“Sunday Morning Live” have been in touch and I will now be solely partaking in the debate on Israel. More precisely the question is; “Should Britain support a Palestinian State?” On the panel with me are; George Galloway and Milo Yiannpoulos and yours truly. It kicks off at 10am – I’m the blue corner. I think Galloway is being sponsored by Whiskas?

Rod Liddle Explains BBC Pro-Euro Bias

The former editor of Today, Rod Liddle, has a brief blog post for the Spectator defending his former colleagues at the BBC against charges of a pro-Euro conspiracy. That sentence doesn’t contradict my headline. As most people here know by now, Peter Oborne wrote recently about how Liddle complained to upper mandarins about the complaints he was hearing about the obvious pro-Euro bias among the talent on his programme. He was told in no uncertain terms by a senior BBC figure that Euro-skeptics are “mad”, so those complaints should be ignored.

How many different topics now have we seen to receive the same treatment, I wonder? Warmism, the EU, open borders, the evil of the Tea Party movement, “Green” Energy, the list goes on. Sometimes it does seem that there is a coordinated effort to get a certain Narrative out there. On quite a few stories, as has been shown on this blog time and time again, the exact same position is taken by the presenter on several different programmes, radio and television, not to mention BBC News Online, essentially across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. Then there are those quotes on the sidebar of this blog, particularly the one from Jeff Randall, in which he says that the bias is visceral, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. To put it another way, it’s in their DNA (you knew I couldn’t resist that one).

So following up on Robin Horbury’s post about yesterday’s biased performance by James Naughtie, now Rod Liddle confirms it. Liddle heard the show, and has a few words to say on the matter.

The BBC was too wet to have concocted a Euro plot

I heard my name mentioned on the Today programme yesterday, which is always nice, to be remembered by your old manor. The journalist Peter Oborne was castigating the propagandist forces, as he saw them, which back in 2000 attempted to convince of the need for greater European integration and joining the Euro. These were, he said, the Financial Times, the CBI and the BBC, pre-eminent amongst which latter was the Today programme. Jim Naughtie picked him up on this and pointed out that at the time the programme was edited by me, and I could hardly be described as a Europhile (Jim said this with a soft veneer of loathing). He was right; I was editor back then and was mildly Eurosceptic. Oborne responded by saying that I had also complained about pro-Euro bias in the BBC but that my complaints were ignored.

So it wasn’t just Robin and John Anderson who inferred a negative attitude from Naughtie, eh? Liddle continues:

This isn’t quite right; Oborne seems to imply that there was a covert plot within the top echelons of the BBC in favour of the European project, and that’s not true either. It is rather more the case that the civilised, decent middle class liberals who ran the corporation genuinely believed that the Eurorealists were a bunch of deranged xenophobes, one step up from the BNP, and therefore their arguments should be discounted. I realise that covert plot or otherwise the result was the same – a heavy pro-Euro bias, and so you might argue my quibble does not matter. But the BBC’s bias was arrived at through a sort of inherent wet liberalism, rather than an actual plot as such.

And there you have it. This is exactly what this blog has been saying – not just about the Euro, but about a variety of topics – since its inception. There is a self-affirming, ideological groupthink on these issues at the BBC because of the personnel. BBC hiring practices ensure it, BBC editorial policies enshrine it, and the style guide reinforces it. It’s not just us saying this anymore. This will not change until there is a wholesale purge in certain departments, and complete rethink on journalistic practices.

I can’t leave without including one more bit from Liddle:

One part of the Beeb back then which was, however, entirely on board with the Euro project was the Brussels office. We presented the programme from their studio on one occasion and kicked the EU from pillar to post, to the clear discomfort of the resident correspondents. Our team, in the manner of football hooligans, then plastered their office with Just Say No and Referendum Now posters and stickers. I suppose you could argue that this showed clear anti-Euro bias on our part, but it was really just a spirit of mischief and an attempt to remind our Brussels colleagues that the country was not entirely behind the project, as they might have thought.

That last line could have been said about a dozen issues. Come see the bias inherent in the system.

Knell’s Toll

Yolande Knell has taken sides. In Knell’s eyes, and in the eyes of most of the BBC’s Middle East staff, Israel’s existence automatically places it in the wrong.
An unpleasant article in the Independent by Christina Patterson drifted into stormy waters not so long ago because it characterised London’s Jews as boorish freaks. She managed to dig herself even deeper in a follow-up article entitled “How I was smeared as an antisemite”.
Well, I’ve had a look at Yolande Knell’s output, and as far as impartiality is concerned, she also sails close to the wind. But she represents the BBC, which Patterson does not.

Every one of Knell’s pieces is angled from the Palestinian / Arab perspective.
For example on 26th August, a vehicle for showcasing the tally of militants killed by Israel appeared, entitled “Militant Groups in Gaza Agree to a second Israel Truce’.
On 8th September, ‘Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood faces fresh political fight’ arrived. It portrays the Muslim Brotherhood as a relatively moderate group who have disavowed violence, and whose banner reads: “Freedom and Justice Party”
On 15th September along came “West bank residents split on Palestinian Statehood bid.” The split is echoed in the article’s two contrasting halves. The first predicts the paradise that will emerge from the forthcoming transformation, ‘when the international community will recognise our rights.

“In the city it is easy to imagine what a future Palestinian state might look like. Palestinian police officers direct traffic on the newly cleaned streets and the shops and restaurants are packed. It lends a sense of relative prosperity and security.” Yolande Knell has turned into Maeve Binchy!

In part two, the mood changes. She descends sharply into misery memoir mode and the rhetoric is ramped up to full death-Knell.
“It is hard to imagine a Palestinian state here. “We’re under occupation until now and you speak about a state?” says Zayd, a Beduin. “The Israeli army is everywhere here and the settlers are everywhere – they’re armed and they cause a lot of problems and you speak about a state?” Unadulterated pathos and bitterness, with an undercurrent of belligerence. Orla, eat your heart out.

Now for the Patterson parallel. When she composed her ‘Judaisation of Jerusalem’ (Israel-Palestinian conflict writ large etc) article on August 17th, Yolande Knell didn’t feel any need to conceal her aversion to Jews. Her assumption was clear. Empathy with the Palestinian cause is a given, therefore entirely outside the scope of the impartiality conundrum. She took it for granted that the reader would accept that the stereotypical Jew is ‘over familiar’ – “swaggering” Jeremy Bowen might say. Her friendship with a high-profile Palestinian activist seems almost a boast, as does her mischievous urge to ridicule her young Jewish fellow-passenger’s preference for using the Hebrew name for Jerusalem by expressing her personal preference for the Arabic one.

Land may be at the heart of the P/I conflict” she opines, ignoring what everyone knows deep down, but chooses to ignore, that really, Palestinian rejectionism is at its heart. The possibility that signage in Jerusalem will display “the transliterations of Hebrew names of cities”, the ‘Judaisation of Jerusalem’ hints, for Knell and her friends, at a cunning plan which threatens the Palestinians’ struggle.
After Benjamin Netanyahu’s terrific speech at the UN, where he compares the incongruity of this concept with the ‘Americanisation of Washington’, I needn’t elaborate on the ignorance and bias inherent Knell’s piece.
Drawing attention to place-names brings to mind the Palestinians’ deeply unpleasant habit of naming their streets and towns after terrorists, but such things don’t interest Knell. She recounts the conjecture posited by her friend Huda, the ‘well-known, energetic Palestinian activist’, that the Israelis are erasing all traces of Palestinian identity. Israel’s opponents frequently project their own foibles and conspiracy theories onto their enemy; the more ludicrous and malevolent the better. And as erasing traces of Jewish history and identity is exactly what Arab historians and archaeologists persist in doing themselves, Huda’s theory looks like a choice example of that psychological condition.

“The biggest problems arise in East Jerusalem – which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and is still a mainly Arab area – although Jewish settlers are fast moving in, taking over Palestinian homes”.
Knell slips that in almost casually, though she must be well aware that ‘taking over Palestinian homes’ is an incendiary statement, undoubtedly phrased, deliberately, to cause outrage, especially as she doesn’t explain how the occupation came about in 1967, and leaves the unwary reader with the impression that it was a random act of aggression by an expansionist, land-grabbing thieving entity. Which may well be what she herself believes.

So, if the BBC’s reporters are allowed to be as overtly anti Israel as Mr. Bowen and Ms. Knell, where are the overtly pro Israel ones? The impartiality in their genes evaporated and left the building long ago.


OK folks, just to let you know that yours truly will be appearing on Sunday Morning Live (BBC network 10am). I will be debating with George Galloway amongst others on the subjects of Capital Punishment and “Palestine.” I would welcome any comments or suggestions that you may have.

My views are as follows;

I support the Death Penalty and believe it is the appropriate punishment for those such as child-killers and terrorists. I believe the recent execution of Troy Davis in the States was overdue. I care more about the victims than the killers. A large number of ordinary British people share my view and I believe that our political representatives have failed in their duty to represent that view.

As far as a state for Palestine is concerned, you may as well wish for a State for Narnia. A/They already have a State called Jordan B/ After we have seen what they when they got Gaza, who in their right mind what offer them MORE Israeli territory? C/Theatrics at the UN, that bastion of institutionalised Israel-bashing, are a poor substitute for seeking peace. The truth is that the Palestinians are frauds who cloak their intent to erase Israel in contrived language aimed at getting liberal sentiment on side.


Radio 4 Today has taken pro Palestinian advocacy to new heights. Their loathing for Israel trumped their love for for Obama, because having dismissed his speech as pandering to the Jewish lobby, they’ve ignored it altogether.
Jeremy Bowen spoke on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, protesting his innocent self righteousness, which he expects us to take at face value, as he does himself.

We heard an emotive item about a Palestinian student debate, (“Did they pick the most unpopular kid to represent Israel?”) topped off with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, notorious Arabist, making ludicrous statements about Israel provoking surrounding Arab states, including Iran. Which I suppose is true, as Iran does find Israel’s existence an unacceptable provocation.
Wyre Davies found some understanding Israelis to put the case for the Palestinians.

Later James Naughtie did talk to Daniel Taub, Israel’s new ambassador, putting a barrage of loaded accusations about illegal settlements, and smothering the life out of what might have been an illuminating interview for both Israel-bashers and Israel admirers.

Here are some of the things Sir Jeremy said:

“It’s not the only option, but what they’re pointing to is the unreasonableness of the sham that negotiations under Oslo Madrid, in 1993… it’s brought them absolutely nothing, and the settlements have gone on stealing their land. […] You’re right. It is a sign of desperation. […] they just want to continue negotiations in a court that will listen to them and not ignore them”.

Naughtie emotes about Obama’s ‘electoral difficulties’.

[…] Israel and America are missing the point. Palestine is not a threat to Israel […] What is much more of a threat to Israel is setting fire to their relationships in the region. With Turkey, with Egypt. Already terribly bad with Iran, with the rest of the world. With the Arab street, opinion coming out of the new Arab awakening, is much more threatening for Israel than anything that Palestine can say[…]the Palestinians are desperate, they don’t like the sham of the quartet and the Oslo Madrid process, they’re asking to be heard in a different court.”

I won’t go into the outrageous nightmarish bias that oozed from that interview. Feel free to ask, if there any doubts.


I have a copy of the Peter Oborne’s Guilty Men which I picked up at the launch at the CPS last night. Figures such as Michael Howard and even the odd Labour eurosceptic MP were there. ..but conspicuous by their absence were any of this miserable so-called Tory government, who even now are desperately trying to save the euro despite their professed scepticism. That aside, some of what Mr Oborne says about the BBC’s coverage of the first day of the euro on January 1, 2002, deserves spelling out in full to add to the previous post:

It was a moment of celebration for the BBC, whose already fragile sense of perspective collapsed. The BBC forgot its duty of impartiality….And it was nakedly contemptuous of its mass British audience.

Today presenter Jim Naughtie, in France on January 1, spoke of:

“…a sense of occasion, a genuine excitement, a sense of peculiar new notes, a sense of change in the air especially among young people, a sense of breaking away from the past.”

Naughtie lapsed into mystical language, strikingly similar to the words used in St John to describe one of the central mysteries of Christianity: “The arrival of the currency that the fathers of modern Europe dreamed about are symbols now made flesh”.

The BBC Charter with its demand for neutrality and professionalism, was broken again and again in those early days of the euro. Guidelines on balanced reporting were repeatedly ignored. Reasonable doubts about the euro were underplayed. Some reporters failed to distinguish between normal New Year revelries and specifically euro-related celebration…The BBC coverage should be seen as apart of a wider and more significant national pattern as many mainstream British institutions were subverted to serve the aspirations of the pro-euro camp.

I await with interest reaction from the BBC. Mr Oborne bases his analysis of the euro launch on a detailed research paper. My guess is that, as usual, Patten and his henchmen will simply bluster and ignore it. After all, they are always right. They say so.

Update: Mr Oborne appeared with eurofanatic Denis MacShane at the end of Today. I am currently having the sequence transcribed…and will comment when I have looked in detail at exactly what was said. True to form, there was a particularly sneery interruption from the aforementioned Naughtie.

The BBC and the Euro

Peter Oborne in magisterial voice :

Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age – they were right for the right reasons. They foresaw with lucid, prophetic accuracy exactly how and why the euro would bring with it financial devastation and social collapse.

Meanwhile, the pro-Europeans find themselves in the same situation as appeasers in 1940, or communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are utterly busted.

Oborne and Frances Weaver go on to quote the pro-Euro partisans. Among whom (and this will shock you) ….

Now let’s turn to the BBC. In our Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet, Guilty Men, we expose in detail how the BBC betrayed its charter commitment and became a partisan player in a great national debate – all the more insidious because of its pretence at neutrality.

For example, in the nine weeks leading to July 21, 2000, when the argument over the euro was at its height, the Today programme featured 121 speakers on the topic. Some 87 were pro-euro compared with 34 who were anti. BBC broadcasters tended to present the pro-euro position itself as centre ground, thus defining even moderately Eurosceptic voices as extreme.

But this was not the worst of the unfairness. The Eurosceptics were too rarely given time to state their reasons for favouring sterling. Their position was too often covered through a paradigm of deep, “explosive” splits within the Conservative Party rather than the merits of the policy argument. Again and again the BBC led its news coverage on scare stories that failure to join the euro would lead to economic or industrial disaster. When those reports turned out to be false, it failed to correct them. In fact Britain was enjoying record levels of foreign investment: but when Office for National Statistics figures showed this, the BBC made very little of it.

As Rod Liddle, then editor of the Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “The whole ethos of the BBC and all the staff was that Eurosceptics were xenophobes.” He recalls one meeting with a senior BBC figure over Eurosceptic complaints of bias. “Rod, the thing you have to understand is these people are mad. They are mad.”

And the fish is rotten from the head :

One urgent lesson concerns the BBC. The corporation’s twisted coverage of the EU is a serious problem, because the economic collapse of the eurozone means a new treaty may be needed very soon.

The problem is that the BBC cannot be trusted not to become part of a partisan propaganda operation: just look at the membership of the BBC Trust. Both its chairman, Lord Patten, and the vice-chairman, Diane Coyle, took a heavily partisan position in the euro debate.

The facts concerning Lord Patten are well known, but we have unearthed very troubling evidence of bias concerning Ms Coyle as economics writer for the Independent 10 years ago. Take this: “The defenders of sterling are, in the main, a group of elderly men with more stake in their past than in our future. They clothe their gut anti-Europeanism and Little Englandism in the language of rational economic argument.”

Of course Ms Coyle is welcome to voice whatever insulting assumptions she wants about the motivations of Eurosceptics – but they call into question her membership of the BBC Trust.

(browsing I see that commenters John Horne Tooke and Gerald were first to spot this)


The BBC has begun an online series of articles called Campaign Ad Breakdown in which wise Beeboid opinion will be brought to bear upon the campaign ads of candidates for the US presidency in 2012.

The first such report comes from Daniel Nasaw who, as we’ve pointed out before, used to be US correspondent for the Guardian. In November 2009, shortly before joining the BBC, he wrote the following about Sarah Palin:

Let’s focus our attention not on her legs but on her far-right political ideology, her baseless attacks on Obama, her attacks on women’s reproductive rights and her effort to purge moderates from the Republican party.

Not a fan of the American Right, I think it’s fair to say. And, it could be argued, not the first choice of journalist to be reviewing Rick Perry’s political ads with any measure of impartiality. For example, check out the section in bold here from Nasaw’s opening Campaign Ad article:

With the crumbling economy firmly linked in the viewer’s mind to Mr Obama’s actions – rather than the mortgage lending collapse of 2007-2008, debt crises in Europe, budget cuts in the US that have drained money from the economy, or political dysfunction in Washington – the frame fades to a calming black.

The highlighted segment is nothing less than Nasaw’s own political opinion. Remove it and one sees a straightforward description of that particular scene in the ad. Its inclusion turns the sentence into just the sort of Obama-defending propaganda Nasaw advocated in his Guardian piece in 2009. The difference now, of course, is that he has a BBC platform for his opinion/journalism.

Openly partisan journalists such as Nasaw should have the balls to work for similarly partisan news organisations. On that score at least he can’t be criticised.


B-BBC contributor Graeme aka Hippiepooter writes;

“As a regular listener to R5L Breakfast, where I took political refuge over a decade ago from the outrageous bias of R4’s TODAY, it stands out when Nicky Campbell and his new co-presenter Rachel Burden are biased, whereas with John Humphrys and James Naughtie it stands out when they’re impartial.

Blatant bias stood out today on R5L Breakfast over the death penalty.

Rachel Burden and Nicky Campbell were incessantly referring to the murderer of Police Officer Mark McPhail, Troy Davis, as being excecuted in the US state of Georgia “despite grave doubts about his guilt”.

Grave doubts? Whose? Not the Supreme Court’s for sure, that had just rejected a stay of execution after the case had been appealed for 24 years. Grave doubts by campaigners against the death penalty that might reasonably be regarded as special pleading? Sure. So why didn’t R5L Breakfast tell us where these ‘grave doubts’ were coming from? They’re doing anti-death penalty special pleading too?

Towards the end of the programme, after having to endure the endless repetitions of unattributed ‘grave doubts’ that is an insult to the memory of Officer McPhail and his family (too early to link to at time of writing, about 02:45:00 when its up), Nicky Campbell interviewed some spokeswoman from ‘Reprieve’ in which he was mainly just feeding her prompts to promote her agitation against the death penalty.

The same one sided coverage was given last night on News24.

According to this report in the New York Times the late Mr Davis took part in an attack on a homeless man and when Officer McPhail intervened Davis shot him dead.*

Hey, BBC, next time you claim to be impartial, please don’t forget to mention ‘despite grave doubts’.

*Court details here