As the so called phone hacking scandal was getting into full swing, this blog published a post explaining the real reason for the Guardian-BBC assault on News International and Rupert Murdoch in particular.
The post included the following:
But plurality is not the issue, for the left it is all about maintaining their dominance and biased news selection and broadcast and ability to exclude or omit news, facts or opinions that undermine their ‘progressive’ agenda.
It went on to highlight Labour’s Ivan Lewis, writing in the Guardian, confirming this when he said:
While News Corp asserts that Britain’s impartiality rules mean Sky News could never adopt a political agenda akin to Fox News, there remains a real concern about the selection of news, which in itself can significantly distort coverage.
Significantly distort coverage. Keep that phrase in mind because today we have a clear example of the BBC’s questionable news selection at work, with the effect that it significantly distorts coverage of the full story, to protect one of the BBC’s own.
This concerns the story of a threat made on Twitter to Dragons’ Den investor Duncan Bannatyne. A Twitter user sent tweets to Bannatyne making threats to harm his daughter unless the multi millionaire paid out £35,000. An understandably upset and angry Bannatyne responded to all his followers with the tweet shown below (hat tip and story: Bitterwallet):
Now let us be completely fair here. In Bannatyne’s position we would probably have said the same thing in our anger and worry and we would want to protect our loved one and exact punishment on the vicious extortionist. In the eyes of the law though Bannatyne’s comment was clear incitement to grievous bodily harm in return for payment. A short while later Bannatyne must have realised this because he deleted the tweet from his page. But not before it had been repeated around the social media site by tens of thousands of users.
Fast forward to mid evening and BBC Online runs the story on its News UK site as shown in full in the screenshot below:
Like it or not, Bannatyne’s threat to the extortionist is newsworthy and puts the story into full context. Even the pisspoor Telegraph understood that and included it in its write up of the story. Yet the BBC journalist and/or online editor have selected out this element of the story. Because this very relevant element has been deliberately omitted the BBC has significantly distorted the coverage.
Is it because Duncan Bannatyne is an important member of a successful BBC television programme line up? Is it because the BBC want to shield one of their own from negative publicity or possible police investigation? It is because they feel sympathy for a concerned father whose child has become a target because of his high profile? We cannot be sure because the BBC is exempt from answering such questions under the Freedom of Information Act because the information is held ‘for the purposes of journalism’. Regardless of the motivation, it is plain wrong.
The key point here is if the BBC is willing to omit an important element of a story in this way how can we ever trust it to give up the full impartial story on any issue?
The BBC is a media mogul with a dominant position in the UK. Forget Murdoch, this is the media empire in the UK, spanning television, radio and internet that dominates the dissemination of news and information in this country. In fact 70% of the TV news in the UK is broadcast by the BBC and people relying exclusively on the BBC for their news are, as this story shows, receiving an editorially slanted version of the facts. It is unacceptable but we remain compelled to foot the bill for this bias.
In the meantime we hope the gutless thug who levelled the threat against Duncan Bannatyne’s daughter is caught by the appropriate authorities and dealt with through the legal system with his arms intact.