Open Thread

General BBC-related comment thread! Please use this thread for comments about the BBC’s current programming and activities. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog – scroll down for new topic-specific posts. N.B. This is not an invitation for general off-topic comments, rants or chit-chat. Thoughtful comments are encouraged. Comments may also be moderated. Any suggestions for stories that you might like covered would be appreciated! It’s your space, use it wisely


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59 Responses to Open Thread

  1. Abandon Ship! says:

    The Today programme – Oliver Stone on George W Bush – can you guess the rest?


  2. Cassandra says:

    FTSE crashing AGAIN wiping billions off the value of companies that are going down the pan,balance of trade figures that are terrifying to behold,collapse in the pound,government borrowing starting to exceed our ability to pay the interest and still it increases,tax revenues falling off a cliff while government spending explodes,unemployment rising fast,crime rising fast(despite the lies) ALL of this is not news worthy to the BBC!
    The BBC thinks it much more important to follow any story no matter how ridiculous as long as the Tory class enemy can be smeared!
    The BBC are desperate to hold back the tidal wave of disasterous economic news, any story ANY story will do and even when they simply have to report economic stories they spin them to protect Labour and Brown!

    Even people who were sceptical of BBC bias are now seeing them for the crooked scum they are, hooobloodyray for that!


  3. George R says:

    The BBC has had its groupthink meeting on how best it can help its Labour chums on the economy, and has decided, where possible to a void the words ‘recession’, ‘depression’, and ‘crisis’ (along with the avoidance of ‘Islamic jihad’, in a different context). The BBC word to describe the UK economy is ‘DOWNTURN’ (trade-mark):


    “The BBC has been accused of pandering to the Government by avoiding the word ‘recession’ in favour of ministers’ preferred term ‘the downturn’.

    “Corporation managers chose the softer expression as the title for a day devoted to the economic situation on Friday, even though many experienced commentators believe the financial system is experiencing the worst shock since 1929.

    “The decision is wrongly putting a “favourable gloss” on the economic outlook, according to the Liberal Democrats.

    “Jeremy Hill, the editor of the BBC’s business and economics unit, said the title ‘The Downturn’ had been chosen because Britain was not yet officially in a recession.

    “Mr Hill was making his comments as he denied a report that BBC broadcasters had been banned from using the term

    Who came up with the pro-Labour description of ‘downturn’? George Parr? Robert Peston’s Labour peer Dad?

    ‘ D-O-W-N-T-U-R-N ‘ – to be sung to the ‘tune’ ‘ N-E-A-S-D-E-N ‘?:


    ‘ D-O-W-N-T-U-R-N ‘ – to be sung to the tune ‘D-O-W-N-T-O-W-N’?:


  4. Bryan says:

    For some comic relief, here’s the literal fall from grace of a South African MP:

    Actually I’m surprised to find this on the BBC. Maybe it’s part of the diversion tactic. But I would have thought they would have too much respect for a comrade of the Struggle to show him in such an undignified light.

    Could be an editor at the BBC is about to be rapped over the knuckles.


  5. Cassandra says:

    FTSE disaster now occuring nearly TEN PERCENT fall as I write this!

    Pound to dollar now $1.50 disaster!

    Gordon Browns miracle snake oil cure a bigger flop than waterworld or the postman and the BBC still fighting a desperate rear guard to protect their Labour masters!

    Still at least the mega expensive EU fight against a harmless trace gas is going well eh?

    Gordon Brown to blame for ANYTHING? not according to the BBC, its blame everyone else time, dont look over there look over here instead eh BBC?


  6. Susan Franklin says:

    Couldn’t face watching Question Time last night, and may have to switch off ‘Have I Got News For You’ tonight – guests are Robert Peston and Dennis Skinner.


  7. ipreferred says:

    Interesting comments on the ‘downturn’. I believe many people, people here included, accuse the MSM of worsening the situation by constantly dishing out the words ‘recession’ and ‘crash’, so surely trying to put a less negative spin on the situation is a good thing? My thinking is that people can’t make up their minds, and are complaining over nothing.


  8. George R says:


    BBC’s use of ‘DOWNTURN’ is designed to assist Labour. It’s what the BBC does: blatantly.


  9. Peter says:

    ‘Have I Got News For You’ tonight – guests are Robert Peston and Dennis Skinner.
    Susan Franklin | 24.10.08 – 11:11 am | #

    Agree, if for different reasons. Any pol or BBC in-house celeb that gets involved usually is so dire that everyone is cringing. And their careers usually don’t benefit as a consequence.

    Saw a repeat t’other night with Nick Robinson, and he said about one thing, and that stopped the entire show dead in the water.

    I was going to say ‘don’t give up the day job’, but looking at his blog maybe that’s out of his hands as well…


  10. George R says:

    It’s merely part of the BBC’s ‘Downturn’:

    “Betrayal of British Workers”


  11. George R says:

    For BBC ‘Today’, re-Oliver Stone:


  12. Peter says:

    A wee reminder…

    I posted here about a Chinese dissident:

    Well, he’s still causing problems:

    China furious at EU human rights award to ‘criminal’ dissident Hu Jia

    Just… who for?

    It’s there all right now I have done a search…

    But not exactly front page news, as it was on the Telegraph blog.


  13. George R says:

    BBC not only avoids talking about finances of Mandelson, it also avoids giving details of BBC bonus payments to its Labour supporter/reporter, Peston:

    -from ‘Evening Standard’
    “Credit crunch is a big bonus for Robert Peston”


    “ROBERT PESTON has undoubtedly had a great credit crunch. The BBC’s business editor broke the news of Northern Rock’s troubles, then revealed Lloyd’s TSB’s proposed takeover of HBOS. When he is not on screen, he has been blogging non stop.

    “Now there are rumours that Peston has been paid a bonus for all his hard work. When the Londoner lodged a Freedom of Information request with the BBC as to whether Peston had received a bonus within the last year, the BBC cited the Data Protection Act and said that ‘Under section 40(2) of the [FOI] Act, we are not required to confirm or deny whether Robert Peston received a bonus of any kind in the year to 8 October 2008.’

    “The BBC has already attracted criticsm for rewarding its executives with huge bonuses this year (Deputy D-G Mark Byford, for example, received £41,000 on top his £459,000 salary) and MPs lodged an Early Day Motion this week voicing outrage at the Beeb’s bonus culture. More than 60 MPs have also supported a separate move to shame the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson into publishing his own BBC expenses.”


  14. Grant says:

    Bryan 10:41

    Great link, made my day. I watched it imagining it was Gordon Brown in the chair. What a laugh.


  15. Bryan says:

    Grant | 24.10.08 – 12:46 pm,

    Would have been even funnier if he was the chairman of a committee.

    Actually I was hoping they would show a bit of the aftermath.


  16. ipreferred says:

    So they made it worse just to now help the government? Wouldn’t it have been easier to help them from the start and not report all the negative news so negatively? You seem to be suffering from a classic conspiracy theory fallacy.


  17. George R says:


    Brown claimed credit for a boom, so now he can take the blame for the bust.

    Brown: ‘no more boom and bust’ – and we have ‘bust’, now.

    Woolas: ‘no more mass immigration’ – and we have mass immigration now -as Brown-D.Milband campaign for 75 million Muslim Turks to join European Union as soon as possible, when as many millions of them as want to will come to UK to reside, and will have the EU right to do so, but we have this ludicrous ‘pledge’:

    “Woolas defends population pledge”


  18. The Raven says:

    ‘State pension benefits improved’

    Glad to see they ran this title past everyone; well, except the head of the NPC.

    Furthermore, I can see a stinky logic behind this. The government has run out of money, and has found a magical way for over half a million women to give it several thousand pounds each, and in return they might get some money back in 10 years when it’s not Labour’s problem anymore.


  19. meggoman says:

    And lest we forget that things were far far worse under the Tories back in 1992 we have the good old BBC to remind us.


  20. ipreferred says:

    I was talking about the BBC though – not Gordon Brown’s responsibility or lack-of for the economic conditions.


  21. meggoman says:

    Susan Franklin:
    Couldn’t face watching Question Time last night, and may have to switch off ‘Have I Got News For You’ tonight – guests are Robert Peston and Dennis Skinner.
    Susan Franklin | 24.10.08 – 11:11 am | #

    You MUST watch it. You will see BBC bias at it’s best or worst. Count how many times they slag off Tories/America/McCain/Palin


  22. Gerald Brown says:


    Why would the BBC want to downplay the nation’s economic problems when their own Robert Peston did so much single handedly to bring them to our attention. Something about stable door, horse and bolted comes to mind.
    Do you not remember the BBC’s almost hysterical wall to wall coverage encouraging the run on Northern Rock?

    Really hope the SFO find out and publish just who fed RP all his inside information. Now that would be interesting.


  23. Grant says:

    Bryan 1:05

    Ha ! Yes, it is amazing how he just disappears under the desk and, then, cut !

    If only it would happen to Brown !


  24. Gerald Brown says:

    The Raven

    Reading the BBC link it says cost would be about £2500. This is the current cost. Other (possibly better informed sites) make it clear that the cost will be more than this with the aim of the policy to be largely REVENUE NEUTRAL for the Government.

    Not necessarily the bargain the headlines imply then. But then it is an announcement made by the present government who now have a bit of history of such good headlines / poor actuality announcements. But the BBC will go with the headline as always.


  25. Umbongo says:

    As Guido points out, the BBC has no problem with this foreigner giving millions to Labour but is scandalised by this foreigner NOT giving anything to the Conservatives.


  26. Fages says:

    On the Jeremy Vine show today the main topic of discussion was the positive side to the economic downturn and how wonderful life still is.

    The first guy who came on was a motoring journalist, who thought it was just fantastic that we are now paying just under a pound for a litre of fuel.

    He then said for every 5 tanks of fuel in his Ducati he is now getting one for free. Unbloodybelievable. At this point I turned off.


  27. The Raven says:

    Gerald, thanks for the clarification.


  28. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Peter Allen was just doing the doom and gloom on 5Live. I haven’t been counting exactly, but I’m noticing that after every three statements about how bad it’s getting in Britain, someone has to say how bad it is in the rest of the world. This gives the impression that the UK’s current problems are just part of the worldwide “Downturn”, and that there is no connection to anything done by the government. Only two weeks ago, we were hearing a different story, that the UK was best placed to get past this because Mr. Brown saved the world’s financial system, and had done some kind of magical spell to protect Britain against the worst of it (or words to that effect).

    Ooh, it’s the “greatest crisis in human history”, is it? Well, then it can’t possibly be Gordon Brown’s fault that the UK isn’t going to come out of this as well as you might have done under better stewardship.

    Allen was even discussing the dearth of manufacturing in Britain, and how towns and regions used to have their entire identities based on local manufacturing, and that we’re seeing the same thing again with jobs disappearing in various places.

    Apparently nobody remembers just how many jobs in the UK were switched from manufacturing to various service industries during the last decade and change under Labour. I remember very well a shrewd businessman friend of mine lamenting exactly that in 1999, saying that this would harm Britain’s chances of improving its lot when various bubbles burst. At the time, it was the tech bubble, and now it’s the housing and funny-money lending schemes based on it.

    Further, once again the BBC fails to admit that a significant amount of job loss has been in industries directly connected to Mr. Brown’s massive public sector spending. The public sector construction started to dry up months ago, as did all the trades and manufacturing which feed off it. All these jobs just didn’t disappear overnight, as the BBC seems to indicate.

    We’ve already covered in depth on this blog just how much of Mr. Brown’s public spending has been dependent on the funny-money of the bad debt in the mortgage and banking industry. Yet, once that well dries up, the BBC just can’t admit that this is a large reason why the UK is so not well-placed to ride out the recession. Instead, it’s all just the same as the rest of the world, as if everyone has done the same thing to themselves.


  29. nelson says:

    The BBC “branding” department / division has come up with a nice graphic for the “downturn”….

    is it just me or does anyone else find this nauseous?

    My impression is that most of the job-safe BBCers are loving this credit crunch thing because it gives them plenty of cheap headlines with very little work to do.

    When the bad times really do hit home, i hope the incoming Conservative government decide to turn the BBC into a subscription-based service or just make the BBC a lot “smaller”. I wonder if the branding department will come up with a “the Great BBC squeeze” logo??


  30. Martin says:

    I see the BBC are letting the fat one eyed jock off with lies again.

    Just how often is Broon going to recycle this £120 so called “tax cut”?

    It wasn’t a tax cut, it was done to give BACK money that 5 million of the lowest paid workers lost when the fat one eyed prat tried to upstage Cameron and make out he was some tax cutting hero when in fact he’s just a wanker.


  31. George R says:


    “BBC crisis management”


    “James Callaghan, returning from Caribbean sun to the Winter of Discontent, did not quite say: ‘Crisis, what crisis?’ Nor will the words ‘economic crisis’ or ‘recession’ be found on the lips of BBC reporters today. They have not formally been banned, but a day’s broadcasting focused on the state of the economy has been labelled ‘The Downturn’, a term more acceptable to the Government in its travails.”

    A day later, and like its Labour government chums, the BBC is forced to do a U-turn, as the BBC makes excellent use of BBC licencepayers’ money by spending time asking:
    ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?’


    “The UK is on recession watch”


  32. Arthur Dent says:

    Couldn’t face watching Question Time last night, and may have to switch off ‘Have I Got News For You’ tonight – guests are Robert Peston and Dennis Skinner.

    You MUST watch it. You will see BBC bias at it’s best or worst. Count how many times they slag off Tories/America/McCain/Palin

    Maybe but maybe not. The programme is famous for being iconoclastic. Remember this is the programme that substituted Hattersley with a tub of lard when he dropped out at the last moment. Hislop is renowned for puncturing pomposity particularly in celebrities and politicians.


  33. NotaSheep says:

    The BBC get a nice subtle dig in at John McCain here

    “US Republican presidential candidate John McCain is to campaign in Colorado, as he seeks to take advantage of his rival’s brief absence from the trail.

    Barack Obama has halted campaigning to see his ill grandmother, citing fears she will not live until election day.”

    That nasty John McCain campaigning whilst the good grandson visits his sick grandmother. You must remember Barack Obama’s grandmother the one he called a “typical white person” because she was at heart a kind and good person who sometimes feels irrational prejudices.


  34. NotaSheep says:

    Oh how the News Quiz are enjoying themselves attacking Osborne & Palin and skirting around Mandelson & Biden. Obviously Palin is a psychopath and incompetent and spending money wastefully, not a word about Biden’s gaffes, Biden’s honesty about Barack Obama’s inexperience and Michelle Obama’s lobster dinner. BBC scum…


  35. Martin says:

    NotaSheep: And not to mention that Biden has NEVER been thought of as a Presidential candibate by his own party.


  36. Martin says:

    I ‘m happy to take a bet with anyone that the BBC won’t run these new stories about Mandy? I’m sure as Nick Robinson would say “The BBC will resist running these stories”


  37. The Raven says:

    Arthur re: HIGNFY. They’ve gone the whole hog this evening. Leftie commedian Frank Skinner, but Peston isn’t on for some reason. So they got leftie hack and Tory-hater Kevin ‘Toilets’ Maguire instead. Skinner in particular going for the anti-Osborne angle.


  38. Gerald Brown says:

    I wonder why Peston wasn’t on HIGNFY tonight.

    Great to see Alexander Armstrong suffer several humour by-passes when he was targeted by Hislop and Merton. If Peston had been on there would have been two sitting ducks for piss taking, there would hardly have been time to fit any questions in!


  39. GCooper says:

    Stunning bias on the BBC 1 News at Ten, when Hugh Pym manfully leapt to McBean’s aid with a travesty of a report on the recession.

    Two previous recessions were used as reference points – one under Margaret Thatcher (complete with a picture of anti-Thatcher demonstrators, just to remind us of how evil she was) the other under John Major (cut to shot of boarded-up house).

    Any mention of the profound recessions under post-War Labour governments? No. Any mention of the fact that Britain’s economy is more royally screwed than just about any other country than Iceland’s? No.

    The BBC has descended to broadcasting pure, unadulterated government propaganda.


  40. davka says:

    Did anyone catch Tim Frank’s misleading report (The World Tonight • BBC World Service radio, 21.10.08) on the decision of the Israeli government to prohibit Falashmura immigration?
    Listen here at 16 min 30 into the programme

    The programme confused the Falashmura, who are Christians, albeit of Jewish origin, with the Falasha and tried to score points against Israel ( they are racists, discriminating against Falashmura just because they were black, and the whole ‘Who is a Jew’ issue is demonstrably a mess).
    The programme did not make clear that the bulk of immigrants from Ethiopia are Falasha – Ethiopian Jews – but that in the last mass immigration operation, Operation Solomon, about 2,000 Falashmura managed to sneak in. Of course they wanted their relatives to join them.

    Tim Franks failed to report that the Falashas themselves did not want to let more Falashmura into Israel.

    Despite saying that they had ‘returned’ to Judaism some Falashmura had tried to convert the Ethiopian Jews to Christianity since their arrival in Israel. It is crucial to know this fact in order to be able to judge whether Israel’s immigration ban was justifiable. The programme did point out another good reason for Israel not to let them in – that the Falashamura are simply economic migrants.

    So it appears that the whole programme was based on a false premise.


  41. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Remember this and other breathless BBC reports about that massive amount of new registered voters, the majority of whom were signing up specifically to vote for The Obamessiah?

    Or, maybe not.


  42. Martin says:

    GCooper: I noticed that as well. No mention of the mess the economy was in in 1979 was there?


  43. King James VI of Scotland says:

    It’s interesting that Jeremy Hillman came out again on Friday (after coming out earlier in the week too) to defend the BBC against accusations that they’ve banned the word ‘recession’ and are using the word ‘downturn’ in its place.

    I think comment 10 nails him (and the BBC) on this matter:

    “The fact that substantial bbc management time is now spent denying pro labour bbc bias is noted.

    ‘The lady doth protest too much methinks.’

    Hamlet, Act 3, scene 2.”


  44. Kill the Beeb says:

    Just bought the “Planet Earth” series on Blu Ray. I didn’t want to give those bastards at the BBC any of my money, but I wanted to test my new player out with a proper Hi-Def Disk, and not some Hollywood studio rip off. I couldn’t shoplift it because they keep all the discs stashed behind the tills don’t they. Still, I let the Woolies staff have a piece of my mind about those lefty bastards when I handed my money over. And I scrunched the notes up into a ball so they were really creased and ugly looking. That showed them.

    Anyway, when I got the discs back I stuck them on and watched the first three episodes. I expected some long homosexual diatribe on Global Warming from David Attenborough – if he could be heard over the BBC cash register he’s got stitched into the lining of his pockets. But he didn’t mention it once. Not BLOODY once. Still another 5 discs to go so maybe he’s just warming up.

    Anyway, instead I had to sit and watch a load of perfect cinematography, amazing detailed wide shots of places I will never see in my life if I live to be a million or as old as Jimmy Saville, incredible slow motion of attacking animals, snow leopards in the wild caught on camera for the first time… A work of bloody art.

    They didn’t even mention the benefits of multiculturalism, nor did they apologise for ONE SINGLE MUSLIM blowing themselves up.

    The only bias I could see was claiming that the Panda bear was in trouble because it lived on a shit mountain that was falling apart. As opposed to the Panda bear being lazy and fussy about it’s food and having the same sex drive as Morissey.

    All I can say is that BBC Bristol is the only division of crusty telly towers that should not be nuked, as they know how to make Blu-Ray and a Bravia TV set work better than the Japs who invented them.


  45. Martin says:

    Has anyone seen how the BBC have covered the Mandelson scandal I mentioned earlier?

    “Mandelson Clarifies Tycoon meetings”

    Contract that with this headline

    “Osborne denies Russian cash claim”

    The BBC fair and balanced? I think not.


  46. GCooper says:

    You beat to exactly the same comment, Martin!

    Yet more blatant pro-ZaNuLabour bias from the lying hounds at the BBC!


  47. Bryan says:

    davka | Homepage | 25.10.08 – 12:30 am

    Tim Franks sold his soul quite some time ago to the BBC. Now he has anti-Israel propaganda by means of the omission and distortion of facts down to a fine art.


  48. GCooper says:

    Further to my comments about the BBC’s attempt to cover-up Mandleson’s wriggling in the forked stick, I note that the major newspapers today use words like ‘admits’ or even ‘acknowledges’.

    Only the BBC is coming out to bat for Lord Slime.


  49. Martin says:

    The BBC are so far up the backside of Mandy they’d run into Gordon Brown 🙂


  50. The Raven says:

    So, had a late night last night and was watching News 24 at 3.50am or so, and the woman on it started reviewing the papers. They glanced at all the papers, with every single one leading with the looming recession. She then said “let’s have a closer look.” You’ll notice of course that the recession isn’t part of the ‘closer look’.

    She then picked up, I think, The Times. Her exact words were “It’s the story that won’t go away; the meeting between Tory Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, Peter Mandelson and Oleg Deripaska.” Except that wasn’t what the story she was looking at. The meeting the story was talking about was the one between Mandelson and Deripaska in 2004; the one he lied about existing. So nothing to do with Osborne at all, but she had to bring it up. She then went onto the next paper, pretty much swallowing Mandelson’s ‘it was a mistake/confusion’ angle on his secret meeting, before going on to a story in the Guardian about a Russian who has funded Dame Neville-Jones (another Tory, boo hiss) through a means which the Electoral Commission says is okay. She failed to mention this fact, however. She obviously forgot about that Indian businessman who gave over £4 million to Labour in very similar circumstances.