BBC Bias

BBC bias: An open letter to the new director-general

BBC bias: An open letter to the new director-general

THE BBC’s bias on Brexit has been proven beyond doubt. That is the Telegraph‘s response to News-watch’s latest report on the BBC’s Brexit coverage this week. In the words of Robin Aitken, former BBC producer and author of The Noble Liar (an excoriating and deeply perceptive book about BBC bias) our report shows an overwhelming pro-EU slant in BBC coverage from the close analysis of one random week.

The conclusion we reached, and Aitken concurs with, is that the Corporation is still regarding Brexit through the lens of Project Fear.

The question Aitken raises is whether the new director general of the BBC will take it seriously. Your move, Tim Davie, he says.

As he reports, we are indeed seeking an urgent meeting with Mr Davie to discuss how he intends to meet his pledge to make BBC impartiality a priority. And we are still waiting to hear whether he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is and, unlike his predecessor, accord News-watch the time of day and the respect its long-term independent monitoring of the BBC’s Brexit output deserves.

To encourage him on the path he’s promised, here is our open letter to him in advance of that meeting.

Dear Mr Davie

On September 3, in your first address to staff after taking over as director general, you stated that impartiality – as required by the BBC Charter – would be your main priority. 

You have announced measures which require staff not to post biased remarks or opinions on social media.

That sounds good, and was handled by the gargantuan 350-strong BBC PR machine to achieve maximum impact but, with respect,  BBC bias is not confined to ill-advised tweets – crass as they may be – from John Simpson and Gary Lineker.

Everything from comedy to drama and from the educational content of BBC Bitesize and BBC Ideas is also infected with woke, partisan zeal. 

One indication of the scale of the rot is the latest News-watch report.

Which, as Robin Aitken outlined, shows that despite everything that has happened since the 2016 referendum and the imminent departure from the EU ratified by the 2019 general election, the corporation is still pursuing Project Fear about life outside the EU, and is still swamping EU coverage with the views of  those who oppose Brexit or are pro-EU .

On top of that, not one programme has ever been broadcast by the BBC which explores possible benefits of departure. In sharp contrast, hundreds of hours of programmes have been devoted to climate alarmism and the supposed benefits of electric cars, so called ‘green’ energy and a carbon-free future.

But the reality is that a full audit of the extent of BBC failures of impartiality would take a team of dozens of scribes and analysts working round the clock for years to achieve.

Mr Davie, you are thus faced with a Herculean task in rooting out bias. But as yet, you have given no indication to the outside world – other than instituting the Tweet purge – about how you intend to achieve this.

Many viewers, of course, do not believe that reform is possible, which is why recent surveys show that  the majority no longer want to pay the BBC licence fee and don’t trust BBC news. 

But the current Charter is in place until 2027, and as the agenda for our forthcoming meeting, may I suggest the following urgent action points as a basis for our discussions and instant attention?

Find top-level advisers who are genuinely independent and will give you a perspective other than the stifling wokery which has infected the Corporation at every level.  Put some of them on the internal management board so their views are heeded.

Ditch opinion polls as a way of determining whether BBC output is impartial and get properly in touch with real people out there north of Watford and west of Oxford who will tell you what needs changing.

Institute instead rigorous monitoring of BBC output compiled by independent advisers who are not in the BBC or woke bubble. This will make the constant struggle to be unbiased a properly transparent process.

Scrap the current internal complaints system and put the 350 BBC publicists (combined pay £15million-a-year plus?)  to work instead in scrutinising output to get rid of liberal bias and in ensuring complaints are properly investigated rather than being seen as an intrusion.

Abandon your defence of the BBC licence fee and the outmoded notion of universal provision and start planning now for major change to reflect changes in the media environment. It’s only when the  Corporation has to fight in the marketplace for audiences that it will become fully responsive to audience needs and preferences, and it will be all the better for it.

Make genuine ‘diversity’ an important internal and output goal without the BBC being an overt arm of the woke ‘racism’ agenda and a fanatical tick-box exercise.

Scrap in its present form the lavish BBC Academy and relaunch it as the bastion of rigorous professional integrity and training to ensure that audiences across the whole of the UK are properly served.

Inject new life into the programme-making process by ditching tired formats such as Question Time and Newsnight – both around 40 years old – and replace them with new offerings which genuinely incorporate diversity of views.

Tell those who write for the BBC that they are not on a mission to convert the audience into woke-infected zombies but rather to stimulate them with challenging, fresh material containing a variety of perspectives and views.

At every level, celebrate British history and culture rather than preaching the message that we are a nation who should be ashamed of our past, and are tarred with blood-guilt. End once and for all the Biased Broadcasting Corporation and make the first ‘B’ stand for British in the full sense of the word.

BBC reporting of pandemic ‘is alarmist and biased’

BBC reporting of pandemic ‘is alarmist and biased’

This item, by Andrew Isherwood, a structural engineer living and working in the north of England, brings into sharp focus one man’s impressions of the BBC’s mis-reporting of the facts about Covid-19. He wrote in submitting the article: ‘I am not a scientist but the direction and decisions being made within government seem at odds to the information that seems to be in the public domain and then not having the information factually represented in the media seems wrong.’

At the present time the BBC News seems to be reinforcing the government’s message, reporting death statistics and infection rates that misrepresent the data, together with the trends of the diseases. As an example, the death rates being quoted are the reported daily deaths, which are not when an individual died. This paints a skewed picture of the actual daily death rate, with the apparent death rate significantly exceeding the actual trend – the date of reported death suggests a pattern of rapidly increasing deaths when the data includes deaths that occurred, in some cases, months in the past. Using the date of recorded death shows a trend that is level and not increasing at the rates experienced in March. – ref NHS link :-

Reference to the work completed by Professor Heneghan at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, at Oxford University, shows the progression of the virus has resulted in marginal increases in the death rate, since the end the first wave, when compared to recorded respiratory deaths from flu infections over previous years – none of their work has been reported in the mainstream news by the BBC. It’s also worth noting that the current death rate from COVID being less than that of flu deaths in the 1990’s prior to introduction of flu vaccine in 2000.

The data presented in daily BBC bulletins captures the positive COVID test rates as a measure of the progression of the disease. Reference to CEBM’s data suggests that a more representative measure of virus transmission trends should be based upon the specimen test date i.e. recorded date of test, not the reported test date, to attain a better understanding of progression of the virus. This method of reporting takes better account of when the test was taken to manage fluctuation in reporting date.

Reporting the daily reported cases in the current manner is misrepresentative and alarmist, perpetrating an aire of panic in the population – The piece of work completed by CEBM demonstrates, through the use of the available data, that the predicted exponential growth of the infection, defined by the Chief Science Officer, is not being realised, for the ‘second wave’. The specimen recorded rates of infection show a slow increase in infection rates, In lieu of the current data of the reported positive test infection rates.

What has never been reported, is the poor accuracy of the PCR test employed by the government to test for COVID…..with the relatively low concentration of COVID in the population, the nature of the test results in a significant false positive rate, again skewing the actual trends of the disease. Together with the fact that the test can record strains of other coronavirus DNA, dead COVID cells, asymptomatic COVID etc.

The Oxford team have also highlighted the poor accuracy rate of the PCR test, which changed some aspects of the testing approach by government, but the not the fundamental flaws in the accuracy of the test – none of their work has been presented in the mainstream news by the BBC – refer to the CEBM website for details.

It’s apparent that hospital admissions are increasing, but again the information stated in bulletins does not represent the information published on the NHS website. BBC reports currently suggest around 500 hospital admissions in to the NHS but what isn’t being addressed is that there are approx 200 daily discharge of patients ie there is an approx circa 300 net increase. The news reports present the picture that the number of admissions are overwhelming hospitals with new admissions, when the net impact of hospital admissions is around 300, with around 5% patients being treated in the NHS being tested positive for COVID. See link below. Also In a normal winter cycle the NHS expect around a 1000 daily admissions for respiratory illness – Not widely reported but buried in a BBC web article.

The impact of the continued lockdown on the economy, impact on mental health, deaths from treatable and chronic diseases are being massively overlooked when compared to the impact of COVID on a relative small percentage of the population. Daily deaths from cancer and the lack of treatment of these, and chronic patients, whose treatment is not being addressed by the NHS, because of the continued focus on COVID, will far outstrip the deaths from COVID. Again, this impact is not being reported or addressed in a balanced way.

The BBC should be reporting all the facts and bringing balance to the debate. It’s apparent that the continued damaging lockdown approach by the UK Government, based on theIr version of the science, is focused on the worst case infection / death scenario. Comparison of the data from other countries, who we are told we are following closely, shows the impact to be less onerous than the current predicted patterns of the disease mortality predicted by the Government Scientists

Whilst I appreciate the impact of COVID on families across the country and the pain resulting from the losses, it’s important that the decisions made by our government, that are impacting the lives of millions of the population now and for years to come, should be based on a balanced view of the science, which from the attached research from CEBM shows this not to be the case.

The BBC have a duty to present all the facts and information, to promote debate, to challenge the science and subsequent decisions that will have a profound effect on the population, economy and health now, and in the future.

 

BBC Bias Digest 26 September 2020

 

ANDREW NEIL ‘LEAVES BBC’: Steven Brown (Express 26/9) reported that former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, who had worked subsequently for almost 25 years as a presenter of BBC political programmes, had confirmed in a tweet that ‘with heavy heart’, he was leaving the corporation.   Mr Brown added that Mr Neil had also revealed he had been appointed editorial board chairman and flagship programme presenter of GB News, a new advertiser-funded television news channel – the main investor in which was by Discovery Inc, the US company behind Discovery Channel  and Eurosport – which would be distinguished by ‘intelligence and a more independent mindset’.  Mr Brown quoted Mr Neil:

‘Despite sterling efforts by new DG (Tim Davie)  to come up with other programming opportunities, it could not quite repair damage done when Andrew Neil Show cancelled early summer + Politics Live taken off air. But I leave with no animosity or desire to settle scores. I look back on my 25 years doing live political programmes for the BBC with affection.’

BBC BIAS DIGEST 25 SEPTEMBER 2020

ANDREA JENKYNS: “BBC FOMENTS DIVISION”:  The Morley and Outwood Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns (£ Telegraph 24/9), in a comment item,  argued that, because the BBC was breaching its Charter by ‘fomenting division through questionable and blatant political positions’ in its programmes,  defunding the Corporation  ‘cannot come soon enough’. She wrote:

‘Not only is the BBC teetering on the precipice of a full embracement of “cancel culture” – which it fortunately stepped away from on the Rule Britannia chaos, even if it was after heavy pressure – but it often appears that there is an inherent leftwing agenda in its political coverage, be that interviews with a clear bias or reports that stem from a particular left of centre political position. . .

‘This political slant has become even more clear during this pandemic. . . The BBC’s charter obligates them to support the country’s social cohesion – to be a beacon of hope for our United Kingdom, but this can often see like a pipe dream as at every level the BBC is fomenting division – through questionable and blatant political positions in its educational content or Countryfile reports essentially labelling the countryside as white privilege.

Ms Jenkyns concluded:

‘These are just some of the reasons why I am adding my support for the Defund the BBC campaign to decriminalise the non-payment of the license fee. The legal privilege for the BBC regarding its licence fee is deeply regressive. It hits those who are most vulnerable hardest, with those who are less well-off or older being most likely to be challenged and end up before the magistrate. These cases are frankly unnecessary and, even if it is a minor impact to the huge overall workload of our legal system, any reduction in the legal workload is beneficial and allows for more time to be spent on meaningful cases.

‘Taxpayer money should not be wasted on chasing non-payment, and it certainly should not involve a multi-million pound contract to chase those who haven’t paid. I fully support Boris Johnson’s move for a roadmap to licence fee reform – we have a strong government majority and so now is the time to tackle these issues. Frankly, if the BBC is unable to shape up on its own, the government should force the issue and withhold the licence fee. The BBC and the country can only benefit from an end to taxpayer funding as it is then forced to compete in the open market – improving content and stripping out waste. Defunding the BBC cannot come soon enough.’

Kathy Gyngell: How dare they? BBC robs the poor to feed millions to its fat-cat presenters

Kathy Gyngell: How dare they? BBC robs the poor to feed millions to its fat-cat presenters

Guest post from Kathy Gyngell – this first appeared on The Conservative Woman

LITERALLY, how dare they? BBC arrogance and entitlement knows no bounds.

Yesterday, because it has to, the corporation published its very own Rich List of its on-air and front-of-house staff paid more than £150,000 per annum in its annual report for 2019-2020. All compulsorily paid for by you and me, including millions of over-75s.

Be ready to be shocked at the sheer uncaring arrogance and brass neck of it in this time of growing unemployment and job uncertainty, when young people’s futures have never looked bleaker because of the coronavirus pandemic. You can see the full list in the BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 published yesterday.

It takes no more than a glance down it to see that the long list of reporters, news hosts and celebrities are being paid, on average, rather more than £150,000, too. A lot more in fact.

At the top is Gary Lineker on £1.75million – a figure reported shortly afterwards to have been reduced this year to a still eye-watering £1.35million per annum, a pay cut the Match of the Day star is understood to have graciously agreed for his new five-year contract.

How did the footballer-turned-crisp-salesman greet the news of the publication of his continuing annual windfall? With humility? With gratitude?

No, Lineker sent out a tweet that shows his contempt for the little people who pay his salary. He said: ‘Oh dear. Thoughts are with the haters at this difficult time.’

Think of that next time you see his smug, smirky face pontificating on Match of the Day.

Settling into the first-class seats on the BBC gravy train with Lineker is Zoe Ball on £1.36million after pocketing a £1million pay rise.

Then comes Graham Norton on £729,999, Steve Wright (who he? I hear you ask) at £479,999, Fiona Bruce on £454,999, Vanessa Feltz on a nice little earner at £409,999 and Claudia Winkleman bringing up the ‘celeb’ rear on a cool £365,000–£369,999 for rather less than a year’s work. Please do turn to pages 82 to 85 of the report for the full mind-boggling list.

Then find me one iota of justification for the inflated salaries for these so-called celebrities who even the kindest would have to admit are no Terry Wogans, Two Ronnies or Bruce Forsyths, the real entertainers of decades past.

The over-rewarded and mainly indifferent editors, reporters and presenters who make up the rest of the list are the reason I have had BBC TV and radio switched off in my home for a long time. Lockdown was bad enough without being driven mad on a daily basis by the BBC’s entitled ones – their propaganda, inanities, bad grammar and substandard reporting.

If I never hear the harassing Nick Robinson (£299,999 per annum) or the maddeningly smug and patronising tones of Mishal Husain (£269,999) ever again, I will be happy. As for the egregious and self opinionated Emily Maitlis on £374,999, well, words fail me.

I am bemused about why I have to pay for their overblown salaries (by any standards) in order to turn on my television.

Nor does this list provide the full story of the BBC’s excesses. I have little doubt there will be plenty of characters just saved from the glare of publicity by coming in at £149,999, just under the ceiling for non-disclosure.

And let’s not forget what the bosses (the BBC execs) are paid. Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, was already on £400,000 last year, no doubt now due to catch up with his predecessor’s £450,000 a year, which is well over double what the Prime Minister gets.

And it doesn’t stop with him. Read the astonishingly long list of backroom executives in receipt of well over £150,000 on pages 85 to 88 of the report.

All the while, the BBC  is robbing cash-strapped Brits to pay staff who are not in demand elsewhere, or they surely would have already left for other channels.

That is the big lie that the BBC feeds us – that these oh-so-talented stars would quit if they didn’t have golden handcuffs. Ha ha! The truth is that most would be unemployable elsewhere, or would have to take huge pay cuts.

There simply aren’t enough prime slots to go round for the fact cats in today’s media outside the protective cocoon of the BBC. They’re not as irreplaceable as they think. It’s their domination of their spots – their monopoly of the airtime – that makes them famous, not their charm, wit or ability.

I vote that the Beeb cut their pay down to 10 per cent of their current amount and tell them if they can find better-paid work anywhere else, go. I bet none would. Who wants them?

That the corporation has seen fit to pay such inflated salaries in recent years for a biased propaganda service that many choose not to watch, and with so many people furloughed or facing redundancy or seeing their businesses closing, is nothing less than an outrage.

And to those over-75s who were war and pre-war babies, for whom watching television provides an essential source of information and acts as a crutch against loneliness and isolation, from whom the greedy BBC steal licence fee money, it is no less than a kick in the teeth.

Mr Davie, you are going to have to do better than this if you don’t want a mass protest over the licence fee.

Nicholas Burnett: Can Tim Davie Turn the Tide of Bias?

Nicholas Burnett: Can Tim Davie Turn the Tide of Bias?

This is a Guest Post from Nicholas Burnett from The Conservative Woman:

THE paradox of the Western World is encapsulated by the angst the BBC so willingly brings upon itself. Once a central plank of British culture, it is now part of a pro-globalising bourgeois media-set who will report ‘largely peaceful protests’ straight-faced against a backdrop of burning cities. It’s as if there is something the rest of us are not privy to. And of course, there is.

Black Lives Matter, a far-Left Marxist organisation, was immediately hailed. BBC coverage continually affirmed the BLM narrative, at times taking a campaigning tone for the cause. Like many, I objected to the clearly favourable line on a movement which descended into rioting, but the wider issue is the corporation’s merger with Left-leaning identity politics.

I complained to the BBC in June. I pointed out that under the BLM narrative white people are summarily accused of racism; that the BBC fails to balance its sudden specific interest in police brutality with a wider context; conflating American experience with the British is absurd and that the far greater cause of violent black deaths is ignored. I finished ‘I despair for race relations following the hysterical coverage and tensions you have abetted’. And I genuinely do. If anyone at the BBC thinks its approach will have a generally wholesome impact on race relations they are deluded. One only has to see the thinking behind UKBLM how divisive their message is.

https://twitter.com/Never_Again2020/status/1298982384059084802

In response, the BBC claimed its reporting ‘reflects the global impact . . . and the strength of feeling . . . galvanised’ insisting that it ‘will continue to report impartially on issues highlighted as this story develops’. When it talks about ‘global impact’ and ‘strength of feeling’ one can only assume it is referring to its own echo chamber which includes other Leftist cultural institutions, academics and campaigners. You can respond back to the BBC if you are unhappy with its first reply, which I did, and two months on no follow-up has been received (rather an email suggesting I try Ofcom as they are oh-so-busy right now).

BLM has explicit aims to destabilise society. Surely its inflammatory messaging is relevant to the looting and violence continuing in America as well as abuse of and attacks on police officers on both sides of the Atlantic? When 36 police officers were injured in London in that first weekend of unrest in June, the BBC talked of ‘largely peaceful protests’ and omitted to inform viewers about what BLM thinks about our police. None of this matters to the BBC in the same way it would (and did) do when those ‘protesting’ are white nationalists. The BBC believes it has an active duty to stand against racism but it conflates the narrative of activism with reporting, apparently assuming the righteous position of BLM from the outset.

Throughout the summer, in the midst of racial tension stoked by Marxist agitators, the BBC chose to amplify individuals’ claims of racism against the police without challenge or context. The same sense of grievance plays out in much of the ‘woke’ narrative too often consuming BBC News output. Many black people don’t feel deeply offended by white society. Many gays feel awkward with train carriages painted in their name. Many women roll their eyes when the next round of gender-pay grievance figures is headlined. Conservative views are omitted from the BBC’s narrative as it gives credence to ‘strong feeling’ over balanced rational coverage. Britons do care about fairness, tolerance and equality but not the version pushed by activists.

Michael Collins, author of The Likes of Us: A Biography of the White Working Class, touched on the issue of race in a recent interview with Peter Whittle: ‘We kind of covered it ’cos we had to . . . we are being educated by people that didn’t have that experience’.  

White working-class Londoners did the BLM thing 40 years ago, moving through and beyond racial tensions as a community that got on with it. The liberal middle classes have apparently suddenly discovered this cause, delivering the message with a tone that insists on national self-reflection and demands a review and cleansing of the past. Many see through this preaching for what it is: vanity.

The ruling elites with a globalised worldview in both the USA and here in the UK were sent packing by electorates in 2016 yet a bourgeois liberal class have retained their position as cultural custodians and decanters of information in the media they control. Trump and Brexit were shocking to these elites but self-explained as mere interruptions to their assured hegemony which with the ‘right information’ the electorate could and would be corrected to understand what’s good for them. The explanation BBC Newsnight editor Lewis Goodall has for public dissatisfaction with output lies somewhere around the retort that ‘sometimes the truth hurts’:

Unfortunately there is another ‘truth’ to which the BBC is oblivious: Brexit didn’t go away and far from being shamed as an embarrassing irony of the misinformed, Trump is hot on the heels of Biden in the American polls and may well be about to take round two. What are the liberals not seeing? Perhaps they, too, need ‘unconscious bias’ training about working-class Britons?

The BBC continues unabashed with a declaration for more diversity. What it sees is not unique among our institutions’ worldview: race, sexuality and gender have become primary factors in the worth and measurement of people. For example, after the selection of Kamala Harris as Biden’s candidate for vice president I was left knowing little about her beyond her sex and race – I could have figured those out for myself. By choosing this path it taps into a navel-gazing narcissism which will only demand ever more attention.

For institutions, identity politics may cynically keep bureaucratic claims of inequality and discrimination at bay but ‘being seen to do something’ hardly lays the foundations for lasting change or growth. For the individual, identity politics may help the existentially weak claim a sense of Self, but it hardly builds real character, resilient enough to integrate into the whole of society ‘just as oneself is’. Last week the Huffington Post reported claims of institutional racism within the BBC with employees of its Africa service complaining that having a white manager is akin to ‘working the cotton plantations’ of old.

This really is what you reap when you sow a vision of humanity that goes no deeper than the immutable characteristics of birth and assumes those are the determiners of our life experience.

We are told that incoming director-general Tim Davie is seeking to reform the BBC and make its output more politically diverse. But will he be able to turn back the tide?

 

Image by Patrick Behn from Pixabay

The BBC’s LOVE AFFAIR WITH BANKSY

The BBC’s LOVE AFFAIR WITH BANKSY

Guest post by Arthur T from Is the BBC Biased?

 

A comment on Is the BBC Biased? a couple of days ago said:

The BBC are displaying their hero worship of Banksy again today. 

Banksy, African migrants and his rescue boat adrift in the Med. It’s a story made in heaven for the BBC metro-liberals. 

Just what is it about Banksy that so attracts the BBC above all other artists?

It’s staggering to find out just how much attention the BBC pay to the day-to-day activities of Banksy, when they hardly ever report on the subjects of any other artist’s work – unless of course their work carries a highly politicised message like Banksy. Even then, by comparison it is a drop in the ocean.

Believe it or not, Banksy has his own page on the BBC News website telling us the latest:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cp7r8vglgj1t/banksy

Entries here are as follows:

  • 29/8/20 Migrants evacuated from overloaded Banksy ship
  • 28/8/20 Banksy funds boat to rescue refugees at sea
  • 28/7/20 Banksy’s works fetch £2.2 m to aid Bethlehem hospital
  • 15/7/20 Cleaners remove Banksy tube art ‘unknowingly’
  • 14/7/20 Banksy dons cleaner disguise to spray paint Tube
  • 17/6/20 Banksy? Yeah I know who he is ‘Louis Theroux and street artist Banksy had a day out watching Peter Crouch play for QPR.’
  • 16/6/20 When Louis Theroux went to a QPR match back in 2001, he met an aspiring street artist called Banksy, and they both saw a ‘lanky, ungainly’ young forward called Peter Crouch play for the home side.
  • 10/6/20 Banksy artwork stolen from Bataclan found in Italy
  • 9/6/20 Banksy has put his suggestion forward for what should happen in the wake of the toppling of Colston’s statue at Sunday’s protest.

etc etc

Away from his own BBC News web pages, Banksy also features strongly elsewhere across the BBC – let’s look at Newsround (aimed at youngsters):

24/2/20 Banksy: Who is the famous graffiti artist?

Banksy is a famous – but anonymous – British graffiti artist. He keeps his identity a secret.

Why does no one know who Banksy is? His identity is unknown, despite lots of people trying to guess who he is.

Why is Banksy controversial? His artwork can be rebellious and is known for delivering political messages.

2 Comments ‘Woah!’ and ‘I think Banksy is Awesome!’

In the Arts and Entertainment pages of the BBC News website:

6/5/20 Will Gompertz has a say:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52556544

‘New Banksy artwork appears at Southampton hospital’

Here, we have the semblance of an art critic’s opinion from our Will, who as we know at ITBBCB? rates art works firstly on their political message (just so long as it’s the correct message), and secondly and then only occasionally, on their artistic merit. Here are some extracts:

The largely monochrome painting, which is one square metre, was hung in collaboration with the hospital’s managers in a foyer near the emergency department. 

It shows a young boy kneeling by a wastepaper basket dressed in dungarees and a T-shirt. He has discarded his Spiderman and Batman model figures in favour of a new favourite action hero – an NHS nurse.

So much for the description. The story moves straight on to the political message:

Paula Head, CEO of the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our hospital family has been directly impacted with the tragic loss of much loved and respected members of staff and friends.

The fact that Banksy has chosen us to recognise the outstanding contribution everyone in and with the NHS is making, in unprecedented times, is a huge honour.

She added: “It will be really valued by everyone in the hospital, as people get a moment in their busy lives to pause, reflect and appreciate this piece of art. It will no doubt also be a massive boost to morale for everyone who works and is cared for at our hospital.

As far as it’s possible to tell from the above image, this isn’t spray painted. The denim effect would be almost impossible to recreate other than by a transfer print taken from a photograph. The 2 D basket, which doesn’t show the return banding, has a lack of perspective to match the figure. The basket also looks out of scale in relation to the size of the figure. We shouldn’t expect the BBC arts correspondent to give his view on the technical aspects of a work, should we?

In reply to Charlie’s question, from OT comments,

Banksy, whose real name is Robin Gunningham, is so liked by the BBC because his work carries a political message more than it does an artistic one. He is a political cartoonist – bang on message for the BBC’s narrative. His work is easily reformatted for printed or webpage imagery. It doesn’t require a second look – there are no details worthy of closer study. His air of secrecy and derring-do seal the deal. He would be the go to number one person to invite to the average Islington dinner party hosted by the Metro LibLeft Beeb programme commissioner. To change the old adage slightly – his work is 90% indoctrination, 10% inspiration.

All of the above doesn’t say much for the BBC’s integrity when they promote to youngsters through Newsround that Banksy’s identity is secret – self-evidently a lie. They say ‘His identity is unknown, despite lots of people trying to guess who he is.’ What a falsehood to promote to young viewers!

Perhaps when the time is ripe, there will be a great reveal in a feature length documentary by Louis Theroux. He is probably staking his claim to that high-earning nugget right now. In the meantime, no doubt the mystery is inflating prices for off-the-cuff napkin sketched by Banksy made during his circuit of north London Beeb dinner parties.

Another benefit of this secrecy is the ‘one stage removed’ strategy adopted by the BBC when they want to avoid scrutiny of their output. Independent think tanks, Cardiff University research or ‘a spokesman said’ are all familiar tactics. The extra plus with Banksy is that his work has to be posted, publicised and then authenticated as a ‘genuine Banksy’ giving ample wriggle-room of deniability should the publicity turn nasty.

All in all, the conclusion must be that the BBC is assisting a commercial enterprise. Books, calendars, posters and other memorabilia must rake in funds for the Banksy brand. The air of mystery, or should we call it deceit, is promoted by the BBC, giving this artist his own pages on their licence-payer funded website, as well as plenty of news and local news coverage.

Craig Byers: Supporters of BBC becoming campaigning organisation ‘are winning’

Craig Byers: Supporters of BBC becoming campaigning organisation ‘are winning’

This is a guest post from Craig Byers of Is the BBC Biased?

If you subscribe to it, you may well have read former Head of BBC Television News Roger Mosey’s interesting piece in The Sunday Times last week where he claimed that there’s a “battle” going on at the BBC between older hands who want to stay true to the Corporation’s long commitment to fairness and impartiality and newer, younger recruits who want to make it “more of a campaigning organisation in which journalists shape the agenda to harmonise with their personal views”.
Well, this past week suggested that the newer, younger recruits – the activist reporters – are starting to win.
Now, of course, blogs like this have existed for a couple of decades now, and that’s because some of those older BBC hands weren’t entirely clean on the ‘fairness and impartiality’ front themselves, and some BBC journalists have been shading into campaigning and shaping the agenda to harmonise with their personal views for quite a while now (Mark Easton anyone?), but at least they usually tried to put on a proper show of fairness and impartiality, and knew they had to do so.
Both last Monday’s Today programme and last Monday’s BBC One News at Ten featured reports by BBC journalist Yogita Limaye, and she clearly felt no obligation whatsoever to show fairness and impartiality.
Her pieces were nothing more than concerted efforts to brand Winston Churchill a racist and hold him responsible for the 1943 Bengal Famine.
Writing in this week’s The Sunday Times Tom Mangold, a BBC older hand if ever there was one, called her New at Ten report “biased, partial, unbalanced and filled with the spite and venom of the worst of toxic woke culture now pulsing through the heart of the Corporation” and added that “viewers were left in no doubt that the reporter agreed with her own preferential report”.
If you’ve also been reading about the goings-on (and goings-off) at The New York Times, where younger, more groupthink-driven, openly activist reporters have gained ascendance and are abandoning all pretence of impartiality whilst displaying ever greater unwillingness to tolerate fellow citizens (and colleagues) who don’t think or feel like them, then it’s very possible that we can already see where the BBC is now inexorably heading, and Ms Limaye’s report is an early swallow.
Mr Mosey blames ‘Twitter culture’ for the rise of openly campaigning journalism and the difficulty people who think like him and who are still at the BBC are now having trying to get such journalists to represent both sides of a story, and obviously there’s some truth in that. Without the spell cast on her by Twitter and the lure of applause from the Twitterati, would Emily Maitlis, for example, have ever thought of, never mind dared to deliver, that infamous impartiality-busting monologue of hers? I doubt it. She didn’t used to behave so brazenly. And the arrival of newer, younger recruits like Lewis Goodall – people who live the majority of their journalistic lives on Twitter and give every impression of ‘shaping the agenda to harmonise with their personal views’ while deliberately speaking to their own narrow echo chambers both when they tweet and when they broadcast – has had a noticeable, radicalising impact on programmes such as Newsnight.
But it take two to tango. Let’s remember that Yogita Limaye’s reports were broadcast on two of the BBC’s flagship news programmes, both edited by BBC editors who evidently felt it acceptable to put it all out. If anyone, they should be held responsible for making that decision.
Did they put them out without serious qualms though? Surely they must have known how controversial, indeed inflammatory, they were. In other words, are they on the losing, surrendering side of the battle and putting such reports out with heavy hearts, or (like Newsnight’s Esme Wren) are they now actively aiding and abetting the winning, campaigning side?
I fear the BBC is going to get much, much worse before it gets better.
Tom Mangold: BBC’s embrace of woke culture is ‘fatal act of self-harm’

Tom Mangold: BBC’s embrace of woke culture is ‘fatal act of self-harm’

This is a guest post from Craig Byers of Is the BBC Biased?
Tom Mangold’s Mail on Sunday piece headlined “I fear that my beloved BBC’s bizarre obsession with a toxic culture of wokeness will end as a fatal act of self-harm” ought to matter to the BBC because Mr Mangold isn’t just any old BBC veteran. He was Panorama‘s lead investigative reporter for many years and has always been held in high esteem. So for him to speak out in such an outspoken way about “the greasy slope down which [the BBC] is sliding faster every day” is really something, and a major sign of just how bad things have got recently. 
 
While expanding on his excoriation of Yogita Limaye’s “biased, partial, unbalanced, filled with spite and venom” anti-Churchill report (see previous post), he adds the words “Never mind the truth”. I doubt he would never the phrase, of course, but essentially what he’s saying is that it was ‘fake news’. 
 
‘What on earth has happened?’, he wonders. After all, the BBC’s charter remains “unequivocal” on its statutory commitment to impartiality. Well, he says, the “holy contract” is now “well and truly broken”. 
 
He seems to believe that Ms Limaye’s late evening report, given the full backing of the News at Ten and Huw Edwards’s “authority and credibility”, was a bone deliberately thrown to the BLM movement. 
 
And the BBC’s doing it, he says, because of its “bizarre obsession with youth, diversity and the ever-growing pressure of woke argument” and because BLM – and “the Twitter trolls, the social media addicts, the young, the immature and the often daft” – have become “the BBC’s recruitment and audience target.” 
 
Why this “‘threatens to become [the BBC’s] final act of self-harm” is because such people are a “minority audience”. 
 
He also quotes another wise old head, Trevor Phillips, saying that “the increasingly woke behaviour by the Corporation is endangering the central justification for special treatment, which is its universal reach.” 
 
All of which is very true. The BBC is alienating its core audience in pursuit of a small demographic that probably won’t be watching it regardless. It’s a sign of the state the BBC’s in at the moment that it doesn’t even seem to see the folly of its position. 
 
The present situation with over-75s having to pay the licence fee from next Saturday is relevant here because 66 Conservative MPs  signed a letter to Tony Hall last week objecting to the BBC’s decision over the licence fee, and added: “We question the need for the BBC to allocate the enormous sum of £100 million on diversity, which with strong management could be achieved for minimal cost”. 
 
Tom Mangold in this article makes a related point: “Tony Hall has found £100 million in an ever-ready slush fund to increase diversity in the BBC. Meanwhile it gets rid of talent such as John Ware and Jane Corbin as permanent reporters from Panorama, presumably to save a bob or two”. 
 
Why is the BBC splashing out such huge sums on diversity? After all, as the Observer observes today, it’s devoting £12m of its commissioning budget “to making diverse and inclusive content” for the next three years, and devoting £100m of the current television commissioning budget to “on-air inclusivity”, and bringing in a mandatory off-screen target for “20% diversity across the networks for new commissions” from April 2021? Because it’s signalling to its new target audience. 
 
Tom Mangold goes on to quote Trevor Phillips saying, “The BBC has to recognise social change, sure, but it is not the institution’s role to lead it.” Well, yes, but that’s not how the young Turks who have been silently taking over at the BBC see it. To take just one example, on being appointed the BBC’s first LBGT correspondent Ben Hunte said “There are a lot of marginalised voices that need to be given a mouthpiece” when he was appointed. He clearly meant that he intended to be that “mouthpiece”. There’s a lot of that about about the BBC now. 
 
Wonder what the bulk of the BBC will think about this? I’m guessing a huge chunk of them are too far gone to care what one of the old hands thinks, especially if it’s in the Mail on Sunday. But some might take it as a proper, serious wake-up call. If they love the BBC as much as Tom Mangold does, what are they going to do about it?
News-watch Launches BBC Bias Digest

News-watch Launches BBC Bias Digest

BBC Bias Digest is now a key, regularly updated feature of the News-watch website, and a central focus of our efforts.

  • To try and hold the BBC to account in the public interest
  • To facilitate reform in its governance.

Each day, we are combing newspapers and the web for stories about the BBC relevant to its Charter obligation to deliver impartiality in its news coverage and the handling of controversial matters in its  general output.

It will thus become a central point of recording the deluge of concerns about BBC bias.

News-watch has been chronicling the BBC’s failures of impartiality for more than 20 years, particularly in EU-related output, where the Corporation has not properly reflected the extent and range of pro-Brexit opinion. The evidence for this is posted on this site.

Recently,  such bias has intensified to the extent that recently, BBC Two Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis delivered a blatantly partisan attack on Dominic Cummings, one of the Government’s key officials.

All parts of the BBC’s output have been infected by liberal-left viewpoints on topics such as Brexit,  climate change and green activism and cultural diversity. This has also been chronicled in books such as The Noble Liar, by Robin Aitken, in some newspapers, and widely in sites on the web such as Is the BBC Biased? and The Conservative Woman.

Despite this, the BBC remains impervious to concern. Its complaints process is designed to allow the Corporation to defend itself, rather than taking into account concerns among its audience.

This complacency – a national scandal – is being addressed by News-watch in various forms, including a recent High Court application for judicial review, together with Freedom of Information requests and other legal challenges to the Corporation’s intransigence.