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BBC in the news, Friday

Host Host | 09:49 UK time, Friday, 26 January 2007

The Guardian: An opinion piece criticises a recent attack on the BBC (as discussed here, here and here). (link)

The Guardian: A columnist debates the merits of news on Radio 4, as opposed to Radio Five Live. (link)


  • 1.
  • At 10:23 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Chloe wrote:

How dare you use such emotive words as "attack' on the BBC, when it was in fact a balanced argument explaining dissatisfaction with the BBC.

By mentioning the Guardians response proves to me that your biased reporting is getting worse, also perhaps you would like to explain why every day you have a link to a Guardian article when all other papers are ignored?.

BBC impartial....rubbish.

  • 2.
  • At 10:48 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • JG wrote:

Oh, the Guardian defends the BBC. What a surprise. Ideological bedfellows sticking together.

  • 3.
  • At 11:36 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • N wrote:

Well, it clearly was an attack on the BBC. Whether you agree with Dacre's argument or not, you cannot plausibly say it was not an attack given the extremely forceful language in which it was phrased.

As for the number of Guardian articles: the Guardian has a separate Media section and reports much more extensively on the news in the media sector than other newspapers. The Guardian is thus more likely to run an article about the BBC than the other newspapers.

  • 4.
  • At 11:55 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • pippop wrote:

The Guardian is only interested in free speech if it reflects the Guardian's own NICE views.

This newspaper is PC perfect, with ever so NICE bland unchallenging views of a lovely polite and well mannered, well organised, tidy, clean, kind society, all huggins buggins xxxx

It reflects the challenging world of Milly Molly Mandy. I use it to line the cat tray, and so far the cat's motions are passed in the nicest possible way unimpeded by any challenging obstructions.

  • 5.
  • At 01:16 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

I wonder what odds you would have got on the Guardian defending the BBC in this instance?

Nobody is surprised by this. Do staff at the BBC understand how right on they are percieved by the public at large? It would be a national joke if it wasn't so tragic.

If the BBC is truely concerned about how it is percieved why not commission some independant polling? Look into people's perceptions of political bias at the BBC and see what results you get.

You may be surprised. My own veiw is you won't bother as you know the answer anyway and don't care.

  • 6.
  • At 01:41 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

I am astonished that apparently sane people are willing to stick up for Dacre's 'Daily Hate Mail'. If being British means anything it means being in favour of decency and fair play - words and concepts alien to the Daily Mail.

What some of the commenters here forget is that the Lance Price article [have they actually read it?] makes very clear that the BBC and The Guardian paper have strikingly different news values on the Church of England and the Royal Family.

So to criticise them as being the same is lazy and irresponsible.

  • 7.
  • At 01:44 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

I wonder what odds you would have got on the Guardian defending the BBC in this instance?

Nobody is surprised by this. Do staff at the BBC understand how right on they are percieved by the public at large? It would be a national joke if it wasn't so tragic.

If the BBC is truely concerned about how it is percieved why not commission some independant polling? Look into people's perceptions of political bias at the BBC and see what results you get.

You may be surprised. My own veiw is you won't bother as you know the answer anyway and don't care.

  • 8.
  • At 02:26 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Joseph wrote:

Dear N,

Your argument for why the Guardian is shown as a link everyday reinforces the point made by the other 4 bloggers.

You claim that the Guardian has the most extensive coverage of media news than any other newspaper, how do you know?, do you read all the other newspapers?, I can tell you as a Times and Daily Mail reader that the BBC is discussed in these newspapers everyday (mostly about the biased reporting).

It would have been nice to see a link to the Daily Mail article about the behaviour of Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, to refresh your memory this is the interview in which he attacked the Roman Catholic Bishop for defending the RC churches stance on the adoption topic, and then allowed (surprise surprise) the pro-gay adoption activist to express their view without interrupting them.

No doubt to you 'N' this was balanced and impartial behaviour by Paxman and Newsnight?.

You want more examples of BBC bias?, okay, here is a few...Honours scandal being dropped from Newsnight on the day that the Police claimed that no.10 had a 2nd email system, refusing to publish the Bolan report into anti-Israeli bias, the proven fact that most BBC executives have been members of the Labour party, these are just last weeks examples of the BBC showing it's left-wing viewpoint.

Finally as Chloe mentioned in her post, BBC impartial.....RUBBISH

Just to point out (I'm editor of Media Guardian) that The Guardian carried an extensive extract from Paul Dacre's speech this week, so readers were able to make up their own minds about it. Can you imagine the Mail carrying a similar piece by the Guardian's editor?

And in response to pippop, do you ever read the paper? We have a range of columnists, including such famous lefties as Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins.

  • 10.
  • At 02:47 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • J M Deane wrote:

Has the BBC ever been accused of being right-wing?

If the BBC has absolute confidence in the neutrality of its reportage, why is it blocking the release of the Balen Report?

  • 11.
  • At 03:33 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

J M Deane says "has the BBC ever been accused of being right-wing"?

Erm, yes.... in the very article that we are supposedly discussing here! To quote from that article, "The royal family is treated with fawning coverage that sickens those of us who believe it's wrong for any position of power and influence to be a gift of birth... And when it comes to reverential, the special treatment meted out to the good reverends of the Church of England, and to a lesser extent to representatives of other religions, is monstrous." Or have a look at this blog. Or listen to anything that comes out of the mouth of Steven Nolan, Vanessa Feltz, Jeremy Clarkson, etc.

  • 12.
  • At 03:51 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Austen Redman wrote:

J M Deane wrote:"Has the BBC ever been accused of being right-wing?"

Yes - in regards to the Battle of Orgreave and its re editing of news footage in favour of the police.

  • 13.
  • At 03:54 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • JG wrote:

No 6 Philip
You say that "The BBC and the Guardian paper have strikingly different news values on the Church of England and the Royal Family". Do you really think these issues are where the problem is. A different list of topics was given by Peter Mullen, Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, in the City of London, last year when talking about BBC bias:
"Everything is divided neatly into good and bad, light and dark. Here is a sample of the good and approved things: the United Nations, the EU, socialism, the establishment view on global warming, foreign aid, ethnic minorities and non-Christian religions. And here are some of the dark, bad things always disapproved: America, private education, elitism (that is the notion that we can actually distinguish between quality and rubbish), big business, foxhunting, smoking, Tories, the army, the police, stiff prison sentences, traditional Christianity."
I defy anyone to get the smallest piece of tissue paper between the BBC and the Guardian on these topics.
Why is it we are seeing attack after attack on the BBC lately, all referring to institutional leftist bias? No smoke without fire.

  • 14.
  • At 01:14 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • James Boulter wrote:

How about this for an explanation? It's not going to be popular.

On the whole, the sort of people who write for a quality paper like The Guardian or work for the BBC are more intelligent than the average member of the general public. Also, intelligent people tend to be centrists, perhaps slightly centre-right or slightly centre-left, but moderate. They're not taken in by exaggerated headlines like those that front The Independent (i.e. George Bush is evil) or front the Daily Express/Mail (i.e. immigrants are exploitative).

What's so disappointing about platforms (like this) that the BBC provides for their audiences' opinions is that they're dominated by people who just don't do moderate.

  • 15.
  • At 07:16 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • ChrisR wrote:

Lance Price is wrong to say that "Where the corporation differs from the Mail, however, is in its openness to debate." Where the BBC really differs is that those who dislike it and don't want to fund it go to jail. Those who dislike the Mail and don't want to pay for it can choose not to buy it.

It is this compulsion to pay for the BBC that is at the heart of the debate about whether it is biased or not. For those, such as the Guardian and Price, the BBC is just telling it how it is. For the Mail, and most of its readers, the BBC is institutionally left-wing. These two points of view cannot be reconciled - there is no evidence that can be brought forward to prove it one way or another. So the only solution is to scrap the mandatory licence, and make funding the BBC voluntary, either through subscription or pay-per-view. Then those who think it is biased won’t care anymore because they can spend their money with alternative media outlets that fit better with their politics.

And if the BBC and its supporters genuinely believe that "the vast majority of licence-fee payers are more than happy to pay for [it]" as Price claims, they should welcome this – because it will make little difference to the BBC’s income. Or are they afraid of what might really happen if the British were given the choice of whether or not to pay for the BBC?

  • 16.
  • At 09:55 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • jim-uk wrote:

Shock horror!! A left wing newspaper produced by PC loonies defends a left wing TV station full of PC loonies.

Why keep up the pretence that your not biased? Every time I read your claims of balance on this site I can't help thinking of the old Iraqi information minister, your detachment from reality beggars belief.

  • 17.
  • At 11:23 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Philip #6; the BBC is not supposed to have views on the Church, the Royal Family, or anything else. It is supposed to report the news factually, objectively, impartially. This is because it is publicly funded. If its employees have views, they must keep them out of their work. If they want to work in media where they can experess their politics, let them get jobs in the private sector such as in newspapers sympathetic to their political positions.

BBC's political views pervade its entire corporate culture and programming. It is anti-American, Anti-Israeli, Anti-Tony Blair, and sympathetic to Euro-socialism. It is attempting to shape the views of the British population and I'm afraid it is succeeding. Because it is the most powerful media voice for news in the English speaking world, it is a menace to free speech.

Here's a recent typical example. In the events leading to the invasion of Somalia, BBC conducted interviews with the Islamic Courts Union sympathetic to Al Qaeda which was eventually kicked out of Mogadishu, with the recognized Transitional Somali government's officials, and with the Ethopian government's officials. The contrast was striking. The first interview was very friendly, even sympathetic to the interviewee. The latter two were highly confrontational, BBC's interviewer even questioning their legitimacy to act. The invasion was supported by the United States. No surprise whose sympathies the BBC were with at all.

  • 18.
  • At 08:28 AM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Shirley Harriott wrote:

I write to say I am appalled at the manner of the man (I didn't get his name) interviewing John Reid at 8.25.

He has an ugly aggressive voice, he interrupts continually, he is very rude and all he has done is make me rather like and admire John Reid, which previously I did not do. I have not consciously heard this interviewer before and I hope I never do again. He does his cause no good at all.

  • 19.
  • At 07:42 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Ken wrote:

JG’s (no. 13) good and bad list is spot on!

I agree with all that Mark (no.17) has to say except with his comments that the BBC is succeeding in shaping views. I don’t believe the BBC/Guardian message is being bought by the British public. The only evidence for this line of thought comes from the BBC itself. Their idea of polling for opinions is to ask their correspondents or to wheel on a Fleet Street hack.

When I speak with real people they either (i) don’t care (the majority, I’m afraid) or (ii) like me, do not agree with most of the BBC’s philosophies (nearly all the rest). I think the BBC and their carefully selected guests are on a planet of their own and talk themselves into believing their own propaganda. The trouble is that many of our MPs are also on this planet.

The BBC peddles the idea, in subtle terms, that their liberal/left policies have already won the day. Just as the Union flag was associated with bad images (mainly by the BBC), nowadays the term “right wing” has been hijacked. In effect the term “right wing” is effectively banned on the airwaves, unless it is used in a derogatory sense. One exception this is when one increasingly hears the sentence: “there is no right or left wing these days” on the BBC. Are they saying: “there is no right wing, so we’re all on the same side now”?

Well, sorry but there is and always will be left and right in politics as there is in any organised society, as there is in just about every country and there has been for thousands of years.

The dangerous thing about all this is that politicians have all succumbed to this propaganda. Did they have a choice? After all they want to appear on the telly and radio, don’t they? This is why the main political parties look and sound almost the same. As I said above, real people’s views are very much at odds with the BBC’s views. As politicians become ever more BBC friendly, this leaves us with a dangerous disconnect between the People and their politicians. Mark, you are dead right: the BBC (Big Brother Corporation) is a menace to free speech.

The really sad thing is that free journalism is vital to a democracy. Journalists here and around the world have risked their careers, their lives – and even given their lives – in order to deliver unfettered news to the People. The BBC’s defiance in this matter will not stand in the long run. Unless they smarten up their act, I suspect the BBC’s days in its current form are numbered.

NB My last post to this blog did not make it (it mentioned Israel - well you can guess the rest). Let's hope I'm lucky this time.

  • 20.
  • At 06:22 PM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • David Reynolds wrote:

The points made by some of the posts here are spot on, I live in Germany and therefore forced to listen to BBC World Service and News 24, it strikes me that the BBC is biased towards Labour, it is also clear in the reporters conversations with any Israeli, American (from the Republicans) and the Catholic Church that the BBC has no interest in their versions of events and are openly hostile.

In my opinion the BBC has lost it's reputation for impartial reporting and has no clue how to engage with the British population.
Also, last night I had to endure 4 different news reports without the BBC mentioning the fact that Lord Levy had be rearrested, the BBC instead decided that Prince Charles trip to the US was more newsworthy!.

Finally, can someone explain to me the purpose of News 24?, for every 5 mins of news I am inflicted with 10 mins of a clock counting down to the next news segment, why is this?, EuroNews does not do this?, also what is the point of asking 4 people on a debate and finding out that they are all Labour supporters?, how does this show that the BBC is impartial.

  • 21.
  • At 04:58 PM on 01 Feb 2007,
  • JG wrote:

No 20
You are right about BBC debates. Their idea of balance is to get someone from the left, someone from the hard left, and someone from the moonbat left.

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