Richard Bacon,Twitter & the BBC

In the latest issue of Standpoint, Nick Cohen argues that the recent Twitter campaign against the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir was less about “‘reader power’ in action” and more to do with like-minded people “affirming their membership of the liberal tribe…”

The use of Twitter to affirm one’s trendy, right-on credentials is especially noticeable among the UK’s tweeting celebs and media luvvies. The most followed of the lot is the BBC’s Richard Bacon who, as one of the chieftains of Twitter’s “liberal tribe”, cheered on the hunt for Moir.

He was asked about Twitter by Matthew Wells on this week’s Guardian Media Talk podcast (16 min in):

Wells: How do you feel, Richard, about your personal power to influence people by what you say on Twitter?
Bacon: It’s an issue for me because I work for the BBC, and I work for Five Live and I do programmes that are news based. And it’s difficult, and I think there’s a grey area at the moment. I’ll often re-tweet – you know what re-tweeting is? You can put up a link to an article that I like, and on occasion I’ll be re-tweeting to an article that may well express an opinion that I’m sympathetic towards. That’s not the same as me expressing an opinion, but you could argue that it is. Now that…to me this is a grey area that I imagine one day they’ll legislate.
Channel 4’s Benjamin Cohen: We’re having a policy launched very soon at ITN to say what we can and can’t say.
Bacon: There’ll be some committee…
Guardian’s Emily Bell: Are you going to have non-tweets, things that you cannot tweet?
B.Cohen: We’re going to have subjects that you shouldn’t tweet about.
Bacon: Are you?
B.Cohen: We’re trying to keep the broadcasting [unheard] in what we tweet, so – don’t express an opinion.
Bacon: What about that grey area that I mentioned? Re-tweeting a link to an article, often I’m just saying here’s an interesting article, but occasionally – and I guess I did do this with Jan Moir – you’re going look at, you know, here’s what Charlie Brooker says about Jan Moir and really I agree with that. And so it’s a grey area and probably someone from the BBC Trust will be listening to this podcast and the rules will all change and I’ll regret saying these words.

Bacon has just signed a three-year deal to present the afternoon slot on Five Live, during which time he’ll be covering, among other things, the next US midterm and presidential elections. His views of one potentially influential player in those elections can be gleaned from some of his tweets [click image to view]:

[For those who don’t know, Andrew Sullivan hates Palin with a deranged passion (he’s the “liberal blogger at The Atlantic” mentioned in this Jonah Goldberg article), and Levi Johnston is now a performing monkey for the Palin-hating media in America.]

And here’s Bacon on Obama:

I suspect that the BBC will indeed follow ITN’s example and issue Twitter rules for its employees, but I’d rather they just let them say what they want. The insight it offers is most instructive.

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11 Responses to Richard Bacon,Twitter & the BBC

  1. Asuka Langley Soryu says:

    There is no grey area, you wretched little faggot. You work for the BBC. We know exactly where your simple-minded sympathies lie. You wouldn’t be working for the BBC if they were any different. Don’t pretend the BBC is some sort of journalism outfit. Don’t pretend it it has any credibility.

    ‘My God, had there been a better political orator in own time?’

    Hmm, I’m not sure. Because I can’t pick my way through your illiteracy. Learn to read and write, you obnoxious dangleberry.


  2. Maturecheese says:

    What a lefty tosser Bacon is.  Dan Hannan is a better political orator than Barry Obama.  I’ll have to add Bacon to the list of extremely annoying BBC radio presenters along with Nikki Cambell and Victoria Derbyshire.  I literally want to brick the radio some days.


  3. Phil says:

    Lets hope the Tories shut Radio 5. It seems to be nothing more than a job creation scheme for talentless broadcasters.

    Put the football back on Radio 2. That shouldn’t cause a problem as there is no shortage of dreadful pop music stations, both BBC and commercial.


  4. D B says:

    I don’t think Bacon is a “talentless broadcaster” (and I doubt he’s a faggot either, Asuka – let’s keep the debate above the level of Andrew Sullivan). Most Five Live presenters are good at what they do – for example Simon Mayo’s leftie sympathies do not take away from the fact that he hosts his show with effortless ease. However, the station’s presenters and regular guests do tend to be drawn almost exclusively from the left-liberal tribe.


    • Martin says:

      The BBC makes no effort to balance its output. Ask the BBC HOW they monitor politicla balance arcos the BBC’s networks and they can’t give you an answer.


  5. Enzo says:

    twitter is for self obsessed little tossers……no wonder bbc employees love it


  6. John Horne Tooke says:

    Is there no link here to “impartiality”? The BBc banned “journalists” who work for the BBc to publish articles in newspapers – so where is the difference?


  7. ryan says:

    I wrote to the BBC last week about manipulation and bias via Twitter. This is a timely smoking gun and I have written to the BBC again tonight. Thank you for this post!


  8. Martin says:

    Sorry I missed last nights’ fun, some of us in the real world have to go to work really early.

    However, I did catch a bit of Newsnight with Michael Gove and the BBC in some sort of reverse gear over Muslimgate.


  9. Hurf Durf says:

    Bacon is a twat. It would be nice to see him blub tears of disappointment come November 2012.


  10. Guest says:

    I follow a few BBC PR ’employees’ (journalists is pushing it these days) who affect enviro credentials. They very much ‘sell’ their twitter pages on their BBC affiliation.

    Which makes their political and often rather colourful personal views all the more intriguing for being encouraged.