sotto voce

As Craig and Cassandra have been pointing out in the comments, the Beeb have been subtly downplaying the cash for influence scandal of senior Labour figures. First there’s the fact that the headline to their article says “Ministers attack ‘MPs for hire'”. Ah, so senior Government figures are on the side of the angels then? The Gvt is acting decisively? What exactly is “for hire?” Is that anything like soliciting bribes? Then it’s noticeable that only one of the miscreants, Stephen Byers, is even identified directly as a Labour MP in the article. Moreover, they are described as “ex” ministers- for whose actions it would surely be churlish to blame the Gummint; be rather like a husband being blamed for his ex-wife’s behaviour, wouldn’t it? How about “senior Labour figures caught in bribery scandal”? How about “three senior Labour former ministers have been caught in a sting operation soliciting payments for influence. These are Stephen Byers, Labour MP for… who was minister of…, Patricia Hewitt, Labour MP for… who was minister of… and Geoff Hoon, Labour MP for… who was minister of…”

I’ve only talked here about the framing sentences of the BBC article. The rest is rather detailed detail. By the time they get to it readers will have given up the will, and just be glad that “due process” is being followed and isn’t it wonderful our media is able to bang to rights those grubby “not Gordon’s Labour but ex- Labour” types.

Incidentally, it’s no surprise that washed up pols peddle influence for cash- but then it wasn’t back in ’97 either ands that’s when the BBC was washing down “things can only get better” with flutes of champagne.

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20 Responses to sotto voce

  1. Martin says:

    The BBC are really trying to spin this story away from Liebour onto general sleaze (sleaze is of course a Tory only phrase). I’m sure we will get the BBC/Guardian/Unite/Liebour alliance to come up with some Tory sleaze.

    Fat bitch on News 24 “The Tories want to increase the ban and remove their pensions, is THIS the way to go?” Also she’s continually reading out defensive statements for Byers. Can’t remember the BBC being so defensive of Lord Ashcroft.


  2. Craig says:

    Here’s more evidence for what Cassandra was saying.

    On Thursday, when the BBC went mad about Lord Ashcroft again, The World at One relagated news about the BA strike to second place in its news bulletin in favour of the Lord Ashcroft story. In third place came the latest government borrowing figures, which reached a new record high.  Nothing was going to get in the way of the BBC’s mission that day and the programme then spent many minutes discussing Lord Ashcroft.

    Today, when Labour are in the mire, the news bulletin of its sister programme The World This Weekend‘s news bulletin was led by the BA strike – though only some remarks of Tony Woodley of Unite. Next on today’s bulletin came Alistair Darling’s comments about VAT, followed by an important call from a former senior army commander for changes to the Ministry of Defence. In fourth place came the Labour’s ‘cash for influence’ story. The programme thereafter ignored the Labour scandal completely, prefering to report from ‘Derry’ on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, spending a good ten minutes on the subject.


    • Martin says:

      Well said Craig. I notice the BBC are now ‘suggesting’ that it’s the lobbyists fault not ministers. The BBC have no shame.


  3. hippiepooter says:

    ‘Back in the day’, when the Times caught out a couple of Tories in ‘cash for questions’, the BBC was unrelenting in crying about ‘Tory sleaze’.



  4. Guest says:

    I believe it’s an evolution of the ‘wrong kind of snow’ ( ) … job.

    For proper sleaze ‘reporting’, one needs the rampant abuse to not be by one’s idealogical bedmates. Apparently.


  5. Idiotboy says:

    This headline is so typically BBC when it comes to covering something with unpleasant connotations for its bedfellows, be they AGW alarmist crooks, the Obamessiah, or New Liebour.

    Report the rebuttal, report the excuses, report the defensive position, but whatever you do, don’t focus on the acts of the miscreants in the story.


  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Can’t really get angry at Labour for this, says Beeboid Brian Wheeler.  After all, it’s just another story about politicians abusing their position, getting up to no good.  Happens all the time in all parties, really.  In fact, the Tories are going to be just as bad if they win the election:

    And the clamour by lobbyists to sign up former politicians and advisers with links to the Conservative Party, in anticipation of Tory victory in the general election, suggests it is not about to go away any time soon.

    Never mind that the Tories they approached for this didn’t soil themselves – they’re going to be guilty later anyway.  Move along, nothing to see here.


  7. Martin says:

    Radio 5 Pravda getting into their pro Liebour stride now. John Pinhead (a known leftie) attacking a Tory MP for them being as bad a Liebour over lobbyists. Radio 5 continually stating that these MPs have done nothing wrong (in fact that is the lead headline). I think we all know where this is going. Unlike Lord Ashcroft of course who also has done ‘nothing wrong’ but did the BBC ever point that out? Unlike Lord Paul who had plod investigating him.

    Expect the BBC/Lord Fondelbum/Unite and Nu Liebour to unleash the forces of hell on the Tories tomorrow.


  8. NRG says:

    Good grief. !0pm BBC1 TV news, bent Labour ministers fourth or fifth news item. Domestic US health polciy and the crusade of The One is top of the news.

    Signs of with reference to Tory cash for questions,

    Blatant bias at its most crass.

    Save Gordon!


    • Martin says:

      NRG spot on. THe BBC have now decided on the narrative to kill this story for Liebour. It will be the following attack.

      1. The Tories were worse

      2. The lobbyists were to blame

      3. The Liebour MPs have enied anything wrong, so this will be the BBC headline when raising the story.

      4. The BBC will run the story down the news agenda to make it look as if it’s fading away hoping the rest of a lobby fodder does the same

      5. The BBC will find a Lord Ashcroft angle


      • Craig says:

        Yes, and Today tried the ‘The lobbyists were all to blame’ angle at 7.10, when John Humphrys interviewed Prof David Miller of Strathclyde University, one of the founders of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency. This alliance’s definition of ‘lobbying’ seems to mean just ‘corporate lobbying’. Here are its members:
        Action Aid
        Campaign Against Arms Trade
        Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
        Corporate Watch
        Friends of the Earth
        National Union of Journalists
        Pesticides Action Network
        SPEAK Network
        Unlock Democracy
        War on Want
        World Development Movement Then Justin Webb kept trying the ‘they’re all as bad’ angle.He asked Sir George Young:There is a convenient distinction, isn’t there though, that is made between advice that is given and lobbying? One of the things that Geoff Hoon appears to have said is that ‘one of the challenges I’m really looking forward too’, this is a direct quotation, ‘is translating my knowledge and contacts about the international scene into something that frankly makes money’. Well that’s what former ministers of both parties have done for decades. I mean Lady Thatcher became advisor to Philip Morris.” (If in doubt blame Mrs Thatcher!!)“But just on the wider point though, a lot of people will see it only as a difference of degree. The fact is that a lot of former cabinet ministers of both parties (his emphasis) advise and have advised companies and what they’re selling is access.”Funny how the ‘there all as bad’ angle wasn’t pushed over all those months when BBC interviewers harried the Conservatives over Lord Ashcroft.


  9. Roland Deschain says:

    Hasn’t Nick Robinson gone quiet now the Ashcroft angle has been (temporarily) exhausted and there’s no more political sleaze to be discussed?


  10. Beeboidal says:

    In the Ben Wheeler piece, Wheeler also quotes a member a member of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency – Tamsin Cave.

    The BBC – When the shit hits the fan for Labour, seeking out to a lefty collective spokesperson is what we do.


    • Craig says:

      Guess what? Dr David Miller of the corporate-bashing left-wing Alliance for Lobbying Transparency was back on the BBC today.

      After his starring role on yesterday’s Today. he was on this lunchtime’s The World at One where he spent his entire interview with Martha Kearney attacking the Tories: “There are about 60 prospective parliamentary candidates in the coming election who have not yet been elected who have links to the lobbying industry, who work as lobbyists. Of those the large bulk of them are Conservatives.”

      He went on to attack two Conservative prospective parliamentary candidates personally and had nothing bad to say about Labour.

      The BBC are really keen on this organisation.


  11. NRG says:

    Even the Wall Street Journal smells a Beeboid rat

    An extraordinary spin operation seems to have convinced parts of the BBC that actually there’s not much to see here, and that the real story is that ministers are condemning their former colleagues (well, they would, wouldn’t they, as someone from another scandal once put it). And also that Gordon Brown is determined to take action against lobbyists, something he seems to have overlooked in either the last three or 13 years.


  12. Roland Deschain says:

    How strange.  Not only has Nick Robinson suddenly gone very quiet (and closed off comments on his blog), but Andrew Neil’s blog has now disappeared from the sidebar of The Editors blogpage.

    Perhaps they think Mr Neil might give the appearance of bias, because he questions global warming?


  13. George R says:

    “Why did the BBC pull its punches on the lobbying scandal? “

    “Is Jo Moore working in the BBC newsroom? I only ask because of the bizarre decision to bury the Stephen ‘cab for hire”’Byers story at the bottom of last night’s main TV news bulletin. The item, when it came, was thorough and balanced enough, but its placing in the running order and the failure to flag it up in the headlines at the top of the programme sent out a clear signal that this was not really such a big deal, when it clearly is.”


  14. George R says:

    BBC’s pro-Labour Radio 4 ‘PM’ programme converts ‘ mainly Labour MPs’ will to sell service to companies, to ‘politicans’ willing to sell services, courtesy Machiavelli’s chum , BBC’s E. Mair -(at about 17: 43 local time).

    ‘Sky News’: “Labour MPs call for Byers, to be thrown out of Party”

    ‘Dispatches’ on Channel 4 TV tonight.

    Video clip:-


  15. It's all too much says:

    The amazing metamorphosis of Labour Sleaze into a generalised political issue….

    BBC in full diversion mode:  Sickening.  Until 1/2 an hour ago They didn’t even mention the Labour party, but ‘conservatives’ did get mentioned.  Now all of a sudden a new story to lead on –

    “they are all as bad as each other” is the meme

    When did this investigation take place? – it couldn’t have happened over night.
    When did the BBC decide to run it?
    Why did the BBC try to run it?

    And by the way BBC trolls – Gibraltar is not “a foreign Government”…


  16. Guest says:

    Popped over to the political blogs to see how they have managed to weasel around this latest less than sterling outing by Gordon and his GOATs.

    Guess what… ‘lockdown’. Or, excuse me, ‘watertight oversight’. So concerned are they that the facts get checked for long enough that they don’t need to be shared until time has passed, that tumbleweed is evident.

    In fact I thought it was a school holiday as so much bad for their chums has gone on for so long they all seem to have gone on sabbatical. 

    Anyway, at least Nick Robinson’s has been left, with cobwebs, comments closed of course, on the only real issue of the era… Ashcroft.

    Maybe Labour need to do one of those Oxfam charts on AGW supporters, but one might need a pretty wide screen to get the BBC’s location relative to the median in.