BBBC reader, Andrew, fisks BBC coverage of all things Green

Via email: BBBC reader, Andrew, fisks BBC coverage of all things Green.

Monday (17MAY04) evening’s BBC Ten O’Clock News covered the launch of the Green Party’s European election campaign. The presenter, Huw Edwards, mentions the Green Party’s ‘alternative’ policies on the environment, transport and energy, and states that “Greens said people would also be drawn by their opposition to the war in Iraq”.

We then cut to a filmed item by Sue Littlemore, Political Correspondent. Starting off with a bus that “runs on recycled chip fat… But they’re not just talking about the environment. Top of the agenda”, according to Littlemore, is Iraq. Cut to Caroline Lucas, Green Party Principal Speaker: “illegal war on Iraq”, “not only wrong, but utterly counter-productive”etc.

Littlemore then continues “The Greens no longer want to be seen as a single issue party. They emphasize they have policies across the board”. She then mentions the Greens have “unveiled a new slogan, ‘Real progress’. So, what does that mean?” she asks. Cut to Jenny Jones of the Green Party: “Real progress would be to have a public transport system where people wouldn’t actually have to use their cars unless they really needed to. Real progress would mean having our economy based around the needs of everybody in the economy and just not the few richest people”. (So that means precisely what, Jenny? asks everyone except the inquisitive Littlemore).

Littlemore then wraps up the piece with “The Green ambition is to return six MEPs. They’ve got two now, but the total number of British MEPs has been cut, so that will make their goal much harder to achieve. The Greens are campaigning on issues like pollution and transport, and having opposed the Iraq war before, during and after they’re clearly determined to target the anti-war vote”(as are the BBC, it seems). (Those plucky old Greens – let’s massage our expectations a little, shall we?)

There are a number of questions that a BBC-taxpayer might legitimately ask about this soft and fluffy coverage of a left of centre political party – those nice, cuddly Greens – but readers of this blog won’t be surprised at the BBC’s softball, easy on the eye coverage of the Greens rather than the sort of probing inquisition that they deserve (along with all others who seek political power).

No, the real question here, in a story about the European elections, a story about the range and breadth of Green Party policies, is why, on a major news bulletin, the BBC reporter omits to mention a significant Green Party Europe policy – their opposition to Britain joining the Euro!

You might respond that this is only a small policy, not really noteworthy. However, other news sources covering the same story, the launch of the Green’s Euro-election campaign, do manage to cover it properly and fully. Take for instance, this BBC News Online story – the third section is headed ‘Anti euro‘, and includes the following “[The Green Party] is campaigning on a platform of opposing the euro, which Dr Lucas says is a ‘fundamentally anti-democratic project’. She says it takes power away from national governments and gives it to the European Central Bank. Dr Lucas is also opposed to the EU constitution, although the issue has yet to be debated by the party as a whole”.

So what’s with the Ten O’Clock News’ lame coverage of the Greens and their European policies? Conspiracy, cock-up or just lazy incompetence? Whatever it is, it’s disgraceful that we have to buy this stuff whether we want to or not.

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17 Responses to BBBC reader, Andrew, fisks BBC coverage of all things Green

  1. Sandy P. says:

    And just what are the “needs” of everybody and who decides what my “needs” are?

    Pardon me for questioning, but didn’t the Commies try this in Russia, are trying this in China, NorK, Cuba, Venzuela and parts of Africa?


  2. Alan says:

    “Conspiracy, cock-up or just lazy incompetence?”

    If questioned, the BBC would probably argue that Europe isn’t prominent in the news at the moment while Iraq is – and the Green’s opposition to the war is a more interesing angle to the story. They would probably also argue that they did not produce a factually incorrect news report – which is true – but the ommission of the Green’s opposition to the Euro is either soft “unthinking” bias at the least or a deliberate editorial decision which is deplorable.

    Either way, this is shoddy news reporting


  3. PJF says:

    Off Topic:

    The BBC finds another way to talk about the savage murder (without mentioning murder) of Nick Berg:

    – they use it to publicise an anti-war demo this coming weekend.

    No mention of the fact that Nick Berg supported the war. No mention that Nick Berg’s father has already stated his son being a Jew was a probably a key factor motivating his Islamist murderers. No mention that Nick Berg was murdered before the media launched its blitz on the prisoner abuse story. Rather than present these pertinent points that might offer some balance to this ‘story’, the corporation merely takes the opportunity to publicise another, unrelated, anti-war demo.

    Classic BBC.


  4. rob says:

    BBC1 News is again describing the industial action by firemen as a “work to rule”
    What rule will there be in their contract of employment which allows them to undertake only a part of their duties?
    certainly ain’t the sanity clause.


  5. JohninLondon says:


    As you say, the BBC have effectively buried the Nick Berg story. To the extent that they ever covered it, they failed to show anything like the full horror, they omitted key details including his Jewish background, they failed to show that he was killed BEFORE the release of prison photos, and they have failed to give any proper translation of what his killer was saying – a call to jihad worldwide.

    Because American = bad in the BBC worldview.


  6. DumbJon says:


    At least we now know what it takes for the Beeb to run a story without the notorious quote marks in the headline. Check out this one –

    Headline is ‘US denies bombing wedding party’. So, it only appears to be Nick Berg’s head, but there’s no question that what got bombed was a wedding party. Given that even the story itself notes claims that the happy couple had in their possession ‘a large amount of money, Syrian passports and satellite communications equipment’, you can’t help but suspect the Beeb of wishful thinking here [‘hey, we’ve got an atrocity quota to fill’].


  7. don says:

    In the report linked by DumbJon
    “The BBC’s Nick Childs in Washington says that right or wrong, those reports could be hugely damaging to the US-led coalition.”
    How true – right or wrong its wrong


  8. Susan says:

    Yes, indeed. How come it’s not a “wedding party”?


  9. Ted Schuerzinger says:


    I would have thought the BBC would put ‘denies’ in sneer quotes. šŸ™‚


  10. Eamonn says:

    Am I the only one distinctly underwhelmed by the new photos from Abu Ghraib on the BBC website? Someone making silly faces by a dead body hardly constitutes a war crime. I would hazard a guess that a clandestine visit to an undertakers in this country would reveal similar distasteful practices here and there.
    The earlier photos were shocking and dreadful, but there is something suspect in the way the BBC tries to squeeze as much political capital out of these new photos as possible.


  11. Rob Read says:

    DumbJon ‘a large amount of money, Syrian passports and satellite communications equipment’ could be wedding presents?

    Of course the alternative is that the BBC is institutionally biased and only presents one side of any story, but we all know the charter prevents that. Otherwise it would be totally immoral to threaten people with jail for not paying for propaganda.


  12. Douglas says:

    A New York Post opinion piece about BBC coverage of the falluja battles:

    “During the initial fighting in Fallujah, I tuned in al-Jazeera and the BBC. At the same time, I was getting insider reports from the battlefield, from a U.S. military source on the scene and through Kurdish intelligence. I saw two different battles.

    The media weren’t reporting. They were taking sides. With our enemies. And our enemies won. Because, under media assault, we lost our will to fight on.”


  13. Susan says:

    I just clicked on a “breaking news” banner entitled “2 held for Qyestioning in Nicholas Berg Killing.”

    I got routed instead to the latest Iraqi prison abuse story, number 765th in a series.

    Simply a sign of BBC incompetence? Or is something more sinister happening here?


  14. WJ Phillips says:

    Oh, definitely something more sinister, darling. Nobody ever makes mistakes except on purpose. That’s Rule One of Tinfoil Hat Media Analysis.


  15. Andrew Bowman says:

    Ah, WJ Phillips, Susan may tend towards the conspiracy theory of events rather than the cock-up theory, however, if I may offer you some sage advice I found on the web:

    “imputing mental deficiency to one’s critics is no substitute for a reasoned rebuttal.” – so says one WJ Phillips here, who goes on to say:

    “So it is with sorrow that I must bring to your notice the ad hominem gibes of a regular contributor to this website”.

    Could the pair of you by any chance be related?

    If so, does the apparent disparity of approach suggest that you are, horror of horrors, at least to all lovers of ‘honest’ politics (of both left and right persuasion), a, dare I say it, a Liberal Democrat? šŸ™‚


  16. Andrew Bowman says:

    Missing in action

    Or should that be ‘missing inaction’? šŸ™‚

    Whatever, I’m most disappointed that the usual suspects (‘The Insider’, THFC, Mr. Tea, Hannah B. etc.) haven’t seen fit to defend ‘The Ten’ or otherwise criticise my piece here about The Ten’s egregious omission from their coverage of the Greens European election campaign launch.

    Come on guys – it’s been up for the best part of the week – and not a whimper.

    Are you all on holiday? Or is it that you agree that this is an indefensible example of the sort of ‘institutional bias’ that many here perceive?


  17. THFC says:


    Been on holiday in Italy and on business in the States.

    Can’t really take issue with the story, as I always admit the BBC is prone to floppy PC enviro-crap at times.

    Suffering what passes for broadcasting in the aforementioned countries does however drive home just how lucky we are to have the world’s highest quality broadcaster in good old Britain. Well worth a hundred odd quid of anybody’s money.