Liz Pike, BBC News 24, 2.21pm today:

“Well for those of you wanting more news on the weather, I’m sorry, but for obvious reasons we need to spend more time on the George Best story. Police in Cornwall have set up a Gold Control, and for those of you like me who didn’t know what that was, it’s a special incident control room…”

Oh dear. The passing of George Best is noteworthy, but the reality of Hundreds stuck on snow-hit moor is surely pretty urgent here and now for anyone travelling in the south-west, particularly with the evening commute fast approaching! While we’re at it, surely anyone who’s watched rolling-news coverage of any major police operation or the BBC’s own documentaries would have heard the phrase ‘Gold Control’ before, let alone a professional BBC journalist.

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54 Responses to Liz Pike, BBC News 24, 2.21pm today:

  1. Mark Holland says:

    Not strictly bias this though is it.

    Does anyone really need to spend more time with the George Best story? Every time I glanced up at Sky News at the gym this afternoon it was something or about other about George Best. It’s hardly news is it?

    So go on, tell us, what is Gold Control?


  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Mark, I didn’t say it was bias! Although this blog is called Biased BBC we cover a variety of BBC related topics, whatever interests us really – bias, criticism, sometimes praise even. Occasionally we stray away from the BBC to other UK media matters. Still, if you’re unhappy with this we’ll refund your money in full! 🙂

    Re. Gold Control, I’ve added to Liz’s quote for the benefit of those, like Liz, who haven’t watched too much news and current affairs!


  3. JH says:


    I agree with the point you’re making – The treatement of the George Best typifies lazy journalism – A celeb dies so straight to the cuttings libraries and the sentimental vox pop – As we pay for the Beeb whether we watch it or not we should be able to criticise it when it is being lazy and pursuing soft option news stories.


  4. Peter John Bolton says:

    But George Best was quite simply the most sublime footballer of his, or any age and I am a fully paid up memer of ABU!
    The BBC has got it right on this one.


  5. JH says:

    PJB – Even as a Manchester City supporter I agree with you with regard to Bestie’s place in the football pantheon, but even so we knew it was coming and the pre-obituaries are already in the papers and have been all over the airwaves. I still think they are kicking the arse out of it because its the least line of resistance.

    I once saw Colin Bell play him off the park though…..


  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Peter, I agree with you about Best’s skills (and his humour, I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered), and am looking forward to seeing any documentary tribute programmes that the BBC or others produce, but we’ve had saturation coverage from outside his hospital for the last few days and, today, the near exclusion of all else on News 24 and Sky News.

    Life for the rest of us goes on though! People who’re contemplating travelling in the south-west this evening need to know what to expect, the identities of the suspected killers of PC Beshenivsky need to be circulated far and wide and so on.

    Can’t we compromise on devoting half of the available news coverage to George Best, instead of all of it?


  7. BC10 says:

    ot but

    Arafat report ‘broke BBC rules’


  8. Rob Read says:

    Anyone with a nice large computer monitor and is thinking about dumping their TV and skipping the TV-Tax might like to get one of these…

    You can also do your own recording. I gather it works like SKY+.


  9. Teddy Bear says:

    Good Link BC10 The BBC governors have upheld part of a complaint against a journalist who said she “started to cry” as a dying Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004.
    Her comments “breached the requirements of due impartiality”, they ruled.

    Barbara Plett was initially cleared by the head of editorial complaints over the From Our Own Correspondent report on Radio 4 but a listener appealed.

    But I wonder why they bury this piece in their ‘Entertainment’ section. Maybe their hoping no self respecting militant Muslim will notice it there.


  10. venichka says:

    they need to sub-partition their so-called “entertainment” section: serious and worthy cultural stuff gets lumped in there (just as it does, in, eg London Borough of Camden public libraries) . It’s so dumbing down…

    But you’re right, that report – – absolutely does not belong there. (Unless Barbara Plett was trying to be some kind of stand-up comic. Cue tasteless jokes about Arafat’s noddy outfit) Probably it wouldn’t be inappropriate to file it in the Middle East section. Odd.


  11. Rick says:

    Now help me here….Orla Guerin is from RTE……………Barbara Plett is Canadian but spent a lot of time as a freelancer in Egypt before joining the BBC to cover Israel…………Claire Bolderson has a degree in Chinese and is married to a Chinese “rock star”……….


  12. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    I think its Carrie Gracie thats married to the Chinese Rock Star.


  13. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    Unless of course theres more than one………………..


  14. Teddy Bear says:

    [Deleted – completely inappropriate]


  15. simon says:

    Usually coy about how it describes criminals, BBC Ceefax tells us of the ‘cheats’ who use all sorts of silly excuses to explain not having a TV licence.


  16. Rick says:

    I think its Carrie Gracie thats married to the Chinese Rock Star.
    Socialism is Necrotizing | 25.11.05 – 7:07 pm | #

    You are of course right !


  17. Teddy Bear says:

    Re the BBC governors finding their rules were broken when Plett ‘cried’ at Arafat’s departure to France, steevo notes that My opinion is even tho it is a display of bias they’re willing to acknowledge, well half way, its because it can be percieved as an emotional reaction. In other words maybe folks can understand. So the Beeb have an example, almost made superficial as a result of their explanation, to prove they’re conscientious to better control feelings at certain times.
    I believe he’s spot on.


  18. Paulc says:

    What you see in action is the first law of news.

    “News is what gets Published”
    (everything else is mere rumour)

    ‘Hundreds trapped on snow-hit moor’
    is rumour. (notice the substitution of the word ‘trapped’ for ‘stuck’- a little injection of emotion there)

    Please remember that at the BBC, the news is what they say it is.


  19. JohnOfBorg says:

    OT: possible warning about Rob’s Dabs link.

    Rob Read:

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Freecom DVB stick. I’ve been considering getting something like that since I began my TVL resistance (over 3 weeks now!).

    I’d feel happier getting it on Ebay however because, as I understand it, vendors are obliged by TVL to report the address of anyone to whom they have sold an item of TV reception equipment (TV or otherwise).

    It seems there are plenty available, and they are cheaper too!

    PS I’ve changed my nickname in consideration of the remarks above – I felt uneasy about how much it gave away. I think there is a realistic possibility that TVL resistance will reach a critical mass within the next 7 years as more and more people realise that the BBC is not their friend, but the BBC will not go down without a fight. Their bullying antics (via Capita/TVL) will become less and less restrained as resistance grows.

    TVL – Just Say No.


  20. Ritter says:

    Grab yourself a cup of tea and read the other 98% of complaints against BBCs coverage of Israel/Palestinian conflict….

    None upheld, with the exception of the Plett greet.

    Complaints – Appeals to BBC Board of Govenors

    Click to access apps_julsep2005.pdf


  21. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    Biased BBC website used as a backdrop in internet report on NEWSNIGHT.

    start from 15.00 mins


  22. mrdgriff says:

    Dare I say it? Mr G Best was apparently alcoholic, the donated kidney he wasted could be used by someone who takes better care of themselves. Heaven help us when Mr D Beckham shuffles off this mortal coil. What’s he going to get, a state funeral?. This glorification of working class heroes ( remember Mr J Peel ) appears typical of the new establishment that ignores true royalty ( except when it wants to denigrate them ) and puts the uneducated on a pedestal as worthy of praise. By the way, where is the coverage of The Queen on her foreign tour. Niger is trailed again, is it me or is it always graphic shots of starving children that get shown ( has some advertising guru told the aid agencies that is what opens the wallets?).The News is not really the un-biased news we are entitled to from an independent BBC, it is just like a national newspaper which has its own editorial staff who choose to lead with their chosen story. At least when we buy the papers we know what to expect by the title, left centre, right wing but at the BBC can someone tell me who the News Editor is?


  23. mrdgriff says:

    Oh and what about the Bodmin Moor motorists stuck in a tail back, more correctly on the A39. At what junction does the tail back start and end? What exactly was the cause? Apparently it was an accident (somewhere). Any clues about the original accident? Any advice on how to divert or avoid the snarl up? Any phone No. given so that worried relatives could contact ‘Gold Control’? What local radio station to tune into for the latest updates?. I expect the Bodmin Moor Police have not opened a ‘Gold Control’ since they were formed so they like to boast about it when the opportunity arises.


  24. Lurker says:

    John Peel was of course solidly middle class. Working class – never!


    Heard R4 tonight (Friday), David Cannadine on A Point of View (again and again every week it seems). You can read the transcript here:

    The bit that got me was this about British born Australian folk hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick:

    “He worked in the merchant navy and went to Australia in 1910 but he got there by deserting his ship, which means that in today’s jargon, he was an illegal immigrant


    Call yourself a historian?

    He was a Briton from one British territory choosing to settle in another British territory. The illegal part was deserting his ship.

    Any Briton arriving in Australia was still British, if they then chose to be seen as Australian or British was up to them. Just as as any Aussie arriving in Britain would be British. The only barrier to entry being the cost and logistics of the journey.

    What a tosser.


  25. Mark Holland says:

    OT but snow related.

    I grew up about 7 miles from one end of where these cars are stranded. My mum and dad have had six inches of snow which is incredible for Britain especially Cornwall. I’ve never seen more than a few inches of so at least. Dad couldn’t go to work as it’s impossibile to get out of the vilage.


  26. Anonymous says:

    Very OT but snow related.
    “My mum and dad have had six inches of snow which is incredible for Britain especially Cornwall”
    There is something very worrying when an interlude of what is perfectly normal weather for a country as far north as the UK produces this result. Somewhere lurking in the BBC archives is news footage of Bodmin Moor under six FEET of snow which wasn’t an irregular occurance until the latter part of the last century. Whilst George Best was enjoying his heyday a mere six inches would have been regarded as a mild inconvenience to the rural Triumph Herald driver bereft of four-wheel drive, traction control, ABS or even a decent heater.
    Somewhere I think that the BBC promoted nanny state, enviroweeny, responsibility avoiding propaganda has much to do with it.


  27. Bryan says:

    I skimmed through most of the complaints appeals to the Board of Governors linked to by Ritter above.

    There was only one appeal from the Palestinian side by someone who, incredibly, saw bias in a discussion on Abbas involving James Reynolds. The Board didn’t uphold the complaint, but dealt with it at length, devoting 4 pages to it while most other complaints were dismissed in a page or less. That alone speaks volumes (forgive the pun) about the supportive and protective attitude of the BBC towards the Palestinians.

    The Board also dismissed the complaint over that vile programme ‘Empire Warriors’ on the Irgun attack on the King David Hotel which contained typically twisted BBC assertions such as, “The birthplace of modern terrorism lies in Jerusalem.”

    It defended the BBC’s use of the word “terrorism” in this instance by pointing out that it had been regarded as an act of terrorism at the time and quoting the use of the word by the Board of Deputies of British Jews in referring to the incident. How convenient for the BBC.

    The Board also dismissed the appeal of a complainant who pointed out that Alan Johnston used the term “militants” to refer to Hamas members while “terrorists” was used to refer, in the same bulletin, to those involved in the Beslan killings. The Board slithered out of that one like this:

    “The committee has prevously explained its policy on the use of words such as “terrorism”, “terrorist” and “militant”. The BBC uses the first two terms sparingly because of their controversial nature. The committeee noted that it was the act in Beslan that was described in the same bulletin as “terrorism” – the people who perpetrated the act were described as “militants”. This then was the same usage as applied to the “militants” of Hamas in this case. The committee concluded that this usage therefore was not inappropriate.”

    Great. So Beslan was an act of terrorism carried out by militants who only became terrorists in the act and would no doubt have reverted to mere militancy had they survived. The governors obviously take the complainant, and anyone else reading this nonsense, for an idiot. So now I suppose we can look forward to the use of the word “terrorism” being applied sparingly to acts of Hamas. I wont hold my breath.

    I also don’t hold out much hope of the BBC-appointed panel on the Israeli-Palestinian Impartiality Review coming to any significant findings on BBC bias.


  28. Mark Holland says:

    Yea, people today, don’t know they’re born. Of course back in George Best’s day your rural Triumph Herald driver would be unlikely to be stranded in traffic chaos because he was the traffic. He probably studiously took his AA book’s advice, put his tyre chains on and loaded up with a bootful of kitchen nut before setting off, useful for added traction and a roaring fine if needs be.


  29. Bill says:

    Strange weather and the Beeb aren’t blaming global warming…


  30. Rick says:

    Strange weather and the Beeb aren’t blaming global warming…
    Bill | Homepage | 26.11.05 – 4:16 pm | #

    Germans got 0.5 metres and 250.000 without electricity in Munsterland, so it is obviously those windmills that are cooling the air so much it is freezing and precipitating.

    I think windmills are cooling the atmosphere in Europe and could lead to a new ice age – now I need research funds and a few newspaper articles to prove my theory


  31. JFP says:

    Mark wrote, “Does anyone really need to spend more time with the George Best story?” Absolutely. They are called Americans. Here in America there is virtually nothing on it, which is so typical. In particular, leftists need to have their nose rubbed in this story as much as possible, just so they start understanding that they know virtually nothing about what is going on in the rest of the world and have been utterly prejudiced against foreign sports. It won’t happen, though.


  32. Big Mouth says:

    Hey Teddy Bear; the reason al-beeb buries stuff about Crybaby Plett or anything else that is not to their liking is the same reason they bury news portraying Israel in a favourable or sympathetic light–hatred for democracy and justice. The following is a precis of the terrorism over just the past 24 hours:
    A bomb was hurled at an IDF force north of Kabatia…A Hamas terrorist was taken into custody southwest of Hevron…Two Palestinian Authority (PA) residents attempting to smuggle ammunition were apprehended at the IDF’s Hawarah Checkpoint…Two Arabs armed with knives were taken into custody in proximity to the Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat HaMachpela)…Two firebombs were hurled at Israeli motorists traveling on the Gush Etzion-Hevron Road in the el-Hader area…Two Hamas terrorists were apprehended in el-Fuar south of Hevron…Two firebombs were hurled at Israeli motorists between Nili and Naale in Samaria…Terrorists fired at an IDF border patrol north of Kissufim, the border between Gaza and pre-1967 Green Line Israel…Four PA infiltrators attempting to enter into Green Line Israel were apprehended at Gaza’s Erez Crossing.


  33. Rick says:

    Why do you get so worked up against the BBC – just put it down to a Black Propaganda unit – we ran one from Cyprus in 1956 with similar output to the BBC now.

    I mean didn’t the BBC recruit all these Arab journalists for an BBC-Arab TV station then cut them loose to form Al-Jazeera ?


  34. Teddy Bear says:

    BM – For the BBC, that is a normal ‘high spirited’ Saturday night out for the Palestinians.

    [Deleted – TB, moderate your tone – 2nd time in as many days]


  35. Teddy Bear says:

    Exactly what is the problem???


  36. Andrew says:

    The two deleted items were not appropriate for this comments facility. The insolent tone of your enquiry suggests that this possibility is not something you have considered. Please be more considerate in future – coomenting here is a privilege, not a right.

    As it is, we are close to the point at which pre-moderation of comments may be introduced. This would be an unwelcome development, but so long as a small number of people post unsuitable comments, links or rants (especially off-topic rants) or (ab)use the place for extended chit-chat that possibility remains.

    I note that Biased BBC is not the only TV protest site where you’ve been warned this week about comments.


  37. Teddy Bear says:

    Andrew, you’ve been on my back for the last few days. First criticising my manner of inserting sentences in italics to show quotes from others, to make my answer intelligible; adding that it wasn’t necessary to post their whole answer , when I didn’t, just the relevant parts of what they had written that I was replying to. Much like you do on the main screen, except I don’t have the facility of ‘quote tabs’ as you do.

    Second you should get your facts straight. If you are referring to the TVL forum, then you have NOT understood the nature of the matter you’re referring to. I was not ‘warned’ about anything, it was the way the moderator tried to cover up his original mistake that was the problem. It ended by my receiving a FULL apology both publicly and privately: Here’s the public one moderator
    Joined: 09 May 2005
    Posts: 28
    Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:50 pm Post subject:
    I too agree.
    I also wish to say I am sorry for the errors I have made in this chain of events for which the lessons should not be forgotten.

    There are no grudges and disputes left open. No user needs to feel any on-going shame if we are all agreed that we have an important task to do together on this site with one distinctly corrupt common foe: the BBC.
    I hope this closes this matter.

    Again, subject to everyone’s consent, I propose to delete this topic on 29/11/2005 or 7 days after the last post.

    Thank you all.

    I can feel from the tone of your reply above that you are chomping at the bit to also enforce your authority and remind us again that it is a privelege and not a right to post here. The only thing is Andrew, I for one don’t need you reminding me of it. I’m intelligent enough to know that for myself, and while I don’t know what’s really behind your attack, I believe I’m a valid contributor to this site. You have taken a very offensive line in response to my questioning why you have deleted part of my post above, accusing me of being insolent. You could have dealt with the matter initially by sending me an e-mail, but you chose to ‘chastise’ me publicly. So whatever bug you have about me that’s caused this friction, either put it out in the open or deal with it yourself.

    I really don’t see what you are reacting to that’s caused you to delete part of my post. To the other one, its a matter of humour, not Dr. WHOmour. It’s a matter of taste.

    This one above was in a way relevant, since the BBC will probably also find the British public to blame for events leading up to the murder of a PC by Muslims.

    If you’re going to keep pricking me, then expect a response. The reason you see the question above as insolent, is because you are expecting it.


  38. Andrew says:

    The insolence is in your tone – e.g. ‘Exactly’ and ‘???’, rather than simply ‘What’s the problem?’ – all rather confirmed by the manner of your subsequent reply.

    Biased BBC isn’t a board for your idea of humour, or for general rubbishing of entire cities apropos of nothing in particular. It’s not wanted, it’s not welcome – do it in your own space.

    Stick to serious, sensible, preferably on-topic points and you’ll have no trouble from me. Treat the place like your personal forum and you will.

    As for my comment about spacing/punctuation, take that as well intended – screeds of stuff with no blank lines between quoted chunks and commentary is difficult to follow.

    Re. the TVL forum, there appears to have been a bit of a kerfuffle of which you were a part. I won’t quote the moderator there, but he didn’t appear at all impressed with your use of that board.

    Don’t think it’s just you though – there are others out there who need to take more care too – comments here, though nothing to do with the Biased BBC team, can be taken to reflect upon us all.


  39. Teddy Bear says:

    The insolence is in your tone – e.g. ‘Exactly’ and ‘???’, rather than simply ‘What’s the problem?’ – all rather confirmed by the manner of your subsequent reply.

    In your opinion.
    I won’t deny that I’m peeved at being picked on unfairly by you – in my opinion. I still disagree with your deletion of part of my post as I don’t feel you took the time to understand it.
    Much like you didn’t take the time to understand what was exchanged at the TVL forum. The moderator made accusations that proved false. He later apologised. FYI I had a personal e-mail from Jonathan Miller who acknowledged my focus on BBC resistance.
    You owe me an apology. Otherwise you are treating an accusation as guilt, which makes you wrong.

    As for my comment about spacing/punctuation, take that as well intended
    Since there is no specific way we have to post here, everyone uses what works for them. I don’t mind advice, but I feel singled out. You could put an example on the main board for everybody to follow if you feel so strongly about it. Otherwise you could have sent me a private mail if my manner of posting was so difiicult for you to follow. Personally I find it easier to follow a thread where the quote is italicised, and the reply is not, than quotation marks. But I accept it might be easier to leave a space, and I don’t have a problem with it.

    Biased BBC isn’t a board for your idea of humour, or for general rubbishing of entire cities apropos of nothing in particular.

    Rubbishing of entire cities????
    What on earth are you talking about?


  40. Andrew says:

    I have said all I have time to say for now – life really is too short to argue with you. I have a family, a business and a blog that merit my attention far more.

    I have legitimate concerns about your recent comments. Stick to serious, sensible, preferably on-topic points and you’ll have no trouble.

    Don’t argue further – this discussion is finished. Like it or lump it, your choice.


  41. Lurker says:

    Re TB & Andrew


    My head!


  42. The Big Cod says:

    Not strictly bias this though is it.

    Actually, I’d be more interested if this site looked at this kind of bias (biased towards celeb culture over stories that affect real people) as well as the usual.

    surely anyone who’s watched rolling-news coverage of any major police operation or the BBC’s own documentaries would have heard the phrase ‘Gold Control’ before, let alone a professional BBC journalist.

    But isn’t this just a normal and harmless presenter’s device: “now, you work for the Privy Council. what exactly do they do?”


  43. the_camp_commandant says:

    George Best was famous 40 years ago for being briefly good at a game that is not especially skilful.

    Big deal.


  44. rb says:

    I don’t think George Best is anywhere near being the best footballer ever, contrary to some of the wilder obituaries, however he has a good claim to be the best British player ever.

    As participation rates for football far, far exceed those of any other sport that makes him the best British sportsman of all time in my book, and one of the things that the BBC and we as a country should be doing is celebrating the lives of Great British geniouses – it’s hardly a Proncess Di style completely unwarranted hysteria.

    btw – I’m dying to know which sports are more ‘especially skillful’ than football??!!


  45. Rob Read says:



  46. rb says:

    Good point.

    Edit 1:52pm

    ‘that makes him the second best British sportsman of all time in my book, after Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor’


  47. Kulibar Tree says:

    The greatest footballer ever – and so, by definition, the greatest Northern Ireland player – was Danny Blanchflower, whom some of still worship as a god. He didn’t die, but merely sleeps under White Hart Lane until his team and country need him again


  48. rb says:

    Mighty Spurs players were also excluded from my original point to give the others a chance.

    Incidentally, as this is a media bias site can I just say that by far the worst media bias in the UK can be found in the sports pages of the Evening Standard, where irrespective of performance every Spurs move is denigrated whilst Ar*enal are cheered to the rafters. It makes the BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail look like paragons of balanced reporting. (btw I know that in theory one has a choice as to whether to purchase the Standard, but in practice if you’re a London commuter it’s nigh on compulsary).


  49. the_camp_commandant says:

    Almost anything is more skilful than soccer. Darts certainly, snooker certainly, boxing by a long way, tennis, badminton…

    In theory soccer could be skilful but in practice soccer players are anything but.

    – It comes as a surprise to many soccer players that the game lasts for 90 minutes. As a result many are exhausted before it ends, owing to their lack of fitness.
    – You do not see marathon runners being substituted at 15 miles, but soccer players often have to be replaced before the game is over.
    – Many soccer players lack fundamental skills. When taking a penalty, a player could guarantee a score by simply aiming the ball into one of the many areas of the goal mouth the keeper cannot possibly reach – such as the top corners. Many players are not only unable to do this, they are unable even to aim the ball at the goal accurately, often missing the entire goal completely.

    I’m sure we can all think of more.


  50. Mark says:

    Never mind George Best – I’ll have to go into hibernation when Castro and Mandela pass away.

    Could you imagine the BBC to be level-headed in their commentary, especially as regards the latter ?