Bias comes in many guises. A Biased BBC reader notes concern about the BBC using non-BBC material on news bulletins and their NORTHERN IRELAND website without declaration or caveat;

“In the case of the driver last night in Newtownabbey a clip of the incident was played this morning at 9am on Radio Ulster with I think no introduction at all and certainly no mention of the source of the material and without the usual “the BBC has not been able to verify this” caveat as done on Syria.

This was what they did last summer by endlessly displaying at the top of their website, the clip supplied by Sinn Fein of the band parading in circles outside St Patrick’s which emphasis ensured marches along Donegall Street became a huge issue for months, and will be for decades. They also failed entirely to put the matter in any context  e.g. one small fact being circling was what the band did when the parade stopped, anywhere. Do they have protocols for such use of externally supplied material and if so why aren’t they using them here? Would they use the same editorial judgment to broadcast if it was a strike and picket by hospital or transport workers (like BA stewards two years ago)?”


Subsequently the BBC have rephrased the wording to the incident. The are no longer claiming he was a road user?? However the BBC are still saying he was stopped from trying to visit his seriously ill wife in hospital. This is completely at odds with the eye witness accounts.


BBC NI website 16.47 12 Jan

‘In Rathcoole in Newtownabbey, a distressed pensioner pleaded with protesters to let him pass through a road block so he could make his way to visit his seriously ill wife in hospital.
The protesters jeered at the elderly man and refused to let him through.’

BBC presenter William Crawley has been lobbing fairly provocative if seemingly  innocuous comment on to his Facebook page every couple of hours says:

William Crawley 2 hours ago via Twitter

  • Contrary to rumours of fake audio, the recording of a distressed pensioner last night was made by BBC reporters live at the scene.

Impartially reporting the facts or vigourously pursuing an agenda?

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16 Responses to SOURCES…

  1. Span Ows says:

    I would bet money it was set up: I have no doubt the old guy was there, was jeered at and that the BBC interviewed him…however, this is a classic tactic: remember the guy in the wheelchair that the police brutally tipped out/moved on; remember every demonstration there has been there are convenient cameos always in from to reporters/cameras? Tail wag dog, don’t hope something happens; make it happen.


  2. Guest Who says:

    ‘The BBC – sources who say (anything the pre-pro meetings want and edit suites can concoct)’.
    Contrary to rumours, what BBC reporters live or otherwise come up with is often hardly worth much any more.
    Oh, and this William Crawley…?:
    ‘Occasionally think. And sometimes tweet. Don’t blame the BBC if I say something daft.’
    Who recently felt the need to re-iterate..:
    William Crawley ‏@williamcrawley
    For the record: a retweet is NOT an endorsement. It’s just a way to share comments to provoke thought and possible response.

    And this…
    William Crawley ‏@williamcrawley
    @campsiebear retweets are not endorsements – that’s how it works

    That one?
    One might suspect he’s rather teetering on a back foot or too there.
    DavidP’s twitter list just gained a few beauts. He seems to be of a Vinesque nature when it comes to BBC staff being selective how they choose to RT but without the balance being held to account.


  3. DJ says:

    Not only that, but I hear his wife was only in hospital because she was injured in a US drone strike on a wedding!

    But what’s with a ‘distressed pensioner’ anyway? This is a news organisation that endlessly warns about the influence of the ‘Gun Lobby’, ‘Big Oil’ and the like. Why so coy about who exactly Mr Distressed Pension is?

    Yep, my thoughts exactly!

    Still, it’s good to see someone is still paying attention to Pallywood. Meanwhile, the BBC will still refuse to report on actual violence committed by you-know-who in northern towns because it claims it needs to ‘fact check’ stuff that been proven in a court of law.


  4. AsISeeIt says:

    Mildly hilarious what exactly has to jump through precisely what hoops before it airs on the BBC.

    Antony Jay explains that his new series of Yes Prime Minister will be broadcast not on the BBC but on UKTV Gold.

    The BBC insisted they would have to do a ‘pilot’ before they could commission a series of this ground breaking new comedy concept!

    Well, you can’t be too careful, can you?


  5. hothandsdave says:

    france24’s coverage of the belfast riots has been a model of accuracy and objectivity. they make it clear that the direct cause is a concession to `separatists ` and more indirectly a political agenda that has been set in the interests of `separatists`.


  6. Colditz says:

    Recycling news images and clips is pretty common practice which has probably lessened with the rise of the web allowing easy scrutiny. A few years back I caught out Radio 1 resusing a clip about a soldier which had been used 30 minutes before on Radio 4 for a quite different story.

    It was used by Raymond Snoddy on his feedback programme and the news editor grovelled on air for this error. I suspect someone assumed nobody listening to Radio 4 would really want Chris Moyles as well…

    It’s lazy unprofessional journalism. Not really bias. Like the delivery man hiding your parcel in the bin rather than with a neighbour as happened last week.


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘It’s lazy unprofessional journalism. Not really bias.’
      Yes, and possibly.
      Still, at a compelled £4Bpa no matter what, not optimal.
      When they make stuff up to suit what may not be accurate, it would be nice to have the option of leaving them to it without still being forced to pay.
      You never know, they may stop doing it.


  7. Fred Sage says:

    How come? A flag flown in England is the Union Jack and the same flag flown in Northern Ireland is the Union Flag?


    • Mick McDonald says:

      It’s the Union Flag everywhere except when flown at sea, when it becomes the Union Jack. It’s a common mistake made by many.


      • John says:

        Usage is definition. It’s commonly referred to as the Union Jack in all situations and that term is widely understood and accepted. Union Jack or Union Flag are both valid. Union Flag can be confusing for Americans – and yes it’s equally valid to call US citizens ‘Americans’.


  8. McEnroe says:

    Those nice masked men who set up a road block are actually jolly nice fellows, this is all a Republican conspiracy.

    Yes, Mr Vance, you are vigourously pursuing an agenda. Not very convincingly though.


  9. John says:

    BBC biased or just lazy?
    I’ve already told the BBC about 20 hours ago that is simply wrong to say that the nationalists have a majority on Belfast City Council – but the news report has not been corrected.
    Even wikipedia has been corrected but the BBC is still saying something that’s wrong, misleading and easy to have got right in the first place. Why?


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