Brussels Broadcasting Corporation

The BBC probably thought they were doing their bit for balance by inviting Helen Szamuely of the Eurosceptical blog EU Referendum onto a discussion with Zainab Badawi.

On the other hand, they might have considered that UK feelings about the EU are not at all warm, and that two pro-EU bloggers out of three was a touch imbalanced. There was Nosemonkey, a “critically pro-EU and centrist” blogger, Shiraz Socialist, a “moderately angry nouveau-middle-class leftwinger” (I’ll refer to him as SS), and Szamuely, a lovable if crotchety Eurosceptic (I am sure she will love the description). Of the three, I am pretty certain Szamuely’s blog has much the largest readership (circa 3000 daily visits).

Then again, perhaps we should look at another metric- time alloted to speakers. In this regard, by my rough reckoning, Szamuely got 92 seconds, Nosemonkey 112, and Shiraz Socialist 134. Shiraz also got the last word, in which he claimed that EU institutions need to be strengthened. He had also been given the first word, fed to him by Badawi, that politicians in general were in the doghouse. Very conveniently, following that the whole discussion managed to omit mention of which party are firmly in the doghouse. People were angry with the recession, they said, but the “L” word went missing.

Now to the tone- it was clear that Badawi was “ready” for Ms Szamuely. She interrupted her several times and disputed with her the “usefulness” of the EU Parliament (Szamuely had a ready retort about Commission overrules of Parliamnetary objections, but that got lost in Badawi’s hectoring). Badawi interrupted her too when she mentioned UKIP, clarifying who they were while Szamuely was in full flow. Then, during the discussion wind up, she told Szamuely (who we have seen got less time) to say “briefly” how she saw the UK public mood, and repeated that “briefly” so that she could give time to… SS.

She did not once interrupt SS, nor dispute with him when he claimed that EU institutions need strengthening, nor when he stated that people were angry about the (his word) “laissez-faire” economics of recent times. She even murmurred, “mmm, yes” at one stage.

Nosemonkey was mainly there for posing value, but he managed to slip in a cheap jab about Tory MPs resigning over expenses which Badawi… let go, surprisingly.

All in all then, a startlingly biased presentation, once you look closely. But see for yourself and make up your own mind by watching the video on EU Referendum’s blog.

It’s not the jokes, it’s how you tell ’em

(NB: This post is not by Natalie, but by occasional B-BBC poster Niall Kilmartin.)

It’s not the jokes, it’s how you tell ’em: BBC red-button news this morning reported the arrests in the US. The final sentence of the report was:

New York has been on alert for a new terror assault since the 9/11 attack claimed by Al Quaida militants

(no emphasis in original) Al Quaida do indeed claim the attack and one would hardly accuse them of lacking militancy, so the sentence is not factually wrong. It seems an odd way to put it – except, I suppose, inside the BBC, where it presumably seems natural to phrase things to accommodate the ‘truther’ viewpoint. (As the post below suggests, some other viewpoints get less consideration.)

Similar ‘how you tell it’ thoughts occurred to me during last night’s 10 o’clock BBC news in a piece on the never-ending expenses scandals. As usual, numbers were balanced: they mentioned one Labour MP and one Tory MP (there are few LibDem MPs so I concede some difficulties in their mentioning a LibDem every time as well). The report on Hazel Blears consisted almost entirely of a summary of Labour MPs’ sympathy for her and criticism of Gordon’s criticism. It was all reportage of others’ views but it had a ‘sorry for her’ flavour and lacked balancing hostile remarks – except Gordon’s, and ‘her behaviour was unacceptable but she’s doing a great job’ (I paraphrase) is already balanced, whatever else you may say about it. No such considerate remarks were reported of the Tory MP whose ducks benefited from our taxes; no suggestion that spending public money on wildlife habitat was very much the norm these days. 🙂 To be sure, there were probably no sympathetic remarks to report: David Cameron’s statement about him was not as ‘balanced’ as Gordon’s about Hazel, and if any Tory felt otherwise, perhaps they (wisely) kept it to themselves.

TESCO -EVERY LITTLE HELPS, LABOUR.

Remarkable to see the BBC leading it’s main news with the fact that Tesco have clocked up record profits. Not so much focus on the international scope of the Tesco performance but hey, when the role of the State Broadcaster is to hype up green shoots of recovery, every little helps, right? Lord Leahy anyone?

THE RECESSION IS OVER…..

…go back to your constituencies and prepare for victory! So goes the BBC narrative on behalf of the Labour government this morning, with useful fools like the CBI chipping in to try and help the hapless Darling. It’s amazing to listen to the Today programme shill that the UK has “almost certainly” left the worst of the..shall we call it a downturn to save blushes? – behind it. Even Nick Robinson popped up to declare that after an “awful” post G20 period, (Even though everyone agrees the G2O was a great success for the Gordfather, he swiftly added) it was back to business as usual today. But I disagree. EVERY day is business as usual as the State Broadcaster does all it can to big up the pro-Labour narrative – and between now and the end of this week the mission will be to implant the idea in the general population that green shoots are now everywhere and that Darling has thoroughly prepared the Nation for recovery. All delusional, of course, but also all part of why the BBC exists.




KEEPING HILLSBOROUGH ALIVE

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It’s amazing how much attention the Hillsborough story is getting from the BBC. We have already covered the hype surrounding the two minute silence but today, the BBC is now pushing the self-serving Labour spun angle that “secret files” could be made available to cast new light on what happened that day over twenty years ago. Of course headlines this are quite helpful to Jacqui Smith and co, aren’t they?




OLEAGINOUS VAZ

It never ceases to sicken me the way in which the BBC seems to be besotted with the loathsome Keith Vaz. In this story, note how they use Vaz to try and undermine Boris Johnson. Pathetic stuff – ever since Boris won the BBC have been doing everything possible to try and get their pal Livingstone back into office next time round. That’s one reason why Red Ken is never off the BBC. I know Boris has his frailties, and he says many things I do not agree with, but quite frankly this sort of petty nonsense is just a bit of character assassination.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

Don’t get me wrong. I think we can all feel a little sorry for Gordon Brown these days – at least until we look at our pensions, or our children’s futures. The BBC were really doing us all a kindness when they kept his poor rictus grin off the screens as Nigel Farage and Dan Hannan tore into him the other day. It was painful to see him.

But when Gordon’s advisers study the polls and attempt to get some more positive media coverage for him, there’s no need for the republicans in the BBC (i.e. 97% of the staff) to go quite so far overboard. Is the fact that the Great Leader is attempting to browbeat HRH over the tragic Royal discrimination against Catholics really worthy of the main headline on all BBC channels and the website this morning ?

It’s certainly not a subject that exercises Catholics, and I don’t think that’s what the recent trouble in Northern Ireland’s about either. The only people who are really bothered by it are the usual left wing suspects (who generally can’t stand Catholics unless they’re armed, anti-British and homicidal) and Lib Dem MP Evan Harris.

Why the BBC is acting as a megaphone for Gordon’s “diversionary exercise” I simply can’t understand – any more than I can understand why Robert Peston does the same for him on the economics front.

(of course the problem with the Act of Successsion is that Britain is (formally) not a secular democracy, but an explicitly religious state, with the head of state also head of the state church. Once discrimination against Catholics is removed, the basis of the UK constitution must also change. And why stop at Catholics ? Discrimination is discrimination, surely ? Shouldn’t Prince William be able to marry someone like Chah Oh-Niyol Kai Whitewind ?)

BETTER ONE INNOCENT MAN GOES FREE..

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……than the BBC leads with the truly shocking UK unemployment figures now showing two million + unemployed! Do you share my surprise that the BBC has been LEADING the news agenda today with the release of Sean Hodgson, convicted of murder in 1982, based on new DNA evidence? I can understand that his release is not a minor story BUT I would have thought that with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs that was deemed a more significant news story for the UK public? Perhaps the BBC was doing the Dear Leader a little favour today by elevating a story about the miscarriage of justice that so concern our dear liberal BBC friends?

HURRAY FOR PREZZA

Been too busy to blog but just wondered did anyone else hear John Prescott being interviewed this morning on Today? Only the BBC would consider Prezza as a suitable candidate with which to discuss rewarding parasitic fatcats. Do you think they were doing irony? Suffice to say Prezza gave his usual socialism uber alles speech, lovingly lapped up by the BBC.

THE GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY SPOTTED ON THE BBC!

I had to laugh at the outrageously easy ride that Alistair Darling was afforded by Sarah Montague on the BBC this morning. Did you catch the “interview”? Here it is if you dare to listen. In essence, Darling was allowed to repeat the narrative that Labour is “re-building the banking sector” (That it helped destroy) and that he and Prudence are now preparing for “the recovery phase.” Now Darling is atrocious at the best of times but in all fairness he managed to get through this “interview” without even the vaguest hint that Labour has been up to its’ scrawny neck in creating the mess in which our financial system finds itself. I also noted that Montague suggests that banks are “too big to fail”. Who says so? Perhaps they are too big to subsidise? It strikes me that that the BBC sees this entire financial crisis as an opportunity to extend the reach of The State and this colours interviews such as this.