It was interesting, I thought, to listen to Helen Boaden’s comments in response to the comments of Robin Aitken and others on the Talking Politics show highlighted by Andrew below. Boaden’s comment about impartiality not being a “state of grace” I thought especially revealing. I mightn’t actually have to think too hard to think of a few apples which the BBC ought not to bite, or commandments they shouldn’t break.
For instance, one might be that “people sceptical of the political contruct of EU centralisation of national powers shalt not be referred to as being “in opposition to Europe” or any other such false witness be borne regarding their position.” It might be especially relevant when their concerns are purportedly being aired. Background here.
The idea of being “in opposition to Europe” is patently ridiculous, debasing language as well as ideas.
There is no question of treading on eggshells here, provided the BBC’s attitude is right.
Then again, another commandment might be: “thou shalt not consider the opinion of someone interesting purely out of concern for their racial background and in defiance of other factors”, as is highlighted here by Mr Dale for example regarding this article.
“”Black MPs spurn Boris for Mayor”.
It is actually a “story” about two Labour MPs, Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott both saying that they do not support Boris Johnson. I may be wrong but Labour politicians saying they will not be supporting a Conservative is as relevant as the announcement that David Cameron will not be voting for Gordon Brown. What is the BBC playing at?”
And those would be just two commandments. Very modest I think. I am sure others can think of more.
Update: As Jonathan in the comments points out, the article has been changed from
“Black MPs” to “Labour MPs”. Chalk one up for Mr Dale. Now we can see that the article has no sense whatsoever once the BBC’s racialist presumptions are taken out of it- it was prejudice appealing to prejudice and now it’s nonsense appealing to, well, hopefully not too many people.
The Boris story is one I heard of yesterday and find it so biased that it is totally indefensible.
However why on earth do the Conservative politicians not take the BBC to task on this and the daily bias that crosses my desk?
Are they too cowardly?
It’s changed from “black” to “labour” now. Sneaky f***ers.
The BBC have changed the headline now, but it’s too late, the story has been successfully spun, and somewhere a Labour party press officer will be sniggering at what they regard as a job well done. For three days the BBC colluded with the Labour Party in a nasty little piece of racial politics, and to change the headline now when the story is gone and forgotten is meaningless.
“Labour MPs spurn Boris mayor bid”
“Catholics spurn non-Catholic Pope suggestion”
“Bears spurn indoor toilets, prefer wooded areas”
Let us not forget Dianne Abbott is on the BBC gravy train. She has received well into six figures from the Beeb.
Ms Abbott now ‘earns’ 25-30K pa for her ‘work’ on “This Week”. She has received a 15K pre-production fee for “Play it Again” and has previously grabbed four figure sums for appearing on “University Challenge”, “Celebrity Mastermind”, “Have I Got News For You” and “Question Time”.
She ‘forgot’ about the “This Week” earning back in 2003 and had to apologise to Parliament (see url).
Jonathan (Cambridge) 07.08.07 – 12:41 pm |
It’s changed from “black” to “labour” now. Sneaky f***ers.
Surely you mean promptly responsive to well-founded complaints?
The point which Reith misses (apparently?) is exactly as stated by Bodo above.
‘Surely you mean promptly responsive to well-founded complaints?’
Or yet again removing evidence of bias from their webpages once they were caught out.
Odd though how theses errors the BBC make are so one sided.
Re: Anonanon | 07.08.07 – 3:52 pm
The BBC’s [updated] headline is surely one of the more ludricous of recent times. Anonanon’s comic alternatives are no funnier than the real thing.
Reith said “Surely you mean promptly responsive to well-founded complaints?”
Newsniffer says it took three days to make the change – promptly my a*se!
does anybody know why by-lines are not used on the UKBC web site?
Are the journos ashamed /scared ?
Is it “we do it as group journo” and have not got the space to list all of them.
It is encouraging that the Website was so promptly changed.
But be honest. Aren’t you just the teensy weensiest bit concerned at such a glaring example of sloppy journalism?
What does it say about the default mindset of the journalist who wrote the story and the Editor who (presumably) OKd it?
Bodo is right of course. The BBC News department, either by direct collusion or ideological instinct, spin what is basically, Labour Party propaganda. They have done this for Donkey’s years. They seem particularly in tune with Labour, when it comes to concocting ant-Conservative propaganda as they always portray the Conservative Party, the way the Labour Party want them to be portrayed.
Hang on, don’t jump too quickly on John Reith. He states the headline was changed due to:
So at last, an admission from him that the Beeb were wrong!
The Beeb WRONG John? Surely this can’t be?
Big on you for admitting the blatant bias in this article. Please use whatever influence you have in making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Fran | 07.08.07 – 7:20 pm
“What does it say about the default mindset of the journalist who wrote the story and the Editor who (presumably) OKd it?”
You have hit on a key point, perhaps the key to the whole problem with the BBC. The whole world can bang on about journalist standards, impartiality, and all other manner of things, but it might just be the hiring standards that need to be fixed.
There have been many examples discussed around here in recent weeks, of ignorance, partisanship, and just plain incompetence. In the cases where there have been fixes or edits by the BBC, one is always left wondering how these people get hired in the first place. If there are such high standards at the BBC, why is it that they seem to keep hiring the same sloppy-minded, uneducated writers, junior editors, etc.?
It’s obviously ridiculous, but one feels obligated to ask: Are all these incidents merely examples of newbies just off the street who haven’t yet learned to uphold the high standards of the BBC? That was certainly Helen Boaden’s defense of the reporter who asked if it was allowed to broadcast a factual report with a non-PC result. Was the junior editor who wrote that “Black MPs spurn Boris” rather than “Labour MPs” still in his 90-day probationary period? Are all those sneering reporters to whom Director Boaden referred just the latest batch of recruits, who haven’t done all their training yet? What about the writers and editors who were responsible for writing that Jews were the enemies of Islam? No doubt they got off the No. 73 bus with the CBBC idiots who weren’t sure who the perpetrators were behind the attacks of Sept. 11, and hadn’t been through orientation before they were allowed to teach lies to British children.
As long as the BBC continues to hire such people and allow them to continue in positions of responsibility, the organization is doomed to failure.
“JR… Please use whatever influence you have in making sure it doesn’t happen again”
…the eerie sound of tumbleweed blowing by
I notice the date stamp has not been changed on the Boris article. Just where has the honesty gone at the BBC. What is the point of these stamps if a major edit in a headline does not even show.
Spin and lies, its what we do.
Changing articles without even altering the date stamp is bad practice, doing it to an article that bloggers have criticised and linked to is just dishonest.
Isn’t it the case that the Beeb advertises its vacancies exclusively in the Guardian? No surprise as to the overwhelming political leanings of its applicants…
Last January the BBC broadcast a (non) story about a conservative MP somewhere in the Midlands receiving an email from a constituent (another MP – I can’t remember) mocking a disabled MP. They were the only broadcaster to go with the ‘story’ even though the MP involved did not write or forward the email. It simply landed in his inbox. Someone got a hold of it (presumably by gaining unauthorized access to the MP’s email) made a copy and sent it off to the BBC. The BBC runs with the exclusive – leading the evening news and Newsnight with this ‘fast breaking’ story. It just happened that on the same day Ruth Turner, friend and confidante of Tony Blair, was arrested for her role in the cash for honours affair. This was big news as she was not just asked in for questioning but was formally arrested. Every other broadcaster lead with the story – all, that is, with the exception of the Beeb. The Beeb devoted only 20 seconds later in the news to the biggest story of the day, and even then they simply gave a Labour spokesman the 20 second slot to deny the allegations. That was it.
This is sort of deliberate obfuscation is a regular occurrence and I don’t think it is about to end. There is only one solution – end the compulsory tax and change the Beeb to a subscription service. The Beeb can keep producing whatever content it likes, sans commericials if it chooses, but the direct tax, pay-the-beeb-or-go-to-jail, funding system must end.
Good. I complained to the BBC shortly after it appeared (and posted in a general comments section here).
There’s been no reply.
Am I surprised…?
David S | 08.08.07 – 12:17 pm
about a conservative MP somewhere in the Midlands receiving an email…
….he wasn’t an MP and it wasn’t in the Midlands……
from a constituent (another MP – I can’t remember)
…No, neither a constituent nor another MP…..
…mocking a disabled MP
…wrong again. The disabled bloke wasn’t an MP either….
The BBC runs with the exclusive – leading the evening news and Newsnight
….no……… Just Newsnight…… (big difference)
It just happened that on the same day Ruth Turner, friend and confidante of Tony Blair, was arrested for her role in the cash for honours affair…….
Yes, it did just so happen. But more to the point • it just so happened that David Cameron was visiting the town in question too. If you’re collecting significant synchronicities, do pick the right ones.
If, as you imply, the ‘cripple’ memo story was designed to deflect attention from the Ruth Turner arrest • it didn’t do a very good job. The very next story on the Newsnight running order was…..lo and behold….the Ruth Turner arrest.
There are lots of good arguments why Newsnight were wrong to run this story at the top of the programme… and there are lots of good arguments why they shouldn’t have run this story at all.
But yours aren’t among them.
‘If, as you imply, the ‘cripple’ memo story was designed to deflect attention from the Ruth Turner arrest • it didn’t do a very good job.’
Who said the BBC was good at spin?
‘The very next story on the Newsnight running order was…..lo and behold….the Ruth Turner arrest.’
No putting further down the running order doesn’t lessen their impact.
John Reith you are incredibly hard on other people’s failings, discrepencies and lack of detail when making a point, but amazingly selective and dismissive about your own.
A real chip-off-the-old-BBC-block aren’t you? Could I ask if this mindset secured you a place on the BBC payroll, or did it evolve over time?