BBC proves unreliable by omitting key facts from Bannatyne story

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.

15 Responses to “BBC proves unreliable by omitting key facts from Bannatyne story”

  1. 1 Akvavitix 03/08/2011 at 5:26 am

    As somebody raised in Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe) I have been on the receiving end of the BBC selective search for the truth for decades.

    When will someone scrap this tiresome festering leftwing cesspit parasite on the taxpayer.

  2. 2 Martin Brumby 03/08/2011 at 7:06 am

    Well, I’m sure we could all blog all day with the number of occasions when the Beeb ‘accidentally’ forgets to mention that the guys picked up for metal theft were travellers, or the youths involved in an affray were Kurds, or so on.

    In fact, this is the norm. And it is also followed by most of the print media.

    Sometimes they finish up by ‘stigmatising’ (the usual excuse they use) one ethnic group to avoid ‘stigmatising’ another. So people who get into some kind of trouble or who get in the spotlight for the amount of benefits they claim are called (if anything) ‘Romanian’ or ‘Slovak’ or whatever. When a photograph gets published, nine times out of ten they are obviously Roma (or Sinti). Remember the ‘Romanians’ the French kicked out a few months back? They may have had Romanian papers but they were no more ‘Romanian’ than I am.

    Now, many Roma get a very tough deal, especially in several East European countries. So it would be possible to have the debate ‘Are they depraved because they are deprived, or are they deprived because they’re depraved?’

    But hiding facts behind political correctness actually helps no-one. And as we have seen, plays straight into the hands of the real racists.

  3. 3 Junkk Male 03/08/2011 at 8:12 am

    ‘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?’

    To quote the top of the hour headlines of a certain national, uniquely-funded news monopoly when attribution is a bit shy on a story they fancy plugging: ‘Critics are saying… question will be asked..’

    Not sure that the FoI exemption is quite enough for them never needing to answer as they demand of all others.

  4. 4 Derek 03/08/2011 at 9:28 am

    The BBC will smear whoever it chooses. Complaint gets binned – no action. Been there – done that.

    Bannantyne on the other hand has succumbed to knee jerk comments to viscious threats through a social networking group. More fool him.

    The internet may or may not be under threat of censure, but the above are yet more reasons to me for not paying BBC licence fees, not receiving their output, and not subscribing to social networking such as Twitter and Facebook.

    The diatribe that can be read in YouTube comments is typical of the levels of unsupported cowardice that has emerged from such ‘faceless’ books is bad enough, yet there’s seldom any ‘police investigations’ to the profanity exhibited therein. More remunerative to collar a speeding driver, or pensioner dropping ash from a cigarette.

    Mind watch you say – wherever it may be!

    Pity they don’t report the bile expounded by the likes of Choudry and Sharia law. They’ve turned their back on that one – and it’s about to poop.

  5. 5 jameshigham 03/08/2011 at 5:00 pm

    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.

    There’ve been three other issues looked at at my place in recent days which involve this distortion of coverage. It used to be considered criminal.

  6. 6 A K Haart 03/08/2011 at 5:08 pm

    Interesting post. I think omission is the method of choice for the BBC, its preferred way squeezing ‘news’ items into its framework of cultural assumptions.

  7. 7 TomTom 03/08/2011 at 5:38 pm

    I don’t notice as much as I once did because i don’t watch BBC and find it really tedious to listen to radio too. The digital switchover is my excuse to opt out of the Licence rather than spend any money upgrading equipment. I get three “news” stories a day on TV hammered away like propaganda on all channels but find that in the big wide world real things are happening I never hear about. Real Time is finite and I don’t want the BBC to have it.

    I know the EU hates State Monopolies in Rail, Post, but loves it in Broadcast Media in every EU country funding broadcasting by Household Tax if not Broadcast Tax.

    It is simply that Banker Bust has now gone on for 4 years and I am tired of the Media-Politician Nexus failing to deal with it and watching the future recede into a big black hole of debt and workout with the BBC peddling trivia in a Panem et Circenses replay of Ancient Rome.

    The presenters bore me, their voices soaked in smugness and ignorance, and I doubt any of them knows as much as myself about anything… now I am opting out…….

  8. 8 Tom 04/08/2011 at 3:16 pm

    As somebody who probed the BBC news machine extensively and randomly over a number of years and arrived at a discernible pattern of behaviour this doesn’t surprise at all – they bleat about News International? , yep it’s the pot meet kettle show.

    If one were interested to see how the selection of ingredients, homogenization, flavoring and coloring of the BBC shit pie is arrived at – then I think that the scales would drop from folk’s eyes so to speak.

    For news it’s done centrally – a giant mincer – I like to think of it being done in the same sort of office that Michael Palin’s character works in , in Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil.

    It’s time this bunch of power drunk devious dishonest delinquent lefty parasites had their paychecks and pensions pulled.

    My 85 year old father has taken to Russia Today news – does that mean Russian pensioners are watching the BBC for a bit of nostalgia?

  9. 9 john in cheshire 04/08/2011 at 7:30 pm

    Akvavitix, I weep for Rhodesia. The results of socialist manipulation has, over the past 4+ decades turned a once civilised country into a basket case. I visited it in the mid 80s, and was astonished to see modern shopping centres, with western supermarkets, whose shelves were essentially empty. Mr Mugabe and his cohorts, supported by successive socialist governments in the Uk conspired to destroy that country. And you are so correct that the bbc was a willing agent in this destruction.

  10. 10 Henry 04/08/2011 at 8:25 pm

    The BBC has a responsibility to attempt to provide impartial coverage.

    Anyone who watches the news and reads their site – from an even slightly objective viewpoint – will know that not only do they fail to provide it, they aren’t even trying half the time.

    They take sides, decide which stories to show, leave out details. As you say a huge number of people rely on the BBC for good news coverage and they get a strongly left-wing version.

    I remember this being true during Mrs Thatcher’s time in office (I think it was Brian Perkins who sounded like the world was coming to an end on the radio news, more or less every night in those days) and it’s even more true now, and I think less sophisticated

  11. 11 A guest 04/08/2011 at 9:02 pm

    They have changed it:

    “Mr Bannatyne is reported to have responded: “I offer £25,000 reward for the capture of the coward who calls himself @YuriVasilyev_ Double if his arms are broken first.”

    These tweets were later said to be deleted, with Mr Bannatyne changing his Twitter offer to “£30,000 reward for info leading to his arrest”.”

    Its at the bottom of the story and the bbc tries to sugarcoat it by using “were later said to be deleted” implying that it cant be verified if duncan said it or that it was subsequently deleted.

  12. 12 Brian H 05/08/2011 at 4:28 am

    Derek 03/08/2011 at 9:28 am : Bannantyne on the other hand has succumbed to knee jerk comments to viscious threats through a social networking group. More fool him.
    Yes, a combination of thick and evil?
    Viscous, vicious. Pick one.

  13. 13 Junkk Male 05/08/2011 at 7:30 am

    ‘A guest
    04/08/2011 at 9:02 pm
    They have changed it’

    Whilst legitimate clarifications are fine as (and the BBC often tries to claim) the story evolves, this is a classic BBC stealth edit to ‘tidy up’ later on.

    Too blatant; too often.

    They will point at that ‘last updated’ tag at the top to show that ‘something was changed’.

    In this case there is simply no excuse.

    The furore was instigated by Mr. Bannatyne’s rather impulsive tweet, and no one can be in any doubt it existed. But like a BBC story first draft, it has been quietly deleted since the initial impact.

    No one will be aware of this save a few following the story… and the BBC’s role in managing the news at the time, whilst managing its backside covering later on.

    Has anyone news-sniffed, or kept a copy of the original?

  14. 14 Fred Streeter 06/08/2011 at 7:09 pm

    Coming to this a bit late, but …

    The Telegraph’s story derives from Mr B’s agent, who confirms that the police have been informed.

    Unable to contact said agent, the Beeb appear to have derived their first story from the police report, updating it with the agent’s details later.


  1. 1 AM take down! Detective arrested for leaking info to the Guardian « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 19/08/2011 at 5:19 pm
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