees from many departments, across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting.” ………. This is hardly a representative sample. Any serious study into bias would require you to look at all tweets from each individual not only those, from your perspective, that you consider to be biased. If someone has sent 100 tweets, and of those 100 you consider 2 or 3 to evidence bias, that does not prove that the “tweeter” is inherently biased.

       2 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      This is just the beginning. It opens up all of them to an examination of their output, which will then reveal the massive trend from the ones who display bias.

      Like I said to Jim, it’s not credible to claim that someone tweeting, for example, praise for The Obamessiah or support for Occupy Wall St. is going to be also tweeting Right-wing ideology. No way. Of course, you are invited to prove otherwise.

         9 likes

    • Jim Dandy says:

      Yes.

      Also, Obama ‘worship’ shows very little, unless the people in question work on US related journalism. Most opinion in the UK is for him.

         2 likes

      • ltwf1964 says:

        really?

        that’s a bit of a sweeping statement

        have you any hard and fast proof of this?

           10 likes

          • ltwf1964 says:

            sorry Jim

            but a poll conducted by obsessive obamaphiles into how much people love their idol doesn’t do it for me i’m afraid

               17 likes

          • ltwf1964 says:

            i refer you to this-

            http://biasedbbc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=antius&action=display&thread=630

            from 2008

            By Paul Revoir
            Last updated at 4:37 PM on 10th September 2008

            Comments (0) Add to My Stories

            Frontrunner: The BBC poll showed the world is overwhelmingly rooting for Barack Obama – but only Americans have the vote
            The BBC has come under fire for wasting thousands of pounds in taxpayers money on a ‘meaningless’ global survey about who people want to be the next US president.

            Corporation chiefs have been criticised for spending an estimated £55,000 on an international poll of more than 23,000 people about the American elections.

            Citizens from 23 countries were contacted by a polling agency hired by the BBC World Service to find out if they favoured Barack Obama or John McCain.

            But the move has created anger from critics who claim the entire project is a massive waste of time as it is only the views of Americans that matter.

            They also point out that the US presidential elections are already the subject of endless polls in the US, which provide much more useful information.

            The BBC’s poll, which contacted people as far afield as Australia, Panama, Nigeria, Mexico and the UAE, found the majority wanted Obama.

            All countries covered in the poll, including China, India, USA and UK, would prefer to see Obama elected U.S. president ahead of Republican John McCain.

            And in 17 of the 22 nations, people expect relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world to improve if Obama wins.

            Public money was spent getting pollster GlobeScan to interview face-to-face or by phone more than 23,000 people globally for survey.

            An expert from a respected polling agency estimated that the total cost of the project was more than £55,000.

            The BBC World Service, which commissioned it, is funded by a parliamentary grant by the government.

            Many feel, given the tough economic times, this kind of project does not represent good value for money for the public.

            Conservative MP Philip Davies, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, said: “I think this is an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money, which has no bearing on anything.

            Ill repute: The poll showed few are convinced that America’s international reputation would be enhanced with John McCain, shown here with running mate Sarah Palin, as president

            “There are dozens of polls coming out from the US all the time. This is completely meaningless whatever the result. It also comes at a time when the BBC are laying off people.

            “I don’t know if this is to satisfy the curiosity of someone at the BBC . If it is, it is a very expensive way of satisfying it.”

            The poll found that in the UK there was 59 per cent backing for Democrat Barack Obama and just 9 per cent for Republican McCain.

            An average of 49 percent across the countries preferred Obama compared with 12 percent preferring McCain. Some four in 10 did not take a view.

            In the United States, three polls taken since the Republican party convention ended last Thursday show McCain with a lead of 1 to 4 percentage points – within the margin of error – and two others show the two neck-and-neck.

            The countries most optimistic that an Obama presidency would improve relations were America’s NATO allies – Canada (69 per cent), France (62 per cent), Germany (61 per cent), Britain (54 per cent), Italy (64 per cent – as well as Australia (62 per cent), Kenya (87 per cent) and Nigeria (71 per cent).

            A similar BBC/Globescan poll conducted ahead of the 2004 U.S presidential election found that, of 35 countries polled, 30 would have preferred to see Democratic nominee John Kerry, rather than the incumbent George Bush, who was elected.

            GlobeScan chairman, Doug Miller said: “Given how negative America’s international image is at present, it is quite striking that only one in five think a McCain presidency would improve on the Bush administration’s relations with the world.”

            A total of 23,531 people were surveyed in countries also including Lebanon, Poland and Singapore.

            Despite going through tough financial times the BBC, which suffered a lower than expected licence fee, has repeatedly been accused of wasting money.

            Last year it spent an estimated £250,000 in licence fee cash on a court battle to block publication of a report into its alleged bias when covering the Middle East.

            This year it sent an army of staff being sent to cover the Beijing Olympics which dwarfed the number of British athletes competing at the games.

            About 440 employees went to China this summer – compared to just over 300 competitors going to represent Britain.

            It also came under fire for spending cash on the political diaries of Alastair Campbell and Cherie Blair.

            The corporation also paid around £200million for the rights to screen Formula One motor racing – £50million more than ITV paid for its current deal – despite having no rival bidders.

            In recent years there has also been lavish expenditure on on-air promotional make-overs.

            Then in this year annual report revealed that the top ten executives at the BBC shared a combined pay increase of more than £700,000.

            While the World Service gets its cash from government there are concerns that the culture of wasting public money is the same.

            A spokesman for the BBC said: “BBC World Service has an agreement with polling company Globescan to conduct field work around the world on its behalf. The agreement is confidential but the cost of this particular poll is a small fraction of that stated by the Daily Mail.

            “BBC World Service is aimed at a global audience, and its broadcasts in 32 languages are a crucial element in how Britain is seen by other countries.

            “One of the many ways in which we interact with our audiences is by listening to them through our polls. The polls also provide unique news content which we use across many parts of the BBC.

            “The fact that the poll results are reflected in great detail by other news sources around the world, bringing credit to Britain, shows their value.”

            The spokesman refused to discuss the cost of the poll.

               10 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        No, Jim, you’re missing the point and displaying the same denial I got from the BBC when I complained about Jude Machin having a picture of Him as her avatar. I was told it didn’t matter because she doesn’t report on US issues.

        This is besides the point. If I was trying to prove that the tweets are some kind of proof that it informs a given Beeboid’s journalism, then this would be an issue to address. But – once again – that’s not what I’m doing here. This is to show that there is a widespread, Left-wing mindset among staff, full stop. The next step – or even the step after next – would be to demonstrate how this makes for biased reporting, and then show the tweets as evidence of their personal biases on top of it.

        Actually, I’m fairly certain that you won’t accept it any case, as I’ve previously shown Mark Mardell revealing his personal opinion on a number of issues both at that BBC CoJ appearance and on his blog, and how the bias in his reporting matches it. As far as I’m aware, you accept none of those charges, and don’t agree that his personal opinion matches the bias in his reporting. In fact, I’m unaware of a single instance of you accepting anything anyone here has ever presented as evidence of bias in BBC reporting.

        So, even if I were to show 1000 blatantly biased tweets by a BBC journalist, I believe you’d simply dismiss it all by saying you don’t see bias in their reporting.

        I’m hoping other, more open-minded people will read my post and then see the full list and investigate it for themselves.

           22 likes

      • deegee says:

        Actually worship says a great deal more than simply a preference for one person or one political party. It is hard to believe that journalists who ignore critical aspects of a favoured overseas political rock star will be neutral, professional, objective with politiicians , at home, as demanded of the BBC by law.

           6 likes

      • johnnythefish says:

        Most opinion in the UK is for him.’

        Even if true, is that an excuse for BBC staff to abandon the hallowed ‘impartiality’ ethic, as in guideline d. You shouldn’t state your political preferences or say anything that compromises your impartiality. Don’t sound off about things in an openly partisan way.

        I’ve noticed in previous threads details of biased tweets have rarely, if at all, been challenged by our Cherry Vultures.

           6 likes

        • Misterned says:

          Indeed, the BBC is not there to mirror the bias in the majority of their viewers, they are meant to be impartial. Even if popular opinion was 100% in favour of Obama, the BBC should still report impartially according to their charter.

          The problem is, the BBC are NOT impartial, and instead of reflecting opinion, they actually abuse their overwhelming dominance to first form public opinion and THEN reflect it as a cover for their bias claiming that this is what the public think.

          They should NOT be the opinion formers, they should be impartial reporters of truth and leave the opinions for the dead tree press and bloggers.

             6 likes

          • Demon says:

            “they actually abuse their overwhelming dominance to first form public opinion and THEN reflect it as a cover for their bias claiming that this is what the public think.”

            Extremely well put, and this is how the BBC play it on a number of biases.

            One of the oft repeated claims of the ridiculous knackered emus was that as everybody else in the MSM agreed on an issue it was irrelevant what people on here thought. In other words, if the BBC and their fellow lefties in the Media indoctrinate enough stupid people to believe their lies then those who can see the truth and value decency are irrelevant.

               4 likes

          • Span Ows says:

            Agree totally. We see this every day (and I know this has been repeated on here by almost all on various occasions) when they interview each other and give narrative instead of just telling us what has happened. Their job LEGALLY is to tell us what has happened…the facts ONLY, NOT why THEY think it might have happened or leading interviews and comments to set an agenda.

               3 likes

  5. GotItAboutRight says:

    Jim, we’re talking about journalists and luvvies working for a public-funded organisation. If you really are going out to show us that they don’t have a left-leaning bias good luck with that.

    O/T but I’ve just seen the achingly politically correct shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. You’ll never believe this but they’ve gone for the black female boxer from Leeds with one Olympic gold instead of the white female from Essex with two Olympic gold medals.

       10 likes

    • Jim Dandy says:

      You can see details of the panel here

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sports-personality/20392213

      Achingly PC?

         3 likes

      • GotItAboutRight says:

        Yes, the outcome has clearly been contrived to tick the BBC’s beloved representative boxes. If you took the Beeboids and those who work for them out of the discussion it would look rather different I think. Which is presumably why they have changed the panel from last year, when it was pretty much just 30 or so sports journalists and to their mortification there were no women. The shame! Never again!

           6 likes

        • Jim Dandy says:

          So which don’t deserve to be there and who would you replace them with?

             2 likes

          • GotItAboutRight says:

            It’ll be going too far O/T so I’ll keep it brief but for a start they could trim it down to 10 names as for previous years – even in this year there are not 12 genuine contenders. Nicola Adams’ inclusion is ridiculous if Laura Trott isn’t there, and although Kath Grainger’s story is a nice one and I was extremely pleased for her she doesn’t objectively deserve to be there ahead of Jason kenny, who has now won three Olympic golds, and various others who have won two gold medals – Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Pete Reed, Andrew Hodge, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Charlotte Dujardin to pick a few names off the top of my head – I suspect a few too many of those may be male, middle-class and “hideously white” to quote a former D-G, and Dujardin’s case isn’t helped by coming from a nasty Channel Islands tax haven and doing a posh horse riding event. Jessica Ennis is also greatly over-hyped for someone who has won one Olympic gold medal because she is a photogenic mixed race girl from Sheffield – but I’ll grant that the BBC are not alone in hyping her.

               0 likes

            • GotItAboutRight says:

              In fact sorry for coming back on this again when I didn’t intend to but I’ve just seen this blog from Barbara Slater explaining how there was a “consensus” that the nomination system should be changed so that the BBC had more “control” in the process “to ensure there were no more anomalies of the sort we saw in 2011″ i.e. the “controversy” of an all-male list. The BBC rarely passes up on the chance for a bit of social engineering

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2012/10/sports_personality_of_the_year.html

                 2 likes

        • johnnythefish says:

          ‘Achingly’?

          Not a music journalist by an chance, JD?

             0 likes

      • Demon says:

        Achingly PC?

        Yes.

           3 likes

  6. Stewart S says:

    I’m not sure that groping the the near privacy of peoples personal thoughts is a way forward
    I do not want to be the keeper of their conscience any more than I want them to keep mine
    In relation to their employment by the public funded propaganda machine I am less worried about what they think than what they do.
    What I require of them is that on any given subject they give the alternative view to their orthodoxy,with equal quality of argument (while minded of Stalin’s missive on quality and quality) and let the viewer make up their own mind.To that end stating that different opinions are available will not do
    But surely it is within the whit of any fully functioning adult to give an opposing opinion fair hearing. We (may I say that?) can seek an end to bias with out policing other peoples thoughts cant we?
    I know some will say,with justification, that the BBC is staffed by petulant adolescents rather than functioning adults but we can insist that they act as such

       1 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      If the Corporation is overwhelmingly staffed with Left-wing ideologues, it’s simply not possible for them to be responsible about providing the alternative views you want to hear. Moreover, it makes it impossible to prevent an inherent bias in the language used, editorial policy, and angle from which stories are approached. If they all think the same way, opposing opinion will not be given a fair hearing.

      This journey into their tweets will be the first step in demonstrating that the current makeup of BBC staff is a problem that needs addressing. It’s not about policing their thoughts: it’s about exposing them for what they are: political advocates with bylines.

      The BBC’s own guidelines are all about self-policing of thoughts, so it’s not right to say nobody else should notice.

         11 likes

      • Misterned says:

        Indeed. I do not recall hearing of beeboids calling for tax-cuts, complaining of wasteful government spending or complaining of too much immigration.

        I would be delighted if Jim Dandy could provide ANY examples of beeboids tweeting those kinds of tweets.

           5 likes

    • deegee says:

      If people publicised their personal thoughts on Twitter there is no issue of privacy. They have opted out of privacy.

         6 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        It’s right there in the BBC guidelines that they shouldn’t do this. It’s not simply me being unfair or mean.

           6 likes

        • Stewart S says:

          I refer my learned friends to
          Demoted Christian Wins Facebook Post Ruling
          Sky News – Fri, Nov 16, 2012
          People my think what they wish its what they do that counts
          Need I make further comparison with the Rotherham child catcher scandal?

             0 likes

          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            Don’t complain to me: complain to the BBC. These are their rules, compiled by professional journalists, BBC top brass, and media experts. Go tell them how horrible it is, not me.

            All I’m doing is what BBC management refuses to do.

               2 likes

  7. Ian says:

    Slightly off-topic, but if Mr Dandy is still online at the moment perhaps he or someone could give me the address of the Other Biased BBC website, you know the one populated by people who are convinced the BBC is biased to the political right.

       6 likes

  8. scoobywho says:

    Publicly breaching impartiality rules should be a sackable offense.

    The BBC can forcibly extract money from us in part because they claim to be impartial. Therefore if any employee openly and publicly displays any sort of bias they instantly discredit themselves, regardless of whether they add the caveat that their views are not necessarily those of the BBC.

    If this seems draconian, one should remember that there are plenty of professions that have certain limitations placed upon their private lives, it’s what they get paid for (a lot in the case of BBC employees).

    If a BBC employee really feels they can’t live without using social media, without displaying some form of bias, it should be limited to comments to friends, family and colleagues only. They should use a separate, unrecognizable pseudonym specifically for this purpose and where possible, ensure that their personal profiles are unlisted or are viewable by invite only.

    Impartiality shouldn’t just be a thin veneer. When some one is paid to be impartial by the public, publicly this is exactly what they should be, at all times!

       8 likes

    • Demon says:

      I agree with you scooby to a large extent, but the most important thing is how they present their opinions on the BBC itself. It matters not a jot whether they use their real names to peddle leftist bile or if they do so under pseudonyms – all that matters is that they don’t use the BBC platform to express it.

      What David Preiser has done, however, is remarkable in that he has painstakingly captured 50 BBC tweeters who are all openly of the left. This obviously leads to a BBC left-wing echo chamber which can only cloud the BBC output on news, current affairs, drama and “comedy”. It’s not the tweeting that is the problem, in fact getting their details provides more proof of BBC bias, as if it was really needed than if they tweeted anonymously.

      And when Jim Dandy can provide 50 examples (even 40) of pro-Conservative BBC tweeters affecting BBC output then we can all start considering if we have got it wrong.

         5 likes

    • MD says:

      It’s not how much they tweet. If the overall composition of tweets reflects all ranges of views then it doesn’t matter. They can tweet all they like. That would reflect a healthy organisation capable of representing a wide range of views and arguments.

      I’d rather have them flagging up their bias via their tweets than keep their views in the closet. At least we now know their affiliations.

         1 likes

  9. Stewart S says:

    I don’t know about professions ,I have a job,but yes many employers do impose thought control on their workers ( mine included) that don’t make it right.
    You cant pay someone to be impartial but you can make them act even handedly
    All I expect of the BBC is to hear a representative range of voices(and by that I don’t mean different coloured bourgeois liberals singing from the one hymn sheet)
    If being forced to engage with a different narrative makes some at the BBC uncomfortable,then so much the better it might thin their ranks a bit.

       3 likes

    • scoobywho says:

      The representative range of voices comes from the guests in my opinion. The guests are interviewed and moderated by an impartial representative of the BBC.

         0 likes

  10. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    bBBC guideline c
    You are allowed to say that you work for the BBC, and you can discuss the BBC and your work publicly. But your name/title should not contain BBC in any form. And you should make clear that the views expressed are personal, and not those of the BBC.
    Looks like no-one told @KattyKayBBC

       2 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      No, Katty has an officially sanctioned account. She got permission, cleared it with the social media mavens, and can use the logo. However, this makes her even more obligated to be impartial. Which she is not.

         1 likes

  11. David Brims says:

    The great thing about Twitter is that they grass themselves, and they don’t even realise it.

    Philip Scholfield on his Twitter page called Mitt Romney, ” Mitt the twit ”, so we now know Scholfield’s political views.

    The next day, he gives David Cameron a scrap of paper, that libels Lord McAlpine as a child molester.

    Who’s the twit ?

       8 likes

  12. DB says:

    Good work, DP. Amused by the BBC defenders giving you their guidelines on how they think you should analyse BBC tweets. The hell with them.

       3 likes

  13. George R says:

    “BBC dismisses two members of staff for ‘misusing’ social media”

    http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/11/27/bbc-dismisses-two-members-staff-misusing-social-media?

       3 likes

  14. Jeff Waters says:

    BBC sacks two workers for misusing Twitter – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9703983/BBC-sacks-two-workers-for-misusing-Twitter.html

    The BBC is publicly funded yet unaccountable. Without its staff going public on things that happen that shouldn’t, the risk is that inconvenient truths will be swept under the carpet, as happened with Jimmy Saville.

    The BBC should remember that they are just servants of the people; they need to cast aside their hubris. Surely the least that the public deserve is transparency from the people whose salaries they pay.

    Jeff

       2 likes

  15. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Am now about one-third of the way done posting all the tweets. It’s going to take another couple of days at least to get these all into a post. I hope nobody will have forgotten all about it by then.

       0 likes

  16. Umbongo says:

    As DB comments, it’s heartening to see the BBC canteen commentariat – even those claiming non-employment by the state broadcaster* – lining up to express their concerns about David Preiser’s tweet analysis. Apparently their worry is that DP’s effort will not be a model of unbiased impartiality and, even if it is, then despite any evidence which DP might uncover through his hard work, it will prove nothing – the “science is settled” it seems.
    Interestingly and by inference from the non-employees’ (and even non-non employees’) comments on this and other threads, it appears they are seeking to hold DP to a far higher standard of disinterested journalism and analysis than they fail to demand from their (non) employer.
    .
    * bear in mind though that Paxman and a thousand or more others, working for the BBC through personal service companies at the BBC’s behest, are not technically BBC employees and neither are those who undertake the occasional one-off assignment for the BBC.

       1 likes