BBC staff travel 125 million miles a year by air

Blimey, that’s a lot. 30 million miles further than the Sun. Commenter J.G. writes :

Fed up as I was with the constant bleating about man-made global warming we get on the BBC, I thought I would find out just what they are doing to help the planet. So I put in a FOI request asking about the air miles the BBC fly, the carbon that this produces, and how the BBC offsets this. Get ready for some amazing numbers (all relate to the last reporting year):

Total UK domestic flights: 17 million miles

Total European flights: 14 million miles

Other flights: 94 million miles

Total air miles: 125 million

Total cost: £15,147,000

TOTAL CO2 EMISSIONS: 25,676,000 Kgs

TOTAL CO2 OFFSET: 0 kgs. Yes, 0 Kg.

The FOI document is here.

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:

Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

Old News

(last Wednesday’s BBC news to be exact): the announced withdrawal of 1600 of our troops and the funeral of the 101st British soldier to die in Iraq were the lead story. Via a transparently thin linkage (“One father who will be pleased at today’s news is…”), the story gave a cameo appearance to Reg Keys. I think the BBC were a little rash to run him (with so little excuse) quite so close to an item reminding us that there were 100 other possible candidates. It prompted the question, why does he get so much more value from his licence fee than the parents of the other 100? It also suggested an answer: bias. But that really is old news.

Suppressio Veri (again)

Suppressio Veri (again)

The Department for Education and Skills recently commissioned pollsters Mori to conduct eight discussion groups with members of the public in London and Manchester on recent UK educational reforms.

See if you can spot the missing information when you read the BBC and Daily Telegraphreports of the findings.

From The Comments

A couple of ‘compare and contrasts’. The discrepancies between this BBC report on Friday prayers at the Temple Mount/al-Haram al Sharif – and this Jeruslalem Post report.

BBC – Jerusalem prayers pass peacefully

Islamic prayers at Jerusalem’s holiest site ended peacefully on Friday, a week after clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

About 3,000 police were deployed around the Old City of East Jerusalem, and men under 50 were barred from entering the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif.

Jerusalem Post – Muslims clash with police after Salah speech in east J’lem

Dozens of masked Muslim youths and children clashed with security forces and reporters in east Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz on Friday afternoon, throwing rocks, blocking streets and burning garbage bins.

Police dispersed the rioters with stun grenades, tear gas and water hoses.

At least one of the rioters was wounded and three were arrested, Israel Radio reported.

The protesters had been listening to a sermon delivered by Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah at a massive protest rally north of the Old City.

During the sermon, Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to “save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation.”

He went on to say that Israel’s history was tainted with blood. “They want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one ‘General Terrorist’ to another ‘General Terrorist,'” exclaimed the Islamic Movement chief.

It’s true that the trouble was outside the Old City, so the BBC report is not untrue. It’s just our old friend suppressio veri in action. (hat-tip – Biodegradeable, who also notes the contrast between this story and this one)

He’s little known over here, but David Hicks is an Australian held in Guantanamo after being captured in Afghanistan. The Rottweiler Puppy fisks a somewhat anodyne BBC report which again features supressio veri.

Via commenter pounce, another ‘compare and contrast’.

The BBC and how the US is insensitive towards the needs of children.

Schools shun book over one word

A children’s author has said she is “horrified” after her book was banned from some US schools and libraries. Susan Patron’s award-winning The Higher Power of Lucky has run into trouble because it contains the word “scrotum”.

Patron, a librarian herself, condemned the idea of stopping families choosing reading material for themselves. “I was shocked and horrified to read that some school librarians, teachers, and media specialists are choosing not to include the 2007 Newbery Medal winner in their collections,” she wrote in Publishers Weekly.
Those people were afraid of parental objections or were uncomfortable with the word themselves, she said. “If I were a parent of a middle-grade child, I would want to make decisions about my child’s reading myself. “I’d be appalled that my school librarian had decided to take on the role of censor and deny my child access to a major award-winning book.”…ent/ 6375501.stm

The BBC and how the UK is sensitive towards the needs of children.

School bans pigs stories

A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children.

Mrs Harris said in a statement: “Recently I have been aware of an occasion where young Muslim children in class were read stories about pigs. “We try to be sensitive to the fact that for Muslims talk of pigs is offensive.”…and/ 2818809.stm

This seems to be a standard technique, albeit ‘unwitting and unconscious’. Some stories are ipso facto considered by the BBC to be ‘controversial’ – so opponents are wheeled out to give their views. The Today equivalent would be the ‘many people would argue that …’ or ‘but campaigners are saying …’. Another, ‘non-controversial’ story will beget no negative quotes.

An example – Two stories on immigration and asylum from 2003.

One – the Tory proposal that all immigrants to the UK should be screened for infectious diseases.

Two – an Industrial Society proposal that it should be made easier for asylum seekers to find work in the UK, as they are “skilled, willing and keen to work”.

Both of these stories could be seen as controversial. Pro-refugee and asylum groups would consider the first a disgraceful proposal. Organisations like Migrationwatch or journalists like Anthony Browne would take issue with the second.

But on the BBC, one story is considered so controversial that the reaction to it is played more prominently than the proposal itself. On Radio 4 the story is trailed – “the Conservatives have been defending their proposals”. On the BBC News web page there are four different reactions – all critical. I’m particularly impressed with the way Evan Harris remarks are inserted into a description of the report – as below.

Immigrants would have to pay for the tests and asylum seekers would be detained until it was clear the tests had been met, it said.

” This is an unnecessary, extremist, unethical and unworkable policy ” – Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat health spokesman

The document said more than 50% of TB in the UK now occurs in people born abroad, the majority of whom arrived in Britain within the last 10 years.

The other proposal ? Obviously entirely uncontroversial – no critical voices are present. And no mention of the fact that the report’s author, one Gill Sargeant, is a Labour councillor (in Barnet), nor that the Industrial Society, now rebranded as the Workplace Foundation, is headed up by one Will Hutton, Guardian journalist and New Labour guru.

And finally : 18 Doughty Street have a video interview with Robin Aitken, author of Can We Trust The BBC?.

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:

Please use this thread for off-topic, but preferably BBC related, comments. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments – our aim is to maintain order and clarity on the topic-specific threads. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

The long awaited and keenly anticipated book, Can we trust the BBC?

, by Robin Aitken, a well respected former BBC journalist is due out this week.

There is a long extract in today’s Mail on Sunday, What is the loneliest job in Britain? Being a Tory at the BBC, that is well worth reading. To whet your appetite here’s the introduction:

Working at the BBC can be a strange experience. On occasions during my 25 years as a journalist with the corporation it was jaw-dropping.

In 1984 I returned to BBC Scotland after covering the Tory conference in Brighton. The IRA had come close to assassinating Margaret Thatcher with a bomb and the country was in shock.

Apart, that is, from some of my BBC colleagues. “Pity they missed the bitch,” one confided to me.

For three decades I was that rare breed – a Conservative at the BBC. In my time working on programmes such as Today and Breakfast News I couldn’t have formed a cricket team from Tory sympathisers.

As one producer put it, you feel almost part of an ethnic minority.

We all know the cliched critique of the BBC: a nest of Lefties promoting a progressive agenda and political correctness.

Depressingly, that cliche is uncomfortably close to the truth: the BBC is biased,and it is a bias that seriously distorts public debate.

In the past 30 years, ‘Auntie’ has transformed from the staid upholder of the status quo to a champion of progressive causes.

In the process, the ideal at the heart of the corporation – that it should be fair-minded and non-partisan – has all but disappeared.

Do read the rest of the article. Can we trust the BBC? is available from for £9.89 plus delivery (free if you spend a bit over a fiver on something else!).

Another recent book about the BBC that is on my current stack of books is Scrap the BBC! by Richard D. North (no relation to the Richard North at the excellent EU Referendum blog). This is also available from Amazon, cost £15.95 with free delivery, though can be bought at a discount from the publisher, The Social Affairs Unit (omm-sau), for £10 plus £2.75 postage via Amazon Marketplace.

Update: Some interesting comments on the original Daily Mail story, particularly the second and third ones:

Yep, wholeheartedly agree. I don’t look at the BBC website, and avoid their news programmes like the plague.

Steve, New Zealand

My son worked at the BBC until recently – he always felt it wise to keep quiet about the fact that I am a senior Tory activist, as did the daughter of another Tory Association chairman – and neither of them worked on the front line.

Sjm, London, UK

I was a coal miner one of many that voted for Mrs. Thatcher, I never had any regrets. I agree with your take on what has happened to the BBC, it angers me so much. Ideas are more deadly than bombs and the end of this dictatorship of the left in our country will be very bad. When it comes to it these liberals have no guts when it comes to a scrap. Well done to you, this from an ordinary bloke.

Frederick Mee, Rhyl North Wales

Well done to this author. A book like this is vital in the discussion.

Lmo, Notts, England


If this was covered on B-BBC at the time, but I can’t find it. Maybe I missed it.

Wednesday 17 May – Friday 19 May 2006
In this three-part series, Vanessa Engle revisits the turbulent era when the extreme Left was a serious and significant political force that believed it could change the world for the better.

Weaving together interviews and archive footage, each film relives a different aspect of the Left in Britain in the 1970s and 80s.

Property is Theft © DA McKay 1. PROPERTY IS THEFT
BBC Two: Monday 10 July 7pm-8pm
Fascinating story of a squatted street in the 1970s, where the residents lived by the unconformist ideals of the time.

Angry Wimmin © Pam Isherwood 2. ANGRY WIMMIN
BBC Two: Monday 17 July 7pm-8pm
The rise and fall of an extreme strain of feminism, that called on women to become ‘political lesbians’.

A Lot of Balls © Maggie Murray 3. A LOT OF BALLS
BBC Two: Monday 24 July 7pm-8pm
The story of the News on Sunday, an attempt by a group from the far left to launch a left-wing, mass-market Sunday tabloid.

There was a similar Radio Four programme in 2004 on “The Revolutionaries”. At the time I pondered the likelihood of the BBC displaying its legendary balance with a matching programme about the far right.

There definitely was a far right in the 70s and 80s – I was involved in demonstrations and other activism against it in various Pennine mill towns. I think we may wait a long time before we see a series of reminiscences by grizzled National Front activists, now tenured professors or running armed compounds in Montana, on those days when “the extreme Right was a serious and significant political force“.

UPDATE – Commenter Will points out this review at the SAU :

One episode in the series, A Lot of Balls, includes a detail that is beyond parody. The programme concerns the ill-fated left-wing newspaper News on Sunday, which appeared briefly in 1987. Alan Hayling, one of the founders, is portrayed as largely blameless for paper’s demise. However, BBC4 leaves it to the final credits to point out that:

Alan Hayling is now head of documentaries for the BBC.

Tin-Foil Hats At The BBC

as they present The Conspiracy Files this week on 9/11.

The Editor’s blog has some interesting comments that the BBC have left up:

Comment 44:

Anyone who has read and absorbed “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” will know it is all part of their megalomaniacal plan to give us a one world government. They are using events like Sept 11th, July 7th in London (another government sponsored terror event) to fear us all into giving up our liberties! The sheep need to waken up and smell the coffee. The British are as bad as the US, they are run by the same group of Zionists. Blair and the cash for honours scandal? He was under growing pressure from it and BANG, a “plot” to behead a muslim soldier and an apparent pandemic of Bird Flu put that story firmly to bed. Waken up people! We had few problems with terrorists pre 9/11, now it seems the goverment on both sides of the atlantic are hell bent in creating this monster that is Islam against us when the whole concept was made up in one of their think tanks !

Apparently “Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them”. The editor being Mike Rudin.

Just One Of Those Days …

Monday’s Radio Four had something for everyone’s blood pressure. The Today Programme opened with American claims of Iranian involvement (RealAudio) in attacks on US and British troops in Iraq. The story was pitched in terms of America ‘raising the temperature’ (as it was described on the news bulletins). Web coverage continued the theme of ‘what are the Americans up to ?‘ – as Paul Reynolds says “Blaming Shia Iran for supporting Iraqi Shia militias makes it easier for the US to sell that policy (attacking Shia militias – LT) at home and abroad. Then there is the old tactic of blaming someone else for your own problems.”

This strikes me as showing the same kind of lack of perspective that we see when the slaughter of Iraqis by terrorist bombs is described purely in terms of its effect on George Bush’s domestic poll ratings. Note that the BBC don’t claim that the US information is false. It just seems to be irrelevant to the British state broadcaster that British and Allied soldiers are being killed with Iranian-supplied weapons. Hi-tech shaped charges are difficult things to knock up in a garage. Similarly the killing of soldiers with Steyr-Mannlicher sniper rifles, sold not long ago to the Iranians for fighting drug-smugglers, is off the BBC radar.

It’s half term in the UK, and children are off school (my nine-year old daughter was still in our bed reading at 10 am, with Radio Four on), so what better time for the Radio Four Woman’s Hour programme to open with a fifteen-minute discussion of sexual fantasies ?

Next week on Woman’s Hour : “How those nasty capitalist advertisers are sexualising our kids” followed by “Britain has Europe’s highest rate of sexually transmitted infections – Why ?”

And to finish the evening, the World Tonight offered a nice interview with freed Red Army Fraction terrorist Astrid Proll, during which she was asked to give her views on modern Germany, and expressed sentiments to the effect that ‘we’ve all done things we regret in our youth’.

Next week – the Shankill Butchers talk about the Northern Ireland peace process.