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David Keighley

BBC ‘arrogant’ dismissal of Sunday Times

BBC ‘arrogant’ dismissal of Sunday Times

The Sunday Times has a rather feeble (in analytical terms) news story today (February 20) under the heading of What’s Going on at the BBC? by media editor Rosamund Unwin which postulates that because of cuts in staffing levels (leading to poor editorial decisions), standards of BBC journalism are falling, as is evidenced by Amol Rajan’s questionably-handled interview last week of Novak Djokovic (which revealed nothing even though it was granted headline status) and the Oxford Street bus incident.

Her premise is fundamentally wrong – the ‘decline’ is actually a continuation of long-standing inherent bias and weakness – but what is interesting about the piece is the quote it attracted from the BBC. A spokesman said: “We don’t feel that highlighting a few unrelated pieces of output from across the BBC says anything meaningful about a 24-hour worldwide news operation.”

This yet another arrogant variation in the theme of that only they at the BBC know and can judge what is going on editorially. Everyone else attempting to do so is deluded.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/whats-going-on-at-the-bbc-5pv7dz9fn (£)

BBC REPORTS ENERGY BILLS CRISIS – WITHOUT MENTIONING NET ZERO

BBC REPORTS ENERGY BILLS CRISIS – WITHOUT MENTIONING NET ZERO

Today’s lead story (February 3)  in much of the media is that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is planning to spend billions of pounds to cushion the impact on householders of a huge rise in domestic heating charges which will take effect from April.

According to green policy watchdog Net Zero Watch, the government will make £6 billion of loans available to energy companies so that they can pass on rebates of £200 per household, cutting the average bill after the increase from £1,900 to £1,700. .

Dr John Constable, director of energy for Net Zero Watch, says that the loans are a ‘terrible idea’ that would set an undesirable and unsustainable precedent, and also not solve the underlying problem, which was that the price crisis had been caused by the government’s net zero energy policies.

He said:

“Loans to the energy companies are a simply terrible idea and show that the No. 10 operation cannot face up to the failure of the green policies which lie behind the current crisis, and are costing consumers well over £10 billion a year Even Germany has agreed to cut 25 billion Euros of renewables subsidies from energy bills in an effort to protect consumers. The Prime MInister has put Net Zero and energy company shareholders before the public interest. He will not be forgiven.”

Elsewhere,  in the Telegraph, columnist Allister Heath also makes no bones about whose fault the energy price rises are. He states:

“All of which brings us to energy policy, another case study in extreme failure. A sensible government would urgently accelerate its nuclear plans by creating a powerful agency modelled on the vaccines taskforce. As a temporary solution, such an administration would also push to extract more oil and gas, including by fracking. “Instead, a government that no longer believes in markets will now simply pretend that prices are much lower than they are. The Treasury will lend billions to energy companies to allow them to moderate price rises; customers will then pay higher bills in the future to ensure the Treasury (hopefully) recoups its money”

And how is the BBC reporting the cost-of-living crisis?  There are two main stories online, one headed ‘Millions braced as energy price rise to be revealed’,   and the second a background piece ‘I’m so cold it feels like I’m sleeping outside’.

The first story reports the speculation about the government’s energy company loans and includes comment that the money released will not be enough to make energy affordable to most households, together with a call from Labour for a windfall tax on energy suppliers such as Shell.  There’s no mention, however, that the price increases are thought to have been largely triggered by the government’s pursuit of so-called renewable energy under the net zero strategy.

The second story focuses on a 54-year old disabled black woman who is ‘desperately trying to keep her energy bills down’, and who reporter Michael Buchanan says is ‘one of millions’ set to be affected by the increased energy bills. He adds that the rise is thought – which would tip 4 million households into ‘fuel stress’ (10% of budgets spent on fuel) –  to have been caused by ‘a big increase in global wholesale prices’.

Surprise, surprise, yet again there is no mention of the impact of net zero policies.

Mail on Sunday editorial slams ‘useless’ BBC complaints process

Mail on Sunday editorial slams ‘useless’ BBC complaints process

The Mail on Sunday December 26, 2021

The BBC is Silencing the viewers who should be heard

THE BBC’s existence is an attempt to answer a series of linked riddles. How can you sustain a national broadcaster to pursue the best in everything, free from commercial pressure? How can the state collect the funds for such a body, without turning it into a lapdog of the ruling party? How can such a corporation be regulated to ensure impartiality? Once, the BBC contained so many men and women who profoundly believed in its mission that this task was easier and governments worried about it less. But since the 1960s, a growing number of BBC personnel have decided these high principles do not apply to them. If nobody stops them, they turn the Corporation into a megaphone for their largely Left-wing opinions. And, increasingly, nobody does stop them. The public have noticed and so they turn to the BBC’s own complaints system in the hope of having some influence. But as we report today, that system is more or less useless. Its supposed backstop is the quango Ofcom, crammed with ex-BBC staffers and marinated in the same ideas. And the first stage of the complaints procedure itself is just a sort of spongy layer, outsourced to the service company Capita, apparently designed to soak up and ignore public discontent. As we report today, only a tiny number of complaints – roughly one in a thousand – ever reach the real complaints department, the grandly named Executive Complaints Unit. Most viewers almost certainly do not know how to get their grievances past Capita’s software. This is a mockery of the licence-payer. Whatever the right answer is to the BBC’s complaints, this is the wrong one. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is correct to be worried and should act swiftly to ensure the voice of the viewers is actually heard in the Corporation’s sequestered corridors.

 

… while broadcaster investigates less than 0.1% of its complaints

By Anna Mikhailova

DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR

THE BBC’s complaints process faces being overhauled by the Culture Secretary amid concerns too few are being treated seriously. Analysis presented to Nadine Dorries shows that out of almost half a million complaints in the year 2020-21, less than 0.1 per cent were investigated by the Corporation’s Executive Complaints Unit. It follows concerns from MPs that the BBC is ‘marking its own homework’ and needs to Stop handling complaints from viewers and listeners in-house.

The data, seen by The Mall on Sunday, shows that just 455 of 462,255 complaints were looked at by the Executive Complaints Unit in 2020/21. Of these, only 185 were escalated to the media regulator Ofcom – 0.04 per cent of the total. That year – a record number for complaints – included 23,674 about Emily Maitlis’s critical monologue about Dominic Cummings on Newsnight in May 2020. In 2019-20, 759 out of 368,377 complaints were looked at by the Executive Complaints Unit – or 0.2 per cent -while 233 were escalated to Ofcom, some 0.06 per cent.

The unit represents the second stage of the BBC’s complaints process. The first stage is out-sourced to private firm Capita. Ian Paisley, the DUP MP for North Antrim, said:

‘The figures are absolutely astounding. No other credible complaints process would justify those outcomes. There is something systemically wrong with the system that has to be changed.’

Ms Dorries is expected to look at the complaints system as part of next year’s mid-term review of the BBC’s Royal Charter. A Government source said:

‘The process needs to maintain public confidence. With so few corn-plaints being reviewed, it raises serious questions.’

The BBC said referring cases to the Executive Complaints Unit is down to complainants. However, it is up to them to tell the BBC they are unhappy with the response they received from the network. The process of referring to the unit is contained in a lengthy 52-page document that has to be downloaded from the BBC website.

Last night, the BBC refused to reveal how many complaints are handled entirely by Capita on its behalf. A spokesman said.

‘The BBC has a thorough, transparent and easy to use complaints process, We keep the process under review. This includes a public consultation held last year following which we made changes to increase transparency and the information provided to audiences.’

An Ofcom spokesman said: ‘We have consistently called for the BBC to be more transparent.’

News-watch finding:  GB News more impartial than the BBC on immigration

News-watch finding: GB News more impartial than the BBC on immigration

An in-depth survey by News-watch of the recently-launched television news channel GB News has found that its coverage of sensitive immigration issues was more balanced, detailed and wide-ranging than that of the BBC’s news programmes and BBC News 24. The BBC  coverage was weighted very strongly towards those opposed to stricter controls on immigration. By comparison, GB News incorporated that perspective (with more coverage than that on the BBC), but also included the opinions of those who are demanding stricter controls in line with the government’s Immigration Bill.

This is the report’s executive summary:

GB News launched on June 13, 2021, with a specific aim stated its editorial charter to present high quality balanced news and to ensure that all opinions were reflected and respected, including those from members of the public,  in its output.

This survey was conducted to examine whether the news channel is meeting these editorial ambitions, and also to compare the quality and range of its news coverage with that of the BBC. In this connection the BBC’s Charter stipulates that the news it provides must meet the highest editorial standards and provide ‘a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers’. In other words, better than its rivals.

The survey covered all the output of GB News and selected BBC news programmes from 6am to midnight on July 6, 2021, a day chosen at random. The treatment of one of the day’s biggest news items – the government’s Nationality and Borders Bill (details of which were announced on that day) – was the focus of analysis.

All relevant programme items were fully transcribed and 24 themes related to coverage were isolated, including factual descriptions of the bill, the perspectives of the government and campaigners, statistics on the numbers making the crossing, possible solutions to the crisis, and opinions from members of the general public.

Significant differences in the quality and quantity of coverage emerged. GB News covered the bill and its ramifications, together with opinion for and against, in much more detail. The BBC devoted 3.3% of its available airtime in the monitored programmes, compared to 12.4% of total airtime by GB News.

The BBC’s relevant content was skewed heavily towards that the new bill would deter genuine asylum seekers entering the UK.  That of GB News also incorporated similar negative views of the bill, but contained a wider spectrum of views in its favour and unlike the BBC, included substantial input from members of the public on a matter of huge public concern[1].

The BBC output in the survey –  from 11 flagship news programmes plus the content of the News Channel –  devoted just 54 minutes of airtime to the story, half of which was repetitive short items on the News Channel. Six of the main news programmes (such as BBC2 Newsnight and the BBC1 News at Ten) ignored the story, and the biggest chunk of original coverage (approximately 12 minutes) was a discussion on BBC2 Politics Live.

GB News, by contrast, devoted a total of 134 minutes to coverage , and it featured prominently in all seven of the monitored programmes.

As is shown in the full report (p.3) In 18 of the 24 identified themes, the GB News coverage was more detailed than the BBC’s. The biggest differences were in the following categories:

  • Opinions from the Public – GB News 3,185 words, nothing from the BBC;
  • People Smuggling Gangs and Illegality – 2,546 words on GB News against only 542 from the BBC;
  • Were those crossing the Channel genuine asylum seekers or economic migrants? – coverage on GB News was 2,348 words, with only 53 words from the BBC.

Four themes were covered by GB News but not at all by the BBC:

  • Opinions from the public;
  • Criticisms from the UKIP/Brexit Party perspective about the potential effectiveness of the bill (672 words – an interview with Nigel Farage);
  • That the incomers could be dangerous because many were adults posing as children and not genuine asylum seekers (339 words);
  • The asylum system potentially being at breaking point (223 words).

Only two themes of the BBC coverage (amounting to less than two minutes) were not covered by GB News:

  • UK cutting its international aid budget (131 words);
  • Criticism of the general media coverage of asylum issues (118 words)

Interviews

Substantial differences between the BBC and GB News also emerged from the interview sequences. The BBC interviewed six contributors about the bill compared with seven on GB News, but the word count discrepancy was much greater: 3,029 words (BBC) against 5,259. Thus GB News devoted significantly more airtime to exploration of a range of opinion about the story.

On the BBC, most space was devoted to figures who opposed the bill because they believed it made it tougher for genuine asylum seekers to enter the UK, and who were deeply critical of the UK’s record of the treatment of genuine refugees. The main interview sequence on BBC2 Politics Live (representing 25 per cent of the airtime devoted to the bill) featured a government minister ranged against three spokespeople who for a range of political, economic and human rights reasons, strongly opposed the bill.

GB News interviews included almost as much pro-asylum seeker opinion against the bill as on the BBC (1,484 against 1,567 words), but also contained views from a range of perspectives which welcomed the bill, including the government, a think-tank worried about overall immigration levels and border control officials who wanted to stop people-smuggling.

The BBC’s first public purpose in its Charter, covering news provision, states:

The BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Its content should be provided to the highest editorial standards. It should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens.

It contains a specific requirement that the corporation provides a news service better than other news providers. This findings are that only shows that only three weeks after its launch GB News covered a major national story in greater depth and at a much higher quality than the BBC, not least because it better achieved ‘due impartiality’ in providing a range of views about the bill, including public opinion.

It is arguable that the BBC’s coverage did not meet its public purpose obligations because it was both clearly biased and failed ‘to provide a range and depth of analysis not available from other UK news providers.’ In sharp contrast, GB News clearly met the requirements of its own Editorial Charter.

BBC Director General Tim Davie, appearing before the House of Commons DCMS Select Committee meeting of September 21, 2021, said that he was worried about what he described ‘BBC groupthink’ and was on a mission to ensure that an appropriate variety of opinion was featured in corporation output. On the evidence of this paper, he has a very long way to go.

[1] This was also despite that the total amount of monitored BBC programming added up to more than 27 hours, compared with 18 hours of the GB News output.

 

The full News-watch report is available here.

 

The Brexit Collection reveals the depth of the Corporation’s pro-EU bias – 13/07/2016

The Brexit Collection reveals the depth of the Corporation’s pro-EU bias – 13/07/2016

After the EU referendum, the BBC assembled on Radio 4 a barrage of anti-Brexit programmes which predicted that there would be rioting on the streets over food supply, the virtual ruin of the Scotch whisky industry and an uncontrolled explosion of hate crimes against EU citizens.

July 13, 2016

BBC reform, like so many other issues, has been pushed off the agenda by the referendum hullaballoo.

But sorting out BBC bias as the Brexit process gets underway is surely an urgent and major priority for the new May government – that is, if she genuinely wants Britain out.

The Corporation clearly now sees its central mission to push at every opportunity the case for Remain, for a second referendum, for a general election to endorse the exit plans. Anything, in fact, anything to upset the referendum vote.

So great is their opposition to ‘exit’ that their bias is now arguably (for example Newsnight, here) a deliberate attempt to undermine the democratic process, and to reinforce the view (held by many in the Conservative and Labour party and those who mounted demonstrations at the weekend) that those who voted ‘Leave’ were basing their decisions on lies; that they were deluded and plain wrong.

The new BBC Royal Charter is due to come into effect by the beginning of 2017, and yet the changes so far proposed by culture secretary John Whittingdale – broadly putting complaints under Ofcom and creating a new management board – will scarcely scratch the surface of current malpractice.

And meanwhile, BBC bias is continuing on an industrial scale. So brazen has it become that it has posted on the BBC iPlayer the Brexit Collection, a selection of 15 Radio 4 programmes about the Brexit vote.

The bias across most of the programmes is so extreme that it is impossible to know where to begin in describing it. News-watch, will, in due course, publish all the transcripts together with a full analysis and report.

In the meantime, a good entry point is the edition of The Food Programme, first broadcast on Sunday July 3, and presented by Dan Saladino.

He assembled for the bulk of the programme a cast list of six guests who declared, between them, that Brexit could lead to food riots; that ensuring food security after Brexit amounted to the worst peacetime challenge that the UK had ever faced; that farms would be abandoned, agricultural jobs would be lost, that the Scotch whisky industry faced virtual ruin, and that immigrants in the food processing and production industry the length and breadth of the UK were now living in fear. The full picture is here.

A key mover in this blatant exaggeration and scare-mongering was Professor Tim Lang from the City University in London, the main ‘expert’ on food supply. What Saladino did not tell listeners, however, was that Lang also works for a greenie food charity called Sustain, which, their annual reports show, receives a significant part of its funding (at least 10 per cent and probably as high as 25 per cent) directly or from the EU.

Ranged against the six gloom-mongers was a lone fisherman, who said he wanted Brexit but little more – the diminution of the UK fishing industry under the Common Fisheries Policy was not on the agenda –  and Tim Worstall, from the Adam Smith Institute. The latter managed to suggest, against all the predictions of doom elsewhere in the programme, that Brexit would actually lead to a reduction in food tariffs, and that the UK could make better trade deals with partners throughout the world.

But Saladino clearly thought that any positive comment about post-Brexit prospects should come with a health warning. Unlike with Professor Lang and his link with EU funding, he carefully pointed out that Worstall had been a speechwriter for Nigel Farage. For a BBC presenter, that, of course is a dog-whistle hand grenade that any views from the contributor have to be treated with caution because of (in the BBC’s eyes) Farage’s ‘extreme’ political views.

Another programme in the Brexit Collection was How to Make Brexit presented by Carolyn Quinn, about Greenland’s decision to leave the EU back in the 1980s. The bias is so evident it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Close to the beginning, Quinn used an extract from a pro-EU rant on the Now Show to illustrate one of her key points. The tone was thus set.

Quinn’s linking commentary and choice of quotes was framed with only one aim in mind – to tell us how desperately complex a departure would be. The first quote in this vein from a contributor was:

“This is the largest scale legislation and policy exercise that has possibly been carried out ever…The trade options alone are staggering….” Quinn left absolutely no room for doubt: leaving the EU is something that only a fool would contemplate.

Further initial commentary about the Brexit Collection can be found on the Is the BBC Biased? website here.

The choice of these programmes shows above all that the BBC itself does not care about and does not even begin to understand the depths of its pro-EU bias. The new Secretary of State for Culture has a huge challenge on his hands. The task of dealing with it has scarcely even begun.

BBC Drama revives anti-capitalist Priestley in a not-so-subtle hymn to Corbyn 18/09/2015

BBC Drama revives anti-capitalist Priestley in a not-so-subtle hymn to Corbyn 18/09/2015

This post from 2015 suggested that the BBC’s new version of the J.B Priestley classic play An Inspector Calls  – deliberately mangled to big up the core anti-capitalist theme – had been broadcast to celebrate the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn  as new Labour party leader.

18th September 2015

J.B Priestley, who in the 1930s and into the Second World War set himself up as the BBC’s master of socialist propaganda in his regular radio talks – so much so that Churchill believed he was undermining the war effort – must be smiling from on high today.

A new bells-and-whistles version of his play An Inspector Calls – written in 1945 and actually first performed in Stalin’s Russia – was chosen by the right-on comrades at Portland Place to go out on a Sunday night BBC1 primetime slot to mark the election of their hero, Jeremy Corbyn.

Coincidence, do I hear you cry? Not a chance. The BBC has a promotions unit whose job it is identify and head off scheduling clashes that might cause offence to the politically correct. Have no doubt, the timing was deliberate. What a lovely wheeze to celebrate the election of the most left-wing Labour leader in a generation.

But, then again, maybe even Priestley might be turning in his grave about how the BBC comrades mangled his most famous play.

His masterful plot – in which a mysterious inspector arrives to tell a mill owner’s family of the death of a poor hapless woman who, it transpires, they had all in different ways abused – reveals their moral culpability and shows them to possess almost every negative human characteristic imaginable.

The inspector, by contrast, emerges as  a brilliant, incisive sleuth who exposes and nails every aspect of their selfishness, nastiness and hypocrisy. The working class heroine, Eva Smith,  only referred to but never actually seen in the stage play, was mistreated in different ways by each member of the family. Because of their amoral self-interest, she is first sacked for union activism, driven  into poverty, then forced into prostitution, and finally denied the charity she seeks. They, in effect, force her into agonising suicide by swallowing disinfectant.

Gosh, how the BBC went to town on her on Sunday night..

In  a massive hijacking of the original text of the play, they decided to bring Eva directly into the plot in a series of flashbacks.

We saw Eva, a solid, flesh and blood character, descend into hell thanks to this evil, rich family. In this subtle-as-a-brick change, the intent was for the audience to see and empathise with the capitalist exploitation of her, and to witness her transformation from a porcelain, stunning beauty to an emaciated wreck.  The manufactured additional scenes were scripted and shot  for maximum  impact so that there could be no doubt that the upper/middle class tyrants who tormented Eva were unambiguously bad.

This was a subtle and  disturbing tale of 19th century morality, conscience and class transformed into a crude anti-capitalist  rant. All traces of subtlety were smashed to smithereens.

Is this over-egging the pudding in terms of claims of BBC bias ?

Well the BBC’s chums at The Guardian clearly got the message. Its television drama critic Sam Wollaston said the plea to the audience by the inspector at the end of the play to heed the plight of the working class could today be substituted using the word Syrians instead of Eva Smith and made direct reference to the little boy found drowned on a Turkish beach:

“There are millions and millions of Alan Kurdis left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and a chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.”

Did the BBC press office maybe suggest this to Wollaston behind the scenes?

Every aspect of this beautifully shot, directed and acted production worked in similar vein. Ken Stott, as the mill-owner, and Miranda Richardson, his wife, used all their formidable acting talent to emphasis just how thoroughly, deeply vacuous, unpleasant and unprincipled this capitalist couple were.

In other words, an ode to Corbyn mania. Elsewhere, too, the  BBC has been bigging up the message.

Revealed: Humphrys’s own catalogue of Brexit bias 24/09/2019

Revealed: Humphrys’s own catalogue of Brexit bias 24/09/2019

Almost two years ago, John Humphrys retired from his role as presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and published a new autobiography to mark the occasion.  This blog claimed he was being hypocritical in continuing to work for the Corporation over the last decade while secretly disagreeing with its Brexit coverage.

24th September 2019

Kathy Gyngell clearly highlighted on TCW yesterday the hypocrisy of John Humphrys revealed in his forthcoming memoirs, being serialised in the Daily Mail. Today she discusses further evidence of his double standards, this time over the Iraq Dossier affair.

How could he have continued to work on BBC Radio 4’s Today – drawing massive pay from the pockets of the public he professed to serve – with the concerns he says he had about the anti-Brexit bias of the BBC hierarchy and the Corporation’s general liberal left groupthink bias?

Some would call that fraud.

There is another glaring contradiction in his stance. Mr Humphrys declares that he still believes that the BBC is a wonderful institution, is a ‘tremendous and irreplaceable force for good’ and that the country is stronger because it exists.

How does he square such sycophantic hyperbole with his assertion that the flagship BBC programme Today and news output generally is infected with institutional bias? It’s a massive contradiction. Impartiality is a core BBC Charter obligation and his grave allegations are that the Corporation has been in breach of it at least since the EU referendum (as well as at other times, as outlined below).

Digging into the Humphrys archives unearths rafts of similar inconsistencies in his approach and conduct which suggest he has worked for at least the last 20 years in a bubble of what at best can be described as selective vision and hearing.

Much of what Mr Humphrys has put into his book is not new at all. In 2014 (perhaps when he started drafting his memoirs? – there was no other obvious peg) and again in 2017 (h/t Is the BBC Biased?), he gave interviews to Radio Times which contained strikingly similar key points: that there was at the Corporation an all-pervading liberal outlook, and that the BBC’s reporting of the desire for EU withdrawal and concerns about high immigration levels had not properly reflected widespread public concern.

Then, as now, he was noticeably vague on detail. He seems to lay most of the blame on ‘bosses’ who were upset by the referendum result. Is his view that they have directly influenced programme content – and if so, who was it who followed their instructions? The Today editor? Presenters? Producers and behind-the-scenes staff?

In 2014, when the first Radio Times piece appeared, News-watch noted this point, and stated in a blog:

‘He doesn’t say in which interview, with which guests or how or when he arrived at the judgment . . . No, this “bias” happened at some undefined, mysterious time in the murky miasmic mists of the Blair era. It evidently made Humphrys queasy and uneasy, but back then, he and his chums above and below him in the BBC hierarchy did nothing at all about it. Now, though, says the great man, the bias is fixed – it’s a matter of regret, but move along there, folks, nothing to see: everything in the BBC garden is tickety-boo.’

News-watch has analysed over the years more than 1,200 EU-related interviews conducted by Mr Humphrys. Analysis in the News-watch reports highlight that his approach to Brexit was shot through with the bias he now seems to blame others for creating.

Two prime examples stand out. In 1999, when a thirty-something Nigel Farage was standing for the first time in the European Parliamentary elections as a Ukip candidate, most of the interview was taken up with suggesting that Ukip was, in effect, a maverick aberration. A News-watch blog observed: 

‘Farage said he simply wanted his country back on an amicable basis, and free trade; Humphrys’s stance was that this was ‘literally unthinkable’. . . . (he) did everything he could to attack the credibility of Ukip and asked nothing about the thinking behind the need for withdrawal. His opening gambit was to observe that it was “funny” (peculiar) and “puzzling” that Ukip was contesting seats in the European Parliament when it wanted to withdraw from the EU.’

Spool forward to the closing days of the EU referendum, and Mr Humphrys filed a highly unusual (in terms of its length) 27-minute Today item on attitudes towards immigration based on visits he made to Keighley in West Yorkshire, Shirebrook in Derbyshire and Hackney, east London. The News-watch analysis concluded:

‘Humphrys’s approach was heavily biased. In his world those who oppose immigration do so . . . from a position of prejudice. He . . . missed out numbers and rate of expansion – the key bedrock of opposition to current levels of immigration. Contributions of those who expressed concerns about immigration came across as shallow and prejudiced, a picture that was made worse by Humphrys’s repeated putting of “racist” claims to them. They had to deny they were racists, and were given only minimal space to advance their fears about numbers. ‘On the other side of the coin, Humphrys heavily stressed the contributions of those who were, in various ways – in their own estimation – victims of prejudice . . . Immigrants he spoke to wanted a better world, and had been thwarted in that quest only by white prejudice.’

All this, coupled with other more detailed analysis in News-watch reports, boils down to the fact that Mr Humphrys is as responsible as everyone else at the Corporation for BBC bias. What he is alleging now will probably generate book sales, but do nothing to sort out the problems he identifies. Those inside the BBC bubble, Mr Humphrys included, are incapable of seeing outside it. And complacency of the type displayed by Mr Humphrys for at least 20 years (the period of News-watch analysis) has blocked any chance of a solution.

Will Mr Humphrys now be thrown to the wolves by the bosses he so clearly despises? No. The Corporation will carry on regardless. As it always does.

Don’t rewrite history – we voted Leave because of Farage and mass immigration 26/07/2016

Don’t rewrite history – we voted Leave because of Farage and mass immigration 26/07/2016

A few weeks after the Brexit vote in 2016 the official Leave campaign (led by Dominic Cummings)  – aided and abetted by the BBC – were hell-bent on claiming they had won because they had ‘neutralised’ the alleged overt racism of Nigel Farage and the alternative Leave axis. 

26th July 2016

Referendum history is being re-written. The official ‘out campaign’ – in an interview for the Daily Politics and Brexit Britain Newsnight Special – has said that a key element was neutralising ‘the threat’ of Nigel Farage and presenting a more middle ground alternative.

Codswallop!  This is a simplistic and Orwellian re-writing of history. Most of the Conservative party, the BBC and the Left have always hated Ukip and Farage – and now that the dust is settling on the referendum are busy writing a hagiography that chimes with their contempt.

The reality is, however, that without Nigel Farage, there would have been no referendum. And there certainly would have been no ‘exit’ vote. It happened because of a crassly inept ‘remain’ campaign (analysed here) and a range of interlocking factors focused on an intense dislike and fear of the damage to British society and culture the EU has wrought.

Those hagiographers should take on board some basic, sobering facts. Holding the poll was adopted as official Conservative party policy in 2013 only because Ukip – guided by Farage – was making such deep inroads into the Conservative vote that David Cameron had no alternative. Up until that point – it has now emerged – he was a Conservative leader living a lie.

He had conned the Conservative party parliamentary rank and file and grassroots into backing him as leader in 2005 (against David Davis, a true ‘out’ campaigner) because he had told a huge porky – that he was ‘eurosceptic’.

The reality, as emerged in graphic detail during the referendum campaign, is that Cameron – and many of his supporters – is every bit a pro-EU figure as Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Edward Heath. He was rashly, perhaps even recklessly, prepared to stake everything – and tell huge economic untruths – on ‘remain’.

Second, although elements of Vote Leave were based on smart online marketing techniques, there were glaring shortcomings in its approach from the outset.

For example, it failed to set up a proper unit to rebut BBC propaganda, and it failed to understand who to put up in the media to argue the Brexit case. The BBC coverage in response to this inadequacy nearly swung it for remain.  The Corporation could not believe its luck.

Vote Leave were also not clear about who they were targeting or what was likely to motivate ‘out’ voters. Control of immigration, for example – and the impact it was having, was scarcely mentioned until the final weeks of the campaign, and then only half-heartedly.

Farage, by contrast, after 25 years of campaigning at grassroots level – and putting up with name-calling, death threats from Scottish nationalists and the abuse of the BBC throughout – knew that the biggest issue for the 17m+ who voted ‘out’ was not how much money we give to Brussels, but that the EU socialist project was swamping our sense of identity, and was causing dislocation by allowing uncontrolled mass immigration on an unmanageable and unprecedented scale.

He knew because he had personally been there and spoken to thousands of voters, that folk in Boston in Lincolnshire, in Sunderland (despite the Nissan plant) and Middlesbrough, in Gravesend and Southend, in Ebbw Vale, in the Tory shires and the so-called ‘working-class North’, were sick to the back teeth of being patronised and lied to about the true nature of the EU project by politicians.

The hagiographers now say that the poster showing a snaking queue of ‘immigrants’ released by Farage on the Thursday before polling was ‘racist’. The BBC has amplified that message in dozens of contexts, and continues to do so. It is being disgracefully projected in lockstep with figures such as Baroness Warsi, Jeremy Corbyn and Eddy Izzard.

The reality is that the poster summed up exactly the frustration of the millions of voters who made Brexit happen, to defend their communities and stand up to the oppression and chaos unleashed on Britain by Brussels.

Of course, such a strategy ran risks. No-one could have foreseen the shooting of MP Jo Cox, and then the relentless and utterly cynical milking of the tragedy by ‘remain’, by Labour MPs totally out of step with their constituents, and the BBC, to suggest that supporters of ‘out’ – and above all, Farage – were all hate-filled racists. The reality is that the totally unforeseeable backlash unleashed by this tide of anti-Ukip/Farage certainly cost ‘out’ many votes.

That, however, was compounded by figures such as Michael Gove, who on the Sunday before voting, on the Andrew Marr show deliberately suggesting that he believed the Ukip poster to be racist and inexcusable.

The sobering, awful reality after the biggest democratic vote in British history is that elements of the Conservative party, aided and abetted by the BBC, are now back in control and are busy re-writing history in Animal Farm style. Such opinions suggest that Brexit is far from assured.

Yes, David Davis, is a genuine ’outer’, an immensely able politician. But he and his main lieutenant, Liam Fox, are surrounded by a party made up many for whom the lessons have clearly not sunk in. The British people did not vote for the Tory party on June 23. They voted with a roar to say that British cultural identity – in its many and tolerant guises – should be protected, and to get rid of the oppressive and destructive clutches of the EU.

We’re right about climate change, say the BBC – and let the facts go hang 16/10/2018

We’re right about climate change, say the BBC – and let the facts go hang 16/10/2018

A milestone in the BBC’s descent into becoming an overt political campaigning group – on a par with Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion – came in October, 2018 when director of news Fran Unsworth issued a formal directive which decreed in effect that climate alarmism was based on proven facts and could no longer be challenged on BBC airwaves. One of her senior executives, James Stephenson, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Feedback programme to explain the new directive.

October 16, 2018

How idiotic has the advocacy of climate alarmism by the BBC become?

Last month, as TCW reported, BBC news director Fran Unsworth issued a formal directive stating, in effect, that alarmism is proven and may not be challenged on the BBC airwaves.

Now one of her key minions, James Stephenson, the BBC’s overall editor of news and current affairs, has appeared on the latest edition of BBC Radio 4’s Feedback to ram home the message.

Full reading of the transcript is recommended to appreciate the jaw-dropping scale of the bias involved, but in essence Stephenson declared that, despite viewer concerns that the Corporation was adopting a partisan approach, ‘the science’ is beyond doubt and the IPCC’s word on the subject must be considered gospel.

His stance amounts to a total junking by the Corporation of basic scientific empiricism, which since Roger Bacon’s Opus Majus in 1267 has been based on the premise that one new set of verifiable data can sweep away any theory.

In that context, the alleged existence of ‘consensus’ between climate scientists on which Stephenson relies for justifying his propaganda position matters not one jot.

In fact – despite all the IPCC’s posturing, politicking and blustering – the study of the workings of the globe’s climate is in its infancy, not least because measurement of variables is so unreliable and incomplete.

A leading anti-alarmist scientist (and true empiricist), the Australian Jo Nova, excoriatingly reports that the world’s major climate ‘record’ – on which are anchored many of the IPCC’s alarmist predictions – is riddled with massive errors, gaps and assumptions.

So extreme was Stephenson’s partisanship in favour of the climate alarmist stance on Feedback that he bloody-mindedly defended a major mistake in the Corporation’s IPCC-related coverage.

Today presenters John Humphrys and Sarah Montague both wrongly said the IPCC report was warning about a 1.5 per cent rise in global temperatures when actually it referred to 1.5 degrees. Whoops, but in the BBC’s manual of climate change reporting, who cares? Stephenson accepted that this was inaccurate, but claimed it did not matter because ‘audiences would have recognised it was a slip’.

Eh? In other words, in the BBC’s climate change universe, never let the facts get in the way of a good scare story.

Ironically, perhaps, the BBC position on alarmism can be compared to that of the Catholic Church as imagined in Bertolt Brecht’s 1938 play The Life of Galileo. In the 1960s this was a ‘must see’ drama for all those on the Left. They wanted to ridicule the play’s projection of the unreason and unbending conservatism of Catholicism, then one of the biggest targets of every Left-winger. Ultra-Marxist Brecht represented Galileo as the voice of ‘reason’ against the Church’s defence of bigoted religious orthodoxy. The BBC, of course, would love to see themselves as Galileo in the climate change debate.

In reality, they are not. The BBC, the IPCC and other bodies such as the EU, politicians and governments who have swallowed the IPCC agenda, the multi-national companies benefiting from ‘green’ energy, and academia are now all vested interests defending the ‘warmist’ status quo at any and every cost – including the rejection of reason itself.

Every man (and woman and non-binary) jack of them, like the Catholic Church in Brecht’s projection, is pitched against true scientific inquiry. Those who question alarmism are not ‘deniers’, as the BBC so insultingly calls them. Rather, it is they, the ‘deniers’, the anti-alarmists, who are heroes and heroines fighting to smash the deeply corrupt alarmist scam, which, on some estimates, is costing taxpayers trillions of dollars a year.

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
David Keighley: So who did pay for the BBC’s latest blast of pro-EU propaganda? 04/03/2015

David Keighley: So who did pay for the BBC’s latest blast of pro-EU propaganda? 04/03/2015

March 4, 2015

Scratch the surface of almost any BBC statement about ‘impartiality’ or ‘bias’ and you unearth rather an unpleasant smell.

The BBC says no EU money was used in the making of its Sunday night pro-EU extravaganza The Great European Disaster Movie, which depicted  in ludicrous, extremist terms  the total disintegration of civil society across the Continent, if, God forbid, the EU was forced out of existence.

Note the weasel words: ‘in the making of’. The reality is that post-production, the film-makers Bill Emmott and Annalisa Piras – both of whom are pro-EU fanatics – have told the outside world they are receiving EU money for the transmission of the film in other languages. So put another way, it is an EU propaganda project.

And the BBC were co-producers of that film.

What’s also not clear is who did fund the project. It was made by Piras’s company Springshot Productions, and that means its financing is totally opaque. Things here don’t add up. It’s unlikely that the budget of a project of such scale and production standards would be anything less than £1m, and yet Springshot is tiny. According to the company website, it has made only one other film, two years ago.

The point here is that it is only larger production companies turning over millions a year that can afford to make glossy hypothetical dramas – and they don’t generally make money, which is why they are so relatively scarce. Someone with deep pockets and a deep desire to spread massively pro-EU propaganda was behind it. The BBC should tell us who this was so we can make up our own minds about the decision to show it.

It seems that someone, somewhere in the higher echelons of the BBC hierarchy has a guilty conscience, because immediately after it was shown, a very rare occurrence happened, the BBC equivalent of a Blue Moon. In a Newsnight special hosted by Robert Peston,  two genuine EU ‘come outers’, Mark Reckless, the Ukip MP, and Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday columnist, were fleetingly allowed to make some of the arguments in favour of withdrawal and to explain why the claims by Emmott and Piras were preposterous.

Unlike the unremitting one-sidedness of the film, the views of Reckless and Hitchens were of course offset, notably by a spokesman of the Greek Marxist party Syriza, who agreed with Emmott in ascribing all the current massive economic problems of the EU to nasty ‘austerity’.

There are other BBC-related problems in this film which only surface with digging. Emmott, a former editor of the Economist, and Piras, an Italian who worked as a foreign correspondent in London for many years, are clearly united in their huge desire to ram the need for the EU down our throats.

They are so fanatical that they have set up an organisation called The Wake Up Foundation, a so-called charity, the main aim of which – though clothed in high-flown language – is another vehicle to spread their EU bile. A feature by Emmott on their website in which he compares Nigel Farage to Silvio Berlusconi typifies the approach.

Far more concerning about The Wake Up Foundation, however, is that one of its trustees is Richard Sambrook, who is a former head of BBC newsgathering and Director of News, who was moved sideways to the World Service at the end of his BBC career because of question marks in some quarters over his judgment relating to the BBC’s handling of the fall-out from the Iraq war.

Sambrook, after a spell as a public relations adviser, re-surfaced as a Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University.  His department was commissioned by the BBC Trustees in 2011 to conduct research linked with the Stuart Prebble inquiry into whether the BBC was covering EU-related issues in accordance with the Charter.

That research, as has been reported by Kathy Gyngell on TCW, was ineptly conducted and as a result gave the wholly false impression that BBC news programmes gave adequate coverage to eurosceptic and withdrawalist opinion. Not only that, the main person who conducted the research had recently received a substantial slug of EU cash from the EU for a project designed to ascertain how the EU might better project itself.

So, put another way, the BBC commissioned a rabidly pro-EU programme from a film making duo who have close professional and organisational links with a former Director of BBC News who, in turn, has been appointed by the Corporation to tell the outside world – on a supposedly ‘objective’ basis – how balanced and impartial is the BBC’s output in relation to the EU.

The linkage raises several awkward questions.  Was Sambrook directly involved in the making of the European Disaster Movie? Was he involved in any way in persuading the BBC to show it and to become co-producers? To what extent is he involved in the dissemination of the pro-EU propaganda of The Wake Up Foundation? Were the BBC aware of his links with Emmott when they commissioned his department to do the Prebble survey?

Something in the state of Denmark, if not rotten, smells very fishy indeed.