BBC Bias Digest 6 August 2020

BBC ‘THREATENS PENSIONERS WITH BAILIFFS’: Continuing coverage of the BBC’s decision to charge 4.5 million over-75s for their licence fees from August 1, William Cole (Daily Mail 6/8) said the corporation was spending an estimated £38m this year on extra measures to make sure that they paid. He added that if ministers decided to make non-payment a civil rather a criminal offence – as was being considered – bailiffs could be sent into the homes of the over-75s to seize and sell their possessions.

Paul Baldwin, in a comment article for the Express (5/8), argued that in forcing pensioners to pay for their television licences, the corporation was currently pursuing them ‘like a grubby loan shark’. He also attacked the BBC’s ‘lefty politics’ as ‘sneaky and insidious’, and noted that John Humphrys, after his retirement as a presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, likened them to ‘out of touch Kremlin commissars’.


BBC MIDDLE-EAST REPORTING ‘DISTORTS HISTORY’: Hadar Sela (Camera UK 4/8) in an analysis of how the BBC had been presenting the framework of Israel-Palestine peace talks since the Oslo accords in the 1990s – when the potential terms were first set down by the US administration – said that the BBC continued to repeat wrongly that the accords had stipulated a ‘two-state solution’ involving reversion to territorial lines shown on the map before the 1967 Middle East war. Ms Sela said that BBC correspondent Paul Reynolds had first suggested , in 2007, that the Oslo accords had ‘implied’ a Palestine state.  She said the reality was that the first time it became an aspiration in the framework of formal negotiations expressed by Palestinian and Israeli representatives had been in  the Annapolis joint statement of 2007.  Despite this, Nick Robinson had said in July on Radio 4 that the two-state solution had been talked about ‘for decades’.

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