We’re all in this together

Relax everyone, fold up your tents and steal away into the night knowing you have done your job.

The BBC is no longer biased….or rather it is biased but against both the Tories and Labour, so, em, it is not biased….I guess that only leaves Ken Livingstone and UKIP in the BBC’s good books.

Guido Fawkes brings us this, a letter from a Labour ‘communications facilitator’ who is aggrieved at having too many government ministers being dragged in for the inquisition and ritual disemboweling they normally get on the Today programme.


He seems to have chosen a time frame to suit…one over a longer term  might show  more often than not that we get Labour shadow ministers given a free ride and essentially given their own mini party political broadcast.


From Guido:

It seems Miliband’s normally jovial spinner Bob Roberts has had enough of the Beeb. Media Guido has got hold of his letter to the BBC Director General Mark Thompson:

Dear Mark
I am writing to complain about the striking lack of balance on the Today programme this week.
From Monday to Thursday, the following Ministers and MPs have appeared on Today:
Government: Eric Pickles, Richard Benyon, Simon Burns, Tim Loughton, Hugh Robertson, Grant Shapps, Louise Mensch, Don Foster, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, Crispin Blunt, David Davis, Nicky Morgan (Total 13)
Labour: Margaret Hodge, appearing as Chair of a Select Committee (Total 1)
By any measure, it is neither fair nor balanced for the Today programme to interview 13 Government MPs and 1 Labour MP over the course of four days.
Why are listeners hearing so much coverage being given to the Government and virtually none to the official Opposition?
We have previously raised our concerns with the Today Programme Editor and with the BBC’s Westminster News Editor, but we have not received a satisfactory response, hence we are writing you as Editor-in-Chief of the BBC.
I look forward to an urgent explanation why this unacceptable lack of balance has been allowed to occur and reassurances that it will be remedied immediately.

Yours sincerely,
Bob Roberts

The Great Hunt Snipe

The BBC website announced as its headline story on its Frontpage earlier, in big, bold type Hunt: I did not lie to Parliament‘.

Now it could just me being sensitive or is that  phrased to be reminiscent of Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ …..when of course he was?

Is the BBC trying to give us the impression that perhaps Hunt did lie to Parliament. It manages to give the correct headline on the actual story itself….‘Jeremy Hunt denies Labour’s claim he lied to Parliament’….that is that the totally impartial Labour party are making this claim.


What else is strange today? Labour are demanding an inquiry into Jeremy Hunt’s activities….and a vote was held in Parliament today on whether that inquiry will be held…they voted ‘no’.

The LibDems were ordered to abstain in the vote by Nick Clegg.

That might be seen as rather an odd order from Clegg….as he said this today at Leveson…. ‘Mr Clegg in his evidence to the Leveson inquiry, repeated his backing for Mr Hunt, saying the culture secretary had given a “full, good and convincing account” of his handling the BSkyB bid.’

Note how far down the BBC story Clegg’s comment is….right at the bottom…where you might not read it…they hope.

Clegg’s comment is probably the most important one of recent times…it is somewhat of a game changer….certainly for the BBC’s narrative which has always been that Hunt is guilty of colluding with the Murdoch empire and Cameron is isolated after having made a very badly judged decision….and yet the BBC seem to be ignoring its significance.

Ed Miliband in today’s PMQs claimed that ‘even Cameron’s own deputy didn’t support him in his assertions about Hunt’….clearly Clegg does support Cameron’s view.

John Pienaar on 5Live (after PMQs) brought up Clegg’s comment and noted its hypocrisy in conjunction with the order to abstain…..but listen to the news and the comment gets very little, if any coverage and is relegated to an also ran in terms of significance.

It is always a wonder how a BBC journalist will actually give you the facts, the real ones….but when you hear them regurgitated and filtered through the news or other BBC programmes  those facts take on a whole different life and meaning….if they are repeated at all.  The BBC is very fast at plucking out information from a report say on the Today programme, when it suits them…the news team will have disinterred the information, shaped it, edited it, and mashed it together in an instant for the next news bulletin…’hot off the Press’…..however Clegg’s comment was pretty stillborn, the runt of the news litter, the ugly duckling…when in fact it was the Swan, the mighty mouse that roared…just very quietly on the BBC.

Nice to be able to shape the news to your own agenda.

Peter Hunt on ‘The World at One’ (13 mins 50 secs) gives us the important news first…Brown warned Clegg that Murdoch was only interested in getting the Tories into power…and that Vince Cable had had veiled threats against the LibDems from News International if they didn’t back the BSkyB bid.

Clegg dismissed those ‘veiled threats’ as …..’not a credible threat… just rumours and counter claims’.

So why does the BBC make so much noise about Cable’s assertion?

Peter Hunt then tackles the comment by Clegg about Jeremy Hunt…..he downplays it by claiming that Clegg has only offered ‘qualified support’…..has he?

I thought Clegg came out in full support for Hunt and his impartiality in making a decision….saying Hunt handled the bid in a way that successfully insulated himself from claims of bias…..and the culture secretary had given a “full, good and convincing account” of his handling the BSkyB bid.’

So are the LibDems, as the BBC’s Ben Wright (8 mins ) claims, ‘seriously questioning Hunt’s integrity and Cameron’s judgement’…are there ‘serious front bench rifts’?

And why does he suggest that Sir Alex Allan’s letter was ‘rather helpful to the Prime Minister…perhaps unsurprisingly’?

Does he question the impartiality of a highly respected senior civil servant who also served under the Labour government? No such questions about the ‘evidence’ from John Wilson, the Fife NHS chief exec. who stated that his staff were to blame for the leak about Brown’s son…though he had not a shred of evidence or proof to back that up…the BBC believed that it exonerated Brown and damned Murdoch and the Sun.

The BBC seem all at sea over this saga….continually wrong footed and undermined in their suggestions of Hunt’s guilt by the facts…..and being highly selective as to which ‘evidence’ they present as ‘true’ and which they seek to bury.

Still, they seem to be working hard to ignore or play down those facts and not let them spoil a good story.

Labour’s ‘Memory Lane’…the Road to Nowhere at the BBC

Here  the BBC goes to town delighting in John Major’s trip down memory lane to tell us that:

‘ John Major reveals Murdoch’s EU demand’

Sir John said “He wished me to change our European policies. If we couldn’t change our European policies his papers could not and would not support the Conservative government.”
He said the discussion was one he was unlikely to forget. “It is not often someone sits in front of a prime minister and says to a prime minister ‘I would like you to change your policy or my organisation cannot support you’ “.

And here is the slant given to it by the BBC’s Peter Hunt….
‘A second former prime minister in two days. A second direct challenge to aspects of the evidence given by Rupert Murdoch, on oath, two months ago.’

Note how he accuses Murdoch of lying ‘under oath’ whilst giving Brown and Major the presumption of being entirely truthful when we know they both had major issues with Murdoch and would be more than happy to take any chance to put the boot into him and his media ‘empire’.

Is that really what Murdoch asked? Did he ask at all? Isn’t it more likely that he merely stated that if the Conservatives did not have a European policy that he agreed with his papers would not support their position on Europe.

A subtle but entirely different emphasis….not demanding policy change but just saying what will happen if the Tories continue with their policy….. as Major says himself…..it would be a surprise if someone actually demanded a government change their policies to suit them.

The BBC are less than diligent, conveniently so, in asking such questions of Major’s, and Brown’s, statements to Leveson.

Not only that but the BBC seems rather reluctant to look in the Labour Party’s dark corners and look into their murky dealings, well documented, with Murdoch.

Here  is the Telegraph’s revelation from Major, unreported by the BBC:
‘The former PM highlighted the last Labour government’s decision, as soon as it came to power in 1997, to purge the ranks of Whitehall’s senior information officers – all career civil servants – and replace them with political appointees.
This was the pet project of Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who had swiftly realised that impartial civil servants would not do his bidding and so had to go. Many good people saw their careers trashed. The purge was a disaster. As Major observed in his mild-mannered way this morning: “My concern is, once you move towards the politicisation of the government information service, you did move into a sphere where the news could be perverted rather than presented accurately and without spin to the media at large.” And that is precisely what happened as the era of spin and manipulation was ushered in and a gulf of mistrust opened up between the press and Whitehall.
Major conceded that supping with a long spoon made him an easier target for hostile coverage: “It is easier to be hostile to people you don’t know.” How much harm did it do him? In the 1992 general election he won more votes than any party leader in history.’

Funny old thing that…..the great British Public ignored the papers and voted in droves for Major in 1992…and how about this  from Prescott detailing just how much influence he thinks Murdoch had:

‘Then the Sun came out for the Tories during our conference. What an effect that had! The Tories have seen their poll rating go from 41% poll to 33%!
So then the News of the World backed the Tories. Effect? Nothing!’

However just how much influence did Murdoch have on the Labour Party and its policies?
‘Under Neil Kinnock’s leadership, Mr Murdoch’s journalists were banned from Labour’s briefings and its annual conference as a legacy of the bitter industrial dispute at News International’s Wapping plant. The hostile coverage of Mr Kinnock in Murdoch-owned papers, notably The Sun, led Mr Blair to declare: “Never again.” He courted the media magnate as much as Mr Murdoch courted him. “It is better to ride the tiger’s back than let it rip your throat out,”.

Do you remember the book by Lance Price,  a Labour Party communications deputy?

Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair’s cabinet
‘Only a spin doctor would deny that the media baron has a say in all major decisions taken in Downing Street
In my first few weeks as Alastair Campbell’s deputy, I was told by somebody who would know that we had assured Mr Murdoch we wouldn’t change policy on Europe without talking to him first.

Lance Price, who was deputy to the Downing Street communications director Alastair Campbell has described Mr Murdoch as “the 24th member of the Cabinet”, saying: “No big decision could ever be made inside No 10 without taking account of the likely reaction of three men – Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Rupert Murdoch.”

“For the rest of us, the continued support of the News International titles was supposed to be self-evident proof of the value of this special relationship. The Sun and the Times, in particular, received innumerable “scoops” and favours. In return, New Labour got very sympathetic coverage from newspapers that are bought and read by classic swing voters – on the face of it, too good a deal to pass up….ie Tom Baldwin.
It may be that Rupert Murdoch has never once vetoed a government decision, nor tried to do so. I just don’t know.
Now Mr Murdoch tells us he might support David Cameron, and his papers take regular potshots at Gordon Brown. Do Messrs Cameron and Brown take notice? You bet they do. In a close election the support of News International will be courted as never before.”
Lance Price, a media adviser to Tony Blair from 1998 to 2001

And how about the BBC itself when Murdoch was still ‘respectable’…what did the BBC reveal  about Murdoch and Labour but seems to have forgotten all about now?:

‘Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has told how he can not meet Tony Blair without seeing Gordon Brown because of the distrust between the two men.
“You have to be careful to have a cup of tea with them both or they are very suspicious that you are lining up with the other one,” he says.
In the interview, Mr Murdoch says he has spent more time with Mr Blair and the chancellor than he ever did with ex-Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

She didn’t go out of her way to develop a personal relationship with me,” he said.
“But Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whenever I’m in town they say, ‘Can’t you come over for a cup of tea?’
Mr Murdoch says being summoned to tea can be ‘inconvenient’

“When you’re invited by the prime minister to have a cup of tea, you have a cup of tea.”. ’

Strange that even though Blair, Brown and Campbell have all been in the dock at Leveson the BBC hasn’t delved into the archives to refresh our memories of these ‘deals’ between Murdoch and Labour.

However they constantly try to remind us of a supposed ‘contract’ between Cameron and Murdoch:

The BBC changes the whole narrative and attempts to give ‘weight’ and credibility to a story by claiming that it is a story ‘unearthed’ by the newspapers…..

‘Newspaper reports  have suggested a deal had been struck months before the election over the Murdoch’s plans to take full control of BSkyB.’

However that is a fabrication to hide the real source of the allegation…no other than the Machiavellian Labour Business Secretary of the time Peter Mandelson, and what is more it was on the ‘Today’ programme that he made the false allegation :

‘The business secretary told Today: “Let’s understand what’s going on here. The Sun’s owner, News International, has made a decision to support the Conservative Party.

“They’ve effectively formed a contract, over the head, incidentally, of the newspaper’s editor and their readers, in which they are sort of bound to one another.
“What the Sun can do for the Conservatives during the election is one part of the contract and, presumably, what the Conservatives can do for News International if they are elected is the other side of the bargain.

Mandelson said it was important for people to understand “what’s going on here”.
He went on: “The Sun’s owner, News International, has made a decision for the newspaper to support the Conservative party. They have effectively formed a contract, over the head incidentally of the paper’s editor and their readers, in which they are bound to one another.
“What the Sun can do for the Conservatives before and during the election is one part of that contract. And presumably what the Conservatives can do for News International if they are elected is the other side of that bargain.” ‘

What else did Mandelson reveal?…..
‘Mandelson also criticised the Sun for suggesting that the government, not the Taliban, was the enemy of the British army.
“If you read the Sun, you would think that the enemy that our brave troops on the ground are fighting is the British government….”Where do you see the reporting of our enemy, the Taliban in Afghanistan? Where do you see the reporting in the Sun of our forces’ achievement and their bravery on the ground? I think that is the most significant aspect of all of this and it’s really unattractive.” Mandelson said.’ (I’m certain he was thinking of the much hated by British troops, BBC coverage…or lack of, of good things that were happening in Afghanistan.)

Funny that Brown comes up with essentially the same line in the Leveson inquiry…..
“I still feel to this day that huge damage was done to the war effort by the
suggestion we just didn’t care about what was happening to the troops.

The BBC a proud and rigorous defender of Truth and Probity in Public Life and an upholder of searching, inquiring journalism that holds to account those who ‘serve’ us.