BBC Bias Digest 15 July 2020

BBC CUTS ‘WILL HOBBLE WEBSITE’:  Charlotte Tobitt (Press Gazette 15/12) said that cuts in BBC England (providing local and regional journalism) of £25 million by the end of 2022 would lead to the loss of 450 jobs, with a BBC ‘insider’ also claiming  that the BBC News website would ‘cease to function in its current state’. Ms Tobitt said that the insider believed that the axing of a central web team in Birmingham that acted as a quality control filter, together with numerous operations staff, would mean that there was no longer the capacity to produce a properly comprehensive regional news service. She also reported that the BBC had responded to the criticism by stating that news generated by BBC England would become more localised and more efficient.


BBC ANDREW NEIL SHOW AXED:  Paul Withers (Express 15/7) said that as part of BBC cuts in journalism which in total would lead to the loss of 520 jobs, the Corporation had announced that it was permanently axing the Andrew Neil Show, which had been taken off air at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. He added that Mr Neil would continue to present on an occasional basis the Politics Live programme and that the presenter was in talks about a new BBC One interview show.  Mr Withers claimed that ‘furious Britons’ were now calling for the licence fee to be scrapped in response the news as this was evidence that ‘the lefties are getting their way by stealth’.


BBC TO INVESTIGATE STAFF ‘TWITTER ADDICTS’: David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial standards, had told the Lords communications and digital committee – in a hearing about the future of journalism – that the ‘seductive’ Twitter website had sucked a number of its people into becoming ‘addicts’ who then broke editorial standards in ‘egregious ways’ by posting their own content (£ Daily Telegraph 15/7). He asserted that staff had not upheld the Corporation’s editorial standards and sometimes disciplinary action had been taken. Mr Jordan also confirmed that Richard Sambrook (a former BBC Director of News)  was investigating the use of Twitter by BBC employees.

Matthew Moore (£ Times 15/7) also reported that David Jordan had told the committee that BBC staff had become addicted to the ‘toxic’ Twitter platform, and warned that the desire by some to ‘go viral’ was undermining the Corporation’s reputation for accuracy. Mr Moore added that Mr Jordan had assured the committee that not all BBC journalists read The Guardian, but had acknowledged that the broadcaster had succumbed to liberal-left groupthink in the past. He had said: “We had issues, for example, about tracking the rise of Euroscepticism. Across the BBC, did we do that adequately? No, we didn’t. We had issues  around tracking the growth of concern about immigration”.  Mr Moore also said the committee had heard evidence from media minister John Whittingdale, who had said that metropolitan broadcasters including the BBC had failed to understand the strength of feelings on certain issues, including Brexit, outside the capital.

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