Posts Tagged 'Bias'

BBC bias: John Humphrys confirms BBC tactic of bias by omission

The BBC has begun its effort to sanitise, downplay and distort the comments by Radio 4 presenter, John Humphrys, in the Radio Times in which he said that BBC coverage of EU and immigration matters has been biased to the left because the corporation is ‘broadly liberal’.

Despite the Humphrys piece being picked up across the media for his observations about liberal bias, you can see in the image on the left that the BBC is instead focusing on his comments about the corporation being ‘over-managed’. Move on, little to see here is the clear message. Humphrys is doing his bit to backtrack by claiming this was in the past and the BBC isn’t like that any more.

To be sure listeners get the message, Radio 4′s Feedback programme, presented by the pathologically smug and condescending Roger Bolton, continued the fightback today by broadcasting an interview with Humphrys (audio below).  But what the BBC hadn’t counted on was Humphrys inadvertently making the hole even deeper, with comments about the editors and how they work, which confirms all we have asserted over the years about ‘bias by omission’, where voices that dissent from the BBC worldview are deliberately denied airtime, effectively censoring the counter viewpoint.

The following exchange begins on the You Tube clip at 4 min 21 seconds…

Roger Bolton:  But the point surely is this, it’s not what people may feel in the BBC, it’s whether they control those feelings and remain as objective as possible. So to make the claim that the BBC was liberal is to say that its policies and its decision making were liberal, not necessarily that those [unitelligible]

John Humphrys: No, I think it’s to make the claim that the mindset was liberal. So when somebody suggested, might suggest, on this programme or others ‘let’s do so and so’ a particular politician who’s known for his anti European, his sceptical views, people would tend to say ‘mmm a bit bonkers isn’t he? Hmmm well maybe not’. And maybe he wouldn’t then be interviewed. So it wasn’t rampant, I’m not suggesting, I didn’t suggest in that conversation, that Radio Times conversation, that it was rampant, that we were kind of foaming at the mouth pro Europeans, you know, federalists to a man and woman. We weren’t. But there was a mindset that thought that the right approach to Europe should be supportive. So no, of course there was no conspiracy, but it was a mindset, it was an approach. And I think if you do an analysis of our coverage during those years I think that’s the impression you would gain as well.

Then a few minutes later at 7 min 41 seconds as the interview draws to a close, there followed this exchange which illustrates the point perfectly, that the problem of bias which needs addressing is the editors who are able to shape the programmes to reflect whatever point they want to make, be it political or activist…

Roger Bolton: And just finally for the record, has any editor ever told you to go soft on a political interviewee?
John Humphrys: Nope. Nope. Nope.
RB: Has anybody ever told you to go soft on the question of immigration?
JH: Nope.
RB: Has anybody ever told you to go soft on the question of Europe?
JH: Nope. But that doesn’t prove the point, Roger. Because I don’t edit the programmes, I don’t decide who gets interviewed and that is crucial to it.

The bias problem at the BBC that Humphrys is at pains to tell us is a thing of the past, is still very much alive and all too apparent.  But thanks to Humphrys’ candid comments, we now have helpful confirmation that the BBC treats with contempt and frquently excludes from its programmes those who do not share its worldview (unless they are so poor a speaker or utterly disagreeable that they put people off) and that contributor selection is what counts.

Scottish independence campaign being used as a guinea pig for EU referendum campaign

For some people this may be a statement of the bleeding obvious, but listening to BBC Radio 4 Today this morning, it seems the media is using the Scottish independence campaign to test out which arguments should be made and lines taken in any future EU referendum campaign (whenever that might be).

Professor John Curtice, wearing his ScotCen Social Research hat, has told the BBC that:

Voters want to hear about the economic and financial consequences of the choice that they make, and it is on the outcome of that debate that the result of the referendum is likely to turn.

This is hardly as surprise when the questions asked focus on economic rather than political matters.

A write up of the story on BBC Online also extracts specific questions that focus on voting intentions based on whether Scots will be £500 better or worse off after independence, or whether the Scottish economy will be better or worse. There is no report on the all-important political factors, which is what the independence debate (and the EU debate for that matter) is all about.

It is important to note that the Today piece included comments from four Scots voters – and only one of them said financial considerations were an important factor to him when it comes to voting on independence.  The other three didn’t focus on economics and instead spoke about variations on the theme of who decides how Scotland is run.  Once this segment had been played, the presenter then ignored the voter contributions and turned the discussion straight back to economics, disregarding what the voters had said; and Curtice himself then introduced identity as an issue rather than politics, to move the conversation further away from the central political dimension.

The feeling is of there being a clear agenda to frame the Scottish debate firmly in terms of economics, while doing everything possible to confine the politics to the wilderness.  While this mirrors the current approach taken to the EU debate by the Europhiles at places such as the Centre for European Reform and the Europlastics at places such as Open Europe, what it does is enable the power of the narrative to be tested on a live electorate and see how effectively the electorate can be manipulated into focusing on issues that are irrelevant to the concept of independence – namely who should run Scotland.

No matter whether one feels the Scots should be independent, or whether the union should be preserved as it is, all should be concerned that the crux of the independence issue is being airbrushed from the discourse by the media, which is taking its line from entities with vested interests in keeping all structures as they are – which suits the European Union perfectly.

A knowingly untrue media narrative

Time to ease back into blogging after a bit of a rest.  The BBC is once again playing political agendas rather than simply reporting the news today, on the subject of banker bonuses.

Whether you like the Tories or not, the fact is the BBC is biased against them and will score cheap points at every opportunity.  This would be more acceptable if the BBC did the same with Labour and the Lib Dems, but they don’t.  The corporation is content to align itself with parties and causes it identifies as sharing the BBC’s ‘progressive’ worldview.  Hence the pathetic effort to ‘embarrass’ George Osborne today.

Due, we are told, to EU rules, banker’s bonuses are capped at 100% of salary.  However, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is applying to UKFI as representatives of the majority shareholder (the taxpayer) to be allowed to set a bonus level for staff of 200% of salary.  The BBC this morning has described this action as ‘trying to get around the rules’.  However the reality is this is strictly within the EU rules.

Banks are allowed to set bonuses at 200% of salary with shareholder permission.  All RBS is doing is seeking that permission.  A guest speaking on Radio 4′s Today programme made this clear, and rebutted the claim by the BBC that RBS is trying to get around the rules and that George Osborne is being put in an embarrassing position by being asked to approve a 200% of salary bonus figure.

Yet in the news headlines at 8.00am, some time after the guest speaker had corrected the false assertion, the BBC once again reported the story as RBS trying to get around the rules.  The facts and the reality have been deliberately ignored by the public service broadcaster because the truth did not fit with the narrative it wanted to portray for political reasons.

The same has been true with the recent nonsense about EU reform and various ‘ideas’ being spouted that, despite completely setting aside what is possible and permissible within the EU, are given airtime as if they were genuine alternatives to leaving the EU.

This casual bias and partisan propagandising is not permitted as part of the BBC charter, but it continues without official challenge.  It does not serve the public, it manipulates the public and such blatant dishonesty demonstrates the contempt in which the public is held by the BBC.  It is another example of why we cannot trust the media in this country.

Ice locked ‘SS Alarmist’ provides reminder of media bias

We can be very certain that the crew and climate alarmist passengers of the MV Akademik Schokalskiy did not expect to get trapped in a thick ice sheet in Antarctica.  They went in search evidence of the world’s melting ice caps, but instead a team of ‘climate scientists’ have been forced to abandon their mission … because the Antarctic ice is thicker than usual at this time of year (code for ‘it’s colder, not warmer’).

Despite it being the Antarctic summer, when the most ice melt would invariably take place, the vessel and an ice breaker sent to cut her free are both stuck firm.  It’s not the first time conditions have failed to reinforce the narrative.  From this we can at least deduce the warming that is supposedly hidden deep in the ocean is not hiding in that part of the world…

It is rather satisfying to see the alarmists experiencing first hand the reality of conditions that differ wildly from their computer modelled predictions and consistently worrying warnings, that are parrotted obediently and without challenge or question by their fellow travellers in the world’s biased and agenda riddled media.

Had the crew and passengers managed to observe and record dramatic images of ice melt cascading off ice flows, we can be sure the media would currently be packed with ‘we told you’ so climate change/global warming reports prophesising impending thermogeddon and demanding even more ‘action’ and public money to tackle man’s warming of the planet – furthering the green agenda of reversing progress and industrialisation to force mankind back into the middle ages.

Instead, as they have experienced unexpectedly cold and contradictory conditions, they and their media lackeys only make passing reference to the vessel being trapped and package it up as a human interest story.  The bias is glaringly obvious.  Their embarrassment and frustration is palpable.  So clearly there is no mileage in global warming alarmists telling the world it is actually colder, despite all their ‘evidence’ to the contrary.

Therefore, sadly for the alarmists, the latest round of doom laden climate reporting grounded in biased computer models has been cancelled due to the inconvenient truth of observed reality.  The absence of a raft of climate change stories from these ideologues sends a clear message, move along… there’s nothing to see here (unless it fits our agenda).  Science and the media working in concert.  Ain’t it grand?

The most potent weapon in the media’s arsenal deployed against the public

On Radio 4′s Today programme this morning was an interview with former Sun editor, David Yelland.  He was talking about his views on press regulation and the Royal Charter, attacking the press for their reaction to the output from the Leveson inquiry.

While it was an interesting take on matters, focused on the Leveson Anniversary Lecture he is delivering today at the Free Word Centre and covered in the Guardian today, one small snippet of his speech that he shared on air stood out as being an invaluable insight from a heavyweight media insider:

One of the most potent weapons a newspaper has is to totally ignore an issue or a story. People attack papers for what they print. But what they don’t print is often the bigger story.

This is essential for people to understand.

For campaigns such as those concerned with leaving the EU, challenging climate change orthodoxy, demanding democratic reform, exposing abuses and failings of the establishment and so on, this  bias by omission is all too familiar and occurs all too frequently.  Another example of it has surfaced today.  It is invariably a weapon deployed in the interest of the media itself – but most frequently in support of agendas in the interest of the political class (which the media relies on for stories) and the rest of the establishment.  This cosy little stitch up, by and for people who consider themselves important, is designed to keep people in ignorance and conceal truths that are inconvenient to the establishment.

While this and many other blogs have often pointed at instances of bias by omission in favour of the establishment, very rarely does a member of it break ranks like this and admit the truth in such a transparent and matter of fact way.  Yelland reinforces the reality with another observation, thus:

[...] Whether they are mad or just lack self-awareness, the fact is editors and proprietors in this country see themselves as the small guy, the powerless man struggling against the establishment. What they fail to grasp is that they have become the establishment themselves. They are the powerful, and others are the weak.

He also confirms the pack mentality and derivative nature of the media – which while focused in this instance on the reaction to Leveson, equally applies to just about every major issue covered (or ignored) by this country’s press:

The press has done itself no favours in the biased way this entire matter has been reported, when it has been reported at all. Few papers have dared differ from the fundamental response to the great mess that caused the Leveson inquiry in the first place. There is a party line. And nearly everybody follows it.

The media cannot be relied upon.  Every story that is published needs to be viewed through a filter where one should ask themself; why has this story been covered, whose interest is being served, what is the other point of view, how and why were those providing comment selected, and what information has been excluded from the story?

It may seem cynical to do this, but it is the only way to shield oneself from the cynical manipulation to which the public is subjected by the press, be it broadcast, print or electronic.

Same old, same old. Still going through the motions on EU’s BBC funding

The latest incidence of the EU throwing yet more public money to the BBC, to fund its proselytising mission on behalf of the Brussels machine, has sparked a reaction that suggests many people are not aware of the long standing and cosy relationship between the biased broadcaster and the bureaucracy.

The Telegraph reports on the £4.5 million handout given to BBC Media Action so it would train (indoctrinate) journalists in countries neighbouring the EU about the bloc, as part of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy, which aims ‘to create an area of shared values, stability and prosperity, enhanced cooperation and deeper economic and regional integration’.  In other words, EU enlargement.

Nowhere in the article is there any mention of the fact the BBC received nearly £3million in grant money from the European Union between 2008-2012, in addition to grants of over £16 million from supposedly cash strapped local authorities across the UK (front line spending, eh?) to fund ‘research and development’ projects, despite the Telegraph itself running that story in February last year.

Returning to this latest commission payment, bribe, payment, this also has the happy coincidence of enabling the pro-EU Common Purpose termites within the BBC to spread their Marxist, anti democratic tentacles and encourage shadow structures to develop, where CP graduates work to their own shared agenda, regardless of the public’s agenda.

This is just another example of establishment games, taxpayer pays.

BBC entrenches in its climate change propagandist role

Anyone listening to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning would be left in no doubt about the BBC’s re-doubled commitment to pushing the establishment’s climate change orthodoxy.

Roger Harrabin and Tom Feilden, supported online by Matt McGrath, set about their work in recent days to provide a wealth of material to be broadcast as a precursor to today’s release of the widely trailed Fifth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change in Stockholm.

The only word to describe the BBC’s reporting is propaganda.  It is the only description, given the amount of time they have devoted to the Climate Change on that one programme alone today, and their selection of a procession of interviewees who are all paid for members of the climate change alarmist community, reliant on maintaining the narrative and the funds continuing to flow from our pockets into theirs.

There has been no balance whatsover.  Only fleeting references to scepticism were made, without any explanation of the arguments underpinning their argument.  They were quickly dismissed with carefully selected words deployed to give the impression that scepticism is just the preserve of a tiny minority, while suggesting the evidence they have provided that discredits the alarmist position is trivial in nature – as if the sceptics were merely nit picking.

It goes without saying, there was not a single reference to the scandalous story earlier this week about how governments had objected the the ‘scientific’ report because it confirmed the observations of a statistical halt in temperature rises, and pushed for the language to be changed so government policy could be underpinned by the ‘consensus’.  The biased BBC were careful to omit that, careful to airbrush it from the record, lest it lead listeners to have doubt about what will be published later.

 

Every tool in the PR and communicators arsenal was employed today.  In segments of just a few minutes, and in reports from their correspondants, the BBC sought to:

  • Paint the sceptics’ arguments as unreasonable with the use of dismissive language and intonation
  • Present in detail the position and ‘lines to take’ of the alarmists and only present the counter viewpoint as a footnote, while purposely leaving out the salient details that contradict, through science and observation, the alarmist position
  • Deal with the impossible to hide errors and exaggerations by the alarmists by playing them down as trivial matters
  • Give the impression the sceptics have only gained ground in the last few years because of effective PR and use of techniques to sensationalise otherwise shallow and meaningless arguments
  • Deploys statistics as numbers are powerful – pushing the report’s ’95%’ certainty that mankind is warming the planet and there is a need to reverse it
  • Give the impression of balance by playing Lord Lawson’s comments about the 15 years where warming has been statistically insignificant, but only playing his comment in the background of a segment and talking over the key takeaway line about 15 years with no warming
  • Give the impression there has only been a small slow down in warming and use language to suggest the slow down had already passed, even though it is ongoing
  • Appeal to authority time and again by repeatedly stating ‘overwhelming majority of scientists’ agree on climate change, until listeners are repeating it in their sleep

The result has been an utter distortion of events and facts, a partial, biased position that is not reporting, but advocacy for one argument over another.

What the BBC has been broadcasting today falls so far short of its Charter obligations, it makes a mockery of its claim to be an impartial and trusted broadcaster.  As we know there will be no sanction from this by the BBC Trust, it also makes a mockery of the checks and balances that supposedly exist to hold the BBC to account for its output.

Farage’s BBC face fuzz

If anyone believes the BBC had nothing more than an unfortunate and accidental pixelation error, they must believe in the tooth fairy, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and a fat man in a red suit with flying reindeer, who can get down chimneys to leave presents every December…

Coming just a matter of hours after the media engaged in a bout of character assassination by trying to smear Farage with slurs that he is some kind of Nazi sympathising racist, the odds on this being a coincidence are astronomical.

Richard, who is better placed than many to comment on Farage’s character, has commented on EU Referendum about the media’s fetish for playing personality politics and the assault on the UKIP leader.

This blog holds no brief for Farage, but that is partly based on politics, partly on lack of competence, and the remainder is based on frustration at his ignorance of too many core issues and his refusal to articulate a cohesive and thought through plan for removing the UK from the EU.

His treatment at the hands of the media is just because he leads a party the media luvvies detest.  It is a disgrace.

Media bias and UKIP’s failure highlighted yet again


Another day and yet another example of how the the media distorts coverage of matters EU, while UKIP continues to act as if the cat has got its tongue by offering no Eurosceptic view on the subject in question.

Robert Watts, writing in the Telegraph, gives that pro-EU paper’s take on the burden British businesses experience as a result of EU regulations.  According to Watts, the details will be laid bare in a series of reports which will be published on Monday by the Foreign Secretary, Concrete Willy, beginning with a focus on how the EU affects UK taxation, health, overseas aid, foreign policy, animal welfare and food safety.

Watts goes on to tell readers that a further 26 reports will be published in coming months, ‘in a boost to the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservatives’.  Having made his reference to Eurosceptics, Watts runs off to get a Eurosceptic quote from… yes you guessed it, the Tory stooge EUphile ‘think tank’ Open Europe which, as the Telegraph intended, prattles on about the non-existent fantasy renegotiation where the UK can supposedly secure more flexible membership terms from the EU.

Where the main Eurosceptic force, UKIP, is supposed to be leading by rebutting the bullshit coming out of the Tory delusion department, instead we get the Europlastics of pro-EU Open Europe taking a break from acting as official minder to Andrea Leadsom (wherever she speaks about EU matters, Open Europe are at her side keeping her on message) in order to blaze a trail for the Tory line, being the only supposed Eurosceptic voice that readers hear – and in the absence of any challenge, those readers assume what they hear to be accurate and well informed.

The problem is not only that UKIP isn’t establishing itself ‘go to’ organisation for Eurosceptic commentary in the mainstream media, it is that UKIP isn’t even talking about this issue on its own website.  How can potential supporters take UKIP seriously when it is voluntarily absents itself from engaging on core issues concerning the negative aspects of EU membership, just as the subject gets serious media profile?

When it comes to boosting Nigel Farage’s personal profile, no column inches or photo opportunities are spared.  But when discussion turns to subjects that are supposed to be at the heart of the very reason for UKIP’s being, the party goes AWOL.  This isn’t a one off, this is part of a consistent pattern.  The only logical explanation is that Farage deliberately refuses to engage on these topics because he doesn’t understand them himself.  He determination to not do detail means he doesn’t have anything of value to add and he is scared of being bested in an argument as a result.

This is just the latest in a long line of examples of both the public and the UKIP membership being ill served, by the press and the UKIP leader respectively.  In such circumstances how can we Eurosceptics possibly hope to win any prospective EU in-out referendum?  The media is ‘in the tank’ for the EUphiles and the sole Eurosceptic political party is asleep at the wheel as its leader plays ‘look at me’.  The media is serving its own interests and Farage relies upon his cult to lash out at any criticism of his ineptitude.  With this seemingly unresolvable issue, we can be excused for asking ourselves why we bother.

News management in return for political patronage

Is it the journalists?  Is it their editors?  Or is it the media moguls who own the news media?  Wherever the responsibility resides, the fact is the British press ignores stories that undermine the agenda of the political class.

There is no contradiction between the press turning a blind eye to inconvenient realities on essential matters such being able to leave the EU but still enjoy access to the single market, or the global organisation origins of the myriad of regulations that flow to us via Brussels, and journalists scuttling through the sewers to get stories that undermine or wreck the careers of individual politicians, or the election prospects of particular parties.  It is understood in such circles that while some of the actors are expendible and faces might occasionaly change, the collective objectives are shared throughout the establishment and are therefore untouchable.

If the British press were genuinely committed to transparency and ensuring the people can know and understand what the political class is doing and how it is doing it – i.e. reporting the facts regardless of views and objectives of the respective hack, editor or owner, the press would readily publish stories that debunk the lies and misrepresentations that are continually reported without question, challenge or scrutiny.

This is why, despite definitive and absolute knowledge that journalists at a number of heavyweight publications and news organisations have read blog posts and detailed evidence that catagorically refutes David Cameron’s ludicrous  ‘Norway fax law’ and ‘top table’ claims; and John Cridland of the CBI’s argument that leaving the EU would damage UK commerical and employment interests – even though leaving the EU is political and what matters commercially is the economic issue of maintaining access to the single market – those journalists, their editors or the moguls who own the publications, ensure the story is never published in the news and editorial sections.

Revealing such information – while of vital importance to ensuring the people of this country understand the options open to them and beneficial alternatives that are available concerning the way this country operates and is governed – is detrimental to the interests of the politicians and the parasitic media that feeds off them in return for patronage in the form of career moves, access to the ‘big beasts’ and the occasional scoop that drives readership and therefore advertising revenue.  So it is simply omitted from the record. The chums continue to rub along together, pissing out of the tent on the rest of us while just about tolerating each other within it.

Instead, such news and information is consigned to the comparatively small readerships of columns by fearless journalists such as Christopher Booker and Mary-Ellen Synon, polemecists such as James Dellingpole, or blogs such as EU Referendum, The Boiling Frog, Witterings from Witney etc.

Concealment of the truth in this way is nothing less than a carefully coordinated and orchestrated deception.  The British public is being lied to because the truth is being withheld from ‘the record’.   This demonstrates the news  in this country is not honest.  The media has no integrity.  It cannot be trusted.  It is riddled with agenda and vested interest.  It does not reflect reality.

Disturbingly this will be news to some readers here.  But hopefully, as this deception becomes increasingly recognised and understood, more people will consider what the read and hear through the prism of scepticism, asking themselves how the story worked its way into the arena, who benefits from what has been published or broadcast, and what else is likely to be known but is going unreported.  Those same people may even then be minded to dig for more information and read reports that are cited from themselves to see if the media coverage reflects reality.  Getting to the truth requires effort.  Never moreso than today.

Spread the word and encourage others to look beyond the headlines and seek out what the establishment would rather we did not know.  They can begin here.

US Government is learning from the EU playbook

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) seems to have taken a leaf from the EU playbook on how to get its own way, namely when people don’t vote for the result you want, make them vote again.

That is sort of what is happening in the case of George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty by a  jury of murder and manslaughter after shooting dead Trayvon Martin while being beaten by him on the ground.

Having seen prosecutors and the media do everything they could to paint Zimmerman as a racist and position that as the reason he allegedly ‘racially profiled’ Martin leading to him following Martin, then getting involved in an altercation in which a shot was fired – yet a jury considering the evidence deciding Zimmerman was innocent of the charges – the DOJ have apparetly set up an email address to receive tips from the public about Zimmerman in the hope of harvesting evidence that would enable them to launch another prosecution against him for civil rights violations.

The DOJ appears determined to keep up its witch hunt against Zimmerman until somehow he is deprived of his liberty.  The answer of the jury was not the one they wanted to see.

Separately and in a classic example of contrasting fortunes – something that is also in keeping with mendacious EU habit of protecting their friends when it suits them – the DOJ has announced that it will not prosecute the US Internal Revenue Service (equivalent of HMRC).

This follows allegations that the IRS improperly accessed or disclosed the tax information of  conservative political candidates standing against Democrat Party representatives, after it exclusively targeted Democrat opponents for politically motivated tax audits and investigations.

Justice is supposed to be blind.  However, increasingly in the US it is just another political tool to be deployed in service of agendas that play to the biases and interests of the Democrat Party and their affiliated organisations and campaign groups.  Zimmerman is being harrassed and victimised in disgraceful fashion by the DOJ at the behest of the Democrat leaning civil rights movement, while the IRS is having its outrageous behaviour in support of the Democrats swept under the carpet.

Tammany Hall must have been moved to Washington DC.  The stench of corruption is overpowering.

What’s in a name? BBC Northern Ireland conducts cringeworthy contortion

The city of Londonderry in Northern Ireland was given its official and legal name by Royal Charter in 1662.

Although the republican council in the city changed its own identity to Derry City Council in 1984, as a symbol of its rejection of the union with the United Kingdom and desire for unification with the Republic of Ireland, the High Court confirmed in a 2007 decision that the name of the city remained unchanged.  There is no confusion here, even of locals prefer to call the city ‘Derry’ its offical and legal name is Londonderry.

So a certain amount of teeth grinding was provoked today when I heard news presenters and continuity announcers on BBC Northern Ireland – the state’s public service broadcaster – constantly referring to the city as ‘Derry Londonderry’ in a crass attempt to sit on the fence over the city’s name.

Neither the UK government nor the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont have changed the name of Londonderry.  So why is the state’s publicly funded broadcaster being allowed to distort the official identity of Londonderry in this ludicrous manner?

It has long been asserted that BBC NI and Ulster Television (UTV) are reservoirs of republican support and sympathies.  This editorial decision by the BBC does nothing to disprove that assertion.  The default position of the self loathers and socialist broadcast activists at the Continuity BBC to place a premium on any stance that undermines anything British, but surely this sop to those who reject and oppose Northern Ireland’s British identity has no place on the state broadcaster.  This contortion over the city’s name is only being carried out to appease the sensitivities of republicans in Londonderry.

Should the day come that the majority in Northern Ireland choose democratically to leave the union and subsume themselves into the Republic of Ireland, and Londonderry is renamed legally, will the BBC still refer to it as ‘Derry Londonderry’ to acknowledge the sensitivities of the unionists living in the city who wish to remain part of the UK and have so far resisited the republican cultural cleansing that has been taking place to drive protestant unionists out?  Not bloody likely.

The BBC is still the United Kingdom’s fifth column, it remains the enemy within.  This is just another example of it.

Is the British media useless, or simply complicit?

For those people who explore the media wider afield than these shores for stories with an international dimension, the expression ‘everywhere except the British press’ is an all-too-common descriptor of the reach of certain important developments.  It has merited another outing today over on EU Referendum.

‘Bias by omission’ is the phrase that generally explains these instances where the British public is kept in ignorance about developments they would be very interested in if the media deigned to report on them.

It is bias by omission that we are witnessing today as the British media – working in concert to keep their readers in the dark – turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the important story about the decision of the Swiss people, via a democratic referendum, to tighten up Switzerland’s asylum rules. You can read the story and coverage of the implications of the Swiss vote over on Richard’s blog.

This omission is noteworthy as the subject is one which provokes substantial debate in this country and focuses attention on the inability of the UK, as part of the EU, to control its own borders or asylum and immigration policies.  Perhaps it is this, more than anything else, that the establishment and its media poodles want to deflect attention from.  Any debate that shines a light on the negative and often harmful consequences of EU membership must not be aired, in case it prompts people to hanker for the UK to once again manage its own affairs.  Further, any example of real (if imperfect) democracy in action, compared to the system of elected dictatorship that operates in this country, might have British serfs making demands to determine matters for themselves in a similar fashion.  That of course would never do.

Following the howls of protests from the media about proposals for regulation of their ‘industry’ underpinned by statute threatening the so called freedom of the press, this example of propaganda through silence is as deafening as it is contemptible.  Perhaps the only freedom that matters to the press is the ability to remain part of the establishment and act as its outrider, set apart from the people and operating against their interests, and occasionally throwing a bit of inconsequential red meat to the masses to give the impression of challenging the prevailing orthodoxy.

Politicians often butter up the media by repeating the mantra that we have the best and most effective press in the world, which challenges, probes and investigates before reporting fearlessly.  The evidence, such as this today, shows what utter bollocks that idiotic claim is.  Perhaps what they really mean is that the British press is the most craven and compliant.

Either way, this latest example of bias reinforces that the British people cannot trust the British media to be fair and impartial.  It is not anything of the sort, not even remotely.  Our press is not of the people for the people, it is the political class’ bulwark against the people.  The British media is not being useless when its collectively fails to report important stories in this way, it is simply being complicit in furthering the agenda of the political class by working to keep people in ignorance and maintaining the establishment’s grip on us.  It is on their side, not ours.

BBC’s omission bias: No, you were not imagining it

With prescient timing only yesterday this blog was highlighting another example of BBC omission bias, as it pointedly refused to identify as Muslim the inmates at Full Sutton prison who beat and stabbed an officer while holding him hostage for more than four hours.  The Daily Wail is giving column inches today to a report into just this behaviour.

When it comes to matters Islamic or immigration related, many people have long argued the BBC’s coverage is outrageously slanted, deliberately taking an editorial line that plays down negatives while heaping focus on any perceived positives.  This bias has now been quantified in a report written by Ed West for the New Culture Forum, which concludes that:

In its coverage of the topic of immigration, the BBC has given overwhelmingly greater weight to pro-migration voices, even though they represent a minority – even elitist – viewpoint. And in its coverage of the economic arguments for and against immigration, it has devoted somewhat more space to pro-migration voices. In terms of the social costs, the BBC has almost totally ignored certain areas.

Sure, there’s nothing new under the sun here, it only confirms what we knew. But it does provide evidence from a detailed analysis of the corporations output that will be impossible to deny.  Let’s see if the BBC, supposedly its own greatest critic, deigns to report about this.

Pesky questions the media don’t want to answer

h/t The Boiling Frog

But when such a straightforward question does get asked, it is posed out of context and the answer given by the political elite is accepted unmolested by any form of challenge.  Someone’s interests are being served here, and it isn’t that of the general public.  When Cameron declared ‘we are all in this together’ he must have meant the political class and the media.

As always it’s all about what they want

For all the talk of membership of the EU being in the UK’s ‘national interest’ and the UK having ‘influence’ to shape the EU’s direction, the reality is rather different.

The media, which goes to such great lengths to make these assertions, seems completely unaware of its own contradictions on the matter.  Another example of that is presented by the Financial Times today.

Click to enlarge

Despite the UK’s much reported influence, we read that few EU leaders see scope for an extensive renegotiation.  So where is this great influence?  And as we have asked before, if the UK has so much influence in the EU to begin with how come we have such a poor settlement today that necessitates the repatriation of powers?

Then there is the national interest argument.  The rationale given for EU leaders opposing the UK’s meek request to repatriate some powers from supreme government in Brussels is that it could undermine EU integration that is apparently required to enhance ‘Europe’s’ weight in the world.  Further that if the British people rejected any crumb-like revised terms Cameron managed to get tossed down from the table it could result in a EU split affecting Europe’s political and economic architecture.

So where in those arguments is there anything about the UK national interest?  All that is being whined about is what it could mean for the EU and its interests.  All the bleating, cajoling and veiled threats coming out of Washington, Brussels, Berlin and Paris is about the UK doing something that might hinder their interests.  The interests of the UK are irrelevant to them – exactly as they are whenever EU law is written, regulations are formulated and trade deals are struck that result in poor terms and outcomes for the UK.

As always, it’s all about what they want.  The wishes and needs of the British people don’t matter.

Another example of Nigel Farage’s poor judgement

Many people who still hold faith in the political process, but are disillusioned by the three main parties, are looking for a home. A number of them may be looking at UKIP as a party they might support and want to know a bit more about its autocratic leader, Nigel Farage.

But if their search is for a political figure who offers reassuring gravitas and comes across as steady, measured and in possession of good judgement then a spotlight piece about Farage published in the Daily Wail last night is likely to have left them feeling disappointed and frustrated in equal measure.

Britain needs a serious politician for serious times and the dross offered up by the political party nursery production line of grabbers and troughers isn’t providing it. So Farage had clear run to conduct a clinical public relations campaign that confounds the ‘ordinary bloke, cheeky chappie’ image which prevents him being taken seriously and instead positions him and his party as leadership material.

However Farage’s ego has seen him walk straight into a hatchet job by the broadly pro-EU media which continues to present him as something of a lightweight prat. It won’t put off those people who are already sold on Farage, but it will do nothing to attract serious floating voters who take issues seriously and want to see a credible alternative they can lend their support to.

The Wail is expert in this kind of thing and played its hand well. It sent along a not unattractive female journalist, Jane Fryer, to smile and bat her eyelids at Farage in the knowledge that with his lothario-like reputation he would be disarmed and play up to her – resulting in him saying daft things and giggling away like a hormone-filled teenager. The resulting output could then be assembled into a harmful piece and that is what has subsequently hit the printing press. He may try to laugh it off and bluster past it, but this Mail piece has landed a blow.

Farage has been in politics long enough to have known better. His public relations advisers should have insisted he do a different kind of interview in which he could still display an easy charm while showing the public he is the kind of serious man for serious times alternative they are craving.

Whether his PR did advise this but Farage’s famously ‘my way or the highway’ approach took over, we will probably never know. But we can be sure he won’t be attracting the kind of supporter he and his party desperately needs. UKIP will continue to be viewed as the party that draws the slightly off-the-wall kind of person to it. Farage is more likely to get the nose-pinching desperate voter than the kind of voter who will only go out to vote positively and enthusiastically for a party’s candidate.

As with so many cock ups Farage has been at the heart of, it was completely avoidable. Another golden opportunity presented at an ideal time, utterly wasted. I often wish I could support Farage and the party he has moulded in his image, but this is another reminder of why I don’t.

Update: Richard has seen the Wail piece and has drawn the same conclusion, only with additional context and background. Well worth reading in full here

Tony Hall appointment at BBC demonstrates Tory corporate stupidity

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the utter stupidity of senior members of the Conservative Party.  When it was announced that Tony Hall was being appointed BBC Director General after the sopping wet Lord (Chris) Patten foolishly rushed in to fill the post without carefully examining other potential candidates for the vacancy, the Labour Party speedily showered Hall and the decision with praise and plaudits.

You would have thought Labour’s delight would have started ringing alarm bells in Tory HQ, but no.  Perhaps the problem is threefold.  Firstly you have the legendary idiocy of the Tory elite, which treats its members and the public with contempt while making all manner of balls-ups.  Secondly, perhaps Tories just possess incredibly short memories and therefore have forgotten about Tony Hall and what went on at the BBC while he was in cheif executive of BBC News and Current Affairs?  Let’s take a couple of moments to remind them.

Under his Tony Hall’s management, the BBC had an incestuous relationship with the Labour Party.  BBC staffers assisted Labour’s ‘rapid rebuttal unit’ by tipping them off every time a Conservative said anything that challenged Labour in the run up to the 1997 general election.  Former BBC journalists ran as Labour candidates (remember Ben Bradshaw who remained on the BBC Radio 4 payroll despite not working and instead campaigning to win the Exeter seat?) while Labour people went the other way into the BBC (remember Joy Johnson, ex-BBC PR professional who became Labour’s director of communications, then lost her job and was immediately re-hired by the BBC?)  What about the champagne strewn corridors of the BBC after Blair’s election victory and the BBC bias against the Conservatives that had Brian Mawhinney and Charles Lewington in red faced fury as the Patten-loving Major government was pulled to pieces?  It was under Tony Hall that the BBC effectively campaigned for Martin Bell in Tatton, without once challenging him on his motivation for standing or probing his behind the scenes relationship with the Labour Party.

Small wonder Labour has welcomed his appointment, and the corporate stupidity of the Tories sees them also welcome a man into a post far more powerful than the one he used to help to see the Tories ejected from office in 1997.  But what of the third possible problem?  Maybe the long stroll leftwards of the Conservatives, which has accelerated under David Cameron, has made the Tory leadership so indistinguishable from Labour they now share the same mindset enabling them to convince themselves Tony Hall is someone they can do business with.

The timing is incredibly ironic.  Here we are, mid-term of a somewhat unpopular coagulation government, where the Lib Dems are electoral dead ducks struggling to remain the third mainstream political party as UKIP catches and overtakes them in the polls; and the Conservatives are being painted as evil for supposedly trying to repair (badly it has to be said) the economic scorched earth of Labour’s insane tax, borrow, spend and borrow some more policies while continuing to fawn over the EU.  Labour is on top of the polls for simply not being Tories or Fib Dims, despite being led by an incompetent champagne socialist career politician who has never done a proper job in his life and who lives in comfort with a couple of million in the bank.  And now the man who gave Labour a free ride on BBC’s news output to help them win the election in 1997 is placed into an even more powerful role as head of the BBC, enabling him to ensure the BBC helps Labour to victory again in 2015.

Describing the Tories as lemmings doesn’t seem to go far enough.

BBC Trust report author John Bridcut unfazed by uncovered deception

As mentioned in the post about the BBC’s lie that the ‘best scientific experts’ made up the external attendees at its 2006 Climate Change seminar, the film maker John Bridcut was the author of a report for the BBC Trust about ‘safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century’ in which it was written:

The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].

On his website Bridcut states that he wrote the ‘From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel‘ report with the help of ‘a steering group from inside and outside the BBC’.  Having presented as fact something that has now been shown to be patently false, AM contacted Mr Bridcut to ask him if he wished to comment on the fresh information and if he would say who told him the seminar comprised a group of ‘best scientific experts’.  The email trail is below:

—————————–

Dear Mr Bridcut

You will no doubt be familiar with the following words taken from the above named report:

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].”

Information subsequently found in the public domain regarding the attendees at that seminar, and currently being discussed on social media and in the press, reveals your assertion to be inaccurate. There is a suspicion that your assertion stemmed from information you were provided with about the seminar when compiling your report. Would you care to comment on this, perhaps outlining where information colouring the assertion you made regarding the ‘best scientific experts’ originated? I feel it is only proper that you have the opportunity to clarify this matter and ensure the record is correct.

I look forward to your early reply.

Yours sincerely

———————–

Dear Mr Nightingale,

Thank you for your message. When you say that my assertion is revealed to be inaccurate, to which words are you specifically referring? For your ease of reference, I append the whole paragraph from the report, rather than the single sentence you have highlighted.

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus. But these dissenters (or even sceptics) will still be heard, as they should, because it is not the BBC’s role to close down this debate. They cannot be simply dismissed as ‘flat-earthers’ or ‘deniers’, who ‘should not be given a platform’ by the BBC. Impartiality always requires a breadth of view: for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space. ‘Bias by elimination’ is even more offensive today than it was in 1926. The BBC has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them. The BBC’s best contribution is to increase public awareness of the issues and possible solutions through impartial and accurate programming. Acceptance of a basic scientific consensus only sharpens the need for hawk-eyed scrutiny of the arguments surrounding both causation and solution. It remains important that programme-makers relish the full range of debate that such a central and absorbing subject offers, scientifically, politically and ethically, and avoid being misrepresented as standard-bearers. The wagon wheel remains a model shape. But the trundle of the bandwagon is not a model sound.”

Best wishes

John Bridcut

———————–

Dear Mr Bridcut

The words to which I specifically refer are:

“The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts…”

The reason for this is the attendee list of the seminar you refer to, which the BBC has fought an expensive legal action to withhold from the public, has been found in the public domain and is currently forming the basis of stories in various media. Of the 28 external attendees, i.e. non BBC staff, only three were scientists and none of those were specialists in climate change disciplines. The rest of the 28 attendees were environmental campaigners from pressure groups, charity representatives, a staffer from the US Embassy, students, someone from the Church of England, an insurance industry consultant, and even a representative from the CBI.

Perhaps you will agree this puts the seminar in a completely different light to that presented in your report. Many are arguing the assertion in your report misrepresents the facts. That is the reason for me contacting you and inviting you to comment and outline the origin of the information you asserted in your report.

Best wishes

———————–

Dear Mr Nightingale

Thank you for your further communication. I was not privy to any specific information about the guest-list at the seminar, but I am baffled by the attention you are devoting to that clause, since it seems to me it contains the least important words in the paragraph. The point, surely, is what the BBC’s conclusion was after the seminar, however constituted, and then my report’s words of admonition (from the second sentence through to the end of the paragraph) – words with which, from the tone of your message, I would have thought you found some agreement. To concentrate on the constitution of the seminar is to miss the point of this section of the report entirely.

Best wishes

John Bridcut

———————–

Dear Mr Bridcut

Thank you for your reply. I think you may be missing the significance that has been attributed by the BBC to the claim the seminar consisted of “some of the best scientific experts”, the point you make in your report.

As Andrew Orlowski points out, the outputs of the seminar resulted in the BBC abandoning balance and impartiality in its coverage on a topic for the first time since World War II. Even in its reporting of the conflict between this country, the Empire and allies with Nazi Germany, the BBC remained impartial. However on the subject of AGW the BBC has cited as the justification for its editorial position the advice received from “scientific experts” at this seminar, a group it now transpires was actually made up of NGOs, activists and campaigners with not a single climate specialist in the room.

I argue that although it is a clear misrepresentation it is something you have retailed as fact in your report. I would suggest in the light of this your assertion being factually incorrect, irrespective of the comments you follow it with, has implications for your credibility possibly through no fault of your own. That is why I am attempting to identify the source of the information you used that lead you to make an assertion that had no basis in fact.

I hope this clarifies the rationale for the strict focus within your text.

Best wishes

———————–

Dear Mr Nightingale
I am afraid I cannot now recall the origin of that phrase, and you are the first person to have raised it with me. But if you wish to take issue with the report, I suggest you take up the matter with the BBC Trust.

Best wishes

John Bridcut

———————–
———————–

It seems incuriosity is something that permeates the BBC and those it commissions to do its bidding, and when pressed people seem to develop short memories about significant details they use to bolster their work but which are later found to be without foundation. Sadly Bridcut doesn’t seem bothered he was given false information and seems happy for it to stand in the public record. This is very telling in itself. It’s clearly OK to witter on about impartiality, but truth and accuracy are dispensible perspectives.

Held ‘for the purposes of journalism’

One need only see that expression and, if they have any scintilla of interest in Freedom of Information and accountability for the use of taxpayers’ money, they will know instantly this post is about the BBC and its blatant misuse of a clause in the Freedom of Information act as it relates to the corporation.

The BBC makes liberal use of FOI to demand information that it then uses to construct news stories and editorial pieces.  Yet when the BBC receives FOI requests that enquire about how it has determined its editorial stance on any number of issues and from where it took advice to inform that stance, the slams the door shut and the very people forced to pay to fund the BBC are treated with contempt and told to piss off.

The government has been complicit in this evasion, protecting the BBC as part of the establishment.  So when the BBC is challenged and taken to an information tribunal, the establishment sees to it the tribunal outcome is determined by ‘reliable’ placemen with an in-built bias against freedom of information and personal enmity to the worldview of the claimant.  The BBC spends huge sums of our money to defend such actions and keep the information concealed from us, then continues about its propagandist mission while funding it with yet more our money.

It is high time people removed their rose tinted glasses and set aside the carefully constructed and insiduous ‘Auntie’ narrative and demanded this publicly funded organisation be held to account.  It thrives with public money but wants to be treated as a private organisation and a special case.  It has to end.

Having a clause that permits the BBC to decline FOI requests ‘for the purposes of journalism’ is perfectly rational and appropriate, if it conceals whistleblowers and details of human sources of news material – or who provide assistance to reporters on dangerous assignment – who might lose their jobs through retaliation or be targeted by vengeful individuals or regimes seeking violent retribution.  No reasonable person would question that.

But concealing the names and credentials of so called ‘experts’ (many of whom it appears are no more than activits and lobbyists) who are gathered to inform the editorial position of the BBC, secreting away reports into the BBC’s coverage on important issues and fighting court actions to keep them secret, and refusing to release details of viewer/listener feedback/complaints about slanted coverage is a wilful and unacceptable misuse of the clause.

It is time for the FOI Act, as it relates to the BBC, to be strictly redefined to ensure the corporation is forced to be properly accountable to those who fund it.  It is plain wrong that the BBC can, if it chooses (and as many suspect) fill a room with partial and likeminded people and use them to influence news and current affairs output while hiding their identities and agendas from us so we cannot question their involvement or suitability.  The attendee lists and outputs of such sessions are not being held for the purposes of journalism, but rather as a validation of the partial worldview the BBC chooses to hold and propagate via its channels.  The FOI should not and must not apply in such cases.


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