Nice illustration of how the BBC selects interviewees with an eye towards shaping the story to the BBC’s narrative……

‘BBC seeks angry right-winger to come on show…
She didn’t quite put it like that, but the BBC researcher who phoned me this morning basically wanted to know if I would be prepared to go on air to angrily denounce the Big Society – while preferably making rude noises about the government.
“What” she inquired “did I think about David Cameron’s ideas for the Big Society?”
I told her I was in favour. The bigger civic society, the better. After decades of politicians trying to get the state to run everything, I added, trying to get non state players involved was a refreshing change.
“Oh” she replied, sounding a tad disappointed.
Perhaps in the minds of those who make such programmes, the Big Society has become a kind of shorthand for what is nice and cuddly and modern about the Conservatives.
What better, then, than to find an outspoken Tory backbencher to say how much they are against it. Two lazy stereotypes confirmed in one go, eh.
It simply did not seem to have occured to her that a libertarian, small-state MP might be in favour of less government. Much easier to think of outspoken Tory backbenchers as being opposed to nice and cuddly and modern things ….
It could have been worse. Several months ago, I had a BBC researcher call me up hoping to get me to speak out against proposals for direct democracy.
Outspoken backbench Tory? Must be against more democracy and change, obviously.’

Now, by way of balance and because I believe in trying to be fair, in my OWN experience, the BBC does try to present contrasting views. I have been regularly approached to express a counter-balancing “right of liberal” set of views and respect the BBC for that. The only time I get irritated is when the HOST of a given debate clearly weighs in on one side, so unbalancing the debate. This is usually from the left perspective. Hard to generalise because, for example, I was on BBC Hereford recently and the host only interviewed me and if anything was very  sympathetic to my opinion on the recent tanker drivers strike. It seems the bias is more concentrated in some areas than others. Carswell flags up a more disturbing situation where the clear aim was to bring on a Government critic from within the Government.

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  1. Jim Dandy says:

    That’s a very balanced piece David.

    What I don’t like about the way tv works these days is the whole ‘point, counterpoint’/let’s have a heated debate methodology of providing balance.

    So a piece on gay marriage which had you one side and a Stonewall representative the other would (with all due respect!) generate a lot of heat, but not much light. I prefer a more discursive approach when all sides respect opposing views, while holding by their own.

    The BBC is far too often guilty of encouraging this type of Rather base journalism.


    • Guest Who says:

      ‘Jim Dandy says:
      April 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

      The BBC is far too often guilty of encouraging this type of Rather base journalism.’

      And, again, I am pleased to agree.

      From the risible Jeremy Vine ‘show’, which makes a cock pit seem like a beacon of civilised discourse, to what I term the Newsnight ‘twofer’, where two (if you are lucky; often it’s some sacrificial GOAT who got the short straw trying to get a word in edgewise to a ranting anchor) extremes, illumination is seldom the aim, or result.
      Which does bring one to a few questions and conclusions.
      Such as what are the reasons? Ratings? Agenda? Both?
      And if so, how does that tally with the Charter obligation to educate and inform?
      David P has already highlighted the odd dichotomy of the BBC claiming to be impartial by positively selecting… by their own measures… those they deem ‘in balance’.
      Already that seems a flawed construct.
      Add what their personal predilictions are, and levels of professional integrity to keep them in check, and you have a rather odious stew, from guest selection through debate chairing to edit of ‘key scenes’ afterwards on mainstream top of the hours. Newsnight has run the Ken & Boris show through a very special filter for the reruns.
      I’d congratulate them (well, assuming the mods didn’t ‘off topic’ me), but of course they have shut their blog down.
      Wrong kind of comment on the line?
      What’s amusing is how often the spotlight shines on the BBC, from The Editors blog to a personal exchange with a Complaints Director, and suddenly on their side… no one is available to comment.

      It can, of course, occur here, on occasion, too.
      Sadly, the majority of the population doesn’t get to see that as much.


  2. David Vance says:


    Nothing wrong with polite and respectful debate. The fiery stuff has a place, listeners/viewers do like it, but I always prefer light to heat. I always try to be honest and say what I feel, and when it comes to how I am treated by the BBC, I also want to be fair minded. There are many good people working in the BBC, bright, talented, smart. I do not come to damn them but it is reasonable to discuss the instances where balance seems lost, where hosts seem to have a dog in the race, and then the broader aspects such as funding. In all instances, polite debate is the key! I know I can sometimes be harsh, and fall short of the standards I seek. But that can also apply to BBC!


    • hippiepooter says:

      The trouble is when interviewers do clearly have ‘a dog in the race’ that dog is invariably – if not always – running in red.

      I’m glad you’re giving the nod DV to the fact the BBC is not uniformly biased, but what is so dangerous and damaging is that it’s flagship shows, Newsnight, TODAY etc, are.


  3. Jim Dandy says:

    Fair points.

    My word, peace in our time!


  4. Wild says:

    The function of the BBC is to push the agenda of the Left.
    That is why Jim Dandy supports them.
    Is there any doubt about his political opinions?
    Is he anti-EU for example? Has he ever voted Conservative in his life? What about his opinions about the NHS or Christianity or the EU?
    His opinions coincide exactly with the Leftist agenda of the BBC?
    Do you think the BBC could care less that he is defending them?


  5. Jim Dandy says:

    Saved my and my family’s bacon a few times.
    Pernicious nonsense.
    Curate’s eggy
    Don’t accept your premise


    • Wild says:

      Saying that the BBC does not have a Leftist agenda is a far greater (and more dangerous) delusion than the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. The fact that you once voted for the Conservatives hardly disproves my point that your Leftist views coincide with the Leftist agenda of the BBC.


  6. Jim Dandy says:

    Quote of the day.


  7. DNACowboy says:

    (Soz, don’t know the correct codes for linking directly, if anyone could let me know I’d appreciate it)


  8. Span Ows says:

    Hey, how come I don’t get a mention: I posted this 2 open threads ago: April 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm


  9. chrisH says:

    Currently going through a collection of Thatchers speeches .
    Astonishing scholarship, absence of rancour, quotes from Kipling to Lincoln, uncanny prophesy and-best of all-a continually clear and contemptous critique of socialism rationale and effects from Attlee through to Callaghan and Shirley Williams.
    Absolutely brilliant eye for what Labour stood for-and her words on their whole reason for existing and morphing are as apt today as they were back then.
    Boy was I dumb not to listen to any of it at the time…and these speeches are beautifully written by a team that knew what the stakes were for the country…and it sounds like it.
    Tragic then that all we have are pasties and Camerons, Dianne Abbotts and pigmy reforms of nothing much…time to cherish this lady for her intellect and her clear sighted analysis of the political stakes that were being fought for back then.
    Same fight today-but sadly, there`s no-one on the political horizon fit to polish the clasp on her handbag!
    Let no-one say that dumbing down was confined to schools alone…Carrington,, Tebbit and Thatcher -or Prescott, Blair or Balls?…I rest my case!


    • Dysgwr_Cymraeg says:

      “Same fight today-but sadly, there`s no-one on the political horizon fit to polish the clasp on her handbag!”
      Well I’d put it as : there’s no-one fit to wipe her arse!
      obviously a little more strongly.


  10. scoobywho says:

    You should have fibbed to her then once in the chair allow the opposition to convince you that actually, the concept of a ‘big society’ is actually pretty good. Done carefully I suspect you’ll take a number of listeners with.
    I realise politics should be open and honest……..(pause for the laughter to die down…..(quiet at the back)…but if the BBC want to play silly games it’s only fair that you should do the same. Treat them with the contempt they deserve, much like the way they treat their licence payers.


  11. Cassandra King says:

    Rigged audiences on BBC question time, organized show trials for the hard left who have some perverted desire to hold up ideological enemies before the masses for ridicule and group hatred, and if no such hatred exists or God forbid those ideological enemies have popular public support then the hard left BBCs first instinct is to fabricate that hatred in the form of a show trial.

    Show trials and intolerance of its ideological enemies displays itself in acts of mass violence and rent a rabble vandalism, it is a feature of the hard left and has been for years, examine the last 100 mass demonstrations that ended in vandalism and destruction of property and violence and nearly all originated from the hard left and they all gained tacit BBC approval and active support, the other few were from the islamofascist and ‘black’ community.

    To understand the BBC you have to understand their hard left sympathies and only then can you understand why they organise show trials, why they support ugly rent a rabble violence, so quick to understand and find excuses for some violent thugs and why they move heaven and earth to trap and destroy their political enemies in their perfectly designed ‘interview ambush’ techniques, why their researchers are trained to try to exploit internal differences in their enemies ranks by selecting suitable guests.

    The BBC in action is to see the hard left in action, they appear identical because they are identical, it is a corporate mouthpiece of the entire left from hard to soft. They are incapable of giving all sides a free and fair hearing because they have a deep seated genetic hatred of any group or individual that they deem to be their political and ideological enemies.