A commentary of biases

We don’t normally scrutinise the BBC’s essayists. We haven’t tried a survey of how many we consider right versus how many left. As a matter of fact I’ve never read any in-house commentary on the BBC that showed any strong right orientation, but I thought I’d look at this piece from Iain Watson. It’s about the Labour party launching its election campaign for the Euros with the expenses row echoing around it. The bottom line is the most interesting:

“the party will have to hope that their core voters will be thinking more about the economy than expenses. “

Objection, your honour! Only a true Labour hack laden with assumptions of “it started in America” and “it’s all about deregulation” so “what would the Tories have done differently?” would come up with this marvellous summation of wrong-headedness. It’s the economy, stupid, that Gordon Brown has taken from boom to bust.

There’s also a sly aspect to this: the journalist ignoring the base reality that the “core” vote don’t judge the Labour party on their handling of the economy- they judge them by their benefits cheques and their cushy state incomes and pensions. Anyone who were to judge the Labour party on their handling of the economy would vote against them. Simple as. To suggest that the economy might be a selling point for the Labour party is Goebbelesque.

In addition, if you look closely at the article you will see it has a certain wry affectionateness towards Labour, and deals with the expenses scandals humorously, pointing out just a few individuals who have apparently failed their genial and public spirited leader. Ok so Gordon’s a little old school and a bit stuffy, but y’know, basically it’s all about schools n’ stuff and good folk.

Can you imagine- is it possible to conceive of such a situation even- of how the BBC would be covering matters had the Conservatives been presiding over the economic meltdown?

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63 Responses to A commentary of biases

  1. Dick the Prick says:

    When did sympathy become so popular? Have I missed something? I genuinely couldn’t give a monkeys how mistakes were made – fix it. If there’s gonna be folks who have to sell their houses or lose their constituency’s then so be it. Tough.

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  2. piggy kosher says:

    Its all such a bloody hilarious in-joke to the beeboid politicos. They are so confident that all viewers are en courant with the narrative, and that all genuine dissent or anger can be scoffed away. You dont matter. We’ve got your money anyway.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    David Vance

    I very well understand that trying to change the thinking of someone of your advanced years is not easy. It is in many ways actually impossible ,but please forgive me for giving it yet another go.

    You say; We haven’t tried a survey of how many we consider right versus how many left.

    You forget; there is no definition of what is left or what is right, save for the definition that the media and especially the BBC itself indoctrinates us with on a moment by moment basis.

    As there is no such clearly defined meaning accepted by all concerned, these terms are simply bound to confuse the situation.

    It seems to me the only accepted definition of what Right Wing means, is everything the BBC professes to dislike. IMO anything defined by that nest of vipers, must be perfectly useless at best, or damned right lethally dangerous for just about everyone, at worst.

    It would be better if we used terms such as right or wrong, libertarian or authoritarian, truth or untruth, kind or cruel, moral or immoral, practical or impractical, conservative or radical, positive or negative, humane or inhumane,etc. I am sure you get the picture.

    We are mind controlled to believe these things are purely subjective when they are in fact totally OBJECTIVE concepts.

    We all deep down inside know EXACTLY what is right and what is wrong etc, or at least we would know if we never had watched any TV, or payed any attention to our essentially dishonest and self serving religious and political leaders.

    Quite frankly when ever I read someone using this Right Left bullshit, I know I am already communicating with an unwitting victim of BBC/MSM mind control. Which by my personal definition means, an innocent victim of SOCIALISM.

    Socialism is an ideology committed to the material, mental, and spiritual control of all ordinary human beings.

    Socialism is not the opposite of capitalism in practice, it is simply the worst form of CORPORATE CAPITALISM.

    Invented propagated, and financed by the worst possible examples of corporate capitalists. Working in long conspiracy, with the most vile forms of sadistically cruel very well established religious powers, ever known to humanity.

    I do not expect you or almost anyone else to take that little lot on all by yourselves. It is far too much of a total mind blast, which challenges every prejudice that an individual has been forced to obtain during their entire lifetimes.

    But as I have already stated The TRUTH is OBJECTIVE it is not SUBJECTIVE. The TRUTH is universal and absolute, and is a thing we will all have to deal with one day.

    Atlas shrugged

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  4. Martin says:

    Actually I’d say the white working class will judge Liebour on 2 things

    1. Immigration

    2. jobs.

    In both cases Liebour has failed badly.

    Note the BNP do well in Liebour areas NOT Tory.

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  5. ‘Journalists’ must be members of the National Union of Journalists as otherwise they cannot be employed as journalists: very much a closed-shop. A check of the NUJ’s website and the political orientation of that body shows that the ‘profession’ is also closed to views which differ from those of the left. That is why articles by ‘journalists’ are heavily skewed to the left.

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  6. Craig says:

    Anonymous Atlas,

    “David Vance

    I very well understand that trying to change the thinking of someone of your advanced years is not easy. It is in many ways actually impossible ,but please forgive me for giving it yet another go. You say; We haven’t tried a survey of how many we consider right versus how many left.”

    Atlas Shrugged, might you be showing signs of advanced years yourself. It wasn’t David Vance who said that, it was Ed Thomas.

    That nit-pick aside, are there any news sources that you think that are free from this sort of unhealthy influence?

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  7. North Northwester says:

    “Can you imagine- is it possible to conceive of such a situation even- of how the BBC would be covering matters had the Conservatives been presiding over the economic meltdown?”

    Well, the growing prosperity of the Thatcher years were always covered with ‘Yes, but’ pieces showing places in the rust belt or the Celtic fringe where the Thatcher boom hadn’t yet reached, and plenty of time provided for local trade unionists, puppet C of E preachers and ‘teachers’ to bewail how hard it would be for the ‘kids’ to get a job despite what was going on in the ‘leafy suburbs.’

    Conservative politicians were rarely interviewed at length at Newcastle, Glasgow and so on, but Tory ministers did regularly make themselves available: unlike New Labour Ministers these days when things look tough.

    But here’s the BBC website’s important industrial piece of the day:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8053083.stm

    All points of view being from Labour or trade unions, of course.

    The Institute of Directors are keeping a low profile on the Beeb website, for some reason, though they did get a brief mention is a copy and paste hagiography of Mister Darlings’s by-now-woefully-outdated Budget here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8024484.stm

    Funny, that.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Please remvoe the irrelevant twitterings of egomaniac David Vance gone swimming on the side of this blog.?????/

    Why do we have to read such drivel from this pompos idiot?

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  9. George R says:

    ‘BBC News: The Editors blog’, dumbing down- the only story there is “Explaining MPs’ expenses” – to 12 YEAR OLDS! Mmm.

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  10. George R says:

    When it comes to discussing the possible rise of smaller political parties, whether it’s UKIP or BNP, the BBC is disinclined to talk in detail about the crucial issues of mass immigration, and loss of UK national sovereignty to the E.U.

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  11. David Vance says:

    Atlas,

    Bet you wish you hadn’t written that little intro to your latest epistle, eh? I may not be quite as young as I used to be but I am usually able to discern WHO has written the post on which I seek to comment. You should try it, my friend.

    Anon. DV Fan Club

    Oh your days so numbered 😉 Missing ya already…..

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Article starts: “I am sure the intention was not to hide away from voters during the expenses row.”

    Only a fool would read the piece as pro-Labour.

    And what’s with the politically illiterate stuff about Labour’s base? there’s plenty of literature about what forms Labour’s base. And your brain dead representation of what it is betrays your prejudices and your psephological incontinence.

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  13. Martin says:

    What a shock. The one eyed jock moron leaks to the BBC that he’s written an article for the NOTW tomorrow and the BBC are bigging it up.

    BBC now suggesting Gordon is the great leader again.

    He’s not. He’s a fat Scottish one eyed prat who has ruined England.

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  14. Martin says:

    Anon: Don’t you have a drug deal to do or a rent boy to give a good time to?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for that.

    But it changes not much. Unless you have understood my basic proposition.

    If so, I hope I can look forward to a time when yourself and people in general drop this Left Right rubbish forever. Or until we all have a clear accepted definition of what we are all talking about. The use of these terms is lazy at best, and dangerously confusing at worst.

    For surly it is clear.

    A majority of the so called left, genuinely believe the right are authoritarians. While a majority of the right, genuinely believe that the left are authoritarians.

    Surly the truth is just as clear.

    The majority of the people are libertarians and a very small minority of the people are authoritarians. Yet we now live in a more authoritarian country then at anytime in our history. Including WAR TIME. While for some strange reason, only known to the lovers of The BBC, this nations establishment still claims that we live in a liberal democracy.

    Surly we clearly do not.

    The question is. Did we ever?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    The BBC is an odd beast sometimes.

    Last night, a stunning episode of EastEnders which has undoubtedly educated people on what it is like to have a mental illness.

    But then the slanted news and its politically biased propaganda undermines the BBC’s potential for good.

    The BBC should seek to entertain and educate, not tell people what to think.

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  17. cassandra says:

    The BBC website is a picture of soviet socialist denial in action, the se fools remind me of the East German media a few days before the wall came tumbling down!

    HYS is about a foreign country, with all the mess in the UK, the BBC chooses India for its story?

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, the BBC is reporting that Brown started his euro vote launch at a school well away from the press, the dribbling coward goes to adress children because he can look big in front of them and they wont answer back, if he was a real man he would go in front of the voter and face the press wouldnt he?
    The BBC report this cowardice in the glossiest terms, sugary and sweet as they protect Brown at all costs.

    The terrible polling for Brown and newlabour is ignored by the BBC, they dont do polls do they? Ooooooh yes they do but only if it suits the BBC/newlabour axis.
    The whole website is a picture and perfect example of BBC prejudice, dishonesty and partisan bias.

    Can you imagine the BBC reporting if the Tories were polling historic lows? Can you imagine the HYS topics if the Tories were about as popular as a bowl of cold dog sick?

    Brown launched his campaign in front of children because Brown is a coward, Brown hid from the media because he is a coward, Brown refuses to face the public because he is a coward.
    WHATS THE BBCs EXCUSE?

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  18. Craig says:

    Cassandra (6.16 am)

    An opinion poll in the 'Sun' giving Labour a dismal (but still insanely high!) 20% does get a mention on the BBC website – but it's tucked away in a dark corner.

    I only found it by accident.

    It’s buried under their Politics section, not on the main page.

    You’ll find it interred in a low-profile story about the wonderful Frank Carson urging us to vote UKIP.

    Hopefully readers who click well beyond the Beeb homepage might see Frank’s name & keep stumbling across the embarrassing poll!!

    This poll again shows the BNP (“Labour with racism”) getting only 3%, despite all the attempts by the Beeb and Labour (and their agents in the papers) to hype them up.

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  19. Craig says:

    Looking a bit deeper into the Beeb’s mischief with opinion polls things get even murkier.

    The BBC used the ‘Sun’ YouGov poll in its Frank Carson article because the article was written on Friday, when it was the latest poll. Fair enough, of course. Let’s see though if they update it with today’s ‘Mail on Sunday’ figures, which show Labour even lower on 17% for the Euro elections.

    These are the results, according to the BBC website:

    “UKIP’s support is at 15% – with the Lib Dems on 19%, Labour on 20% and the Conservatives on 29%, according to the YouGov survey.
    The Greens are on 6% and the BNP on 3%.”

    Yet elsewhere these self-same results are reported very differently – with figures than are worse for Labour and better for UKIP:

    “The ‘Sun’ poll (YouGov) of voting intentions for the Euro elections shows this:
    Conservatives are on 28%, Labour is on 19% and UKIP (yes, UKIP) are also on 19%. The BNP is on 4%.”
    (ConservativeHome)

    “So, the actual figures for European voting intention were CON 28%(-9), LAB 19%(-3), LDEM 19%(nc), UKIP 19%(+12!), GRN 6%(+2), BNP 3%(-1).”
    (UK Polling Report, http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2124)

    Weird, isn’t it?

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  20. deegee says:

    Cassandra said 6:16 AM, May 17, 2009
    HYS is about a foreign country, with all the mess in the UK, the BBC chooses India for its story?Instructions from the Commonwealth and Foreign Office?

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  21. Craig says:

    Mystery solved and bias found!

    The BBC, being a bunch of illiterates, looked at the pictures in the ‘Sun’ without reading the words! The article itself gave the correct figures for the embarrassing YouGov poll.

    “I’ve confirmed exactly what’s gone on with the YouGov poll on European voting intentions. The graphic in the Sun shows the voting intentions of all those who gave a voting intention. However, as we saw in YouGov’s last poll, YouGov’s preferred measure – the one they think will better reflect the actual result – is the voting intention of only those certain to vote, which were the figures in the Sun’s article.

    So, the actual figures for European voting intention were CON 28%(-9), LAB 19%(-3), LDEM 19%(nc), UKIP 19%(+12!), GRN 6%(+2), BNP 3%(-1).”

    Anthony Wells, UK Polling Report (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/)

    The Beeb here have either been stupid or dishonest.

    Or both.

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  22. Craig says:

    And on I go..!! The BBC, as Cassandra said, ignores inconvenient opinion polls, or sweeps them under a carpet in the loft, & even when it does the latter it either lies about it or conveniently cocks up the results. Either way, only its Liebour allies win.

    I'll stop now!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    According to this piece by Clive James (currently on the Beeb’s front page), the corruption of the political class is all a fuss about nothing – but even so, the Tories are much worse.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8052460.stm

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  24. Dick the Prick says:

    Andy Marr has been particularly biassed today:

    Hoey – Labour
    Frostropp – Labour
    Clegg – Lib
    Graham – bureaucrat
    Falconer – Labour
    Marr – Labour
    Shepherd – Tory.

    So, nothing untoward at all, all perfectly justifiable considering polling numbers – not giving Labour far more airtime than they could possibly merit. Hmm.

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  25. Craig says:

    D the P,

    Labour-boy Marr was also up to his usual tricks.

    He said, while interviewing Cleggy, “Polls this weekend indicate that voters are as disenchanted with the Lib Dems are they are with Labour and the Tories”.

    No they don’t. All the polls show the Tories substantially ahead (by about 10 points in Euro polls and by 20 points in General Election polls.

    Later Labour-boy Marr went on, “If you look at the opinion polls, voters don’t much distinguish between the Lib Dems on this and the Conservatives and the Labour Party. You’re all a long way down.”

    Again, not true. Voters do distinguish, as one party (the Conservatives) is clearly preferred by the public. And only the Lib Dems and Labour are “a long way down” (for Labour in both senses, having a low percentage and falling further in support).

    Marr continues, “UKIP and indeed the British National Party, up!”

    Again, though UKIP are indeed up – well up! – the BNP is still only getting 3-4%. And note how this nicely brackets UKIP with the BNP – a smear if ever there was one. (And why not call the loony Greens extreme too?)

    Marr is a disgrace.

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  26. Ctesibius says:

    There is an absolutely crystal clear way to monitor political bias and I suggest we do it. It’s a very simple, objective measure which could be called the “Interruption Coefficient”. You obtain the IC by dividing the number of interruptions by the length of time of the interview. The higher the IC, the more the Interviewer is challenging the Interviewee. It is therefore a measure of bias.

    Imagine Andrew Marr interviews Gordon Brown on Sunday Morning and the interview lasts, say six minutes. How many times does Marr interrupt him while he is speaking? Let’s say four times. That is an Interruption Coefficient of 0.7.

    Now let’s say George Osborne appears on the Today Programme the following Tuesday and has a five minute slot. Do you imagine the BBC interviewed would interrupt him less than ten times? Nor do I. This is an IC of 2.

    The IC is objective proof that Osborne was given less chance to articulate his views than Brown. Now there is a small element of subjectivity in this – as in exactly what constitutes an interruption. And different combinations of interviewers and interviewees would produce slightly different scores. But maintaining regular scores of IC’s over time, on this sit,e would soon show what was attributable to individuals and what was attributable to a persistent bias.

    Any takers?

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  27. Martin says:

    Why are we surprised that Marr boy is spinning for Nu Liebour. Wouldn’t it be nice to get an FOI to show all phone calls, emails, SMS messages etc to Beeboids from Downing Street?

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  28. JohnA says:

    Cassandra

    Your Interuption Coefficient sounds a fair indicator of bias – it can be measured across large numbers of interviews to give averages, AND it is something that could be published as an easily-understandable indicator of bias. Also – it is FACTUAL – the BBC could not deny it.

    Maybe this site could keep a running tally – eg of the Today prog interviews and maybe a few other key news programmes. Monthly press release by Biased-BBC ?

    …………….

    Andrew Pierce of the Telegraph has a weekly 3-hour Sunday prog on Radio LBC, 97.3FM. This week his topic starts with the assumption that Michael Martin must go (Pierce, not the BBC, had the exclusive radio interview with Nick Clegg.) He now has Kate Hoey on air.

    Pierce is asking for suggestions for a replacement Speaker – but has added that the Tory Deputy Speaker is tainted for his excessive expenses claims, as is Martin for his profligate spending.

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  29. Oscar Miller says:

    Dick the Prick – you left out Juliet Stephenson – the biggest Labour luvvie of them all.

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  30. Ed T says:

    Re interruption coefficient:

    It seems to me that that the problem with using a system like the interruption system is that it discounts the key issue of how challenging the question is, and indeed the overall line of questioning. If the question is challenging, the interviewer can sit back and let the politician squirm, simply now and then returning the interview to his original question. On the other hand, the question can be an easy one, but the interviewer creates an illusion of interrogation by interrupting frequently. I think that if Marr were unaware of any scrutiny, it would be an interesting experiment, but it presupposes that he is a fairly one-dimensional sort of interviewer, which he isn’t. Maybe Humpries would be a better case to analyse, but I am not sure.

    Atlas- the point of the intro was to suggest that we don’t really believe in quantifying Left vs Right in the classical way, although I guess it suggests we believe in the distinction itself. My view is that there are certainly assumptions that underpin the BBC’s coverage which originated in the leftist cat’s cradle of Marxian Webbian Bloombury intellectual prejudice. Basically the superordinate power of the state and states in lives of „citizens“. The idea of the state and states coordinating the life decisions of a significant percentage of „incapable“ „citizens“, and actively overseeing those of the rest, would be the essential tenet of BBC thinking which I would identify, if pushed.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    ed

    OK, an Interruption Coefficient would not deal with the underlying thrust of the questioning – questions starting from a biased point of view – but an IC does give an indicator that is factual about how the different parties are treated by the BBC. It is MEASURABLE. And it is something of a proxy for how fierce or how tepid the interviews are.

    Unfortunately you cannot measure and publish without contradiction the bias inherent in much of the questioning.

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  32. Craig says:

    I think Ctesibius's Interruption Coefficient could be a very useful tool. In fact, I think it’s a brilliant idea.

    I've just tried it on Jon Sopel on the 'Politics Show' &, if I've worked it out probably, here are the results:

    Interviewer: Sopel
    Interviewee: David Miliband
    Party: Labour
    Duration: 10 mins
    Number of interruptions: 8
    This gives us an I.C. of 1.25

    Interviewer: Sopel
    Interviewee: Andrew Lansley
    Party: Conservative
    Duration: 6 mins
    Number of interruptions: 7
    This gives us an I.C. of 0.85

    My subjective judgment was that Sopel gave Miliband a rough ride at times but gave Lansley a rougher one and the Interruption Coefficients bear that out. Yes, Sopel’s mock-exasperated tone during the Lansley interview can’t be caught by this measure – so it's not a perfect tool – but something of significance can, and objective measures of BBC bias cannot be anything but a good thing.

    Viva la Interruption Coefficient!

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  33. ed thomas says:

    Craig- I like those initial results. Maybe it could work, on second thoughts. I suggest starting a thread on the BBC bias board via the link at the top of the page and it could be seen how a variety of people “score” BBC interviewers on a number of occasions.

    There is, as mentioned, more to BBC bias in interviewing (eg. guest selectivity, timing etc) but the I.C. could be a very useful component to the analysis.

    On second thoughts then, go for it!

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  34. Martin says:

    I see the bos of Lloyds TSB has stepped down. Why? Because Lloyds (a good bank) purchased a shit bank.

    Now who was involved in pressuring Lloyds to take on HBOS?

    Quote from the BBC.

    “..The government backed the Lloyds takeover of HBOS last September, bypassing normal competition rules to avoid the collapse of the Halifax owner…”

    Not quite true. It was the one eyed Scottish snot eating cowardly liar that wanted this ot happen. Remember Peston bigging the story up then as soon as it totally fell apart he went on TV and tried ot distance McSnot from it?

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  35. JohnA says:

    ed thomas

    I was the “Anon” commented on your earlier comment.

    As you say, thereare many other measures of bias – but most of them are things we can see or hear but they are not things susceptible to measurement.

    The IC is a statistical measurem that canot be contradicted by the BBC.

    The other possible measure is your point about selectivity. Perhaps the lack of balance on TV Question Time and Radio 4 Any Questions is something that could be “measured” on a month by month basis along with the IC.

    If these figures were regularly published – picked up by the press, maybe, it might have some influence on BBC editors and programme producers.

    ……………….

    Oh – and how about a selectivity index for Thought for the Day. It is ridiculous how often they bhave a Muslim speaker in the God Slot.

    Incidentall – I happened to hear a whole half-hour prog last night on the World Service extolling the KKoran and the Arabic it is written and recited in. A total eulogy for the Koran, with some implicit citicisms about the fact that the Bible is available in many languages.

    Some guy had been paid by British taxpayers to mount a full promo programme for the Koran, which included acid references to the Bible of the UK official religion. It is effing ridiculous that the BBC should be acting like Al J – at our expense. Sounbds like the Muslims have seized the whole apparatus of religious broadcasting in the BBC – a Gramscian move that anyone could have forecast. (Just like most local authority housing offices seem to be run by non-Brits)

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  36. JohnA says:

    The Koran promo on the World Service was “Heart and Soul” :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0030sqm/Heart_and_Soul_16_05_2009/

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  37. David Preiser says:

    Craig,

    I think you got your figures wrong. If I understand Ctesibius’s explanation correctly, the IC for the Milliband interview should be .8, while the IC for Lansley would be 1.167. Your point still stands, of course. Approximately 45% more interruptions is significant.

    However, there are a couple of problems with this IC theory that need to be worked out, I think.

    First, I feel that there ought to be an additional figure for the length of the interviews themselves. That the BBC gives far more time to Labour (and Vince Cable) than to the Conservatives is a regular claim here, so it’s worth pursuing. In your example of Milliband/Lansley, Labour got 10 minutes versus 6: 2/3 more time. Combine that with the IC and there’s more weight to the charge.

    Then there’s the problem of assuming that all interruptions are equal. If some guest is seriously evasive – Keith Vaz, when discussing Geert Wilders for instance – then he’s going to get interrupted far more than basic bias would allow. He got interrupted in the case I’ve mentioned because he was being an asshole, not because of bias from Kirsty Wark. The first reaction of a Beeboid on seeing figures about interruptions is going to be that Guest X was being difficult and needed to be challenged.
    So I see a need to account for that variable somehow.

    Otherwise, I think you guys are on to something.

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  38. Martin says:

    I think Craig has a point though. Just how often does St Vince Cable get interrupted?

    I’ve heard George Osborne get interrupted with as litlte as having uttered 3 words.

    Beeboids just hate Tories and like to break up their views. It’s quite a good diversionary tactic.

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  39. Craig says:

    David P.

    Yes, I had a horrible feeling I might have got my figures wrong!

    The evasiveness problem has also dawned on me. Our Treasury Minister Yvette Cooper, for example, talks and talks and talks and gets herself interrupted so often because she clearly intends to waste time and get to the end of the interview unscathed. Beeboids are right to interrupt her, and her like. That would screw up the I.C.

    I still like the idea, but it needs more thought.

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  40. David Preiser says:

    Craig,

    Maybe it could be something as simple as not counting an interruption if it’s the same question, or just the interviewer saying, “Answer the question.” Something along those lines, and it wouldn’t be too hard to judge most of the time.

    Even though this wouldn’t be a perfect method either, at least it’s a solid gesture that we’re taking into account the possible evasiveness of the interviewee, and that there may be valid reasons to interrupt.

    Still, this combined with an accounting of the imbalance of duration, and maybe even a comparison of total appearances by members of each party (or representatives of two sides of an issue) on various shows during a given time frame, should form the basis of some kind of evidence.

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  41. Craig says:

    David P.

    I've been trying it out on Jim Naughtie of the 'Today' Programme, but the interviews I've sampled (from last week) are low on interruptions yet Naughtie's questions are strong on bias – the pointing out of which Beeboids (and their apologists) can dismiss as merely subjective.

    As Ed pointed out earlier, bias shows itself in different ways & what might be a useful (and easy) tool for tracking the bias of a beligerent interviewer like John Humphrys looks as if it won't work so well on a ponderous one like James Naughtie.

    Still, I am going to keep trying.

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  42. David Preiser says:

    Craig,

    I think your point about the difference in interview styles just shows the need to add more metrics, like duration of the interview and the number of appearances of one viewpoint or other across the spectrum. Even if one interview isn’t filled with interruptions, there will still be other ways to measure the bias.

    Continue to look at Today for the past week, and count the appearances of Labour voices versus Conservative on the big issues of the week. Then compare the duration of each appearance. If the segments provide good Interruption data, all the better. But this way there’s more data to work with.

    For instance, Martin has pretty much shown beyond doubt that Vince Cable was for quite some time the BBC’s go-to voice on the economy. One would have thought there was no other Opposition party he was on so much, and the Tories were on so rarely. The IC wouldn’t be useful because there were no interviews of anyone not Labour besides Cable. But that’s bias in and of itself. So, the more ways to measure, the better, I say.

    Now that I think about it, language is something else that can be quantified. Douglas Hogg claimed £2000 to clean his moat, while Elliot Morley claimed eight times that amount for a mortgage he had already paid off. Hogg’s politically incorrect claim was at least for an actual bill. Morely’s was a £16K lie. On the small change end, David Heathcoat-Amory claimed £380 for horse manure over three years, as well as other tiny amounts, while John Reid spent about that much for one armchair, and more than that one one bill for kitchen utensils and wineglasses. Yet, the BBC keeps talking about “moats and manure”. Yes, that’s a very sexy phrase, and all the kids are saying it these days (the BBC always claims to follow the pack when it suits the defense), but they use it knowing full well that it misrepresents the situation, spinning it for class warfare. They don’t care because it plays on the emotions and is a good story for them to tell. But their language gives them away. Count how many times they use Gordon Brown buzz words (it’s a global problem, fairness, action will be taken, do-nothing Tories) when reporting on certain issues versus how many times they use terms from the other side.

    There’s been plenty of fisking of BBC reports here comparing how BBC-favored subjects get more time to themselves, while articles covering the side the BBC doesn’t like usually gets “balance” in the form of more pimping for the BBC favorite. This measurement could translate easily into interviews on Today, or from Andrew Marr, for example.

    Sorry to go on like this, but this has obviously got me thinking about the different ways the bias manifests itself, but there are consistencies which can be measured if there are enough metrics. It’s all stuff people have demonstrated here plenty of times, but I’ve never thought about it all together this way before. I’m sure other people would have even more ideas about this.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    If Brown was interviewed and Marr interrupted him with applause or an admiring sigh, wouldn’t that throw off the measurement.

    Will Jones

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  44. ed thomas says:

    Will- yes 🙂

    Or the “helpful clarification”- “so, what you are saying, dear Labour minister, is…”

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  45. JohnA says:

    It is the AVERAGES that matter – they will subsume the odd quirks

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  46. The revelations over the past few days have taken our eyes off Nulab’s deviousness. Apparently the Home Secretary has slipped in a little clause on the forthcoming ID cards law which allows any data on financial transactions to be forwarded to the tax authorities. With such things in mind, I must ask if anyone can attach a link to an article which provides a decent summary of hwere the UK’s economy is, and is heading.

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  47. Oh! I found this. Read here about “public sector Enrons” as established by the golden boy himself.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/5335012/So-whatever-happened-to-the-deflation-bogeyman.html

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  48. Red Lepond says:

    It’s heading toward a repeat of the 1970s – stagflation.

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  49. Craig says:

    Shocking presenter-bias on last night's 'Westminster Hour' (Radio 4). Give it a listen on the BBC i-Player if you can stomach it.

    It happened right at the end of a 17-minute panel discussion, hosted by Carolyn Quinn, between Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan (on inspiring form), Caroline Lucas, leader of the far-left Green Party, and cowardly, oily Labour MEP Richard Corbett.

    It was a blatant ambush. Miss Quinn asked Dan Hannan a highly critical question about the Conservative Party leaving the EPP block in the Euro Parliament. This was her last question to the panel, & asked as the last question with intent (as the police say).

    That's just par for the course. Leave the listeners with an anti-Tory point.

    It's what happened next that's so disgusting.

    Miss Quinn then interrupted Hannan with a "forgive me" & criticised his answer before asking Caroline Lucas (Green) how she thought the Tories would be regarded as a result. Miss Lucas slagged off the Tories, as you would expect (being given such a gift). After Dan Hannan's answer, Carolyn Quinn then gave Corbett (Labour) a chance to have a go at the Conservatives too (an offer he couldn't refuse). Indeed, Corbett was given the last word! Hannan got no final right to reply.

    At no other time did the Beebette ask her guests (other than the appropriate guest) loaded questions about either the Green Party or the Labour Party. Only the Conservatives were targeted. Only the Tory was ganged up on (three against one).

    This is naked, shameless anti-Conservative bias.

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  50. thoughtfulape says:

    I want to congratulate the inventor of the interruption coefficient. This is an absolutely superb idea.

    I don’t think that evasive speakers and legitimate interview interuptions matter remotely. I also would argue that attempting to filter these out would make the IC more not less effective.

    The whole strength of the IC is that is contains no subjective judgement calls at all.
    Getting into the morass of whether some interruptions are justified or not takes us back into the subjective terrain that the IC is designed to avoid.

    A sufficiently large sample size would eliminate this problem entirely.

    Measuring the length of the interview times would be useful, but a plausible sounding BBC counter to this would be that the Labour party are currently in government and the opinions and perspectives held by members of the government are naturally more newsworthy than those held by the opposition.

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