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« Friday Ephemera | Main | One to Watch, Methinks »

October 09, 2010

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Anna

Leftwing hypocrisy ignored by Guardian and 'impartial' BBC. Shocker!

David

Regarding impartiality, here’s an interesting item on the Beeb’s rather cosy relationship with the Guardian:

“The BBC [is] the biggest fish in the media pond. Whatever they say, they are not subject to the vagaries of the market like a commercial company is. The BBC can influence and change markets, because the licence fee payers give them the financial whip hand. In short the BBC can choose to advertise wherever the hell they like and people wanting a job in television will follow. Given nearly a third of the BBC total spend is with companies with political affiliations, it is a disgrace that nearly 80% of spend in this major category is with the left wing Guardian… The BBC [is] open to the accusation that they purposefully recruit left wing employees.”

http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/10/bbc-guardian-love-in-with-our-cash.html

Thus the Guardian is in effect the preferred recruitment arm of our state broadcaster. And it’s nice to know your licence fee helps keep the Guardian afloat, albeit just barely.

mlrosty

"As I get my news mainly from the Guardian and the BBC, it had entirely passed me by."

So much does. Funny that.

AC1

If you get your news from the BBC then you're not actually getting much in the way of news.

rv

It's funny watching right wingers complain about the BBC because it's not right wing ENOUGH.

Novus

That the BBC advertises almost exclusively in the Guardian, to the extent of helping sustain it, is of course regrettable, but I can't help thinking that the point is rather subverted by the foregoing admission that "the BBC can choose to advertise wherever the hell they like and people wanting a job in television will follow." Either they advertise in the Guardian to maintain the left-wing purity of their workforce or anyone, even a right-winger, who wants a job in television will follow the BBC to the Guardian Media pages and apply for the jobs there. I don't think it can go both ways.

ECM

It's not right wing AT ALL. Hell, I don't even live in the UK and I can see that from across ye olde pond(e).

AC1

Any organisation funded by extortion will rationalise it's existence to the politics of saying that extortion and choice removal are not immoral (Marxism)

Horace Dunn

Coincidentally, I found myself musing on similiar topics this morning after listening to From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4. Mark Mardell contributed a report from Nevada, during which he touched on the Tea Party movement, saying that, for the movement, "it's big government that is the real enemy ... the feeling that government itself is almost evil, an assault on freedom. So here there's a great paradox: a movement that boasts its theoretical love of America and democracy but which hates its real-life institutions".

It takes a certain mindset to see the paradox here, and to make the assumption that "love of America and democracy" should rightly somehow be expressed through love of government departments and bureaucracy. Yes, it takes a certain sort of mindset, and one that is not all that uncommon amongst the editorial staff at the BBC.

David

rv,

Setting aside your own preferences, are you saying there’s no bias and impropriety to be addressed – not least given the nature of the BBC’s funding? Even when the BBC’s own Director General admits a “massive” leftwing bias has been the norm?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1308215/Yes-BBC-biased-Mark-Thompson-admits-massive-lean-Left.html

Examples of routine bias aren’t exactly hard to find. See the Biased BBC site for literally hundreds of them.

http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/

I’ve mentioned a few myself:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/12/gripped-by-the-passion.html?cid=6a00d83451675669e20105368bddca970b#comment-6a00d83451675669e20105368bddca970b

And Robin Aitken’s first-hand accounts are rather illuminating:

http://www.theinternetforum.co.uk/bbc/bias1.html

http://www.youtube.com/user/18doughtystreet#p/u/42/6_WEZloX2fQ

Remember the “crying for Arafat” episode?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4471494.stm

The Beeb’s Middle East coverage is of course the stuff of legend:

http://honestreporting.com/articles/45884734/critiques/new/One_Year_Analysis_The_BBC_in_2007.asp

As is its fondness for lazy leftwing comedy:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/pwest/100007247/forget-the-archers-it%e2%80%99s-bbc-radio%e2%80%99s-gang-of-lefty-comedians-that-betrays-its-political-bias/

Remember the efforts by BBC employees to schedule their industrial action to coincide with the Conservative Party conference? Presumably this was done in the hope of reducing the public’s exposure to heretical ideas.

http://www.channel4.com/news/presenters-warn-bbc-strikers-against-conference-blackout

The Twitter feeds of several “impartial” BBC reporters and editors have proved revealing too:

http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/08/new-blood.html
http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/05/still-undecided.html
http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/02/that-bbcguardian-thing-again.html
http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/2010/04/dogma.html

But then, a Beeb economics editor being fond of Gramsci is no great surprise…

http://hurryupharry.org/2008/09/22/is-newsnights-economics-editor-a-swper/

More examples of the Beeb’s bias on a range of subjects can be found here:

http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2005/01/bbc-is-turn-off-its-official.html

Don’t forget the Bush-as-Hitler posters in the BBC newsroom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY4umBmJHjg

Here’s a personal favourite - Jane Garvey’s casual admission that Labour’s 1997 election victory resulted in Broadcasting House being littered with champagne bottles:

http://www.esnips.com/doc/185f0a00-06a2-4de7-af9c-5536bd84448b/2007-05-10-BBCs-Jane-Garvey-blows-the-gaff

And it’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that the head of Ofcom and the head of the BBC Trust – both tasked with ensuring the Beeb’s political impartiality – are, respectively, a former Labour councillor and a former special advisor to the Labour Party.

So, obviously, there’s nothing to see here. And only a dastardly “right winger” would imagine that there is.

Karen M

"the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles - I will always remember that - er - not that the BBC were celebrating in any way shape or form"

Literally - champagne socialism.

Patrick Brown

Far from the only thing the Guardian declines to report.

In March 2007 in Sheffield, a drunk woman called Toni Comer was arrested by a policeman for criminal damage - she was vandalising cars in a club carpark. She resisted arrest violently, including throwing the officer down some stairs, and would not be restrained, so the officer, in accordance with his training, pinned her down and punched her repeatedly on the arm, to give her a dead arm so he could cuff her. He caused her no injury, and the following, after she'd sobered up, she said the officer was in the right.

But it had been captured on CCTV, and the Guardian got hold of the film and covered it extensively, in the most salacious terms, in the news and crimes sections and in six comment pieces, one podcast and one leader. Her race - she was black - age - 19 - sex and single mother status were pleaded at every opportunity. According to Patrick Barkham, it was the culmination of a parade of police misogyny starting with the Yorkshire Ripper; Eric Allison said it was "like something out of the deep south"; a leader column compared the incident to the beating of Rodney King.

The officer, who had already been investigated and exonerated, was repeatedly vilified by name until he was removed from duty and investigated again. He was exonerated again, but in December 2008 he took his own life (his death was ruled natural causes because he already had pneumonia when he climbed Snowdon and took six packets of sleeping tablets). Nearly two years later The Guardian has still not manaqed to report that he's dead.

phantom menace

A BBC rule of thumb: If something useless costs taxpayers a fortune the BBC will defend it. If someone wants to save taxpayers' money (eg by cutting quangos, arts councils) they'll get a hard time.

David

phantom menace,

“If someone wants to save taxpayers’ money (eg by cutting quangos, arts councils) they’ll get a hard time.”

The Radio 4 discussions of quangos and arts funding can be quite… revealing. Sometimes the interviewer’s preference is obvious - say, in emphasis, duration or how an issue is framed - sometimes it’s quite subtle. Noting changes in the interviewers’ tone of voice when faced with ideas uncongenial to the left has, for some, become a specialist sport. (The Today programme’s Sarah Montague is a reliable, if unwitting, example of this phenomenon.)

But as AC1 pointed out, a vast media organisation funded by extortion and accustomed to that privilege will tend to view coercive subsidy more sympathetically than the general public does, and will tend to favour politics that dignify that coercion. And ditto the publicly subsidised arts. It’s selfishness and privilege rationalised as virtue.

Sting

The BBC is appalling: If you listen to the tone of their radio broadcasts you soon realise that lefties inevitably get a soft, uncritical ride no matter how destructive their plans and the hated right (i.e. those who aren't liebour) get blasted from the get go even if they are talking sense.

But the best view of the Beeb is the way they pump up certain things on their news webpages. I recall Bottler Brown was often shown on their news pages looking heroic no matter what the story, and when he was in trouble over some feeble effort that was swiftly exposed for the shambles it was, his Auntie ran with the headline promising Brown would try harder. Needless to say the story beneath barely hinted at the man's incompetence in case we thought socialism was a busted flush.

phantom menace

David,

More 'impartiality' at the Beeb…

http://order-order.com/2010/10/20/bbc-bosses-to-left-wing-staff-stop-tweeting/

Hide the bias!

David

“Hide the bias!”

Heh. I do like the idea of “[News Editor] Rachel Kennedy’s candid Twitter-stream of left-wing consciousness.”

What’s funny is the pretence by News Director Helen Boaden that such views are remotely “controversial” among her peers. Such prodigious dishonesty could be comedy gold, if not for the fact I get billed every year to help bankroll it.

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