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The BBC - it really isn't good enough.

Discussion in 'News' started by Jonntyboy, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I hardly need lessons about faulty generalisations, and using an exemplar of the standard I did in the way that I did is not one in any case!

    Of course GF is biased - nobody would deny that. But that doesn't mean that all the figures of data or even the opinions on the site are incorrect. The Guardian is biased, but one doesn't - or shouldn't - dismiss every statement within it as wrong, as they patently are not.

    I agree that there were later caveats in the programme we discussed. But the main effect was, as (I believe) intended, another attack on the government. Right at the start - the first 5 seconds - is what catches people's attention, and it did that right enough.

    It's not always the data or the actual factual content of a programme that gives rise to the bias; often it can be tone, words used, even expression. These can be hard to quantify in words, but any teacher knows the difference that a child will immediately pick up between the two identical questions: "Where have you been?" and "Where have YOU been?"

    As an example, the three statements below are essentially the same and are all factually correct but can be used to give three different impressions by a simple change of one word. It's on page 2 of the journalist's "How to be biased without any comeback" manual...

    "I believe that the issue of the malfunction of the weapon was quickly resolved and that there was no danger to the public. It was essentially something technical and well within the tolerance of such an experimental project." (Quote from the Defence Secretary)

    Reporter 1: - supportive and exculpatory:
    "The Defence Secretary explained that there had been a problem." (Impression: there had, but he's been honest about it so good for him).

    Reporter 2: unbiased either way:
    "The Defence Secretary stated that there had been a problem." (Impression: there had, and we all know it and accept it).

    Reporter 2: accusatory and disbelieving:
    "The Defence Secretary denied there had been a problem." (Impression: there had, but he wants to pretend there hadn't and he's a liar).

    But you know all this, of course. Still it's passed a few minutes whilst I await an email...
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Allow me a moment... so you think that the BBC is pro-government? That is supports Boris Johnson and the conservatives?

    That's a fascinating theory. Do you have any evidence to support it that you could share with us?
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter


    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    It may indeed not be ' good enough' but have you seen other countries' alternatives ?
  5. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Oh good! I was hoping you would quote the Cardiff study! As an example of how to use an academic study to get the answer you want it could hardly have been bettered. Some of its methodologies and comments actually beggar belief!

    And of course their remit - carefully set out by the BBC-dominated OFCOM (9 out of the 13 member board are ex BBC!) - was nothing to do with impartiality, which is the main issue we are discussing here, but was concerned with scope and depth of coverage. So, naturally, the anti-Conservative content of Newsnight and the complete anti-Brexit agenda was able to be ignored.

    Nonetheless, if you still want to believe that the BBC is pro-Tory, then that is your right. If you could just let me know the next time you hear a pro-Tory programme, I'd be really happy to listen to it on the i-player. It will be a real treat. ;) But I won't hold my breath...

    P.S. And going to the BBC Trust's site for examples to defend the BBC is probably not the most expedient of techniques for winning a discussion...! A bit like using Hare and Hounds as evidence that hunting is a very nice thing to be involved in really.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    Question Time is routinely pro-tory. The audience gets stacked with tories and 'kippers on a regular basis.
  7. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Where to begin?

    Perhaps with the old adage: When you're in hole...

    1. Humphrys
    You have claimed consistently that the BBC is anti-government / pro left. This is nonsense. Even if the accusation of the BBC being socially left-liberal is accurate ( which I'm willing to entertain for sake of argument ) that does not mean pro-Labour nor even pro-Liberal party, which is how you have presented it. It would appear that you don't understand the difference and why it is a schoolboy-error to conflate the two.

    Once again the person you have cited simply isn't alleging what you would like him to be. He's on record as saying that the BBC is a force for good. He was the BBC for many R4 listeners for decades ( so is/was Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson et al - look them up ) It is well documented that Humphrys was fed up with what he regards as the 'PC brigade'. That's his gripe. He has had major and recurring issues with women, including the gender pay gap ruling ( which cut his pay ), is on record as not 'getting' trans issues, he resented the rap across the knuckles he got for his programme of Welfare Reform etc etc. He thinks the 'liberal centre ground' is not where it ought to be. Personally, I take issue his stance on most, if not all, of those things, but that's irrelevant. I repeat: He's not saying the BBC is pro-Labour nor anti-Tory. He's not that stupid.

    Trying to use this video to exemplify 'the BBC is biased against the government' is as weak as trying to claim the doctor in the Spectator was proving anything you'd claimed earlier.

    'An exemplar of the standard' - aside from your failure to recognise that one man's subjective opinion is never going to be 'evidence' of wider BBC bias - it's not even an exemplar of the point you were hoping to make.
    Morninglover likes this.
  8. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    ...and then you go on about the tone of voice etc. "He looked at me funny" type stuff.


    Plato's theaetetus: True belief alone is not knowledge. In order for us to see reality we must have a true belief and sufficient evidence and justification for that belief. When a person is in good health, the wine may taste sweet, but when she is ill the same wine may taste bitter.
  9. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    In the spirit of fairness, I've copied the lot from wikipedia. Essentially both the left and the right see the BBC as biased against them. In the C20 it may have been true that there was a degree of left-sympathising. I genuinely don't see evidence of that being true today. The Johnson laughter track editing + doctored Corbyn image etc, plus the appointment of many right-wing sympathisers to key positions + revolving door to them leaving to seek positions in the Tory party - surely these things should make a Conservative voter rub their hands with glee?

    21st century
    BBC News forms a major department of the Corporation, and receives many complaints of bias. The Centre for Policy Studies stated, "Since at least the mid-1980s, the Corporation has often been criticised for a perceived bias against those on the centre-right of politics".[6] Similar allegations have been made by past and present employees such as Antony Jay,[7] North American editor Justin Webb, former editor of the Today programme Rod Liddle,[8] former correspondent Robin Aitken[9] and Peter Sissons, a former news presenter.

    The former political editor Andrew Marr argued in 2006 that the liberal bias of the BBC is the product of the types of people that it employs and so is cultural, not political. In 2011, Peter Oborne wrote in his Daily Telegraph blog, "Rather than representing the nation as a whole, it [the BBC] has become a vital resource – and sometimes attack weapon – for a narrow, arrogant Left-Liberal elite".[10]

    Speaking to journalists at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in 2009, Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, claimed that BBC News needed more people from the centre-right: "I wish they would go and actively look for some Conservatives to be part of their news-gathering team, because they have acknowledged that one of their problems is that people who want to work at the Corporation tend to be from the centre-left. That's why they have this issue with what Andrew Marr called an innate liberal bias".[11]

    Other commentators have taken the opposite view and criticised the BBC for being part of the establishment. The commentator Mehdi Hasan pointed out in the New Statesman the right-wing backgrounds of many BBC presenters and journalists and queried why even many "liberals and leftists" accept the right's description of BBC bias.[12] The Guardian columnist Owen Jones also believes that the BBC is biased towards the right since numerous key posts being filled by Conservatives.[13]

    A study by Cardiff University academics, which was funded by the BBC Trust, was published in August 2013 and examined the BBC's coverage of a broad range of issues. One of the findings was the dominance of party political sources; in coverage of immigration, the EU and religion, they accounted for 49.4% of all source appearances in 2007 and 54.8% in 2012. The data also showed that the Conservative Party received significantly more airtime than the Labour Party. In 2012, Conservative leader David Cameron outnumbered Labour leader Ed Miliband in appearances by a factor of nearly four to one (53 to 15), and Conservative cabinet members and ministers outnumbered their Labour counterparts by more than four to one (67 to 15).[14]

    A former Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, criticised the BBC as part of a "Westminster conspiracy" to maintain the British political system.[15]

    Before to the 2019 general election, the BBC was accused by some Labour politicians and pundits of coverage that favoured the ruling Conservative Party. For instance, they took issue with a clip used from a BBC Question Time leader's special episode in which the part showing audience laughter at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's response to a certain question was edited out. BBC officials addressed the issue and admitted their mistake. Furthermore, the BBC was accused of subjecting Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to a gruelling interview by Andrew Neil but not requiring Johnson to go through the same and of arranging it beforehand. The Guardian columnist Owen Jones also took issue with the BBC rescinding its policy of not letting Johnson be interviewed by Marr unless he went through one with Neil. The BBC defended its decision to waive the requirement by citing national interest amidst a terror attack in London on 29 November 2019.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I think I understand your points. Thank you for the patronising tone you have so consistently shown. And thanks too for all the cliches you have managed to include and the inaccuracies and failures that you have attributed to me. And I see that despite all your somewhat pompous verbosity, you didn't really bother to address the points I made.

    Quoting Plato is fine by me, and yes, I am aware of the dialogue you mentioned. One can't really disagree much with it. I assume the reason you posted it was to imply that I had neither a true belief or evidence for it. I disagree. I don't post on the basis of no evidence, even though I may later change my mind if new and convincing contradictory evidence appears.

    Quoting Wiki is perhaps less valuable. I try not to do it; there are usually better sources and I recommend that you too should avoid it where you can. I dealt with the Cardiff study - which was not into bias, but scope - in an earlier post, which you may have missed. Using Mehdi Hassan and (of all people!) Owen Jones is your right, of course. I'm sure that their views on the BBC are solidly grounded in a rational factual thesis. :rolleyes:
  11. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Patronising, verbose, pompous - guilty as charged I suppose, but maybe I'm not unique in that regard?

    Not sure which of your positions I have misrepresented. To be fair to you, I thought you'd made it clear where you stood.

    Have you considered the possibility that the consensus in the covid crisis isn't 'half way' between what the government is saying and what their critics are saying? Public approval for the government's handing of the crisis = the joint lowest in the world ( along with Mexico ) There's a strange old alliance at the moment between the Mail and the Guardian, with the FT putting out critical views too. Sky News/ITV/Channel 4 are all putting the government to the sword too. Even the Telegraph has had its doubts about the government response. Only the Spectator, The Sun and, to some extent, the Telegraph from the MSM seem to be consistently pro-government at the moment.

    The Mail were particularly damning when it came to the Dominic Cummings debacle. It was interesting that Emily Maitlis reflected the public mood in her opening monologue that night and whilst she said nothing factually incorrect, nor anything that the vast majority of us weren't already saying ( NB 80+% of public opinion ) the BBC still upheld the complaint against her. I suppose you would say that's BBC leftist bias. For me, that's an example of the BBC sticking to its duty to stay impartial and to uphold complaints even when what is said has become the clear consensus in the country. Ditto Naga Munchetty and Trump. Ditto Humphrys and his welfare state/benefits programme.

    It will be interesting to see how the BBC responds to the 380 or so complaints it received following the Newsnight episode you have highlighted. Who knows? Maybe you'll be vindicated after all.

    I like the ALL by the way. I'm also a linguist.
    Seems we share more than just the tone we sometimes use when posting on the TES. Perhaps this should worry both of us?
    DonutBoy99 and phatsals like this.
  12. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Newsnight, BBC Two, 3 June 2020
    17 June 2020
    Summary of complaint
    We received complaints about how we presented the Covid-19 death rates.

    Our response
    That day, the UK had the second highest number of recorded deaths in the world as captured by the World Health Organisation. This figure was undisputed and it was reported as such across media outlets, and given by Emily in the programme’s introduction.

    Following the presentation of the graph, Nick Watt was very clear in explaining what the figures represented. He pointed out there was a two-week lag between the UK and France and Italy and emphasised the need to be careful when comparing such statistics and emphasised that different countries compile them in different ways. He also stated the UK figure given represented the number of deaths registered in the period given.

    Given these explanations we wouldn’t agree they were misleading.
  13. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Further to the Cardiff University point that I made - that the guy running the "independent" survey was a leftist agitator - it is clear that I understated this somewhat.
    You couldn't make it up really, but it's fundamentally a sad shame :( - the BBC employs one of its most biased ex-employees to produce a report into bias at the BBC.

  14. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    On record in the past as critical of Boris & Brexit = leftist agitator?

    Tell that to:
    Guto Bebb, Dominic Grieve, Ed Vaizey, Phillip Hammond, Amber Rudd, Jo Johnson, Rory Stewart, Sir Nicholas Soames, Antoinette Sandbach, Justine Greening, Caroline Noakes, Anne Milton, Sir Oliver Letwin, Mrgot James, Richard Harrington, Stephen Hammmond, David Gauke, Sam Gyimah, Ken Clarke, Alistair Burt, Steve Brine, Richard Benyon ....
  15. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Is this one also a leftist agitator....?
    • X launched a searing attack on Boris Johnson’s leadership and called Jacob Rees-Mogg a “fraud”
    • X claimed the Conservative party is lurching towards a divisive, potentially catastrophic form of “hard-right” conservatism.
    • X said the Tory party up until now had always been seen as pragmatic, sensible, sane, reasonable and having the interests of the whole country but it was starting to resemble a “Brexit sect”
    • X said the prime minister has never been regarded as “a diplomat or statesman” and his life experience amounts to “telling a lot of porkies about the European Union in Brussels and then becoming prime minister”.
    • X singled out Jacob Rees-Mogg, calling his actions in the Commons “repulsive” and beneath the leader of the house.
    • X called Rees-Mogg an “absolute fraud” who is “a living example of what a moderately cut double-breasted suit and a decent tie can do with an ultra-posh voice and a bit of ginger stuck up his a.rse”.
    • X said many liberal Conservatives were turning their backs on the “very hard-right Tory” version of the party that is taking shape under Boris Johnson
  16. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    David Cameron, George Osborne, Max Hastings, John Major, Theresa May ....
  17. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    ( #35 was Sir Nicholas Soames )

    Perhaps I'll set up my own website: G-we-do Fakes / out.of.order-out.of.order.com ?

    Another leftist agitator / Can you guess who it is?

    • X called BJ ‘disingenuous’ and told him to ‘stop playing games’ with Brexit.
    • X accused the Prime Minister of failing to take his responsibilities seriously and having ‘pointless’ negotiations with the EU whilst in denial about the backstop / threatening the stability of the peace process in Northern Ireland.
    • X called the current government ‘crazy right-wing nationalists’.

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