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BBC in the news, Monday

Host Host | 09:07 UK time, Monday, 23 October 2006

The Telegraph: An extended interview with Today programme presenter John Humphrys. (link)

The Mirror: An interview with Richard Hammond, the BBC presenter who survived a high-speed car crash. (link)

Daily Mail: "BBC executives have been forced to admit what critics have known for years - that the corporation is biased." (link)


  • 1.
  • At 09:57 AM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Alpesh Patel wrote:

Good to see that BBC executives admit that they are biased.

Reading in detail it would appear there is an anti-christian and anti-american agenda.

As most of the people paying for the BBC are mostly likely neutral on this topic or even pro-christian is there any plan to change?

Or will the BBC let it reputation go down the toilet?

* this admission is good, sad to see that it appears only on your blog and not on the front pages of the BBC news - guess the BBCs editors convictions smell of weakness.

  • 2.
  • At 10:25 AM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • simon ward wrote:

Do I get a refund now that it is clear my hard earned money has been misappropriated? I have being paying for a product and have been lied to and decieved.

On the Mail on Sunday report - why doesn't this get coverage else where on the BBC news site ? ( Many of us think we know the answer. )

Also any chance of getting Andrew Marr to reconcile the quote in the MOS and his BBC not biased quote from 2001?

"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias."
Mail on Sunday 22 Oct 2006.

"We get from time to time people saying you're biased in favour of the Labour Party. Every time I ask people - show me a case of that bias, explain to me where we got it wrong and why what we said was so unfair - they seem to be unable to do so", May 11th 2001.

PS I'm a fan of Andrew Marr - I take this as an example of a more general issue. At least he can diagnose whats going on in British politics and the BBC !

  • 4.
  • At 12:15 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

Can I admit what I have known for years? The Daily Mail has a tendency to be biased on religion and political issues too. In fact, biased on just about everything.

What action will the BBC take, to make it self unbiased?

How quickly will those actions be?

  • 6.
  • At 11:51 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Jonny wrote:

The link to the Daily Mail article is pretty important. Surly it deserves more comment in this section?


Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'

Please - Lets see more of your thoughts on this.

  • 7.
  • At 10:19 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • John R wrote:

Being called "biased" by the Daily Mail is like being called "damp" by the Atlantic Ocean.

  • 8.
  • At 10:46 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

Responding to Message 3 (from "Man in a Shed"):

Where is the contradiction in those two statements?

In the earlier one, Andrew Marr is talking about political bias ("biased in favour of the Labour Party"); in the second he expressly denies political bias ("not so much a party-political bias").

There's no contradiction; we live in a liberal society ("liberal" with a small "l") and the BBC reflects that.

  • 9.
  • At 11:21 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

Personally, I read the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail stories (written by different people, but clearly based on the same source) with a great deal of scepticism. This "leak" does not come across as credible.

For example, we have the story of the Deputy Director General (ie, the BBC's number two executive) secretly conspiring with BBC Radio's Washington Correspondent because "they" (this mysterious "they" which represents the BBC) are anti-American and anti-this, that and the other. Why does the Deputy Director General have to operate in this way? If "they" are not performing correctly, he has the authority to tell "them" to step into line, he doesn't need secret alliances. Much the same could be said about the Helen Boaden reference: she's the Head of News and is therefore in a position to exercise control. Or the Jeff Randall story: he was the Business Editor. Working at editor level, in other words at a level where he can exercise a lot of control over how things are done and how stories are presented. In short, it is these people who represent "the BBC", who are the BBC, not this mysterious "they".

The article also seems to have indulged in considerable editorialising. The way the "Room 101" material is presented smacks very heavily of this. And also the reference to newsreaders' dress code.

I don't doubt that such a meeting took place, but that this is a fair and accurate report of it I think is very unlikely. It should be placed in the same category as the stories that Fiona Bruce has been forbidden from wearing a cross.

What we can take from it, however, is that, at various levels within the BBC (within the Governors meetings in the case of the Fiona Bruce story, and amongst key BBC (and ex-BBC) personnel in the case of this story), there's a lively debate going on about issues of impartiality and what it means for our present time.

In other words, the BBC is taking its responsibilities seriously.

I'd like to think our other media — including the Mail group — are conducting their own discussions of these issues as well.

  • 10.
  • At 12:14 PM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • MTK wrote:

Graham (4), John R (7),

1. Since when did the Mail (or any newspaper in this country) claim to be impartial?

2. What would you think if you were required to buy the "Daily Beeb-o-graph" every day or prevented from purchasing any other newspaper?

3. Furthermore, what if the funding available to the B-o-g as a result of its vast circulation, caused it to kill off most of its competitors.


  • 11.
  • At 12:47 PM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Anthony Walker wrote:

There's bound to be a spectrum within an organization the size of the BBC. If there were perfect impartiality across all presenters and programmes, the output would be incredibly dull!

To my mind, the 'anti-American' liberalism, etc, seems to be expressed more on the website and the World Service than on the mainstream broadcasts. For example, the teaching assistant 'veil' employment tribunal was reported as a 'defeat' for the teacher on Radio 4, but the website led with 'victory' for the victimization aspect of the case (but this was changed within an hour or so).

Stranded in Babylon,

The contradition between Andrew Marr's statements is the admission, as reported, of systematic bias to one view point. Unless every political party stood on the same platform then that by defintion means political bias.

In this case its towards New Labour.

  • 13.
  • At 03:15 PM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

I never understand why people feel sad or surprised when someone who takes exceptionally foolish risks for thrills, notoriety, or some other mental defect winds up getting badly hurt or killed. Such is the case of Richard Hammond. I'm also surprised more people haven't mentioned Steve Irwin. Remember him? He was the "so called" Australian naturalist who was killed while chasing a deadly stingray under water and was stabbed through the heart by it. Speaking of traveling recklessly at very high speed in the wrong vehicle, it would appear that the decision to steer BBC in the wrong direction down a political dirt road may have finally reached a dead end and its enevitable fate will catch up with it as well. The only question is, once it does, will putting it on life support save it?

  • 14.
  • At 07:21 PM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • J Westerman wrote:

As soon as I hear “Daily Mail” I know that I am not in a serious discussion.

  • 15.
  • At 03:12 AM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • al wrote:

Sad to see the BBC admit it is anti-christain and left wing?

Can i get a refund on my lincese fee.

  • 16.
  • At 11:08 AM on 31 Oct 2006,
  • si wrote:

People seem to be missing the point by claiming 'yes but the Mail is biased too'. It's allowed to be. The BBC is a publicly funded company & must always be representative & fair to all types of people - & not just avoid offending those who complain & react the most aggressively. You don't have to offend anyone! just make it less obvious what type of people run the company & what their views are.

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