CORRESPONDENT NICK BRYANT ‘BIASED AGAINST TRUMP’, RULES BBC: The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (6/8) upheld a complaint against BBC New York correspondent Nick Bryant. The single complainant had claimed that an online article by Mr Bryant in March 2020 headlined ‘Coronavirus: What this crisis reveals about US – and its president’ ‘reflected bias against President Trump on the part of its author’ in its use of phrases such as “ridiculous boasts”, “mind-bending truth twisting”, “particularly vicious assault”, “pettiness and peevishness”, “narcissistic hunger for adoration” and “the tricks of an illusionist” in its descriptions of his behaviour.
The ECU, upholding the complaint, ruled that Mr Bryant’s ‘tone and approach’, especially in some of his ‘phrasing’, passed beyond ‘professional judgements’ towards ‘the language of personal views’. It added that in terms of impartiality this ‘was not offset by the limited, and relatively restrained, criticism of the Democrats, Joe Biden and Congress’, saying that ”a great deal of alteration’ would have been needed, ‘as would normally have happened as a result of the process of editorial oversight applied to such pieces’, to bring it into alignment with the BBC’s editorial standards.
The ECU continued, ‘Whether or not Mr Bryant was in fact expressing a personal view of President Trump, some of his observations were couched in terms which might well have led readers to conclude that he was’. This, it concluded, amounted to ‘a departure from the BBC’s standards of impartiality’.
Craig Byers (Is the BBC Biased? 7/8) suggested that maybe Roger Mosey’s claim that there was battle going on within the BBC was reflected by their Executive Complaints Unit’s unusually trenchant criticism of BBC New York correspondent Nick Byrant.
Mr Byers said:
‘The ruling criticises Nick Bryant’s “tone and approach” and says some of his “phrasing” passes beyond “professional judgements” and comes “closer to the language of personal views”. It even calls out the usual fake sops to impartiality that you often find in such reports, saying that this “was not offset by the limited, and relatively restrained, criticism of the Democrats, Joe Biden and Congress”. Ouch! The ECU says that only ”a great deal of alteration” would have brought it into alignment with the BBC’s editorial standards, and seems to suggest (“as would normally have happened as a result of the process of editorial oversight applied to such pieces”) that editorial oversight had been noticeably lacking.
‘They continued, “Whether or not Mr Bryant was in fact expressing a personal view of President Trump, some of his observations were couched in terms which might well have led readers to conclude that he was” This, the ECU concluded, amounted to “a departure from the BBC’s standards of impartiality”. What’s striking is that it’s a clear ‘Upheld’, not a partial one.
‘A ruling against Nick Bryant has frankly been a long time coming. He has been getting increasing out of control ever since his time as the BBC’s Australia correspondent.’
‘COURTS COULD BECOME CLOGGED BY TV LICENCE CASES’: Paul Revoir (Daily Mail 8/8) said that Julian Knight, chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee, had warned that the amount of court time taken up by TV Licensing cases could ‘rise exponentially’ in the wake of the ending over free licences for the over-75s. Mr Revoir reported that tens of thousands affected by the change had said they were determined never to pay and were willing to ‘go the whole hog’ and fight cases in court, even risking prison. He added that Mr Knight had pointed out that many of the over-75s might end up wanting to appear in court in person.