This is already old news, but I thought I’d plonk the BBC coverage of the Referendum results above the parapet for all who would like a record of it in one prominent place. It’s from 10 pm on the 23rd till 1 pm on the 24th:
I imagine the BBC found itself in quite a dilemma here: though yearning to express its pro-Remain bias as the results came in, it must have realised that the pretence of impartiality had never been quite so critical. And so, with a fairly straight face and a tremendous effort, it managed to behave for the most part like a responsible news organisation.
However, the inbuilt bias was clearly revealed in a number of strange ways:
At 9:50 minutes in on Part 1, Jeremy Vine stands next to a yellow and blue strip, which have both just reached the end of their referendum race. The yellow strip is in the foreground and much wider with ‘Remain’ clearly perched in front of it in black while the white ‘Leave’ text is invisible, having merged with the white finish line. At 9:53, Vine’s leg blocks that meeting between Leave and the finish line. At the end of his demonstration, Vine says, “We put them 50-50 here,” but of course it was more like 75-25.
At 14:20 on Part 2 Dimbleby talks to Arron Banks, founder of Leave.EU, “who helped fund the leave campaign.” At 15:50 he asks him, “How much did you give to the campaign, yourself.” On hearing that it was six million pounds, Dimbleby asks, “Why?” Amazingly, Banks responds politely rather than telling Dimbleby it was none of his damn business. It was difficult to hear Banks. Those unfamiliar with the antics of the BBC would have thought that was purely a technical malfunction.
Then of course there is the funereal announcement by Dimbleby, at 2:39:30 on Part 2, that the ’75 referendum had been reversed as there was no chance of Remain overtaking Leave.
And at 3:21:30 on Part 2, Dimbleby asks Andrea Leadsom, “How can you have calm reflection when the world is falling about your…feet.” She politely points out that it isn’t.
At the end of a speech by Nigel Farage at 1:27:05 on Part 3, Dimbleby says, “Nigel Farage, who has now made by my reckoning three speeches …in fact when he sees a camera he makes another speech.” This was a Dimbleby theme re Farage on the night: somehow he felt justified to mock him for perceived inadequacies like “changing his mind.”
Andrew Neil takes over on Part 4, ending the nudge-nudge, wink-wink Dimbleby bias, subdued though it was by circumstances.
At 22:40, Victoria Derbyshire talks informally to a panel from the public, apparently representing various shades of opinion on the referendum. Fox News had a very similar format during the primaries and I was wondering whether the BBC copied it from Fox. But I can’t imagine any BBC hacks ever watching a Fox broadcast. If caught in the act, they’d never live it down.
Well, as we’ve seen over the past weeks, the BBC has bounced back after the great trauma of the Brexit win and is energetically pushing all the doom and gloom propaganda it can. May it suffer many more such blows. Maybe, just maybe, it has learned a lesson from Brexit.
Sunday Update: Thanks to Dazed and Confused for linking to the full BBC referendum coverage in one video.