BBC Bias

Craig Byers: Why Cardiff University’s claims of BBC ‘right-wing’ ‘impartiality’ are not to be believed

Craig Byers: Why Cardiff University’s claims of BBC ‘right-wing’ ‘impartiality’ are not to be believed

The work of Cardiff University’s Media department is continuing to provide comfort to BBC supporters in ‘refuting’ claims of a left-wing bias at the BBC and to be cited as ‘proof’ of a right-wing BBC bias by some left-wingers (especially on Twitter).
Cardiff’s 2012 report, ‘proving’ the BBC to be right-leaning, anti-European and anti-Islam (yes, I know!), was expertly debunked in a Civitas study by David Keighley and Andrew Jubb. David and Andrew got into the statistical nitty-gritty of the Cardiff study and found it wanting. (I provided a summary here.)
The worrying thing about that Cardiff report though – with its fatally flawed and, frankly, bizarre methodology – was that it went on to form the academic underpinning of the major BBC-funded Prebble Report into BBC impartiality, which found (by and large) that, yes, the BBC is impartial.
Statistical trashing is all very well, but the ad hominem approach seems to work better.The lead authors of the original report, part-funded by the BBC, were: Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Richard Sambrook, and Mike Berry.
Karin Wahl-Jorgensen was director of the Prebble content analysis project, and worked previously for the European Commission on a report investigating how the media were reporting the idea of greater European integration and why the UK was sceptical about it. She’s also written for the far-left Red Pepper
 
Richard Sambrook was the former Head of BBC News until 2008.
Mike Berry, who acted as chief spokesman for the report, is Greg Philo’s partner-in-arms at the campaigning, far-left Glasgow Media Group. He’s not a fan of Israel – to put it mildly.
Yes, ad hom arguments are generally considered fallacious, but if these people’s methodology has been shown to be highly dubious (at best) and their findings seem to fly so insanely in the face of reality, then – given their backgrounds and beliefs – maybe there really is something to be said for the ad hom approach after all, don’t you think?
Later, the top bod at the Cardiff Media department, Justin Lewis, earned the admiration of some on the Left by using those original findings to condemn the BBC for being right-wing.Playing the man rather than the ball, I then checked ol’ Justin out and found him to be very left-wing too (the kind of professor who is openly anti-capitalism and thinks Muslims get a raw deal from the British media).Curiously, however, he exempted (not explicitly, but by not mentioning them) the BBC from that latter criticism (well, could he really pretend otherwise?) and he writes articles with titles like, A monster threatens UK broadcasting? It’s Sky, not the BBC. Hmm.
 
Why am I regurgitating all of this recent history again? Because the Cardiff profs are back.The Guardian has published their latest election ‘findings’ (repeatedly) and left-wingers on Twitter are linking to it gleefully, saying it disproves charges of left-wing bias at the BBC.
The first of those Guardian pieces found that David Cameron was granted “by far the most airtime of the party leaders in the first two weeks of the campaign” by the media as a whole, but praises the BBC specifically for focusing more on policy than their rivals.
The second of those Guardian pieces – a piece I’d urge you to read as a masterful example of studiously biased academic reporting – found that “BBC and Sky News’ election coverage featured Conservative sources speaking for longer than those from other parties” but that Channels 4 and 5 gave the Tories even more airtime. [Ed: Tory ‘Channel 4 News’? Jon Snow on Cardiff Uni’s Line One!] 
 
Even this leftist-outpouring-dressed-in-the-cloak-of-academic-‘impartiality’ was honest enough to report something that must really have stuck in their throats to have to report: They described the BBC as “an outlier”, in that the BBC gave “more time to Miliband, who made up 24.3% of time leaders were speaking on screen, compared to 21.9% of time for Cameron”.
Still, “Nigel Farage appeared in more image bites on the BBC than David Cameron”, so that’s evidence of BBC pro-UKIP bias, eh?
The Guardian pieces as a whole, however, were consistent with the spirit of the 2012 Cardiff report and Justin Lewis’s later comments. They portrayed the broadcast media (Channel 5, Channel 4, ITV, BBC) as essentially right-leaning, but – despite some criticisms – the BBC came out as the least biased of all (if still right-leaning).
And who were the Cardiff University authors of these two Guardian pieces? Former BBC head of news Richard Sambrook and his colleague Dr Stephen Cushion.
Now, Dr Cushion is new to me. Is he a Cardiff Media department with a non-BBC background – unlike Richard Sambrook?

Er, no. He was brought in by the BBC to work on two BBC Trust impartiality reviews into the reporting of post-devolution Britain and three BBC-funded reports into 24-hour news.And as for the three other Cardiff Uni people credited on those Guardian articles as helping with the latest research – Richard Thomas, Allaina Kilby and Marina Morani – well, here’s PhD student Marina (on the Cardiff Uni website).I’m going to quote the whole of this because I suspect you’ll enjoy it.I haven’t made this up. This isn’t satire. This is the real thing:

It has commonly been noted how Italy shifted in the last decades from being an emigration country to a migrants destination. The presence in the peninsula of a few million of immigrants calls for the urge of communication means that take into account the contemporary multicultural society.

In recent years a number of “intercultural media” – newspapers, magazines, radio programs, websites, online TV – have been created in order to provide alternative sources of information and new representations avoiding the use of cultural stereotypes and stigmatizations which too often affect the mainstream media language.

Among various initiatives, the study will focus on a selection of independent websites where foreign origin together with autochthonous Italians are engaged in producing and sharing information, news, video, stories, experiences, expectations.

In the first phase of the research I intend to build a comparison between the image of the immigrant population emerging in national media and the alternative social representations that these progress media aim to construct and promote.

In the second phase I will analyse the contents of the most effective online projects in their attempt to offer diverse representations on immigration issues. With regard to methodology the main methods will be critical discourse analysis and content analysis of written and audiovisual texts. An important part will be dedicated to the narrative and rhetoric multi-modal constructions.

The use of language here not only counters cultural stereotypes and generalisations but also turn them into new positive representational worlds where “the immigrant” is regarded as persona and “active subject” of the media production.

Well, I think we know where she’s coming from! (And Mike Berry, Justin Lewis & Co. would surely approve).
As for Allaina Kilby…well, here’s one for David Preiser (and it’s based on her university thesis): Jon Stewart has made us laugh at politics – and restored our sanity. (Nothing ‘incriminating’ UK-wise though so far).
And as for Richard Thomas (who writes discourses entitled From Executive Remuneration to the Living Wage: Pre and post-crisis discourses of income distribution on UK television news), well, just allow me to quote his Twitter blurb:

Richard Thomas @rich_thomas99
Writer for All Out Cricket. Doctoral researcher into income inequality, wealth and poverty in the media.

Call me a running-dog capitalist lickspittle if you like, but I’m guessing where he’s coming from too – and checking out the rest of his Twitter feed I’m sticking with that hunch.
So….
A university media department stacked with BBC insiders and leftists produces a couple of studies of BBC bias which find that the BBC is the least biased broadcaster, even though it has a right-wing bias.

And some people still think that ad hom critiques are always wrong?

This article originally appeared on Is The BBC Biased?  Many thanks to Craig for allowing us to post this here.

 

Newsnight immigration feature casts worried Brits as xenophobes

Newsnight immigration feature casts worried Brits as xenophobes

The BBC’s blizzard of election-related stories that spin immigration as a topic that doesn’t matter is impossible to track. Lift almost any stone and there’s another example.

A Newsnight feature last Wednesday was billed by presenter Emily Maitlis as ‘a long hard look at the subject’.

This, it transpired, was a special piece of BBCspeak. It meant that Newsnight – led, of course, by former Guardian executive Ian Katz- was about to deploy its own form of spin to show in yet another way that those British plebs who support tougher immigration controls are deluded bigots and xenophobes.

The main section of the item was actually a very unequal discussion which Emily Maitlis pushed very hard to ensure was skewed to the pro-immigration side.  Self-styled shock jock John Gaunt, the main contributor who supported more controls on immigration, explains the way he was ambushed and appallingly treated in Podcast episode 24 here.

On display was the same Newsnight approach to balance as was deployed on the day that David Cameron announced his alleged desire to hold an in-out EU referendum. On that evening 18 pro-EU campaigners were pitched against Nigel Farage.

The main analysis in this blog is of the opening report by Duncan Weldon, hired by Katz as an economics pundit from the TUC. It was actually only 670 words, or five minutes of airtime, but it was so blatantly skewed that it stands almost alone as monumental evidence of the deep bias in this arena.

Former Labour acolyte Weldon’s initial point was that immigration in London didn’t matter because ‘it was a fact’ of life; he contended that the changing demographics, ‘were not a political issue’. Says who?

Maybe these things don’t matter to those at the BBC, who worship daily at the shrine of multiculturalism. But to put it mildly, respected think-tank Migration Watch certainly do not agree that an influx of 1.5m foreign nationals over the past decade – the biggest in the capital’s history by a very long way – can be regarded as ‘only a fact of life or is ‘not a political issue’. MW presents compelling evidence that it has created a massive housing crisis and has driven tens of thousands of native-born Londoners away.

After this glaring bias, Weldon next contended that in order to see ‘where things had changed’ as a result of immigration, you needed to go on commuter lines out of the capital, to places such as ‘Peterborough, Stevenage, Welwyn and Hatfield’. Bizarre, perhaps, that he referred only to a few towns on the London to Doncaster East Coast railway line, but most BBC staff inhabit only a narrow metropolitan bubble, so perhaps he is not aware that immigration issues are also hitting communities further afield as well. Places such as Rotherham, say. Or Oxford.

Next, Weldon turned to that old BBC device, the vox pop, a range of voices from members of the public. Many years ago, when I did my basic training as a BBC reporter in what is now the Langham Hotel, I was warned that these can never be – and should never be projected as – a balanced or objective view of public opinion. They are only ever a subjective snapshot.

Weldon apparently now works according to very different rules.

The sequence of three voices was gathered, selected and edited by him with all the subtlety of a jackhammer to show that those with views against immigration are bigoted xenophobes for no other reason that they hate foreign languages and shops selling foreign goods. On the other hand, his pro-immigration contributor made a reasoned response, making the point that immigrants are ‘different brains from different parts of the world’, who set up new businesses and had a wide range of skills.

Weldon then said that if this selection of ‘public opinion’ (which this most certainly was not) was ‘nuanced’, but the view of business was ‘fairly’ clear’. His source here was Katja Hall, the deputy director general of the CBI, who a search on Google reveals is the leading mouthpiece for a totally uncontrolled flow of foreign labour into the country. And blow me down with a feather – she is also a former BBC employee who was responsible for ‘change management’. What better credentials could a supporter of uncontrolled immigration (and, of course, according to her CV, ‘gender equality’) have? And what better an objective source for a Newsnight quote?

Finally, Weldon delivered his own verdict on the immigration debate and evidence. This was , supposedly ‘neutral’ but was actually more of the same; it was a treatise that could have been written by any member of the TUC, the Labour Party or, for that matter, the SNP.

There is only one explanation: a common mindset and a common set of rules are at work. This one-sided approach emanates directly from the Bridcut report, a Gormenghast-style recalibration of the rules of reporting that was deliberately engineered by the Trustees to allow the BBC’s own agendas to be followed on topics such as immigration and climate alarmism.

The same applies to stories about the EU. During the election campaign, when a has-been political leader whines that Brexit would be damaging, it’s automatically elevated to headline status.

Conversely, when the leader of the only party advocating withdrawal is interviewed, his views about the same subject are not even on the agenda. Instead, Evan Davis works hard to pin a new label on him as a ‘hater’ of that nice Paddington Bear’s version of multiculturalism.

You could not make it up.

 

Davis interview of Farage: descends into ‘painting by numbers’ farce

Davis interview of Farage: descends into ‘painting by numbers’ farce

How many ways can the BBC find to insult those who support stronger controls on immigration? And to what extent is this an integrated, pre-planned strategy to rig the election?

The latest round of name-calling came with Evan Davis’s so called ‘interview’ of Nigel Farage on BBC1 on Wednesday evening. It was actually closer to a party political broadcast by Evan Davis outlining the Corporation’s deep loathing of those who do not agree with multiculturalism.

The full transcript of this travesty of an exchange is here.

There is much in the UKIP manifesto that is different from the main parties. Alone among the main parties, they want to leave the EU. And associated with that, the party wants the introduction of an integrated, much tougher approach to immigration.

A poll commissioned by the Daily Mail shows starkly that 90% of voters want radical changes in immigration policy. Most believe the current inflow is a major problem, it is causing stress on communities and infrastructure, and that numbers should be curbed. They do not believe the three main parties are planning to tackle these problems.

For Davis, however, this potentially rich and rather central strand of questioning was of no interest at all.  Nor was the UK’s relationship with the EU.

His approach to the interview was yet another example of the BBC’s ‘painting by numbers’ approach to Ukip. The main intent was to show that all those who support such policies – and Nigel Farage in particular – are dangerous, bigoted racists.

Accordingly, the tone and mannerisms he adopted were those of a superior, enlightened being dealing with something rather unpleasant adhering to his shoe.

One obvious manifestation of this approach was that he interrupted Farage a at least 50 times. Counting the total is quite hard because sometimes there seemed a deliberate desire to stop Farage talking at all, and certainly from presenting an answer that contained detailed reasoning.

Was this simply robust interviewing? Emphatically not. In the equivalent interview with Ed Miliband by Davis, the number of such interruptions was only 32. Further, Davis spoke almost 3,000 words in the Farage ‘interview’ – only 700 less than Farage himself.

In terms of both arithmetic and the texture of the questions, this could thus be seen as a homily on behalf of the BBC worldview by Davis in which Farage was invited to contribute – but not too much.

Davis started the interview with a familiar way – an ad hominem attack. How could he disparage other politicians for being elitist when he himself, and several of his colleagues, had been educated at public schools? Well blow me down with a feather. How original and searching was that?

No matter that Farage pointed out that there was a mixture of backgrounds in party ranks – Davis was determined to make his point.

Thereafter, the main thrust of the questioning was to try trick Farage into revealing that he was totally bigoted. Was Ukip a mean and divisive party? Why had he said on Fox News that some areas were in danger of becoming ghettoes? The agenda here was to show clearly that Farage was anti-Muslim. Did he, shock horror, favour Christians over Muslims? Why did he prefer Australian immigrants over those from Eastern Europe? And why did he think a lot of crime was committed by Romanians? Why was he so sneering about what he called the ‘Liberal Metropolitan elite?

This was actually the relentless pursuit of the same BBC agenda question: all those who say that uncontrolled immigration is bad are racists, even though they say they are not.

In his determination to expose the nastiness before him, Davis even attacked Farage for saying that mothers who wanted to breast feed in Claridge’s should be reasonably discreet about it. How could he be so unenlightened? Farage protested that to him this was not a big issue, and certainly one not central to the election agenda. Headmaster Davis clearly thought otherwise.

To sum up, yet again the BBC chose, in a flagship interview of a leading exponent of alternative policies on immigration and the EU, not to explore the main themes that concern the British public. What unfolded instead was another clumsy but brutal ad hominem attack.

By contrast, as happened on Monday of this week, when EU officials want to come on to the Today programme to talk about the need for a federally-enforced common asylum policy (to add to the Free Movement of People directive) in the wake of the African ferry disaster, there is no problem. They are given oodles of time to do so and are scarcely interrupted.

BBC CHALLENGERS’ DEBATE ‘SERIOUSLY BIASED’ AGAINST EU WITHDRAWAL CASE

BBC CHALLENGERS’ DEBATE ‘SERIOUSLY BIASED’ AGAINST EU WITHDRAWAL CASE

BBC Director General Lord of Hall of Birkenhead, unusually for any big media organisation, is both managing director and its editor in chief. It gives him immense power.

His most important role in a general election is to ensure scrupulous political balance. The BBC Charter and electoral law require him to do so.

He recently told the Commons European Scrutiny Committee that he keeps track of news coverage through a daily briefing meeting and steps in fast if there are any issues of concern.

In this context, the Challengers’ debate on Thursday night was inevitably a key occasion. It is inconceivable that he did not personally discuss and approve the proposed format with his phalanxes of advisors.

So what does it say about Lord Hall and his editorial team that he and they ever thought the framing of this so-called ‘debate’ could be regarded as fair?

There has been much discussion of this in the media already and it has now emerged that Nigel Farage himself is consulting lawyers about especially the composition of the studio audience, which bayed with derision at him and cheered to the rafters the lefty extremism of Sturgeon and Co.

I will address that in more detail later, but there is a much deeper issue here. In crude terms, this ‘debate’ was – and could only ever have been – the broadcasting equivalent of a gang bang. This was predictable from a million miles away. It was four politicians with highly-publicised (especially by the BBC) and very similar anti-austerity, pro-immigration views ranged against one Nigel Farage.

The BBC held the debate because they could, not in the interest of fairness. Could it be seen as an act of revenge on the Conservatives for not agreeing to their desire for a full leaders’ debate? How else could they sign off on a programme that gave an inbuilt totally disproportionate 4-1 bias to the left wingers on the panel?

Senior BBC editors argue in defence of the continual bias against eurosceptics and EU come-outers that Nigel Farage is a big boy who is well able to defend himself against the insults he regularly receives from them.

And, in fact, this was a blue moon occasion on the BBC airwaves. Analysis of the 13,700-word transcript shows that Farage actually had the chance to talk more than few words about some core policies. He seized the opportunity with relish and with calmness under fire.

That said, everything else that followed was a travesty of fairness and balance. It defies belief that Lord Hall approved it. One measure is arithmetic: Farage contributed 2,756 words, 20% of those spoken. That means that those ranged against him commanded 80% of the airtime.  Furthermore, time wasn’t apportioned equally between the other leaders as the debate moved on from the leaders’ formal, timed one-minute responses.   This meant that Farage’s overall contribution was less than two thirds of Miliband’s 4,274 words, and that the Labour leader dominated the airtime, accounting for 31% of the total words spoken by the five leaders.

But the bias against Farage and the withdrawal perspective doesn’t end there. In this election, the British relationship with the EU is a central theme of the ‘right’. Ukip want to come out and the Conservative party has promised an in-out referendum.

So why on earth as there not a direct question about the EU? Farage would still have been howled down by Miliband and Co, but at least such a question would have forced them to declare their pro-EU stance and back it up with supportive facts.

Instead, the Ukip question was about immigration and housing. That meant that Sturgeon and Co could not only heap abuse on Farage, but also effortlessly frame their arguments in terms of their anti-austerity bleeding heart socialism. The way this unfolded was absolutely predictable: the set-up deliberately gave a platform for the left-wing torrent of anti-Ukip abuse that ensued.

It is here that Lord Hall has been most derelict in his duties. He and his advisors facilitated gross imbalance.

But in addition, this was a glaringly biased audience. David Dimbleby instantly denied this, but it has now emerged that ICM has consistently under-represented both the Conservative and Ukip vote. So why on earthy were they chosen as ‘independent’? The BBC response is that ICM was also used to select the ITV debate audience. This is a risible excuse. .

BBC news chiefs know full well – because the European Scrutiny Committee spelled it out last month – that many believe that their coverage of the EU is deeply flawed and biased. In that context, those who hired ICM should have been aware of their controversial track record and turned instead to an above-reproach pollster. That they did not is an indicator of arrogance or incompetence, or both.

A second issue relates to the use of the audience tracking ‘worm’, which was a feature of the debate coverage on the BBC News Channel last Thursday. This conveys instant audience reaction and – unsurprisingly given the overall composition of the audience – was especially negative when Farage spoke.

Yet In using it, the BBC was flying against the advice of academic research by psychologists at Bristol University who analysed use of the worm in the 2010 leadership debates. They found they have a strong and disproportionate power to sway voting intentions. The House of Lords communications committee considered the findings in depth and decided the fears were well-founded. As a result, they warned broadcasters that they should not be used in election debate coverage.

The BBC, of course, considers itself to be above any such strictures. They ignored the research itself, the House of Lords advice and a letter from the Bristol University written to the Guardian on April 13. It opined:

‘Our results….showed that the worm has a powerful influence both on voters’ opinions of who won the debate, and on their voting intentions. An unrepresentative worm poll, based on responses from only 20 to 50 people, has the potential to exert a strong influence on millions of viewers.’

This adds up to that Lord Hall is failing on multiple levels to fulfil his duties as Director General. The only conclusion can be that his organisation is engaged in a systematic effort to shut down elements of democratic debate, especially those related to the EU and immigration.

 

BBC pushes green agenda – in tune with every political colour but purple

BBC pushes green agenda – in tune with every political colour but purple

One thing is certain in this phony election: vote any colour but purple and you are supporting policies that continue to sanction the wasting of countless billions on climate change lunacy.

At the heart of all three main party manifestos is labyrinthine state regulation, a forest of new restrictive measures foisted on both businesses and individuals. They want tougher measures in favour of ‘decarbonisation’ under the UK’s insane Climate Change Act.  You can read them here, here and here.

Whatever the outcome of the General Election,  the next stage of this multi-billion spending extravaganza is that the parties will be working in unison to achieve them  at the UN Climate Change ‘summit’ in Paris in the autumn.

Be afraid, very, very afraid:  the declared goal is a ‘universal climate agreement’ which will hobble efficient economic growth for the foreseeable future and will ratchet up the price of energy generation, putting our well-being, prosperity and real chances of ending poverty into a stalling nosedive.

The most obscene aspect of this is that artificially high energy prices hit the poor and the old hardest. MPs know this, but they do damn all about it, and this eco-lunacy certainly does not affect three-kitchens Ed, £5K cooker-owner Nick or call-me-Dave’s father-in-law, a major beneficiary of subsidies for ‘renewables’.

What is this agenda? The mainstream media scarcely touch the issues involved. But The Guardian is already in full gung-ho eco-warrior mode and giving maximum publicity to the pre-Paris agenda. Pride of place goes to their Keep it in the Ground campaign, the aim of which is a total cessation of recovering and burning using fossil fuels.

Actually, this is happening at a time when former UN climate change chief alarmist Yvo De Boer, has accepted that coal is an essential part of the energy mix, especially for developing economies, and when most of Asia is flocking to a new investment fund in China, which, unlike the Green-dominated World Bank, will provide investment support for new coal-fired power stations.   But our MPs are too immersed in their green ideology to do joined-up thinking.

More alarmingly – in true Politburo style – these zealots want   to shut down debate in this highly complex arena.  Anyone who disagrees that the science is proven is contemptuously dismissed by Guardianistas as a ‘denier’, a phrase deliberately hijacked from ‘Holocaust deniers’. Full-blooded nastiness is intended, and some want the jailing and even killing of opponents.

It boils down to the fact that the allure and stranglehold of doctrinaire Communism/socialism – which kept the Left happy for decades – may have weakened, but it has been replaced by a new Green ideology that is every bit as repressive, if not more so.   At its core it is not only anti-capitalist but also anti-welfare.

This immense Green Blob present themselves to the world as a downtrodden, progressive and  right-on. But they are bankrolled by billions of pounds or private and public cash.  Big Green has more cash than Big Oil,most of it from our pockets.  And all the manifestos show that they are now going to get even more.

Green campaigners are working to flat out to stifle dissent in the climate change debate and the party manifestos demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that all our political class – but Ukip – are signed up to this eco-zealotry.   The extent to which it has taken hold is best illustrated by the semantics involved: the Liberal Democrats want an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation.

The BBC, of course, is fully complicit in this. It’s the mouthpiece of all three parties’ drive towards ‘decarbonisation’.  While the Corporation’s election campaign coverage focuses on the phony differences between them, it’s eco-warrior business as usual on the BBC website. Here it is pushing the climate alarmist agenda with every sinew of its corporate clout – we will no longer be able to eat fish and chips because of global warming.  That’s what Met Office models tell us, so in the BBC’s world of weather doom, it must be true.

There are a few glimmers of sense. David Cameron has rowed back from his Green Blob thinking in that he has declared that the Tories will no longer support the further development of onshore wind farms – and he says the party also supports fracking. But all other aspects of eco-lunacy – including enthusiasm for the Paris summit – are adopted hook line and sinker. Tory policy is broadly indistinguishable from any other.

And the party continues to support idiotic green schemes, such as the Swansea ‘lagoon’, a tidal energy project, which if it goes ahead with generate probably the most expensive electricity in the world.

Only Ukip’s manifesto promises to repeal the Climate Change Act and halt this insane spending on a political ideology that, in reality, is a massive con trick on the British electorate.

Photo by Jeremy Levine Design

Photo by IntelFreePress

Robert Peston’s Pro-EU bias Shows in BBC’s Blair Election Intervention Coverage.

Robert Peston’s Pro-EU bias Shows in BBC’s Blair Election Intervention Coverage.

Photo by myglesias

This is without doubt the no-choice, phoney election. Take the EU.  Opinion polls say that the majority of Britons would vote to leave if given the chance. That is why David Cameron and Ed Miliband are actually working to shut down debate on both the UK’s relationship with the EU and its closely-related bedfellow, immigration.

David Cameron is as much in his own way a Brussels enthusiast as Ken Clarke, Ted Heath or Nigel Heseltine. His declared ambition is that its domain eventually stretches from the Atlantic to the Urals. At every opportunity he and George Osborne say that they want the UK to stay inside what has now become arguably a bigger socialist/statist experiment than the USSR ever was.

Cameron says he is offering a blend of ‘renegotiation’ and in/out referendum, but the details have remained conspicuously and suspiciously vague.

For his part, Ed Miliband makes no bones that he wants to cosy up to the Eurocrats and the federalists in the same way that Tony Blair did. Without doubt, five years of a Labour-SNP government would enmesh us even deeper in the Brussels mire.

Both MIliband and Cameron clearly know that their approaches to the EU are hated by a significant part of their core vote. But their calculated, cynical gamble is to focus their electoral fire elsewhere. Their hope is that the country’s deep and visceral distrust of the EU won’t really count when the ballot boxes are opened. And afterwards, whoever is elected will carry on regardless in their pro-EU trajectory.

Where does the BBC fit into this anything-but-the-EU-and-immigration election?

The Corporation, of course, loves Brussels with a passion because of its core Marxist-socialist founding principles, its dismantling of and disdain for British common law, history, institutions and traditions, and its stance on issues such as climate change.

In this space it is impossible to unpick the full range of Corporation bias as the election approaches. Suffice it to say that they are enthusiastic partners in the Camerband dance. A primary feature of coverage – as evidenced in previous News-watch reports – is that there has been massive bias by omission, an editorial avoidance of discussing the issue of withdrawal itself.

Another aspect of the endemic bias is that editors bust a gut to find and explore the views of those who oppose withdrawal – and virtually ignore those who favour it. Tony Blair’s intervention in the election is a classic case in point. Blair’s pronouncements on the economic disaster that would ensue if the UK left the EU were given maximum exposure and weight – and those who genuinely disagreed did not get a look in, as analysis of the flagship coverage on BBC1 News at 10 shows.

David Cameron, of course, was wheeled out to say that Brussels’ iron opposition to changes in immigration and general reform could be achieved. But for the reasons already mentioned this was emphatically not a pro-withdrawal, or even a balancing, contribution. Cameron actually agrees with much of what Blair said. It was the false optimism of an EU sycophant.

The clearest evidence of BBC bias in the News at 10 sequence came in the final contribution by economics editor Robert Peston.

Pulling the lens back for a moment, BBC news now treats these contributions by correspondents as a fulcrum of their coverage. Major stories are not complete without them. The idea is that they explain, put into context and summarise the key points. But in an organisation with its own agendas – which the BBC now has in areas such as the EU and climate change – they have instead become a powerful propaganda tool.

And that’s exactly what happened with Peston in the Blair item. This is what he said in full:

“Well, the UK is an economy particularly dependent on big multinationals; in fact, it’s been a point of government policy for about 30, 40 years to attract them here. Why do they base themselves here? Well, it’s for access to the single market of the European Union – the biggest market in the world of its sort. Now, in the couple of years or so, if the Tories win the election, that would be the run-up to a referendum there would be considerable uncertainty about the outcome in that period, there is a risk that those multinationals would stop investing, or at least put investment on hold. That would be a cost. That would slow down the economy.

“If in that referendum we were to vote to leave the European Union, well, a group like Open Europe, which is fairly critical of the way the European Union runs itself, it estimates that the potential costs by 2030 of leaving on worst case basis would be about 2%, a bit more than 2% of GDP. They do address the UKIP argument that we would have more control over things like red tape imposed on businesses, how to tax ourselves, you know, how to run our economy. They say the best case, if everything went to plan, would be an improvement in GDP of 1.5%. So they’re saying the worst case outcome is significantly worse than the best case outcome of independence. So they would say the costs massively outweigh the potential, well, not massively, but they outweigh the potential benefits.”

Put another way, Peston declared loud and clear that Blair was spot on. Not only that, he amplified Blair’s prejudice by suggesting that what he had argued was based on well-researched facts. If Britain left the EU, Britain would lose at least 0.5% of its GDP – an immense sum (GDP is currently around £1.9 trillion) .

What he chose not to say was also outrageous bias. Peston knows perfectly well there is a wealth of well-documented material which – unlike Open Europe – suggests that leaving the EU would boost the British economy. This document, by economist Ian Milne for the Bruges Group, shows that 90% (by value) of UK trade is not with the EU – 10% is, but 80% occurs within Britain and 10% with the rest of the world. And this paper, by Michael Burrage, for Civitas, concludes that the trade advantages of being in the EU are virtually non-existent because the volume of trade now with EU countries is exactly the same as it was in 1973 when the UK joined.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Peston could have included a snapshot of this opinion and analysis – instead he deliberately emphasised the importance of the UK staying in the EU.

New BBC Trustees Fail Independence Test

New BBC Trustees Fail Independence Test

While the BBC agitates with all its sinews to prevent those it loathes from being elected at the General Election, two new Corporation Trustees have been appointed.

Will that change anything at the Biased Broadcasting Corporation? Do not hold your breath.

Most go native the moment they are appointed, as chairman Rona Fairhead has repeatedly shown.

This is what one of the two new appointees says about what he thinks about the Corporation: “It expresses noble ideas of impartiality and fairness. It expands cultural horizons and can make us think, laugh and cry.”

Sounds like high-level sycophancy.

That said, appointment number one is superficially interesting and a tad less predictable than most. He is , an investment banker. Shock, horror, he is possibly even a ‘Conservative’ – the first such Trustee since Lord Patten became chairman – a former party deputy treasurer, and joint founder with Iain Duncan Smith of the respected Conservative think-tank the Centre for Social Justice. Its recommendations in their Breakdown/Breakthrough Britain reports – if they had been implemented by David Cameron – would have led to significant positive change.

Sadly, most weren’t. They were jettisoned by George Osborne, in favour instead of spending billions on forcing mothers out to work.

Scratch the surface of Florman’s activities and a familiar rotten smell begins to appear. He may be Tory on the outside, but it is clear that he is also at the epicentre of the so-called ‘responsible’ investment racket, as this report of the British Venture Capital Association, of which he was chief executive, makes clear.

This means in practice that he and his fellow high-powered financial acolytes are all (or were until very recently) greenie fanatics. Their interpretation of fiscal ‘responsibility’ is that they are totally wedded to the green agenda, and they want, in effect, a Britain that is covered in giant wind farms and solar panels. Their real aim, of course, is self-enrichment in the pursuit of billions in green energy subsidies, and to persuade the government to continue jacking up energy prices through the insane ‘decarbonisation’ dictated by the 2008 Climate Change act.

Florman is not only a leading advocate of greenie investment ideology, he is also a former chairman of LM Glasfiber, said to be the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines, and is therefore also at the heart of the green energy scam.  And his other current main activity listed in his gleaming new BBC biography is that he is a non-executive director of 8 Miles, a venture capital fund that is investing in Africa. In this capacity he works closely with the fund’s main advisor Sir Bob Geldof – yet another greenie fanatic (who rather paradoxically in this context believes the world will end in 2030 unless we abandon capitalism), and is thus a firm BBC long-term favourite activist.

If there was a PR manual on how to spread greenie propaganda, being appointed to the BBC Board of Trustees with the background and experience of Florman would be at the level of the untrumpable gold card. The Corporation has 8,000 journalists who relentlessly spread eco-lunacy as one of their main goals. No doubt Florman and his fellow investment gurus are triumphant about his new role.

Some would call this a massive conflict of interest. But in the warped thinking of our political establishment, greenie causes are not liable to challenge or dissension, so that’s OK then – it was Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, who signed off the appointment.

The second new Trustee is Mark Damazer. Here, there is no pretence that this might be an appointment to provide contrasting views or ballast to the other Trustees. Damazer – now the Dean of St Peter’s College, Oxford – was a BBC journalist and executive for almost 30 years from 1981 to 2010 and as head of current affairs, political programmes and then deputy director of news for more than a decade was totally resistant to the idea that the BBC might be biased in its news reporting.

The idea that he can now somehow be ‘independent’ in exercising judgments about BBC impartiality is totally risible. Time and time again when in his news posts, Damazer rejected charges of bias in EU reporting – at the very time when Lord Wilson of Dinton found that the BBC’s reporting of EU affairs was grossly unsatisfactory.

In his new role, he joins fellow BBC career placeman Richard Ayre, the chairman of the Trustees Editorial Standards Committee (also a green fanatic), whose job it is to systematically rebut almost all the complaints filed against BBC journalism on any grounds they choose.

The fundamental problem with the BBC, as has been made clear in the TCW manifesto, is that it is the broadcasting arm of the Guardian. If the Trustees were genuinely independent and operated with tough resolve to ensure impartiality – as they undoubtedly have the statutory capacity to do – then there would be a remote chance of reform.

These latest appointments mean that the possibility of this happening is zero. Rona Fairhead and her BBC-loving henchmen are continuing full steam ahead in their deliberate bias.

Photo by Mike_fleming

More BBC pro-EU bias in Farage ‘painting by numbers’ interview

More BBC pro-EU bias in Farage ‘painting by numbers’ interview

Photo by Euro Realist Newsletter

For 16 years, News-watch has been monitoring in interviews by the BBC of Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

It’s the broadcasting equivalent of painting by numbers.

With wearying predictability, each one has been essentially the same. Question one usually suggests they are racist by wanting immigration controls. Question two posits the party is a flash in the pan, and then that their electoral bubble has definitely burst. Voters are now realising that supporting the party was a bad mistake. And then comes number three: why are there so many nutters and closet Nazis in party ranks?

All the main presenters – from John Humphrys to James Naughtie  and from Justin Webb and Evan Davis to Sarah Montague – have clearly been tutored in  this mechanical interviewing approach, and none of them deviates beyond a few commas and names from the script.

The goal has been relentlessly and viciously the same: to discredit the party and its leader and to sabotage the chances that withdrawal from the EU is properly on the political agenda.

In any other organisation, such lack of originality would be considered a risible dereliction of duty, but this is the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, whose agenda is to attack UKIP’s core policies – restriction of immigration and departure from the EU – with every sinew of its £2bn-a-year news budget. Handling of the party by BBC presenters makes it blatantly obvious they are dealing with the political equivalent of the stench of rotting fish.

It was the turn of Today presenter Mishal Husain to have her crack at Mr Farage on Thursday morning. She did not disappoint – exactly true to form in terms of content. The right-on Ms Husain spiced it up by adopting a sharply judgmental, condescending and authoritarian tone. It was if she was dealing with someone who should be subjected to the worst excesses of Sharia law.

Section 1:  Ms Husain attempted to show that Mr Farage’s concerns about communities becoming segregated as a result of the volume of immigration are actually racist. This is what the Corporation has done for years on the topic of immigration. It has been so blatantly obvious that BBC correspondents such as Nick Robinson have been forced to make apologies for it. But no matter:  This is Ukip and any chance to discredit Mr Farage would clearly do for Ms Husain. Instead of having a sensible, grown-up exchange about the how immigration can be managed, Ms Husain preferred instead to descend into the broadcast equivalent of crude name-calling.

Section 2: Here, Ms Husain tried to rubbish the concept of an Australian-style cap on immigrant numbers. Her ammunition – which she fired with both barrels and with such vehemence that Mr Farage could scarcely get a word in edgeways – was that it is totally impracticable because it is hard to define what a skilled worker actually is and where such immigrants should come from. Mr Farage very patiently persisted that it was possible, but Ms Husain was having none of it. Her focus then shifted to suggesting that if there was a cap on immigrant numbers at all, it would be economically disastrous for Britain. Normally, the BBC hates big business, but here, Ms Husain invoked the authority of the CBI to posit that Ukip policies were dangerously misguided. Mr Farage then raised a very important point: that cohesion of communities is more important than economic wealth. Ms Husain ignored that and moved on….to

Section 3:   Ms Husain kept to the script again, precisely. Now it was time to show that Ukip are a bunch of dangerous, venal nutters, and she had a string of names to prove her case. Her examples were larded with the usual alarming  labels: Nazi, Adolf Eichmann…more painting by numbers. Mr Farage politely pointed out that other political parties have also had similar problems with candidates, but this did not make headlines. Ms Husain was totally unresponsive to his protests. She ploughed on with the theme and ensured that in several different ways she was able to tell the audience that Ukip members are dangerous extremists.

What remains clear is that as the election coverage gathers pace, the Biased Broadcasting Corporation has no intention of portraying Ukip and all it stands for as anything other than a dangerous aberration.  The Commons European Scrutiny Committee recently highlighted that bias. One mercy is that the more these attacks continue, the more voters see through it- Ukip has risen despite the relentless opposition of the BBC. But the Husain interview illustrates graphically that many of the real issues of the campaign are not properly being discussed.

Read the full transcript below:

 

Kathy  Gyngell: In the BBC’s Alice in Wonderland world, criticism by MPs compromises its impartiality

Kathy Gyngell: In the BBC’s Alice in Wonderland world, criticism by MPs compromises its impartiality

Biased Today, biased yesterday and biased tomorrow,  the BBC  has much to answer for over its uncritical and inadequate EU coverage.

More than any other news outlet the BBC shapes and moulds public opinion. Over the years, it has inspired an unwarranted public confidence in the EU. It has been responsible for conveying a sense of the inevitability and necessity of British membership

Had it not so determinedly stuck to its view that the EU was ‘a good thing’,  a fact of life that anyone in their right mind should accept,  Britain might not be in the mess it’s in today.  We might not have uncontrolled immigration; we might be able to deport who we want when we want; and we might still have a vibrant fishing industry. That’s just three of the many areas over which we have lost national authority at great cost.

The  House of Commons all-party EU Scrutiny Committee’s report, published yesterday, which accuses  the BBC of ‘falling down severely’ in its obligation to provide impartial coverage of the EU, raises these questions.

Its findings confirm what many of us have been arguing for years – that BBC coverage of EU matters is deplorable, that it has a ‘concerning’ pro-EU bias, and that Eurosceptics have been given inadequate airtime.  Specifically the MPs criticise Lord Hall for failing in his role as the BBC’s editor-in chief .

All this rings a profound bell with me, just as does the arrogance of the BBC’s response.  The crux of it is that the BBC cannot be criticised because (in their perverse world) any criticism by MPs (however valid it may be) constitutes a breach of the Corporation’s independence. It can’t be seen to follow MPs criticism – no, not even if it is right.

I wonder which Propaganda (sorry Press) Officer there dreamed this excuse up as he pondered the embargoed document before publication? I know that nothing should surprise me but I am amazed that Lord Hall signed off such a response for release. Perhaps for this particular editor-in-chief,  intent and belief are adequate substitutes for whatever is actually broadcast.  During his appearance before the Committee, his claim that the desire for balanced output “ran deep” within the BBC and that he believed that this was being achieved now, sounded like weasel words.  It isn’t being achieved.

This is far from the first time that the BBC has stonewalled criticism about its EU coverage.  I have in my files copies of an ongoing correspondence with Helen Boaden, the then Controller of Radio Four, back in the early 2000s. Like today’s BBC spokesperson, her response that the Corporation provided extensive and impartial coverage of European and Parliamentary issues was (or should be, she thought) sufficient unto the day.

Boaden refused to consider the consistently logged, timed, comprehensive transcript evidence and analysis,  that we (Minotaur Media Tracking) sent her, as evidence.  In her thinking no external monitoring of BBC output could or would ever constitute evidence – however objective or impartial – because the BBC editorial process meant that the BBC was always impartial – and therefore above criticism. It’s surprising to find she has a degree in English literature;  the concept of tautology could not have featured in her studies.

Despite Lord Wilson’s subsequent critical report, despite the cumulative log of evidence of BBC bias by News-watch, despite the fact that this is far from the first time that the BBC has been called to account, the BBC never wavers in it pre-programmed ‘Boaden’-style response. It refuses to harbour any self doubt – not a smidgeon.

Lord Hall has taken a leaf out of Ms Boaden’s book. “As Lord Hall told the committee, we are and will be impartial in all matters concerning our coverage,” the BBC spokesman said.

James Harding, the BBC’s Director of News and `Current Affairs, was not backward in going on the offensive either. His ‘Aunt Sally’ was that if the public was going to trust the BBC to report on politicians impartially it had to be clear that BBC journalists weren’t “asked by politicians to come and account for what they do and in effect do the bidding of those politicians”.

True to form the Today programme thought there was nothing to defend either.

In its own inimitable way yesterday morning’s edition of Today devoted 8 minutes to a Mark Knopfler record plug but nothing to the EU Scutiny Committee’s report that just happened to criticise the BBC on a subject of fundamental importance to every British citizen!

This article first appeared on The Conservative Woman

Photo by John Christian Fjellestad