Is the BBC biased’s Sue has spotted that the BBC has apologised to Peter Hitchens for misrepresenting his views on UKIP.
On Sunday Hitchens was in the Mail with this:
I don’t like UKIP or its leader, Nigel Farage. They are the Dad’s Army of British politics, doddery, farcical and very unclear about what they are actually for.
But they have Captain Mainwaring’s virtues too. They are absolutely certain about what they are against, in this case an aloof political establishment that despises the concerns of normal human beings.
They are also indomitable when under attack. And they need to be. I have taken a close interest in British politics since I was a schoolboy, and I have never seen a more disgraceful alliance between politicians and their media toadies than the one that has been secretly made to do down UKIP.
On one day last week, almost every unpopular newspaper carried a cartoon portraying Nigel Farage as ugly, stupid or embattled, or all three.
Last Wednesday, the insider magazine Private Eye also claimed that the Leftist daily The Guardian had made a secret deal with the Tory Party, which claims to be conservative.
The Tories, it was alleged, had promised the favourite newspaper of the liberal elite a steady supply of damaging stories about UKIP candidates saying daft things (Tories, of course, never say daft things). In return, the newspaper had promised to avoid identifying the source.
Such stories are immediately picked up by BBC radio and TV news channels, which view The Guardian as sacred text. Asked about the allegation, The Guardian drew itself up to its full height and snapped: ‘The Guardian does not disclose its sources.’ (A certain Sarah Tisdall, who went to prison 30 years ago after The Guardian handed over documents that disclosed her as its source, might disagree.)
Well, there you have it. The Tory Party and The Guardian (and the BBC) are all united against UKIP. That would seem the best possible reason to vote UKIP. It also tells you who and what the Conservative Party really is.
The BBC in its news brief on Sunday (5mins 15 secs) was highly slective in its quotes…..it quotes the Mirror on UKIP saying it has uncovered ‘Racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rants’
They then select this quote from Hitchen’s piece: [Ukip are] ‘doddery, farcical and very unclear about what they are actually for.’
And then quote the Sunday People calling UKIP ‘a bunch of racist loonies’
It the goes on to reveal that the Observer (The Guardian) wants you to know how the wonderful EU has brought us equal pay, improved human rights and parental rights at work.
Nice final touch…a bit of pro-EU propaganda.
Hitchens then complained about his views being misrepresented:
I invite readers to follow the link (below) to today’s news Briefing’. At about 5.40 a.m., it quotes from my column item about UKIP, which (as you can see from the blog posting immediately before this) concerned the ganging up of the Tories and the left-wing media to attack UKIP in an unprecedented fashion, and whose headline pretty much urges people to vote UKIP.
Now, please listen to the extract from my article which was broadcast, and ask yourselves if this is in any way an accurate reflection of what I wrote or (in the context of the other extracts from other newspapers broadcast alongside it) a proper exercise of the BBC’s absolute duty of impartiality (specifically required by the Royal Charter which establishes the BBC and allows it to levy the licence fee) in matters of current controversy, and especially in party political matters, and even more especially party political matters during the weeks immediately before an election.
The BBC has now apologised:
Tedious technical problems have prevented me from posting news of an extraordinary development in my latest tussle with the BBC.
They have, promptly and apparently without reservations, apologised for misrepresenting me in ‘News Briefing’ on Radio 4 on Sunday morning.
The apology runs thus :‘ We acknowledge that the quote used in the paper review did not accurately reflect the full nature of your article. We apologise, and would like to assure you that your concerns were raised with the relevant editorial staff at BBC News.’
Obviously, this can only be the start. The clear and swift admission of fault by the BBC only strengthens my desire to pursue the matter, since the action has much wider significance than my annoyance at being misrepresented.
How did this happen? How was it a) done and b) approved for transmission?
What about the context? Why were the articles selected for the press review all hostile to UKIP (except mine, which was made to seem so)?
And what about the breach of due impartiality, enjoined on the BBC in its Charter and especially important in the days immediately before an election?
I have submitted a further complaint, pointing out that these matters have not been dealt with. I will let readers know what happens.
With the election just 4 days away at the time of the broadcast the BBC was clearly playing politics in this little broadcast.
But hey what’s new?