“Nobody even mentioned it”

via Wat Tyler, who examines the Today programme’s coverage of ITVs current woes, this little gem from ex-Beeb business editor Jeff Randall.

In its coverage of the private-equity debate, Newsnight, BBC2’s main current-affairs programme, depicted those in the industry as stand-and-deliver Dick Turpins. When I asked the editor of another leading BBC news show about impartiality and the internal reaction to Newsnight’s approach, he said: “Nobody even mentioned it.”

Sounds par for the course. It’s not a conspiracy – it’s “unwitting and unconscious”.

Slightly late (my reporting it, not the review), Tory councillor Harry Phibbs reviews the BBC’s political drama Party Animals.

What is so pitiful about this is that I think there was a genuine effort to be fair politically but the script writers just can’t get it into their heads that Conservatives have come, through a process of honest and intelligent thought, to a different conclusion about the world to themselves.

Little Bulldogs looks at the BBC’s coverage of arrest figures under anti-terror legislation and the case of the wrong photograph. And via anonanon in the comments, this glowing review of Adam ‘Power of Nightmares’ Curtis’ new BBC offering ‘The Trap‘. The review’s at Socialist Worker, the organ of that party which is so prominent in the left-of-Labour political landscape yet so strangely invisible to BBC news reporters.

UPDATE – the midnight news is again (as noted in the comments) referring to ‘the Islamic prophet (or perhaps Prophet – it’s difficult to capitalise speech) Muhammad’ rather than the usual ‘the p/Prophet Muhammad’ we’ve come to expect. And the BBC religion page on Muhammad, reported by Andrew here, has been moved and I think altered. Has anybody got the original ? Is this a move towards equality of treatment in news and factual programmes for all religions and none ?

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21 Responses to “Nobody even mentioned it”

  1. Socialism is Necrotizing says:

    The inverted logic of the BBC is not merely confined to politics



  2. The Fat Contractor says:

    The BBCs attitude to incest has always been a bit loopy. For example it is commonly implied on the BBC that incest is rife within rural communities when, in fact the hotspots for incest are mainly cities. I believe hot spot number 1 is Feltham in Greater London, as un-rural as you can get. At least this was true last time I researched this problem.

    The BBC is almost right though, it is not a racial purity issue, it is a species purity issue. The species cannot afford to allow incest to be common place – thereby lies madness – literally.


  3. The Fat Contractor says:

    And another thing …

    A comment has been added to the article giving this link. A very good example of liberal double think. Scroll down for a cogent rebuttal.


  4. Ultraviolence says:

    Ah, the old liberal chestnut – the righteous misunderstood victim and prejudice.


  5. Anonymous says:

    And the BBC religion page on Muhammad, reported by Andrew here, has been moved and I think altered. Has anybody got the original ?

    Yes — the Wayback Machine has:


    You can see how the “pbuh” has been moved down from the heading into the main text.


  6. Alan Peakall says:

    I saw the Newsnight segment that I think Jeff Randall refers to. Once you got past the packaging, the reporting, by Stephanie Flanders, was not really objectionable. She weighed the complaints from Trade Unionists against the defence of private equity by one of the alleged “asset strippers” and appeared to find his response adequate, with the exception that, under the current tax code, private equity enjoys the advantage of its capital gains being taxed less that they would be taxed as corporate income. Of course, she knew better than to blot her copybook by pointing out that Nigel Lawson equated the tax rates on corporate income and corporate capital gains in 1987 and that certain Chancellors since then have loused things up. I think that if she were less good-looking she would find it harder to get away with playing dumb 🙂


  7. jb says:

    Little Bulldogs’ analysis on arrest figures is specious and half-baked.

    His bias allegations about the photo mistake are plainly wrong.

    Perhaps more examples of the “truthiness” cited in an earlier post by the indefatigable JR? Or was bbbc just scrabbling about for the scraggy ends of a critique again?


  8. LittleBulldogs says:

    jb | 09.03.07 – 1:04 am |

    I wonder, are you the same “jb” who works for the BBC and left a comment on my blog referring to “those pesky muslims”.


    If you are, you may be interested to know that I have filed a complaint with the BBC about your comment.


  9. jb says:

    you’re soooo touchy!

    had any response to your verrry serious complaint yet? i wouldn’t hold your breath.

    you’ll be pleased to know that mark thompson’s jack-booted diversity police haven’t bashed my door in quite yet.

    and i hope you’re not expecting to win any friends on the bbbc by exercising such stalinist intolerance to dissent. i’m surprised someone as thin-skinned as you has put themselves out into the public domain to be ridiculed. but you have, so i’ll duly oblige…

    you get dreadfully confused with your complaint. first you label the ‘pesky muslims’ comment ‘religious intolerance’, then you escalate it to ‘racist sentiment’. which is it? what are muslims? are they a race? or a religion? it seems you’re not quite sure.

    let me fill in the blanks for you. islam is a religion – its adherents are drawn from a number of races. if you want to accuse me of anything, please keep it to religious intolerance.

    on that score, either you’ve had an irony bypass or you’re being deliberately disingenuous in choosing to misunderstand my comment as being a slur on muslims rather than a pi$$-take of your silly little blog. or perhaps it was just a tactic to deflect readers from the paucity of your arguments?

    anyway, if you want proof that pa labelled the picture wrongly, i’m happy to mail you a screengrab.

    As for your terror arrests ‘critique’… no, it’s not worth even starting on that.

    Perhaps, my canine friend, you should spend some time sharpening your critical-writing skills and less time trying to hound out anyone who disagrees with your tawdry views.

    You might then develop some opinions strong enough to withstand one or two objections.


  10. LittleBulldogs says:

    jb | 10.03.07 – 6:46 pm :

    First off, thanks for confirming that you do indeed work for the BBC.

    Secondly, you write:

    “had any response to your verrry serious complaint yet? i wouldn’t hold your breath.”

    Don’t worry, I am fully aware that the BBC doesn’t respond well to criticism from the public that pay for them. Nevertheless, the fact that you feel the need to come to places like biased-bbc and my own blog to defend the honour of the BBC speaks volumes in itself.

    Thirdly, yes please do e-mail me the sceengrab proving that PA mislabeled their own photo. And, while doing that you can also explain why the BBC didn’t use the photo that showed the placards used at the actual protest in question.

    Finally, the fact that you will not or cannot explain why the extremely clear analysis I carried out on the Home Office statistics is wrong also speaks volumes.


  11. jb says:

    as far as i’m aware i didn’t confirm anything, i just didn’t deny anything. there is a difference.

    what is your email? i can’t find anywhere on your blog to mail anything to.

    next time i’ve got a moment to read your arrest figures thing i’ll tell you why it’s specious and half-baked. i’m afraid you’ll have to wait for that dubious pleasure.


  12. Biodegradable says:

    what is your email? i can’t find anywhere on your blog to mail anything to.

    It’s not hard to find – top right of the page.

    Contact Us

    Send feedback, tips, comments or questions to littlebulldogs at hotmail.co.uk


  13. LittleBulldogs says:


    I look forward to seeing your criticisms of my analysis of the figures. If you could include the screengrab of the PA’s wrong photo description I’d appreciate that too.

    Thanks Bio for pointing out my e-mail address to jb. I’m going to hold myself back from making a sarcastic comment about the quality of BBC research.


  14. jb says:

    i’m happy you restrained yourself – being so superior, it must be hard sometimes. is that the section that says:

    Contact Us
    Send feedback, tips, comments or questions to littlebulldogs at hotmail.co.uk

    i didn’t see it coz there’s no link and no @ sign and yes, i’m a bit of a dip$hit sometimes and don’t mind admitting it… will send pic asap


  15. Biodegradable says:

    I’m going to hold myself back from making a sarcastic comment about the quality of BBC research.
    LittleBulldogs | 11.03.07 – 9:24 pm

    I confess I was very tempted too.

    … yes, i’m a bit of a dip$hit sometimes and don’t mind admitting it…
    jb | 11.03.07 – 11:16 pm

    That bodes well then 😉


  16. jb says:

    Littlebulldogs, here is a response to your bleating on about arrest figures on your blog located here:


    where you criticise this article:


    Littlebulldogs says:

    Reuters, The BBC and The Independent all quote Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, with regards to these statistics. In none of these cases are government sources quoted and in only one case (the BBC) is any other opinion mentioned and then it is that of (left-wing) Shami Chakrabarti of human rights group Liberty [my emphasis]

    so, am i imagining this sentence from the bbc story:

    Officials said the arrests were made with public protection in mind.

    or this one:

    A Home Office spokeswoman said police had to make decisions over arrests based on “the circumstances presented to them”, and take into account the need to conduct an effective investigation and protect the public.

    in fact, in the 18 paragraph story, 12 paragraphs are given over to government figures and government opinion, with 6 paragraphs detailing criticisms from liberty and the islamic group.

    lb complains that the bbc and the independent are being ‘deliberately misleading’ by focusing on the fact (and yes, lb doesn’t dispute that it is a fact) that less than 1 in 20 of those arrested are charged with terror offences. Why misleading? because, lb says, a further 186 people were charged with non-terrorism offences. oh right, so the bbc article doesn’t say that? oh but it does, as lb acknowledges. in fact it’s in the third paragraph of the story. but that’s still not good enough for lb. Why? because:

    the article does not present these figures clearly

    So, compare and contrast. Littebulldogs presents the figures thus:

    While it is true that only 221 people have been charged with terrorism offences it is also true that another 186 have been charged with other offences

    And the bbc:

    The Home Office figures show that of the 1,166 people detained, just 221 were charged by the end of last year. Officials said the arrests were made with public protection in mind – 186 people faced non-terrorism charges.

    even littlebulldogs’s mum would have difficulty supporting the argument that the bbc’s version is any less clear than lb’s.

    the next criticism is that the bbc quotes the IHRC as saying ‘3.5% of those arrested for terrorism have been convicted of terrorism’. this statistic, lb says, ‘serves beautifully to hide the facts’. errr yeah, it’s a statistic quoted by a member of an islamic pressure group and comes AFTER the actual statistics have been detailed. The bbc article preludes that quote with some fairly clear signposting that what’s coming next is going to be OPINION.

    so what’s the problem? we’ve had the government saying why they think the figures were acceptable, in a prominent position in the article. so now we have a clearly labelled muslim pressure group disagreeing. that strikes me as being balanced.

    if you want to show these people’s arguments up for what they are you’ve got to quote them and let the readers decide what to make of them. although this kind of defence of free speech will be anathema to people like lb, who seems to prefer to silence those who disagree with its views (which is why, incidentally, we’re carrying on this discussion on bbbc, because lb has made it clear that dissent is not tolerated on its blog – which has so few contributors that lb manages to find time to trace IP addresses and complain to presumed employers about posts, no matter how innocuous).

    i could go on, but the rest of lb’s blog isn’t particularly noteworthy – some points about stats, some bitching about liberty. whatever. i think i’ve raised enough questions to cast doubt on the quality of lb’s ‘analysis’. after all, lb, what’s the use in being ‘extremely clear’ if you’re mostly wrong?


  17. Little Bulldogs says:

    jb | 12.03.07 – 11:50 pm:

    First up, let me say that your claim that LittleBulldogs has “made it clear that dissent is not tolerated on its blog” is completely untrue. If you’d even bothered to look at some of the other comments you will find that a certain person has been leaving comments on my blog accusing me of being a Nazi, and he has been able to do this without me deleting or even editing his posts. So, your accusation is a baseless lie.

    Now, to my article. Yes, the BBC did quote some government sources but they did not appear to be in regards to the specific statistics. In other words the BBC quoted attacks on the government based on the stats but there was no direct rebuttal. Perhaps, in retrospect, my article was unclear or even wrong on this point.

    The BBC’s representation of the statistics was unclear. For example, the article says: “just 221 were charged by the end of last year.” and when it then goes on to say “186 people faced non-terrorism charges” it isn’t clear whether these are included in the 221 or not.

    Either way, you haven’t challenged my maths because that is accurate. In other words, my analysis of the figures is not “specious and half-baked.” as you originally claimed. At best you can say that my criticism of the BBC’s article is unfounded.

    Anyway, I think you lose credibility when you lie openly (claiming that I do not allow criticism on my blog) and say:

    “even littlebulldogs’s mum…”

    I mean, really, how old are you?


  18. jb says:

    hmmm… i think my work here is done. watching you squirming, trying to squeeze the last drops of credibility out of your specious and half-baked analysis is quite unedifying.

    you seem to be trying to re-define the word ‘analysis’ to suit your own purposes, and your concept of lying is very different to mine.

    i suggest you look up ‘specious’ and ‘analysis’ in a dictionary, re-read your own blog, and take a good look in the mirror. perhaps then you’ll hit back with some top-notch polemic. although i won’t hold my breath.

    your indulgence of people calling you a nazi, but inability to handle a scooby-doo-inspired witticism, hardly recommends your blog as a leading light of free speech.

    and i bet you looked up the nazi-jibe person’s ip address. bet you’re itching to find out who he/she is so you can tell tales to anyone who’ll listen.

    anyway, good luck in your continuing mission to root out those damn lefty media-types and their pesky muslim co-conspirators.



  19. Archonix says:

    Actually I suspect the word you’re looking for is satire, if such was your intention.


  20. jb says:


    it may be news to you, but the word irony can be used to mean “an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing”, or “an expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning”. Such was my intention.

    if you insist on being witheringly superior, you might like to check your facts with this useful resource:


    it’s called a dictionary.


  21. Little Bulldogs says:

    your concept of lying is very different to mine.
    jb | 14.03.07 – 2:06 pm

    Yes I have noticed that a lot about the BBC.