Word reaches the Biased BBC bunker of an exciting new blog: Nick Reynolds at Work

, by, not surprisingly, given its modest name, Biased BBC commenter and sometime BBC employee, Nick Reynolds.

It’s not Nick’s first blog though. He has been blogging for a while within the Berlin Firewall that protects the denizens of the People’s Democratic Republic of Shepherd’s Bush from the reality of life, commonsense and popular opinion in modern Britain. Though perestroika is underway in the PDRofSB, glasnost is yet to arrive – we’re only to see “stuff from my internal blog which is OK to be shared with the wider world”. Still, having seen some of Nick’s ‘internal’ posts, he’s probably acting in everyone’s best interest!

Nick’s first big post, My ‘Friends’ At Biased BBC, is from the current issue of Pravda, known to BBC employees as Ariel – the BBC’s in house magazine – where it was published under the heading Don’t Dismiss Biased BBC, Join The Conversation Instead.

Nick writes that:

…there I was, sitting there, writing some guidelines on personal blogs, and thinking “I’d better find out more about this blogging thing.

I fired up Google blog search and searched for “BBC”. To my surprise I saw right at the top of the page a link to something called “Biased BBC”. My surprise turned to alarm as I clicked on to a purple and white web page filled with anti-BBC invective and examples of so-called “bias”. I remember saying to my colleagues “Have you seen this?”

Shocking! There is a world outside the BBC! And some of it doesn’t like us! My goodness, next we’ll have conscientious objectors refusing to pay the tellytax, being rounded up and dealt with by KGBBC goons just for possessing equipment capable of being used for receiving non-BBC approved broadcasts!

But alas, Nick hasn’t yet seen through the BBC entirely:

But in two years there’s only been one piece of BBC content highlighted by Biased BBC where I thought there was a real problem. There have been three or four where I have thought they might have half a point. But these have been sloppy journalism or poor phrasing, not bias. Considering the huge amount of web pages and other content that the BBC publishes, and that we’re human beings who sometimes make mistakes, not a bad record. Biased BBC proves its opposite; the BBC is not biased.

We live in hope for Nick though! However, ever a keen Beeboid (I put that in just for your credibility Nick), Nick knows a good thing when he sees it. Although he doesn’t agree with Biased BBC, he seems quite taken with the Biased BBC approach. I expect we’ll be receving a takeover ordffer, otherwise known as an ‘annexation’, just as soon as the BBC Borg has finished digesting its latest victim, Lonely Planet. (It is of course wrong to say that Lonely Planet is a victim – the real victims will be Lonely Planet’s erstwhile competitors).

Biased BBC denizens David Gregory and the pseudonymous ‘John Reith’ are both namechecked too. Nick says that ‘John Reith’:

…does fantastic work, debating and rebutting, with humour and occasionally acerbic comment. I’m still trying to work out who he is. He’s an ambassador for the BBC, a real champion. Yet he must feel that if he uses his real name he will get in trouble. It’s a terrible indictment of the BBC’s culture that someone supporting the organisation so well can’t use their real name.

…and there was me thinking that John Reith’s anonymity was to protect him from his fellow Biased BBC readers, tired of the careful selectivity of his arguments and his disappearances when the BBC is caught red-handed. I should have realised: ‘John Reith’ is a true Beeboid – like the frightened Russian of jokes past, so wary of his suspicious comrades that, when asked what he thinks of Comrade Thompson, he leads his questioner all across the city, rows out into the middle of a big lake, where, absolutely safe from listening ears, he whispers his confession: “I like him…”!

Martin Belam, a former (and I expect future) BBC employee, who has blogged about Biased BBC at length before, has blogged about Nick’s Pravda piece too, Biased BBC blog in the BBC’s Ariel newspaper, complete with a stylish photo of Nick’s Pravda article – showing a drawing of a resident of the Biased BBC bunker being tapped on the shoulder by the BBC Big Brother.

Like Nick, Martin takes the view that:

I don’t often agree with what I read on [Biased BBC], but I do agree with Nick that they… turn up examples of ‘sloppy journalism’ and ‘poor phrasing’, rather than evidence of a concerted top-down pre-planned slant on everything the BBC produces.

…which isn’t so far from my own view – as with the Jeff Randall quote in our sidebar, the BBC isn’t a grand conspiracy – it’s an unaccountable public sector organisation, bloated by years of government largesse, with many staff of a public sector mien quite inimical to the benefits of free-market competition among other things. We make no claim that Biased BBC is solely about BBC bias – far from it. There’s plenty of scope for exposing ‘sloppy journalism’, ‘poor phrasing’ and a range of other BBC issues, including BBC waste, incompetence, stupidity, ignorance and so on, including, every now and again, mention of some the BBC’s good points too.

P.S. Wikipedia has a scan of Ariel from 07NOV2006, complete with a sub-head that reads:

When it pays to fight for the right to know, page 4

I bet that article wasn’t about the Balen Report, which for some strange reason the BBC remains ever so keen to hide from the tellytaxpayers who pay for the BBC and who’ve paid for the BBC’s expensive lawyers to keep it hidden.

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38 Responses to Word reaches the Biased BBC bunker of an exciting new blog: Nick Reynolds at Work

  1. bodo says:

    “But in two years there’s only been one piece of BBC content highlighted by Biased BBC where I thought there was a real problem.”

    Which is a pretty damning indictment of Nick’s neutrality. So many people don’t see the bias, simply because they agre with it.

    Nick, I recently asked you about the BBC coverage of the rapidly increasing incidence of HIV in the UK, and why the BBC repeatedly blames anything and everything, except the real cause, ie African immigration.

    You ignored my question, but perhaps this was the example of BBC bias you had in mind. Hmm?


  2. Nick Reynolds (BBC) says:

    Thanks for the link.

    The picture in Ariel is actually the other way round i.e. the big hand is Biased BBC, the person at the computer screen is a BBC person. You can’t really see this on the photo from Martin’s blog.


  3. Martin says:

    This is the whole problem with the BBC. It’s full of leftie arts educated liberals who see “their” point of view as the norm.

    Here’s a question. Two of the biggest selling newspapers in the Country are the Sun and the Daily Mail. If you asked a Questiontime audience to put their hands up if they read either of those two papers what do you think the result would be?

    The Guardian is seen as the default view of the world.

    Perhaps Nick Reynolds might prefer to refer to us as “licence fee” payers or even better as the people that pay HIS and everyone else’s wages at the BBC.

    I just wonder how many BBC types have ever had a real job where if they treat their custoners like rubbish they’d get the sack or their company would go broke?

    Here’s one for Mr Reynolds. Why has the BBC refused to publish the report IT commissioned into bias against Israel?


  4. Andrew says:

    Nick: “The picture in Ariel is actually the other way round”

    I thought you might say that Nick. It’s all a question of perception… on the one hand there’s Biased BBC, budget zero, and on the other there’s the BBC, complete with vibrant cufflinks, umpteen radio & TV channels, an in-house magazine, a humungous website and a guaranteed annual budget of £3.5 Billion to play with (not to mention Lonely Planet travel guides) – and you think we’re the big guy… 😉


  5. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Blimey, Nick. They don’t like it up ’em do they?!


  6. bodo says:

    David G:
    Well at least ‘Biased BBC’ allows BBC staff to comment and criticise on here, indeed it welcomes such contributions.
    Sadly the same cannot be said of the BBC websites [eg, ‘Have Your Say’] where public comments even mildly critical of the BBC are routinely deleted by BBC staff.

    Now who is it that doesn’t ‘like it up ’em’?


  7. John Reith says:

    bodo | 23.10.07 – 2:05 pm

    You provide an excellent example of the kind of unfounded allegation that both Nick Reynolds and I am constantly encountering on this site.

    You wrote:

    Nick, I recently asked you about the BBC coverage of the rapidly increasing incidence of HIV in the UK, and why the BBC repeatedly blames anything and everything, except the real cause, ie African immigration.

    But the fact is that the BBC does identify this cause:

    Most new HIV cases in 2005 were infected abroad, but more cases are being contracted in the UK ………Two thirds of all new cases diagnosed last year were in people who contracted HIV in other countries where the virus is more prevalent, such as sub-Saharan Africa.


    The majority (3,691) of new cases of HIV diagnosed in the UK are among black and ethnic communities, and in most of these cases the infection was contracted abroad in high prevalence parts of the world like Africa.



  8. Nick Reynolds (BBC) says:

    Well I didn’t choose the picture.

    Reminded me of the flying glove in the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” cartoon.


  9. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Bodo: I believe Mr Modorator is very active deleting comments on here too?


  10. BaggieJonathan says:

    David Gregory

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by moderation ‘deleting’ comments.

    On the (D)HYS using this sign in and e-mail I have only ever had one e-mail published despite repeated postings.
    I hasten to add they were not rejected they ‘merely’ were not published then the debate was closed.

    Its way too much to be coincidence my percentage is so much smaller than the average it near beggars belief of it being by accident.
    I am certainly not the only BBBC blogger to suffer this ‘moderation’.


  11. Effing and Blinding says:

    I think the defenders of the BBC miss the point of this blog.

    It isn’t just about sloppy journalism and the occasional bias, though it is that too.

    The real point is that the bias and slop seems always to fall in one direction, making the slant on everything utterly predictable.

    When is the last time we heard bias (i.e. a genuinely unfair, partial, inaccurate, one-sided report or article) in favour of heterosexual marriage over other forms of families?

    When is the last time we heard a bias in favour of Christianity over Islam, or theism over atheism?

    When is the last time we heard bias in favour of the free market over state control? Or private health care over a public system?

    When is the last time we heard bias in favour of Israel over the Palestinians?

    When is the last time we heard bias in favour of Mrs Thatcher, or Presidents Reagan and Bush Snr & (especially) Jnr?

    Why are members of the BNP vilified when the at least equally odious members of Respect or various hard line communist parties are not?

    When is the last time we heard bias against the EU or UN?

    All very predictable stuff. Whenever there is a news item on any of the above topics, I can predict the slant before Fiona opens her mouth. It’s pretty easy.


  12. Pete says:

    John, if the BBC is broadly correct and unbiased in its news, and maunufactures good quality prrogrammes, why does it need a nasty bunch of intimidatory revenue enforcers? Surely everyone would be eager to pay for a bargain like the BBC, so it should go digital and subscription as soon as possible. Then we’d find out just how many of you and your colleagues the UK public want to employ. The BBC latest redundancy fuss would pale into insignificance.


  13. Haversack says:

    I loved this patronizing bit from Nick’s story: “A BBC journalist asked me whether by spotlighting Biased BBC I was giving their views a credibility they don’t deserve”.

    I think the same thing could be asked of Biased BBC giving the Beeb’s activities a credibility they don’t deserve — their idea of an intellectual giant is Polly Toynbee.


  14. Anon says:

    “Blimey, Nick. They don’t like it up ’em do they?!”


    WTF is David Gregory talking about? A calm, measured response, and he makes out that we’re acting like a bunch of student lefties who’ve just had their grant cancelled.


  15. Robin Day says:

    John Reith:

    The headline of the HIV story that you selected isn’t that two thirds of new HIV infections in the UK were among immigrants.

    Which is precisely the point.

    Secondly, the follow-up article is by the Terrence Higgins Trust. It rejects out of hand – from their liberal, holier than thou gay rights perspective – the approach of respected commentators such as Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch UK, who advocate the need for stronger health checks on those entering the UK.

    The piece, rather than being an objective analysis of the problems of HIV, ends up as a diatribe against homophobia. How very BBC. And how typical of a BBC employee that this should be chosen as a model of how to handle a sensitive issue with many complex political and practical ramifications!


  16. Sam Duncan says:

    Exactly, E&B (or should that be “F&B”?). The sloppy journalism at the BBC is bias. It may be unintentional, but nobody here has ever seriously suggested otherwise. We know they’re trying to be impartial; they just can’t do it. Nobody can.

    “Biased BBC proves its opposite; the BBC is not biased.”
    Jolly good. All is well. Pass the cash.


  17. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Effing and Blinding: Ah, but what you forget is that there are websites that perform the same function as B-BBC but from a left wing perspective.
    And I’ve had more emails accusing me of being biased towards the right than towards the left.
    In fact I’ve never been accused of left wing bias in an email from a viewer or listener.


  18. Umbongo says:


    Concering your criticism of bodo’s allegation of BBC bias, I wouldn’t trumpet the BBC’s impartiality too loudly with your particular example of non-bias. After 5 seconds of googling I discovered that the HPA also released in November last year a parallel report specifically on migrant health which the BBC seems to have ignored. The first – and presumably most important – conclusions to the chapter on HIV state the following:

    • In 2004, approximately 70% of the 4253 persons who were newly diagnosed with HIV in England,Wales and Northern Ireland, and for whom country of birth information was available, were born utside the UK.
    • The majority of non-UK born cases probably acquired their HIV infection through heterosexual contact, and 90% were born in sub-Saharan Africa. Around 85% of these cases probably acquired their infection in Africa.

    In other words 63% (70% of 90%) of those contracting HIV were immigrants (or, in the UK but “were born outside the UK”) from sub-Saharan Africa and of those 85% were infected in Africa. In other words 53% of new HIV cases in the UK were both immigrants from Africa and were infected in Africa.

    In neither of the articles you quote was this point and this connection with immigrants specifically set out. Rather, the articles make a less focussed point about HIV being contracted in Africa and ignores the immigration aspect. Although I’m sure bodo can speak for him/herself but his/her point that the BBC concealed this connection between HIV and, specifically, immigrants – an item of considerable interest to the general public – is well-made.


  19. meggoman says:

    Reith, Reynolds and the others: Why does the BBC refuse to publish the Balen report?

    On radio 5 live tonight the programme took texts about the recent views expressed by the Head of the Catholic church on abortion. He had been interviewed on the programme.
    One of those texts was read out by Peter Allen which started ‘I despise Catholicisim…’ Now if I were to submit a text stating ‘I despise Islam….’ I’d bet my life that it wouldn’t get anywhere near the lips of the presenter never mind get read out. And that is the bias to whch you all are simply blind.


  20. Effing and Blinding says:


    “Ah, but what you forget is that there are websites that perform the same function as B-BBC but from a left wing perspective.”

    Really? When they complain that the BBC is biased in favour of X over Y, please give some examples of a few ‘Xs’ and a few ‘Ys’ that are regular subjects of complaints, perhaps in the style I did above.

    “In fact I’ve never been accused of left wing bias in an email from a viewer or listener.”

    Can I be the first then?


  21. The Moderator says:

    This is not the place for a debate about HIV.


  22. Martin says:

    If you want to test BBC bias. Do this simple test (I do it quite often with 5 lite)

    Send in an email from one address making some anti American statement (or slag off George Bush, Christianity etc) then do another but just replace the obvious words with iran, or Islam etc and SEE which gets read out.


  23. Ashley Pomeroy says:

    “But in two years there’s only been one piece of BBC content highlighted by Biased BBC where I thought there was a real problem.”

    I assume it was this piece, which I spotted back in December 2005:

    Someone else seems to have complained to the BBC about it independently of me, and the text has since been rewritten, with an apology:

    The page is part of “On This Day”, a section that highlights news stories from the past. It is about the Conservative government’s 1979 policy of allowing council tenants to buy their homes. I was genuinely curious about this topic, because my own parents are council tenants. They were council tenants in 1979. The format of the “On This Day” section is that there is a neutrally-written story about the topic on the left, and a contextual analysis on the right.

    The neutral description is solid. But the contextual analysis was horrible. It consisted of:
    “The Housing Act came into force on 3 October 1980.
    Many people who bought their homes under Thatcher’s “Right-to-Buy” scheme are now struggling to pay for the upkeep of their properties which are no longer maintained by local authorities.
    The controversial scheme has also dramatically reduced the number of available council homes and there is now a huge shortage of social housing across the UK.
    Since the introduction of the scheme in 1980 there have been major changes to the size of the discount tenants are eligible for. The maximum discount is 60% of the home’s value or £38,000, whichever is greater.
    In many areas of the UK the scheme has been abused and there are now strict regulations about when tenants can resell their property after purchasing it at a discount.”

    That was the entirety of the historical context:

    There was no balance at all. I knew very little about the government’s “Right-to-Buy” scheme beforehand. The impression I got from this report is that the scheme was an awful disaster, a con trick. The report smelled of fish. It was like a glimpse into the mind of the BBC’s writers. A mixture of hatred and pity for council tenants, for being such stupid, stupid dupes to fall for the evil Tory con.

    But now the report is very different, because it has been rewritten to have a mixture of good and bad points. It finishes with some of the negative aspects of the policy’s legacy in order to balance out the positive aspects. I imagine the writer had to grit his teeth, and perhaps he crossed his fingers while he rewrote his report.

    That’s one example of the BBC’s bias.


  24. Bryan says:

    My goodness, Nick Reynolds, you guys really are polishing your virtual medals over there at the BBC while putting your collective nose up at people here. Only one case of bias in two years? I recall that when it was pointed out to you on this site that Barbara Plett’s article expressing her grief at the sight of Arafat being helicoptered out of Ramallah en route to die in France was on the BBC website without any mention that it had been the subject of an upheld complaint, you intervened. I suppose that is the case you are talking about.

    The point here is that Barbara Plett is not an aberration at the BBC. On the contrary, she typifies BBC bias. And she felt secure enough in her BBC comfort zone to admit to emoting over a foul old terrorist, no doubt not even thinking for a second that there would be any consequences. Are you really trying to tell us that you cannot see that?


  25. marc says:

    I left a comment on Nick’s blog with several damning examples from my long documented list of BBC lies and fabrications. No doubt he will pull a John Reith and try to cheery pick his way out; if he publishes it at all.



  26. Nick Reynolds (BBC) says:


    I responded to some of your examples on a comments thread on biased bbc some months ago now. Unfortunately I can’t find it.

    So rest assured that your comment on my blog will be published and I will respond to your points. I do have work to do however, but I will try and do this today if I can.


  27. David H says:

    I have a question, there was a suicide knife attack in a police station in Amsterdam, which resulted in a seriously injured female cop shooting the attacker dead.

    Following on from this there has been riots for 6 days with numerous cars set alight.

    Can I ask why this has not been reported on the BBC at all, I cannot even find any reference on your website.

    As it is a riot by Muslim youths can I assume that this is one of the reasons that it is not being reported.

    There seems to be a Europe wide news blackout on such riots.


  28. Nick Reynolds(BBC) says:

    I have now posted a response to Marc on my blog.


  29. Haversack says:

    After all the recent fuss here about regional news, I thought I would have a look at my regional news show last night, which is East Midlands Today, to see if it was any good, as it’s a while since I’ve watched it. It sure as hell wasn’t!

    It’s not that it was very biased. The team mostly seemed to be a fairly inoffensive bunch, and I wouldn’t imagine them having much in the way of strong political opinions (just as I’m sure that David Gregory and his local news mates aren’t very much like Kirsty Wark).

    There was one “soft-left” moment, though, where we had one of the reporters telling us that one in four women would suffer from domestic abuse, which I remember being one of those bullsh*t statistics that had been debunked long ago, but which still get passed around as gospel in feminist circles.

    But mainly it was as trivial as people are saying it is. There were a few serious stories up front, but loads of time was allocated for rubbish “human interest” stories. These really were the worst human interest stories I have ever seen. There was one story which went on forever about a man who was going to eat a huge steak, which turned out to not even be that big.

    What’s more, if you look at their website they list 18 presenters! Just how many people are involved overall in putting out a show which thinks a man eating a steak is news?

    If this show performs an essential public service then I’m a frying pan.


  30. Haversack says:

    The Midlands Today website lists 9 reporters, 10 presenters, and 5 correspondents, including one David Gregory who boasts of some of the trips to exotic locations around the world that he’s managed to have at the taxpayer’s expense! He also says “his job is possibly the best job in the world”. Quite possibly it is, as there is a law that makes the rest of us have to fund these cushy positions.

    24 people — and that’s just the on-air “talent”.


  31. Reg Hammer says:


    Agreed. I have not stared at a screen transmitting the BBC for many years and last night I was unfortunate enough to be sat in casualty with a TV set permanently fixed to BBC and I too witnessed East Midlands Today.

    I can tell you that being sat in pain with BBC local news playing made my discomfort twice as agonizing and all I could think of was this web site.

    What I noticed however from the people sat in casualty with me is that NOBODY was paying the least bit of attention to any of the news reports. They looked up twice in excitment: Once, when the word ‘murder’ was announced, and then again when ‘Derby’ was announced. Even I looked up then, anticipating a juicy tidbit that was actually relevant to where I lived!

    But alas it was just some bloke trudging about in mud combing flies off a bull with a toilet brush.

    Not even on-the-spot live reporting of a man eating a big steak was enough to distract people from the their various ailments.

    The only thing that raised eyes again was Eastenders, playing out like some poor amateur dramatic society play.

    What shocked me about the BBC output most though – not having suffered it for so long – is how expansive and expensive their idents are and yet how cheap and nasty it’s most popular soap looks.

    I was also shocked at how much airtime was devoted to advertising more BBC products and programmes. Even a promo for the Robin Hood show was crowbarred into one local news report! Shameless!!

    Has anyone ever totalled up how much of BBC programming in a 12 hour period is devoted to advertising themselves?

    From my unfortunate exposure last night, it seems an awful lot.


  32. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Haversack: “including one David Gregory who boasts of some of the trips to exotic locations around the world that he’s managed to have at the taxpayer’s expense!”

    I’ll give you China as an exotic location, but Italy? I think we went there and back for much less than a licence fee if I remember! That’s two overseas trips in ten years. I’m hardly swanning around the globe to exciting exotic locations which adding to my carbon footprint.

    And if you think that’s a lot of people, why not come and see how we work?


  33. Anon says:

    Why don’t you go and visit a commercial news operation to see see how they manage to put out an equally bad show on a realistic budget?


  34. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Hi Anon! But it’s not equally bad. Midlands Today does better in terms of share, audience figures and AI than Central News. Which would imply at the very least we are less bad.
    But thanks for your contribution!


  35. Reg Hammer says:

    Sorry David you are wrong. Midlands Today is nothing more than over-produced, over-financed cable access.

    It’s trite, it’s dull and it’s just downright unnecessary.

    Also, the way you keep trotting off viewing figures you make it seem like people are glued to their sets, when my experience of Midlands today with an AUDIENCE was quite the other.

    Local news is just tell wallpaper as they wait for the weather reports or Eastenders to come on.


  36. David Gregory (BBC) says:

    Reg: I’d imagine if I was stuck in casualty I might not give the TV my full attention. And as for East Midlands Today shamelessly plugging Robin Hood!?! It sort of makes sense seeing as they cover Nottingham… but really do we need to see any more about this English Hero (as the Beeboids call him!) ?!
    I think not.
    Let the market provide!
    Except it doesn’t.


  37. Reg Hammer says:

    David, believe me if you’re sat in casualty for 3 hours with nothing to do, nothing to read and no-one to talk to, I would expect all eyes to migrate to the TV set, wouldn’t you?

    “And as for East Midlands Today shamelessly plugging Robin Hood!?! It sort of makes sense seeing as they cover Nottingham”

    Like it. I’m sure the residents of Nottingham like nothing more than constant patronizing comparisons to Robin Hood, when they are currently experiencing a massive rise in ethnic related gang and gun crime, which SHOULD be making it to the local news.

    But then I should imagine the Beeb would still find a tenous link there.

    “Once, it was out of control arrows (cut to expensive Robin Hood graphics set), now it’s out of control bullets…