Conservatives, The Mainstream Media, And The Echo Chambers Blog…

Biased BBC contributor Daniel Pycock writes…

“I don’t know if any of you have come across the BBC Echo Chambers blog. I certainly hadn’t until this week. The column itself is unremarkable, though one or two things there are worth reading. The complaint I have, however, is on this week’s post as regards the criticism of ’60 Minutes’ (which like Newsnight has faced a serious reputation crisis of late).


A perfectly reasonable argument to start off with, as to why this news programme faced a reputation crisis, yielded to the following throwaway comment: “it’s hard not to detect a certain amount of glee from conservatives[sic] on this topic as they’ve long viewed 60 Minutes as having a left-leaning bias (of course, they feel that way about most of the mainstream media, but that’s beside the point)”.

There is, of course, no evidence for either assertion. The conservatives who allegedly see 60 minutes as left-leaning and biased remain unnamed and, if the bold turned around to say anything other than ‘conservatives’, it would probably provoke howls of derision from the wronged party.

In my experience, Conservatives feel neither schadenfreude for a fallen reputation, nor victimisation from an allegedly unrepresentative mainstream media. In the UK, Conservatives read The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times (which is probably the most establishment, mainstream news-outlet – loss-making notwithstanding), and might even watch BBC news programmes where Jeremy Paxman or Andrew Neil make politicians squirm under the weight of their own hypocrisy. In the US Conservatives have the National Review and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

It is unfair to claim Conservatives feel a victimisation they neither suffer nor recognise. It implies as used above that Conservatives hold an illogical position (because they disagree with a majority of “mainstream” media outlets), and that Conservatives thus criticise mainstream media outlets (such as the BBC) because of a psychology of victimisation and on disagreeing with the outcome of objective and impartial, evidence-based debates. This is not true.

The criticisms levelled at the BBC by blogs such as this and others, are based on fact where a state-broadcaster is abusing its position by, for example, presenting one-sided arguments without reply, or asymmetrically criticising positions, or not/asymmetrically citing their sources. The BBC, as a state-broadcaster, has stated objectives by which it should be judged. If it falls short of these, it should be pointed-out without a counter-accusation that critics hold illogical beliefs, and are thus beyond the pale of consideration.”

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24 Responses to Conservatives, The Mainstream Media, And The Echo Chambers Blog…

  1. chrisH says:

    Maybe a BBC lickspittle(funny how we`ve heard nothing from them of late…did they break up from sabotage ops early December with the typical two months public sector holiday for “winters greetings”?) could tell me how a bit of posh totty gets the greaseball treatment from Kirtsy when she`s awkward, self-coscious and nervy…whereas a posh bloke gets his background rubbed into his face at each and every opportunity by a similar kind of Kirsty.
    I refer of course to the greased capon that was Miranda Hart on Desert Island opposed to the usual rubbishing of a Cameron or Osborne, by way of Beeb ritual.
    And-BBC stiffers-don`t tell me that it`s not a political format on DID…the Beeb know no other-witness the awful one with Eric Pickles or David Davis for example.
    Do`nt the trolls look sweetish under the bridge with Ebony and Ivory/Imagine/Sisters are doing it for themselves/All you need is love/The girl is mine/Things can only better/Not easy being green/Bragg medley on their iPOds in endless loops?
    I`ll not disturb their dreams-will you?…ssshhh!


    • john in cheshire says:

      Lickspittle = socialist running dog. And let’s not forget how that epithet came about. A lick spittle is someone, or something that licks the spittle off the main dog. The thought of that disgusts me; just as I am disgusted by those who are employed by the bbc.


      • Wild says:

        It is almost amusing to watch Beeboids have convictions (these convictions funnily enough are all about how even more money and power should go to the public sector) because as everybody knows (because the BBC makes it crystal clear) anybody who questions Leftist orthodoxies has zero hope of working in television.

        As somebody pointed out the other day the biggest joke on the BBC has to be that programme called “Thinking Aloud” in which various Labour Party drones try (and fail) to convince each other that they have a conscience.


  2. Fred Bloggs says:

    I looked at the ‘house rules’ of the blog comments and the first one is :

    “Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others”

    Sadly does not seem to apply to the author of piece in the first instance.


    • Guest Who says:

      First rule of any BBC Club: ‘The rules don’t apply to the BBC’


    • Daniel says:

      You may not have seen my comment below, so I shall re-state it here:

      I’m sorry if I have offended you. I’m wondering which of the adjectives “disrupt, provoke, attack or offend” you wish to ascribe to this piece, and why?


  3. richard D says:

    ” It implies as used above that Conservatives hold an illogical position (because they disagree with a majority of “mainstream” media outlets), and that Conservatives thus criticise mainstream media outlets (such as the BBC) because of a psychology of victimisation and on disagreeing with the outcome of objective and impartial, evidence-based debates.”

    Well, well…. what a surprise…..another example of the logic deployed by the left. For example, in the US, that because conservatives (with a small ‘c’) disagree with Mr Obama’s policies, it must be because they are racist, because no other logical reason can exist.

    ….And, as for ‘objective and impartial, evidence-based debates…’ where the hell are these being carried out on the BBC ?


  4. GCooper says:

    I think most conservatives feel the mainstream media is set against them (certainly in the USA but also in the UK) and they do so because it is.

    I’m at a loss to understand why anyone on the Right would suggest otherwise. Nor, come to that, why anyone would identify the formerly New Labour supporting Times as being a conservative (with either an upper or lower case c)


  5. chris says:

    Its bog standard socialist bilge.
    They adopt their language to act as if the socialist position is common sense and any thing else is an abberation or illogical. It stems from Gramsci and the search to become the new common sense.
    Hence cuts in benefits = tax, as the current level of spending is “normal”
    Right wingers = mentaly ill, extremist
    Left wing biased of media is not bias; it is “middle ground”


  6. chrisH says:

    Mind you, the Tories ARE shit!
    After years of Labour malice, incompetence and the like-the Tories are still in the Stockholm bunkers.
    Any real alternative to Labour has either died or been shut into tight pens for petting or offending.
    This year we lost both Kenneth Minogue(28.6) and Margaret Thatcher(8.4)…we can`t aford to lose such titans when all we have to replace them is Theresa May and Anna Soubry FFS!


  7. Daniel says:

    @Fred Bloggs: I apologise if this post offended you in any way (although I’m not sure how it could).

    @GCooper: My point was not that a lot, or even a majority, of news outlets are not biased (towards the centre-left); but that this generalisation is being used to imply that Conservatives hold an illogical position, and that the BBC thus believes that it does not need to change. I am merely pointing out that Conservatives can read media not of their own opinion quite comfortably, can even compliment media that is challenging and intellectual (even when it is not always in accord with Conservative beliefs), and should thus have the same right to criticise media outlets (such as the BBC here) without being dismissed as a conspiracy nut or a minority opinion. The Times is, in general, a small c conservative publication (whether supporting the Conservatives at the last election is big-c – I think by definition it is – is another matter), although there have in recent times been aberrant politicians with which it has become extremely friendly.


    • Guest Who says:

      Does one gather some input has not found favour beyond those it targetted? One is unlucky. Twice takes something. A pity to know enough only to be left wondering.
      But at least there’s that.
      The BBC’s blogs of course can be and are a whole new level more draconian.


    • GCooper says:

      I think we are in Professor Joad (‘it all depends what you mean by’) territory here. I cannot agree with you about the nature of the Times and wouldn’t even comfortably categorise the post-Conrad Black Telegraph as genuinely conservative nowadays. Both papers have far too many centre-Left writers to qualify.

      As for the alleged illogicality, I must be suffering from the after effects of too much Christmas pudding as I don’t really see how anyone could use that word in this context (even a post-modernist, familiar as they are with the distortion of meaning).

      I’m sure it must be me being dim but I fail to see where the supposed illogicality lies.


      • Daniel says:

        I did not accuse you of being illogical, and I am sorry if that has come across in any of what I am saying.

        I would still consider the Telegraph to have a moderately conservative line, and The Times is a more establishment publication (thus small-c). I would, however, while we’re on the point, like to see where I called any of these publications “Conservative”. I merely commented that some Conservatives read them (which is not the same thing). I really do think this is an unnecessary straw man in an otherwise necessary debate.


  8. GCooper says:

    No, we really are at cross purposes now. You used the word ‘illogical’ in your original piece and I am trying to understand what it is that conservatives are being accused of being illogical about by believing or asserting. In what way are they meant to be behaving illogically by those who accuse them of it?


    • Daniel says:

      well, in my experience, the unvarying leftist response to opposition is to psychologise the said opposition as possessing a pathology rather than an opinion. In this sense, the said opinion (in this case, a Conservative opinion critical to the reporting of the mainstream media) can be claimed to be illogical because it is neither subject to nor a by-product of reasoning or debate.

      Conservatives are accused of being illogical all the time, such as whenever we assert the Laffer Curve can mean that lowering tax rates increases tax revenues – or that a lower safety-net of state support might reduce dependency and unemployment. In the article I highlighted, it is implied that Conservatives hold an illogical opinion because they are in the minority. This is, of course, fallacious thinking, but it does not mean that the blog’s readership are immune to that.

      Now that I’ve answered your question, I wouldn’t mind you having a stab at mine:

      Where did I call the Times or the Telegraph ‘Conservative’? (or is this a one-way interlocution?)


      • GCooper says:

        I see (I think). You have posited an accusation (illogicality) but not shown an example. Fair enough. I just couldn’t (nor can I still, for that matter) see why a Leftist might (in your theoretical example) accuse a Rightist of ‘illogicality’ simply because he says he finds the BBC biased.

        As for your question, the following, by implication: “Conservatives read The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times (which is probably the most establishment, mainstream news-outlet – loss-making notwithstanding),”. The implication being that conservatives read them mostly without complaint, largely because they agree with their worldview.


        • Daniel says:

          I have produced evidence of the BBC removing any assumption of logic from an opposing (conservative) opinion, by them presenting it as a pathology. To be illogical is by definition to lack logic. If you do not wish to accept this as evidence, then that is fine – we shall agree to disagree.

          Your answer to my question starts well enough (you quoted what i put verbatim), but then descends into the realms of non-sequitur interpretation rather than what I actually wrote.

          I did not write anything about the editorial position of those outlets, and nor did I write (or imply) that those outlets were free from criticism from rightist readers. I merely commented that some right wingers found value in consuming the outlets’ output, and did not necessarily feel victimised when those outputs did not agree with them.

          Either way, I appreciate your criticism – as I shall take on board that I need to make my points clearer. I will leave you with the last word and hope you have a fantastic holiday period.


  9. David Preiser (USA) says:

    I’ve only been writing about what a joke the Echo Chambers blog is practically since it started.

    Nov. 14

    Nov. 19

    Nov. 20

    Nov. 28

    Dec. 21

    Dec. 21

    Dec. 22

    Dec. 26 (This one was about the 60 Minutes story.)

    Perhaps I should have made these full posts instead of comments in open threads. In any case, I’ve been thinking about doing my own version of it, just to show what a joke it is, and how it does not meet its own mission statement. Maybe five installments on the same issues Zurcher reacts to, “curated” by me, and we’ll see who’s more balanced and honest.


  10. David Preiser (USA) says:

    The Echo Chambers editor is now trying to justify the existence of his feature.

    Is the internet killing opinion journalism?

    Zurcher opens with a false choice which displays his own bias on the issue.

    It’s no secret that the internet age has been bad for the print media business in general and newspapers in particular. But what has it meant for the world of opinion? Has the ease with which the average person can share their views with the public been an unmitigated good? Or have we paid a price in the quality of debate?

    This is a false choice. A less biased and more impartial version of the question would be something like:

    Has the ease with which the average person can share their views with the public been an overall good? Or have we paid too high a price in the quality of debate?

    It’s a simple change, but makes all the difference as to how the question is approached in the first place.
    Zurcher asked the Op-Ed editor of the Seattle Times to comment on how she deals with it.

    But where I really think that opinion pages are making a difference is in modelling that old-school civil discourse. Disagree but don’t be disagreeable. Be tart and clever without name-calling. Especially because of the mission of newspapers serving a general community’s readership, not just those of a certain ideology, readers can stretch their own thinking on issues by reading pro and con columns side-by-side.

    People often call me to complain about running too many conservative columnists or too many liberal, and I explain that is the role of our opinion section and part of its mission statement: to be a forum for community dialogue and learning. I promise each caller that they will find things they agree with on our pages and things they don’t agree with. And that’s the point.

    Zurcher clearly thinks this is the same as what he does. It isn’t. Handing over an entire installment to Dick Meyer so he can rant and rave against the Tea Party movement and declare that blacks are more afraid of the Republican Party than ever was never balanced out by anyone from the other side. In fact, he even turned over the next installment to Meyer’s response to some reader comment which essentially reinforced the notion that the Tea Party movement had been hijacked. No balance ever provided. This is in addition to the various opinion pieces and “Viewpoint” essays he’s allowed to write without ever being balanced out by anything in the following days, never mind actually side-by-side.

    Even when Zurcher makes an effort at that – the usual formula of his pieces is him quoting various echo chambers on the issue of the moment, with his own commentary – the result is hardly balanced at all. It’s nearly always weighted towards the Left.

    If Zurcher thinks he’s even close to being balanced in the way the Seattle editor claims her paper is, he’s delusional.


    • Guest Who says:

      The deranged equivalences conjured by BBC Editors would be funny were they not in control of the edit suite and transmitters of a £4Bpa propaganda machine, with highly developed censorship abilities in complement.
      Folk having an opportunity to comment in the same public forum they had thought cornered has not been easy for them to accept.
      I’m also intrigued at where all these new BBC roles are springing up from, which does not suggest pausing to consolidate quality over empire building quantity. Besides this daft venture, there also seems to be a ‘trending’ team now, offering little other than a social media aggregator that filters in and out according to narrative suitability, with the inevitable skewed ‘we’d like you to think this’ additions.
      “Has the ease with which the average person can share their views with the public been an unmitigated good? Or have we paid a price in the quality of debate?”
      I’d be interested in what sets who apart from ‘the average person’ in his bubble, and who he considers this ‘we’ that may be paying any price.
      Because, best I can judge, the licence fee payer has to stump up £145.50pa no matter what for the likes of him and his colleagues to inflict their views publicly, and not always that accurately or with objectivity or integrity.
      Seems to me he’s spouting a defence that at best has the dubious added dimension of charging folk to be propagandised as a brave new era of broadcasting.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        I think this is just the first step in what James Harding announced was his intention to improve BBC News in part by including more third-party content and commentary.

        As for increasing the focus on original journalism and scoops by ring-fencing resources so journalists can stick with a story, it’s hard to see how that will mean anything other than an even more relentless grip on a Narrative when reporting. The biased editors and biased journalists will still be in place.


        • Guest Who says:

          They can hire who they like and say what they like if it convinces them that new staff will change the existing culture one jot.
          Just more of them, costing even more money, draining down a finite pot. I doubt broadcast extent or calibre is likely to improve as a consequence.
          But for now they still seem to have control of the means to say stuff very often.
          History will show if this is going to be enough.