The BBC Purpose and Mission statement is crystal clear:-
(With thanks to @poetinpyjama who did a great deal of the work that made this possible)
Our mission is “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which Inform, educate and entertain”.
I watched hundreds of hours of BBC News programming over the last 3 years connecting the News coverage of Brexit and the 2017/2019 General Elections, the very idea that the BBC is “serving the public interest” is bordering on the obscene.
As for the “…all Audiences” part? Whether the managers of BBC News like it or not, in 2 general elections more than 23 Million people in total still voted for a Labour government. I can see no single aspect of News programming in that time that demonstrated any form of pro-Labour angle, nor a single good word for its leader.
Quite the opposite in fact, there was an abundance of commentary along Sun newspaper lines, from journos and guests about “Corbyns ties with Terrorist leaders” that went completely unchallenged. I wonder if Trump will get the same treatment for “hobnobbing with the Taliban” now that they have signed an accord with the US
In the 2019 UK General Election, Boris Johnsons slogan was “Let’s Get Brexit done” but we must remember that he was busy planning to deliver Brexit as far back as 2005, as a Board Member of Atlantic Bridge. The BBC was supposed to organise a debate with the party leaders in 2019, so that they could all be put under the spotlight by Andrew Marr. Such a debate only has value when ALL parties are represented, and they were, nearly. Boris was a no show, and it transpired that when the BBC had planned it they had forgotten to get them all signed up first. Corbyn gets grilled but Johnson doesn’t, all fair and above board 😉
Never mind, after only 14 years, Boris may not have Got Brexit done, but I am sure he created a lot of Shareholder Value in the volatile Brexit Market Place, while his Etonian chums made a killing in the markets. Every cloud in the City has a silver lining
Propaganda by omission
If you read our piece yesterday about Dominic Cummings, you will have noted that both Johnson and Gove, with a clutch of other Tory ministers, were getting very pally with the American Enterprise Institute way back around the time that Brexit began. I am a member of the public and I am very interested in the far right elements of the UK Tory party are in collusion with the Very Far Right elements of the US war machine.
For the BBC though, there is no Public Interest in it? How much of this information did we get from the BBC archives? Absolutely none!
This is propaganda by omission, or “Treating the public like mushrooms, keeping them in the dark and feeding them on Sh*t.”
Not content with just omitting the mention of some very dodgy connections our people of high office have been making, we have had to endure one of the worst examples of character assassination ever experienced anywhere on this planet. Three years of relentless attack on the Labour party, focussed almost entirely on its twice democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The torture never stops
The Dripping Tap approach, the gradual poisoning of the well, served its masters to good purpose this last 3 years. Take the example of how people are identified in broadcasts.
We listen to the words of Boris Johnson or Theresa May but her Majesties Leader of the Opposition is just “Corbyn”, or Boris Johnson was a “Former Journalist”, but Owen Jones is a Labour “activist”
It sounds trivial I am sure, but when this has been the case daily over 3 solid years, the public can hear the difference, and hear the inflections, the sneers or derogatory tones and automatically now associate Boris with Good and Corbyn with Bad.
How the words are said is really important here.
Did you ever listen to the Football pool results on the Radio? You could tell if it was Win Lose or Draw just by the way the announcer said it…The message goes home, even if it’s a fake or false message.
“BBC journalists used language deemed by the researchers to “emphasise hostility, intransigence and extreme positions” more frequently in these programmes, such as the words “hostile” and “hard core”.
This strategy crossed multiple programme platforms, Newsnight, Question Time, the news itself, and was adopted, with variations, by most news presenters. This wasn’t something that “Just happened” either, it was a very clear strategy and it was cleverly orchestrated and delivered, which indicates to me that the “Mission Statement” isn’t worth the bytes takes up in this report
Go on then prove it!
Let us look at a few choice examples of biased BBC Reporting
- Boris laid a wreath at the cenotaph upside down and rather than show it on the news, the BBC “accidentally” replaced the footage with an edited clip from a 3 year old piece of footage. According to the Independent Newspaper, some “Social Media Conspiracy theories” began to form suggesting that this act was deliberate. Have I got news for you Indy, the BBC editors must have gone out of their way to find the older footage and edit it to fit, it was no theory, it was a conspiracy …to broadcast fake news. The BBC said that it had made a mistake 😉 Whoops a daisy!
- A similar piece of editing arose when Boris was live on Question Time and was asked about the importance of Honesty, (albeit an alien concept to Boris) the audience laughed out loud. The laughter was edited out, again with the BBC saying it had made a mistake. Whoops a daisy!
- 2016 – Labour MP Stephen Doughty, no friend of his leader Jeremy Corbyn, decided to resign from the Labour party. BBC’s Senior Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, got wind of it and approached Doughty to do the deed on TV. He seems to have been more than happy to comply. Labour complained, of course but much good it did them. With the BBC now pulling “The Sun” type publicity stunts, nobody seemed to care that Doughty had resigned in public before having the decency to tender his resignation to the Party from whom, he had made his living since 2012. The BBC glossed over that bit while defending their rights to broadcast news. Nobody has a problem with that, but I for one have a really big problem with them manufacturing news.
- A BBC Panorama documentary mocked up to give the impression that Assad had used chemicals to attack his own people. (At a time when Syria was clearly winning the war and had no need of any Western Style False Flag operations).Nothing to do with Labour this time but a clear demonstration that the BBC are more than capable of fabricating news to facilitate political spin. Another Whoops a Daisy moment surely!
- The Corbyn Hat. A Pseudo controversy over whether the BBC tried to make Corbyn look like a Russian KGB agent. I personally believe the BBC knew full well what they were doing, “Objection!” Sorry, I withdraw that remark your honour. (Addressing the readership the Judge rules that the reader must disregard the Journalists comment.)
What really made the Hat affair go with a bang was the hype that went on afterwards. Most viewers wouldn’t have even noticed the background of a Newsnight set, but then subliminally most people do, even if they don’t recall it. They certainly recall it when it’s in the following days headlines though, and especially when read in conjunction with Russian Sympathiser/KGB spy malarkey. Gutter press propaganda used by the BBC to spark off even more widespread Gutter press propaganda. That wasn’t a whoops-a-daisy moment either
- Remember the 4 year old lad on the Hospital floor, and the accusations that it was faked? Well it wasn’t. Quite rightly Jeremy Corbyn had taken Johnson to task about Hospital bed space and waiting times and Johnson turned a funny colour and went into full Mumbo Jumbo mode. Tory HQ, then sent Hancock the Health secretary to the hospital to have his photo taken and prove there was no child laying on the floor. Outside the Hospital, one of Hancock’s aides walked backwards into the hand of a nearby cyclist and spotting a chance to score points, the Tories briefed some journos claiming that Hancock’s adviser had been “punched in the face by a Labour thug”. And again, the BBC’s senior political news manufacturer, Laura Kuenssberg posted the “Punched in the Face”line on Twitter, rapidly followed by Robert Peston from ITV, and The Mail, the Express, the Sun, the Telegraph and the Guardian also quickly tweeting false news about the “punch” that never happened. Whoops a daisy
- BBC, (Response to Laura Kuenssberg’s report in the aftermath of Paris attacks), Nov. 2015, “The BBC Trust said the BBC “was wrong in this case to present an answer Mr Corbyn had given to a question about ‘shoot to kill’ as though it were his answer to a question he had not in fact been asked”…The Trust said the Paris attacks, and how Britain might respond in a similar situation, were “major matters of considerable importance”…It also said: “The breach of due accuracy on such a highly contentious political issue meant that the output had not achieved due impartiality.”
No whoops-a-daisy here, just calculated and deliberate misreporting by Kuenssberg.
- Even now in February 2020, with Brexit and the British people well and truly “Done”, and the mysterious and dubious Landslide victory of the Johnson led Tory government, the BBC keeps feeding the public with fake news and propaganda. The often criticised Question Time programme on the 20th February had a female audience member release a tirade of pure racist vitriol close up to camera. THIS is the voice of the British people? For that is surely what the QT programme claims to represent. Very briefly, the woman concerned is a known Far Right activist, and has stood for election as a National Front candidate, as well as being a full-on Tommy Robinson (The Billionaires Pal) supporter. The audience selection for QT is managed by audience producer Alison Fuller Pedley who has recently been accused of just about everything bar WW2. Rather than just rehash Twitter feeds, there is a good, apparently balanced piece here about her and her trials and tribulations, but it is worth noting that it is 3 years old and a lot of QT Audiences have irritated a whole lot of people in that time. I might have given Pedley the benefit of the doubt 3 years ago, but the proof of the pudding is now in the eating.
- It seems that all hope of an impartial Question Time audience must now be abandoned as the BBC has decided to adopt its own version of proportional representation and “Adjust” QT audiences to reflect the superiority of Tories in Westminster. A recent programme was broadcast with an audience heavily steeped in Toryism, even though it took place in Liverpool, a city that returned Labour seats at the GE.
Lead Balloons Descending, spring to mind
Whenever the BBC has been pulled up on these issues they plead it was a mistake or simply deny all knowledge, I cannot recall a time when they have fully admitted stepping outside of the Mission Statement, and certainly no sanctions have been taken against them even when the BBC Trust finds the complaint justified, as in the case of the creative editing in the “Shoot to Kill” case. If anything Kuenssberg seems to have been promoted, effectively giving the British Public the middle finger.
The BBC experience brought about a rash of petitions from the public to try and get a response. One example cited numerous instances of BBC bias, here is a sample
From that petition …
- Owen Jones-Guardian columnist and author, Oct. 2019, “In the last 24 hours, the BBC has regurgitated a false Tory pledge on the NHS, and claimed allegations of sexual harassment against Boris Johnson are about his “private life”. We don’t pay our licence fee for the BBC to act as No. 10’s press office”.
- Laura Kuenssberg-BBC political editor, (after Johnson’s confrontation in hospital), Sept. 2019, “Turns out the man who challenged the PM is also a Labour activist.”
- Henry Mance-the Chief Feature Writer for the Financial Times (after Johnson’s first PMQs), Sept. 2019, “Funny old world – nearly everyone who watched PMQs live thought Boris Johnson was disastrous, but watching the BBC’s 10 o’clock news, you would think he’d won it.”
- Labour Party (after Panorama on anti-Semitism), July 2019, “The Panorama programme was not a fair or balanced investigation. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.”
- Gina Miller-Investment manager; founder of endthechaos.co.uk, May 2019 “In general, I think people in government and positions of political power get challenged less, while experts are being devalued. That’s really hampering the debate and the quality of what’s being produced by the corporation.”
- The Independent (after publication of a report by Media Reform Coalition), July 2016, “BBC journalists used language deemed by the researchers to “emphasise hostility, intransigence and extreme positions” more frequently in these programmes, such as the words “hostile” and “hard core”…In addition, almost twice as much unchallenged airtime was given to people criticising Mr Corbyn than his allies on the BBC, the report found.”
- Sir Michael Lyons-Former Chairman of the BBC Trust, May 2016 “I don’t think I’m alone in feeling the BBC has sought to hedge its bets of late…there have been some quite extraordinary attacks on the elected leader of the Labour Party. I mean quite extraordinary – I can understand why people are worried about some of the most senior editorial voices having lost their impartiality on this…The BBC may have bowed to political pressure to show bias against Labour and Jeremy Corbyn”
- BBC, (Response to Laura Kuenssberg’s report in the aftermath of Paris attacks), Nov. 2015, “The BBC Trust said the BBC “was wrong in this case to present an answer Mr Corbyn had given to a question about ‘shoot to kill’ as though it were his answer to a question he had not in fact been asked”…The Trust said the Paris attacks, and how Britain might respond in a similar situation, were “major matters of considerable importance”…It also said: “The breach of due accuracy on such a highly contentious political issue meant that the output had not achieved due impartiality.””
- The Observer: “BBC news broken? And if so, how do we fix it?”
We fix it by enforcing their compliance with their own Mission statement don’t we?
Our mission is:-
“To act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain”.
The FPTP (First past the post) electoral system in the UK is designed to ensure only 2 major parties exist. If the media work day and night to obliterate one of those partys the result is a single party state reminiscent of the USSR, China or Nazi Germany, how is that acting in the public interest?
Impartial, Distinctive output, Informative, Educational? The BBC fails on all those points.
In conclusion, UK democracy was always skewed in favour of rentier owners and wealth holders. With the union bashing Thatcher government, people who had to actually work for a living are finding themselves almost the sole providers of Tax revenues while the very wealthy 0,01% trousered the big money and stashed it way out of reach of the UK Tax man.
The BBC has singularly failed to represent that vast majority of people in the UK who do not have a bank account on the Caymans, yet expect those same people to fund their operation. The Conservatives, under Cummings and Johnson have let it be known they are unhappy with the BBC, and want reform, This will not be about its Mission statement though , its to do with Johnson wanting a Netflix Subscription style service and dumping the Licence fee. Privatisation in other words.
The Express reported last week that 200,000 households no longer pay the BBC licence fee, yet this “Much loved National Treasure” seems not to understand that many of those 200k households (worth £30,000,000.), may well have quit in protest at the Right wing bias.
On a brighter note for the Beeb, Elisabeth Murdoch has said she isn’t at all interested in becoming Director General of the BBC, which, when translated into Johnson speak, probably means she starts next week.
Well done Aunty, you really screwed it up this time
Sources (in order of appearance)