BBC Bias Digest 24 July

PANORAMA PPE PROGRAMME ‘BREACHED EDITORIAL STANDARDS’: A report in the Daily Mail (24/7), said that the BBC,, having initially defended an edition of BBC One’s Panorama programme about the provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) by the NHS, had now admitted that it had breached editorial guidelines. The ruling, by the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU), was that the programme, called ‘Has The Government Failed The NHS?’, had broken the internal editorial code ‘by failing to reveal’ that programme contributor Dr Sonia Adesara (who had attacked the Government’s alleged failures in the supply of PPE) was a long-time Labour party member.

The ECU ruling was that ‘the nature and extent’ of Dr Adesara’s political affiliation ‘was such that it might have been relevant to the audience’s evaluation of her contribution insofar as it was critical of the Government, and that it was a breach of the BBC’s editorial standards not to have given viewers appropriate information about it’. The report also noted that the unit had qualified its decision by also stating that ‘her criticism of the Government was in keeping with what might be expected from a doctor with experience of inadequate PPE provision, and that information about her political affiliations would not have called the validity of her concerns into doubt in the minds of viewers.’


BBC ‘LIES ABOUT CHURCHILL IN BRANDING HIM RACIST AND VILLAIN’: Writing for the Daily Mail (23/7), historian Dominic Sandbrook claimed that BBC news reports on BBC Radio 4 and BBC One about the 1943 Bengal famine were a ‘smear’ against Winston Churchill, conveying the ‘incredible’ impression, that the wartime prime minister Churchill ‘bore personal responsibility for the deaths of three million people’.  Professor Sandbrook added that, while ‘watching in disbelief’, he  had wondered which historians would be included to counter the arguments of the academics in the report who had asserted that Churchill was the ‘precipitator’ of the mass killings and guilty of ‘prioritising white lives over Asian lives’. He had found that the answer was ‘nobody’.

Professor Sandbrook also asserted that there had been ‘no mention of the complexities of wartime’; ‘no mention of Churchill’s national service’; and ‘no room for nuance’, ‘only a one-sided, almost deliberately misleading account, utterly divorced from context.’

He added:  ‘The BBC’s message was clear. Churchill was a racist and a villain – and if you don’t agree, then so are you.’, He concluded:

‘Are BBC producers unable to see that if they keep lying about Britain’s history, they will lose popular support? Do they really care so little about the truth of our past? And are they really so cocooned in their smug metropolitan prejudices they can’t see how deeply they are offending millions of people? The answer, I fear, is clear. But this will not end well for the corporation’.


BBC ‘IS TONE DEAF’: A letter to The Times (24/7), from Janis Pringle from Undy, Monmouthshire, backed criticisms of the BBC management structure voiced by veteran BBC Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce (£ 21/7).  Ms Pringle contended that the BBC, though a ‘magnificent’ organisation, is ‘sclerotic’ in its ways, and so concerned with ‘pigeonholing’ its audience and so ‘obsessed’ with attracting a younger audience, that it plied its daytime ‘mass’ audience with ‘recycled playlists’ and consigned ‘anything more interesting to the evening’ when younger people are supposed to be listening. She argued that audiences of all ages ‘can cope’ with more variety and wrote of the BBC, ‘. . .that this insults their entire audience seems to have escaped their notice’.


BBC ‘NAVEL-GAZING’ AND THE LOSS OF JENNI MURRAY: In her weekly column for the Daily Mail (25/7), Amanda Platell expressed regret that Jenni Murray will be leaving Radio 4’s Womans Hour on October 1, wondering if it was after she ‘enraged…the LGBT lobby’ that she ‘realised the Beeb was no longer her natural home’.

Ms Platell said that ‘the great personalities of the BBC — Jenni, Libby Purves, Jeremy Paxman, John Humphrys, both the Dimblebys, Andrew Neil — are disappearing before our eyes’ and that ‘they’re being replaced by navel-gazing, metropolitan chat-show hosts obsessed with a diversity agenda that ignores the views of the majority.’


THE NEW HOME OF BBC WALES HAS ‘A LEAKY ROOF’: According to the Daily Mail’s Izzy Ferris (25/7), the newly-opened BBC headquarters of BBC Wales in Cardiff, which took four years to build and cost £120m, ‘has a leaky roof every time it rains’. She writes of the Foster + Partners-designed building, that ‘Cleaners have to get out large buckets to stop the fourth floor from getting soaking wet.’ The BBC said that the leak hasn’t affected the BBC’s operations.


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