BBC Bias part 391

is a most amusing BBC related post on Laban Tall’s blog just now – do read it. In passing, Laban also links to another excellent Guardian bashorama by Scott Burgess on his excellent Daily Ablution blog. Bashing the Guardian might be like shooting fish in a barrel – but Scott pulls off a seemingly endless variety of witty fish skewering trick shots time after time.

Meanwhile, back at the ever reliable and carefully fact-checked BBC News Online, we are informed that the removal of the wreck of the Tricolor, which sank in the English Channel in December 2002, has been completed. According to News Online, at least for the best part of the last 12 hours since the article was last updated at 17:21 on Wednesday:

Since the accident, Dover Coastguard had been broadcasting regular warnings to passing ships alerting them to the Tricolor.

“We have been broadcasting every 40 minutes for the last 20 years, so it’s one less thing to worry about,” a Dover coastguard said.

How prescient of the coastguard!

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51 Responses to BBC Bias part 391

  1. Laban Tall says:

    could I also recommend Dumb Jon’s review of a BBC Online piece on Bob Geldof. Remember Saint Bob, saviour of Africa, scourge of government ? That was before he started talking about fathers.


  2. Henry says:

    and, somewhat off topic: well done John Howard. But don’t mention the war:


  3. Pete _ London says:

    War? What war? Oh THAT war? The war which would have been trumpeted as the reason for a Howard defeat, but which doesn’t exist since he trounced his opponent at the polls?


  4. Al says:

    Biased BBC

    I found an interesting article on the BBC’s website which continues the BBC’s trend of pro-Palestinian bias. Why should they follow a man like Arafat, who has done the cause of peace no good at all.

    Here is the most obvious bias in the article:

    “Despite being sidelined by Israel and the US and the focus for widespread Palestinian anger at the corruption of the authority he leads, Mr Arafat is the most popular Palestinian leader and the symbol of their national struggle.”


  5. David Field says:


    We are told by the BBC that there are serious concerns about his health. I think “serious concerns” should be reserved for people who haven’t deliberately blown off the limbs of children.


    This is becoming quite amusing. Whilst the bias is still as outrageous as ever, the way the programme is strcutured, I think any fair minded person is bound to contrast the sane, rational neo-cons (doesn’t mean you have to agree with them) with the mad-eyed Muslims who are trying to extinguish democracy and establish a world theocracy.

    Also amusing, Adam “Pinnochio” Curtis was reduced to trying to claim that the Soviet Union, with its thousands of ICBMs, its armies planted in numerous reluctant host countries and its funding of anti-democratic forces across the globe was never a threat to anyone!



  6. rob says:

    Hurrah, “Last Night’s BBC News” blog is back.


  7. Eamonn says:

    I watched “The power of nightmares” for about 1 minute last night. Upon mention of the word “cabal” I knew where we were heading and switched over.


  8. James says:

    I watched Power of Nightmares last night, and although it was horrible, it wasn’t as bad as last week’s. It did actually let the Neoconservatives actually complete their thoughts without editing and making them look like complete kooks (unlike last week’s). I think they are saving the vitriol for next week.

    There were a few assumptions strewn throughout, though…For instance, Soviet Union=Good, Necons in Reagan White House=Bad. Plus there was the tacit assumption that a Superpower trying to use its force for the betterment of mankind is wrong. Whether it is or not was not even explored. It was almost like a dismissal: “Look at these naive Americans, they don’t know what the real world is like…”


  9. Fausta says:

    Re: 20 years, what’s a digit among friends?


  10. Andrew Bowman says:

    Ah well Fausta, I reckon it’s meant to be 20 months – not 2 years or 20 years – the warning broadcasts started a couple of months after the ship sank, and it sank in December 2002 – about 22 months ago – so it’s a case of months vs. years, rather than one simple extraneous digit.

    It’s not a massive deal in itself – it’s a fairly obvious error spottable by anyone who can read and think – but of course that’s the curious thing – it’s such an obvious error yet no one at News Online (or even in the wider BBC it seems) has spotted and taken the trouble to get it fixed, even after nearly 30 hours. Useless slackers!


  11. Michael Gill says:

    O/T: Interesting to contrast two reports of the same story, the number of deaths in Iraq since the major conflict ended:

    One by Emma Ross, AP Medical Writer…

    One on BBC Online (not attributed)…

    Note how the AP story reports that the author, Les Roberts, was opposed to the war and wanted the story to come out before the election. The BBC’s story doesn’t.

    The AP story includes the words of someone (Richard Peto) who cautions that “it’s possible that they may have zoned in on hotspots that might not be representative of the death toll across Iraq”. Mr Peto’s remarks, or those of anyone else, who might query the methodology used by Les Roberts et al., do not get mentioned on the BBC.


  12. Eunseong Kim says:


    My name is Eunseong Kim, and I am a Ph. D student at the School of Journalism at Indiana University. I am currently working on the Ph.D dissertation, and I am emailing you to invite you to participate in my survey.

    The primary purpose of the dissertation is to examine blogging and its impact on people. Information you provide in this survey will help us understand communication behavior (media use), political attitudes, and political behaviors of bloggers and provide a useful and important material for empirical examination of blogging and its impact on people.

    Your participation in this survey is crucial to the success of this study and to understanding the effects of this new communication phenomenon. It will take approximately 20 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

    The URL of the survey site is

    Thank you for your help.


    Eunseong Kim
    Ph.D Candidate
    School of Journalism
    Indiana University-Bloomington


  13. Andrew Bowman says:

    I have emailed the above Eunsong Kim to ask him to desist from repeatedly spamming our blog comments with his messages – once would be okay (so long as we’re not being snowed under by such requests) – but so many times is getting rather tedious.


  14. Gooseman says:

    Arafat, though with many faults, is a symbol of the struggle of his people against attempts of extermination by an overwhelmingly stronger and cruel enemy.
    Amir, Plymouth (Have your say)

    Are you sure this stuff is moderated??


  15. theghostofredken says:

    Gooseman: “So expat Americans have noticed media bias. I wonder who they could mean! Two Republicans highlighted in the article against three Democrats? There’s balanced reporting for you.
    Pete, London, UK”. Hmm…I wonder who this could be?


  16. theghostofredken says:

    “So expat Americans have noticed media bias. I wonder who they could mean! Two Republicans highlighted in the article against three Democrats? There’s balanced reporting for you.
    Pete, London, UK” No, it seems they let anyone post ๐Ÿ˜‰


  17. theghostofredken says:

    That’s weird, it didn’t post the first time, and as if by magic…it’s there again. V. strange.


  18. Pete _ London says:

    Who indeed could that be, redken? What cheek, a Brit posting on a forum opened by the BBC. I have to say any surprise you may have wouldn’t have been a patch on mine at that comment appearing. The moderators must have missed the sarcasm. It seems they must from time to time let anyone post. Maybe they’re beginning to learn from here ๐Ÿ˜‰

    From the yahoo story linked to by Michael Gill above :

    “However, more than a third of the post-invasion deaths were reported in one cluster of households in the city Falluja, where fighting has been most intense recently. Because the fighting was so severe there, the numbers from that location may have exaggerated the overall picture.”

    Who’d have thunk it?


  19. theghostofredken says:

    OT: What did everyone think of Question Time last night?


  20. Pete _ London says:

    – The audience in Miami was a touch livelier than it usually is here
    – Michael Moore grows ever more fat, gross, ugly and sweaty (am I being judgmental? Absolutely)
    – Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, representing the Miami-Dade Electoral Reform Coalition and therefore supposedly neutral, is obviously a democrat
    – Sidney Blumenthal is a very sinister-looking individual. I got the shivers each time I looked at him
    – Richard Littlejohn demonstrated yet again what a reasonable, fair-minded man he is


  21. Zevilyn says:

    Lida Rodriguez-Taseff struck me as being impartial. She rightly heaped blame on the opportunism of politicians and the elite groups in the US. She was liberal-leaning, yes, but not blindly so.

    Blumenthal showed his true colours earlier this week when he declared his opposition to there being a major third party. After all, we can’t have a party that consists of the ghastly “masses”. We should of course obediently follow Blumenthal and his Intelectual New York elite.

    Moore is quite wrong to say Blair is a lap-dog. Blair’s ego is too big for that!


  22. Zevilyn says:

    In “The Power of Nightmares” Bill Clinton is portrayed as a saintly victim of the evil nasty neocons.
    Of course, Bill was a saintly President who was goodness personified!

    A much more interesting programme than “The Power of Nightmares” would be a documentary on the Left’s abandonment of the working man and woman in favour of certain minority groups, and how the Democrat party has been overrun by elitists.

    Many blue collar rural women in the US don’t vote, yet strangely the Dems and Feminists are not interested in encouraging them to vote.


  23. Sam Miller says:

    Bush did not capture Bin Laden.

    He had 3 years. 3000 reasons. 30,000,000,000 US$ (ok, even more, but lets stick with the threes here) and 3 more days to spin it.


  24. still says:

    cnn/gallup poll on cnn site:

    the same on bbc

    no mention of 23-24 Oct poll


  25. Hazel says:

    Re Questiontime,

    Pete, re “sinister-looking” I think Sidney Blumenthal dyes his hair – that vibrant chestnut look did not seem to match the age of his face. But, come on, don’t hold vanity against a man!

    I loved the audience, seemed well balanced, so responsive to everything and much preferred the programme to the usual UK ones, dominated by a crowd of moaning leftwingers.

    And David Frum is always interesting.


  26. JohninLondon says:

    Ned Sherrin’s Radio 4 arts programme Loose Ends has been from New York this week. “Arts” ??? Much of the programme has been a sustained tirade against George Bush. With no challenge from any of the other participants.

    The BBC simply does not apply its Charter rules against bias – it is unconscious of its total skewing of politics.


  27. James says:

    I wasn’t necessarily shocked by the lack of balance on Loose Ends, but I was blown away, as well, by how relentless the Bush attacks were…

    Arguably, though, >sound of can of worms opening


  28. James says:

    Doh! One more time! Sorry.

    , would this necessarily fall under the rubric of biased reporting? It is an entertainment show and not attempting to report. The guests on the show could have whatever opinion they want about Bush. People aren’t going to tune in to find out how Loose Ends is reporting the election, or are they?


  29. Pete _ London says:


    Yep, no doubt about it, Blumenthal does dye his hair. As for men being vain, what wouldn’t I give to have something to be vain about?!

    I was thinking more about his features and the way he pouts his mouth. I’m feeling a little queasy just thinking about it now. My money is on him being into wearing nappies and being called Emily at the weekend.


  30. Susan says:

    Check out the illustration for a story about “dirty political tricks’ in the Ukraine.

    Half of the illustration is George Bush with a US flag and half is of the Ukrainian guy.

    They use Bush as an illustration of “dirty political tricks” at a time when more than 40 Republican offices have been broken into, vandalized and robbed, and in the wake of CBS’s repeated and desperate attempts to manufacture negative “news” with which to impact the election in Kerry’s favor.

    And, Of course there are no stories on BBC Online about the huge wave of vandalization of Republican offices.

    You just have to shake your head at how Orwellian the Beeb truly is.


  31. Zevilyn says:

    There are many problems in the USA which are more institutional than political.

    For example, the M-16 rifle is despised by many soldiers, yet the Pentagon and Brass don’t want to use the AK-47 because it is perceived as a weapon of terrorists. The result is that through Reagan, Clinton, and Bush Admins this substandard weapon has somehow survived.

    The same is true of the CIA and FBI; whether Bush or Kerry win, the institutional problems will remain.


  32. Zevilyn says:

    If Republicans had smashed Dem offices you’d have heard about it, it would be headline news no doubt.

    Funny though, how Nader gets far more coverage than Badnarik (Libertarian candidate), even though in terms of percentage they are not far apart.

    The Beeb has not mentioned Badnarik at all, even though his ideas represent a significant strand of American politics.


  33. Susan says:


    The Beeb online once interviewed Lyndon LaRouche as if he was actually a serious figure in US politics. They played it absolutely straight. No mention of how he thinks Prince Phillip and the Illuminati have divided up the world between them and how Bush is secretly taking orders from Buckingham Palace.

    All they cared about was that he was “anti-war.” The fact that he is completely insane — and acknowledged as such by the vast majority of Americans — did not figure into their equation at all.

    That one incident says it all about the Beeb for me. They f*cking interviewed Lyndon LaRouche — LYNDON LAROUCHE — and tried to pass him off to gullible Euros as someone who matters in US politics.


  34. JohninLondon says:


    The Loose Ends anti-Bush stuff was not just guests idly chatting. It focussed on a set-piece by the editor of Vanity Fair who is NOT an entertainer of any sort – he is a polemicist. He was selected for the programme to let him do his rant – the first item of the programme.

    And later last night the World Service carried a long interview with George Soros, allowing him to rant against Bush. The interviewer finally asked “What do you do with all your money?” and accepted the bland answer that it was going to charities. Charities ? How about $35 million or more into anti-Bush campaigns like Move-On?


  35. wally thumper IV says:

    You’re very diplomatic, Susan. Why not confront today’s eurosheep head on?

    Certainly, one big reason they hate Bush is because of the old cod and sparrowfart handed out by the BBC and fellow travellers. But there’s a ton of guilt-ridden self-loathing, too. Europeans also hate Bush for exposing them as cowards — morally, intellectually and, Brit troops excepted, militarily. The war on terror confronted them with a moral test they failed miserably, and they know it.

    Example: Sunday Observer (Guardian in a frock) today bleats, ”We want to understand why so many people are still on Bush’s side.” Well, Noam, try: leadership, courage, integrity, sincerity, vision, strength and, yes, faith.

    In Britain, all we’ve got is Westminster politicians, Pavlovian media and Brussels bureaucrats. Not a winning formula.


  36. Ted Schuerzinger says:


    Did they mention that MoveOn, the organization Soros supported to the tune of millions, is one of those wicked 527 organizations like the Swift Boat Veterans?


  37. Andrew Bowman says:

    Re. Ned Sherrin and Loose Ends – the good old BBC has censored his show in the past – an example being during the run up to the war in Iraq – they cut anti-French jokes but retained balancing anti-British jokes.

    One example of a joke that was cut from his show was the classic:

    Q. What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Baghdad?


  38. Andrew Bowman says:

    A. A salesman!

    You can read more about this censorship here via Google.


  39. Richard says:


    Barbarra Plett of the BBC cried when Yasser Arafat recently departed for Paris.

    Harry’s place recommended the link.

    How has her coverage been in the past?


  40. theghostofredken says:

    Pete _ London: “Richard Littlejohn demonstrated yet again what a reasonable, fair-minded man he is”. He was more restrained than usual but lost any credibility he might have gained by making cheep jibes at M. Moore. When he said Moore was the Lord Haw Haw of the Iraq war it was quite funny, but then Littlejohn resorted to the typical “youโ€™re not behind the troops” type nonsense that he churns out in his insipid column every week. As David Icke rightly put it to Littlejohn “If you had one brain cell it would die of loneliness”.


  41. Keano says:

    Richard Littlejohn seems to have replaced the Labour party as chief excuse provider for the worthless subhuman vermin polluting Britain. Got no qualifications, a crap job, a worse house, a pregnant thirteen year old daughter and a conviction for wife beating? It’s no longer the fault of the capitalist pigs, now it’s the fault of the asylum seekers/homosexuals/liberal police/Cherie Blair. My favourite is his continual complaints about Blair holidaying in Italy rather than Florida and therefore missing a chance to experience the wonders of America which he could then copy here. Richard – Tuscany is much nicer than Florida – end of story.


  42. Keano says:


    Europeans dislike Bush because of the hysterical abuse we receive every time we attempt to introduce a bit of complex reality into his god fearing world of simplicity – but if he’d rather expose his troops to an endless battering than acknowledge the existance of a reality between good and evil that’s fine by us. Apart from having to spank him through the WTO occasionally most Europeans will be happy to ignore the cretin for 4 years.

    Guilt-ridden self-loathing? More the mild sense of shock accompanied by amusement and superiority that you get when you see a chimp drinking its own urine at the zoo.


  43. yoy says:


    The Europeans of which you speak usually dislike Bush out of ignorance and/or hypocrisy.
    The ‘Complex Reality’ you mention is code for their gutless and spineless reactions to major world events combined with a total impotence to influence the issues other than to hurl childish abuse.
    Witness the UN and EU’s continued complex reaction to the Genocide in Sudan.

    As for the WTO. When did they ‘spank’ Bush?
    Steel tariffs stayed up for as long as Bush wanted them
    The huffing and puffing of the WTO had zero effect.

    This superior European attitude you mention seems a bit misplaced when you consider that the French themslves realised at their last election that the choice was between a gangster and a racist.


  44. yoy says:


    Was the European begging for US intervention in Yugoslavia another example of this superiority?
    Perhaps the slaughter of 7000 muslims under the noses of Dutch UN troops?

    And why is it always only a Republican President that is a ‘Cretin’?
    Did you prefer the adulterous rapist who was previously there?


  45. yoy says:

    As David Icke rightly put it to Littlejohn …

    From the man who thinks the Royal family are lizards from out of space

    Yeh Littlejohn condider yourself put in your place


  46. wally thumper IV says:

    Keano: Folks who speak grandly of “a reality” wouldn’t know if it bit them on the ass.

    Tuscany? Overpriced and overrun with British liberals, mainly smug Hampstead thinkers who never liberated anything apart from home equity.

    Urine? Chimps are chimps, much as Indian prime ministers are Indian prime ministers. Remember Shastri? No, of course you don’t.

    WTO spanking? See urine. Ritual acts of self-abasement are a hallmark of the euroloser. Get help.


  47. Keano says:

    Won’t bump into you on hols next year then Wals. Have fun at Disney World.


  48. theghostofredken says:

    “From the man who thinks the Royal family are lizards from out of space” From one nutter to another, may I tentatively suggest…

    “Tuscany? Overpriced and overrun with British liberals, mainly smug Hampstead thinkers who never liberated anything apart from home equity.” Again – it’s still better than Florida.


  49. Andrew Bowman says:

    Well TGORK, that’s very dismissive and general – the choice of Tuscany or Florida depends very much on what one seeks of a holiday destination – which may be very different from one year to another for any one person. I’m q


  50. Andrew Bowman says:

    ./cont. quite sure it’s possible to have a great holiday in both places – but unless you can claim to speak for everyone *and* can claim to have visited and compared all of the potential holiday locations in those two large places it appears that you’re letting snobbery overcome reason!

    Without wishing to get too personal, do you think the phrase ‘smug Guardian reader’ would be a fair description of your attitude on this issue? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Or do you think that it might just be possible to have great and interesting holidays in both of these places?