23 Responses to What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  1. Rich says:

    The issue of BBC staff inserting their left wing opinion into ‘factual’ news is a legitimate criticism and very well documented but I take serious issue with some of his other points.

    ‘the US government will need to look at the BBC’?? ‘news output … will need to be addressed and confronted’??
    What are they going to do? bomb Shepherd’s Bush??

    The anti-American GOVERNMENT sentiment throughout Europe (barring a few die hard anti globalist cretins) derives from Bush’s policies rather than a sinister press campaign. The press reflects this it doesn’t create it. I don’t think it’s unreflective of the views of the British public to have a resonable amount of scepticism over the ‘war on terror’ either – depends on your definition of war and how much of the rhetoric you take at face value.

    Finally, when the US has a TV network fit to wipe the dirt off the BBC’s shoe they can take the mick out of us for having to pay the licence fee.


  2. Eamonn says:

    Yes, Rich, but they don’t pretend to be omnipotent.


  3. enloop says:

    Rich, the press is not supposed to reflect public sentiment (or, what it imagines is public sentiment). BBC earned its reputation by accurate, honest, and impartial. It is no longer accurate, honest or impartial.

    Case in point: In a report this week on the latest twist in the continuing legal activity surrounding Korean victims of the Japanest in WWII, the BBC reporter, more than once, described the Japanese legal system as “disappointing”. That sentiment was not attributed to any source, was not presented as opinion, but was presented as a simple fact. Nor did the studio presenter, Judy Swallow, challenge that assertion.

    That’s the kind of behavior that has no place in a news report.


  4. Rich says:


    I agree with what you say up to a point, as I said in my first para above. The BBC is bad at this sort of thing although in my opinion not as bad as this blog sometimes suggests – I don’t know many people who don’t turn to the website as first port of call for news despite an almost infinite number of private alternatives.

    I was taking issue with specific points in Mr Morris’ article.


  5. peter says:

    Off topic —

    I’d always chalked up the BBC’s ‘scare quotes’ as intentional nuance. Now, however, I’m beginning to believe it is equal part journalistic incompetence.

    See today’s headline that reads

    Friendly Fire ‘Killed US Marines’


    The quotes should be used to qualify a statement of fact that is either unknown, unprovable or a subjective statement.

    Here, there’s little factual doubt that the marines were killed, right? It is the friendly fire that is in question and should be qualified.

    In fact, they do write later ‘Up to 10 US marines may have been killed by friendly fire.’ I assume that they mean that they may have been killed by friendly fire, not they may have been killed.

    So, shouldn’t it read ‘Friendly Fire’ Killed US Marines?


  6. JohninLondon says:

    The BBC uses scare quotes to describe “terrorists” who have killed foreigners. If it even uses the word terrorist, rather than militant or separatist or some other weasel-word. But on today’s story about suspected terrorists arrested in Britain – the BBC used no scare quotes.



  7. Susan says:

    It is nonsense to ascribe European anti-Americanism to Bush.

    European media were sneering and gloating about 9-11 when living people were still trapped in the burning rubble.

    Bush had been in office just 8 months at the time.

    This European pretense that there was no anti-Americanism in Europe before Bush is really irritating.

    We know that your socialist-controlled media and academia have always been anti-American. The hatred that most Euros have for us is not something that just sprung up overnight within 3 years. It’s the product of a lifetime of conditioning by establishment organs precisely like the BBC.

    Why be dishonest about it?


  8. enloop says:

    Has anyone asked BBC about their policy on quotes in headlines?

    I recall being told, years ago, that quotes were required around emotion-laden and controversial terms that conveyed meanings the BBC did not stand behind, for one reason or another.

    E.g., in this headline:

    Dog Calls Cat “Raving Loon”

    the quotes would be required because the dog spoke those words and because the Beeb doesn’t know if, in fact, the cat is either looney or raving.

    In this headline:

    Dog Dies in Feline “Terror” Attack

    the word “terror’ takes quotes because the BBC has decided it will not, as an instution, call attacks like this examples of terrorism.

    I have no idea if this really represents BBC policy, or if so, if it is widely enforced or widely abused. But, it would be nice to know.


  9. JohninLondon says:


    I understand the BBC has been asked about its use of scare quotes, and has never given any plausible answer. Likewise its steadfast refusal to use the word terrorist for organisations that the EU as well as the US have deemed to be terrorist. Reuters and AP are often the same. All part of the moral-equivalence hang-up, I think.


  10. Patrick B says:

    Rich wrote:
    “when the US has a TV network fit to wipe the dirt off the BBC’s shoe they can take the mick out of us for having to pay the licence fee.”

    Well at least one doesn’t see the bizarre crap that passes for comedy (anti-Bush, anti-heterosexual being its core) and sit-coms (pro-alternate sexuality of all kinds, pro-immigration, anti-white and anti-Christian). The BBC, as well as being a leftist propaganda machine that would make Joe Goebbels proud, is also a Fifth column in the culture war that is part of the assault on western values being orchestrated by failed Marxist academics, Guardian/Independent Moonbats, and liberal self-haters.

    BTW, I live half the year in Britain, so I do have some knowledge of the matter. I also remember a time when the BBC actually was a decent broadcaster and did strive for impartiality.


  11. enloop says:

    Although I’m sure BBC doesn’t relish going public with internal editorial and style policies, I heard that bit about headline quotes from someone who then labored as a BBC newsroom editor. A lot of time has passed, so maybe their rules have changed.

    The problem, of course, isn’t quotes in headlines. It’s the use of loaded phrases like “so-called”. Any claim that such phrases are mandated to ensure impartiality is impossible to believe, given the common subtext of such phrases. BBC management cannot be so naive or simplistic to avoid understanding that these phrases tell listeners and readers that the BBC — one of the most respected and powerful media organizations in the world — is calling anyone who uses the unadorned word a liar. If they do understand what they’re doing, they must be doing it deliberately.


  12. Marc says:

    Rich, I can understand how someone might want to defend such a long standing and respected organization like the BBC. I’m not trying to plug my site here at Biased BBC but take a look at my posts on my site and others. The evidence is concrete and overwhelming – the BBC is worst biased news media I have ever found. They use every deceitful trick in the book. Spend a few days looking at some of the biased BBC sites and see if we are not correct.

    My burning question for the BBC is – Why? Why do they do it? Why?


  13. Marc says:

    Here is a good example of BBC bias. I just had a chance to read the article about John Simpson writing in the Telegraph.

    “If you watch a US foot-patrol crossing the road and holding up the chaotic traffic, you can see why. Any motorist who as much as revs up his engine is liable to be shot.”

    Pure US bashing. No evidence and no truth to it whatsoever. A cheap shot by a cheap “so-called” BBC “so-called” reporter. Man I like that “so-called” bit. I wonder if I can macro a key on my keyboard for it.

    Rich, this happens all the time; everyday and everyhour. It is relentless. The other news channels are bad as well. And papers like the Guardian are doing the same.

    I know I live in Scotland.


  14. Marc says:

    Natalie, one of my regular commentors suggested we start calling the BBC – SCBBC. For so-called BBC. What do you think?


  15. Zevilyn says:

    Perhaps John Simpson should, when criticising US troops, raise the issues of whether PC training has undermined the US Army?

    Thought not.

    It’s curious, isn’t it, how the BBC directed not a word of criticism at US feminists’ exploitation and betrayal of Jessica Lynch.

    If the term “millitant” was used to describe UK suicide bombers, the public would notice the Beeb’s bias. Hence the difference.


  16. Rich says:


    I’m not particularly defending the BBC. I think that some of the criticisms on this site and on yours are perfectly valid. In particular there’s a definite problem with (largely left wing) personal opinion or unevidenced ‘anecdotes’ creeping into news pieces, including the Humphries article you mention above (although that was in the Telegraph so it’s probably a unique example of Telegraph left wing bias – keep it, it’ll be worth a fortune).

    I do think though that the political bias of many contributors to this page leads them to see bias where none exists – the ‘so called war on terror’ being a case in point.


  17. Rich says:

    If they’re going to treat all rhetorical flourishes by Bush, Blair, Mugabe or anyone else as gospel what’s the point of independent news outlets? Is there a war on terror? Last I looked there was a broadly linked programme of increased surveillance and tightening of laws and a military excursion into Afghanistan, but the only real ‘war’ was with Iraq – fought on the basis of non compliance with UN resolutions rather than any proven terrorist link. Taking talk of a ‘war’ on terror at face value risks lumping these things together at the risk of stifling analysis and criticism of the separate issues. Do I support most of these actions? Yes. Do I feel ‘at war’? No and I’d be pretty insulted if my national broadcaster said that I was on the basis of what sounds impressive in a speech several thousand miles away.


  18. JohninLondon says:


    It is clear as daylight that the general BBC tone is indistinguishable from the Guardian tone.

    That makes it left-leaning and anti-US biased. Using billions of the UK citizens’ money. Theesignation of the chairman and director-general ought to be sign enough that there is something wrotten with BBC news management.

    End of story.


  19. PJF says:

    There is a legitimate journalistic argument for referring to certain notions in the news in a different way to non-whimsical, undisputed or uncontroversial subjects. The so called ‘war on terror’ is a case in point. Semantically and legally it is not possible to have a war on a process; and since many believe that the Bush administration is actually engaged in a so called “oil war”, any objective journalist might be fair in treating the so called ‘war on terror’ as being ‘so called’.



  20. PJF says:


    But then any so called ‘objective journalist’ would treat other whimsical, disputed or controversial subjects equally. Thus we might see reports containing references to the so called ‘intifada’; a so called ‘spiritual leader’; the so called ‘occupied territories; or even the so called ‘Palestinians’.

    But we don’t see that at the BBC. The ‘so called’ label is applied selectively – and therein is revealed the cynical bias of the BBC newsroom.


  21. james murray says:

    Id be more impressed with ‘The American Thinker’ if its ‘experts’ werent anything but:out of the four writers/contributers,two have no academic credentials in politics,political philosophy,economics etc….of those two ‘experts’,one is a doctor,the other a lawyer.God,with a first-class history degree,Im more of an expert,and I wouldnt seriously claim that I am….


  22. PJF says:

    In response to Rich’s suggestion that the US shouldn’t mock Britons for having to pay the licence fee, you should note that the so called high quality service from the BBC is irrelevant. Occasionally, annoyed TV viewers write to their MPs complaining that the licence is poor value. The MPs sometimes challenge TV Licensing on behalf of their constituents. The response will inform them of this (the following is an actual quote from Denyse Metcalfe – Managing Director, TV Licensing)

    The legal definition of a television licence is that it is a permission to install or use television receiving equipment to receive or record television programme services. The fee is not a payment for service.”

    So there you have it. UK viewers have to pay the TV licence because to abide by the law they must have permission from the state to install and watch a TV.

    Carry on laughing.


  23. Zevilyn says:

    The “so-called Television licence”.

    I doubt we’ll see the BBC refer to their precious TV licence as “So-called”.