More Question Time Bias

So where is Question Time coming from this week – the week of savage cuts spending rising but not as much as it was previously?

One day after the the Comprehensive Spending Review it’s coming from Middlesbrough which is ranked as 324th out of 324 council areas by Experian (well spotted Tim). In other words (according to the BBC website) it “will be the least resilient to such public sector cuts.

Could the location be any more deliberate, more calculated or more biased?

Hannan Calls BBC Bias On Elected Police Chiefs

The excellent Dan Hannan MEP raises the issue of BBC bias in the issue of directly elected police chiefs on his Telegraph blog today:

There was a snotty, sneering, superior piece about elected sheriffs on Radio 4’s PM programme this evening. Inevitably, it included an interview with Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Sheriff Joe admires the Republicans, thinks there is too much illegal immigration, is beastly to scoundrels and enjoys vast support. This, in Beebworld, makes him a one-man argument against democratic policing. Indeed, until now, BBC audiences might have been forgiven for believing that Mr Arpaio was the only sheriff in the United States.


Today’s feature branched out very slightly, and interviewed one other sheriff candidate, a chap from rural Alabama who seemed to have been chosen because a) his accent would make British listeners think of Mississippi Burning and b) his name was Jimmy Ray Swindle.

You get the idea. Allow people to choose who directs their local police force and you are likely to get racists, half-wits or crooks – often with hilarious redneck names. Just in case we missed the message, the correspondent spelt it out with his closing words: “While popular elections may increase direct accountability, it [sic] doesn’t necessarily lead to better policing”.

The tone of the BBC article and their hostility to elected police chiefs is understandable. The BBC and ACPO will defend each other because circling the wagons is the only way to prevent accountability being forced on them.

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT..

A Biased BBC reader spots the delights offered on RADIO 4 in just one day..

“Beyond Belief: Santuary” 

A look at Britain’s history of offering sanctuary to those fearing persecution. 

“The Mossad” 

The BBC’s Security Correspondent talks to the world’s most feared and fabledsecurity services.

“Face The Facts” 

Is the legal aid system failing asylum lawyers and their clients?

“Alan Johnson: Failed Rock Star” 

Alan Johnson meets people who have tasted the fame he craved in the 1960s

“Women’s future in Afghanistan” 

How will women’s rights be affected oncecoalition troops leave? 

Tuesday 03/08/2010

The BBC and Afghanistan – Every Little Helps..

• US in Afghanistan failure warning
• Italians mourn Afghanistan dead
• UK army ‘rotten’, Iraq probe told

Full marks for BBC News today – three of the top online headlines fitted neatly into one of the key items on the Corporation’s agenda which appears to be to do everything possible to build up the Taliban as the genuine voice of the Afghan people and to undermine the NATO mission in Afghanistan (and also to remind us of previous problems in Iraq). Remember a few weeks ago when Paxman was haranguing the Afghan ambassador to Britain about electoral “corruption” and a proposed law allowing an Afghan husband to starve his wife to death if she refuses to have sex with him. Paxo forgot to mention that corruption was rife under the rule of the Taliban, that the wife starving law was designed as a political titbit to attract Taliban supporters and that the Taliban are explicitly opposed to elections or, indeed, any form of democratic political structure.

Keep tuned in for many further “failure”, “quagmire”, “probe” headlines unless, of course, the McChrystal/ Petraeus surge starts to work then Afghanistan will disappear from the BBC headlines just as it Iraq did during the Bush surge in 2007/2008 (derided and disdained by every talking head until it started to work…..)

Mardell OBNs Obama

The President of cool, calm and thoughtful

If there was a message, it was about tone. Opinion polls seem to show that whatever people think of his policies, people like the president. His calm and thoughtful manner, the impression that he will look at a picture in the round, rather than make a knee-jerk judgement, seems to go down well. This interview showed him as almost professorial, like a distinguished figure from a think-tank, compared with the Obama who roused the troops when he talked to the unions, or indeed when he addressed Congress. The message is that Obama is still keeping his cool, and sticking to long-term goals.

Mardell has only been BBC blogging for a few weeks but it is quite clear that he is attempting to out Dionne E J Dionne himself in reaching for that coveted place in Private Eye’s OBN spot. The gospel according to Mardell is crystal clear. Here is a cool,calm, reasonable guy just trying to do his best to keep his fellow Americans healthy by setting up a government controlled insurance option and a handful of wingnuts were dominating the media and drowning out reasonable debate

Indeed, in the four or five speeches I heard on the radio, details of tax rises and healthcare were hardly mentioned: the theme was “recapturing America” from “tyranny” and regaining “freedom”.

Mardell’s answer? Obama needs to “rise above” the 24 hour news cycle, focus on strategy and leave his “foot soldiers” (orchestrated, one assumes, by David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel) to deal with things at the tactical level.

The implication here is that the US media (TV and print) is allied with Obama’s opponents in ferociously undermining the administration’s healthcare proposals….if only! The big guns of the US media (with the exception of Murdoch’s Fox channel and his papers) are as dominated by the left as the BBC over here. The Tea Party healthcare protests stemmed from a similar spontaneous grassroots movement opposing the magnitude huge burden of debt being placed on future generations by the Obama/Pelosi/Reid stimulus. The Tea Parties had been happening for months, well reported in the blogosphere but generally ignored by the US media (and, naturally, the BBC)

Whilst painting the opponents of Obamacare as a noisy, angry minority Mardell conveniently forgets the fact that most polls are currently reporting the USA as either evenly divided or with a slight majority against the proposals..

But then the US networks and the Beeb, so meticulous in reporting anti Bush demos, Hurricane disasters and corrupt Republican politicians, suddenly developed tunnel vision once the Democrats took over. Hence little or nothing was reported about the background of Obama’s prospective “Green Czar” Van Jones until the blogosphere pushed it forward. To be fair to Mardell it was bubbling just before he arrived (ignored by Justin Webb, of course, until Jones resigned) but nothing about the current ACORN scandal from either Mardell or, apparently, BBC News.

No doubt about it – apparatchnik Mardell toeing the BBC line in the USA as diligently as he did in Europe….

Burial of Respect

Melanie Phillips has an article about the Tories’ new policy on marriage and the family. Towards the end she writes:

“A two-part programme for the BBC by the respected journalist John Ware about ‘The Death Of Respect’, which identifies family breakdown as an important reason for the rise of aggression, incivility and crime, has been moved by channel controllers from a prime 9pm slot to the ‘graveyard’ 11.20pm time because it is considered to be ‘too dark’.”

I couldn’t find any more about this cowardly decision by the ‘channel controllers,’ but if this is true it’s pathetic.
I did find:

“What a pity, therefore, that the BBC have chosen to schedule this show in a graveyard slot instead of putting it on earlier opposite Big Brother, for instance.”

Carry on Complaining

Grimer has drawn our attention on the general thread to the inadequacies of the complaints procedure. The BBC does have one, and complaints are sometimes upheld. If they are, what is the outcome?
When the the horse has bolted – and no one seems to know how to shut the stable door – they say something like:
“Editors were reminded that, when there is an active controversy over an issue, it is important to consider carefully how to reflect varying shades of opinion.”

Continue to perpetuate inaccurate misleading agenda-driven misinformation because that’s all you know, till another complaint is made, we uphold it, ad infinitum? In other words carry on regardless.

BIAS, BIAS EVERYWHERE!

In the opening words of one of my favourite songs “Oh I just don’t know where to begin……” (Can you guess the classic malady from which these words linger?). I’ve been very busy trying to ensure that at least some UK business operates successfully without the obliging hand of the State so hence ongoing lack of posts from yours truly! That said, I HAVE been listening to the BBC dutifully and today alone I was struck by several instances of what I perceive to be BBC bias, so prepare yourselves…

Fed Up

People often say “I happen to believe..” Well, beliefs don’t just HAPPEN, something influences them. If ever a subject you know about hits the news, while allowing for the fact that news reporting is necessarily selective, you realise that what governs the particular selection is not impartiality, not clarity or simplification, it’s the agenda. It doesn’t HAPPEN to be the agenda, it’s welded to it.

Binyam Mohamed. Does the existence of two telegrams-full of questions amount to proof that MI5 colluded in torture? We are being told that MI5 ‘insists’ that it didn’t collude. This reminds me of the way they report that Israel ‘claims’ things, it has a similar implied cynicism.

Are we being ‘fed’ an agenda, to be scornful of MI5, while also being ‘fed’ that we should, for now at least, accept Binyam Mohamed’s innocence. His story is not called a ‘claim’ or an ‘insistence’, because we are being told to feel that there is an injustice. A human rights atrocity, so we must forget about all the rest.

Does the fact that MI5 supplied questions amount to collusion in the torture? Surely MI5 are entitled to be curious about Binyam, seeing as he’s a British resident and all.
However, I only know about the whole thing through the ‘agenda’ and I realise that this means I know next to nothing. Maybe he is innocent, maybe MI5 did collude. But I don’t want to be ‘fed’ that by the BBC. I don’t HAPPEN to trust what I am being fed, and I’ve had enough. Please may I leave the table.


Best placed?


The IMF is not optimistic: it’s cut its 2009 growth forecast for the global economy to 2.2% from the previous estimate of 3%, as this report from the Beeb just about manages to mention at the end. And, more relevantly, in this piece yesterday about the rate cut. But can you guess what nugget of information readers of the Beeb’s reports miss out on?

  • The Independent: Britain, in particular, is heading for trouble, the IMF said, predicting that the UK would suffer a more serious recession than any other developed country in the world during 2009.
  • The Times: Britain is now forecast to bear the brunt of the global slump, with its GDP plunging by 1.3 per cent in what would be the worst year for the UK since the economy shrank by 1.4 per cent in 1991.
  • The Telegraph: Britain’s economy will suffer and will see the steepest decline in G7 club of leading powers, shrinking 1.3pc as the crunch in the City of London leads to more job losses.

Regular readers won’t be surprised, though, because unfortunately this is becoming a bit of a habit at the Beeb.

They did it!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the result is historic. As for the BBC’s coverage, well thanks for your comments. Iain Dale was also unimpressed, and as evidence of the Beeb’s standing at home and abroad, here’s an American perspective:

The real fun network of the night was BBC America, which picked up the BBC feed being aired back in England. The coverage played like a good-natured “Idiot’s Guide to the American Election,” with references to such states as “North Hampshire.”

After all the hard work, though, it’s only right that the last word goes to the Beeb. And who better than John Simpson (a troll challenge here: can anyone make a convincing case Simpson might have voted Republican?) :

The United States has seen the biggest transformation in its standing in the world since the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960.

This is a country which has habitually, sometimes irritatingly, regarded itself as young and vibrant, the envy of the world. Often this is merely hype. But there are times when it is entirely true.

With Barack Obama’s victory, one of these moments has arrived

UPDATE: Iain Dale fleshes out his criticism of the Beeb’s coverage here: references to John Bolton’s outburst, “car crash TV”, and a note that this should be David Dimbleby’s last election make it well worth reading.