For most of Monday BBC Views Online went big on Supermodel ‘rejects dollar pay’

, so much so that at 1am London time, fifteen hours after the story went live, it remained the most popular story worldwide, according to BBC Views Online’s on Most Popular Now stats.

As is their way with anti-US stories, BBC Views Online enthusiastically reported:

The world’s richest model has reportedly reacted in her own way to the sliding value of the US dollar – by refusing to be paid in the currency.

Gisele Bündchen is said to be keen to avoid the US currency because of uncertainty over its strength.

The Brazilian, thought to have earned about $30m in the year to June, prefers to be paid in euros, her sister and manager told the Bloomberg news agency.

The BBC’s most popular worldwide story – and it’s wrong.

The only problem is that, it turns out, Supermodel Gisele Not in Buffett’s Bear Camp on Dollar After All, Manager Tells CNBC:

This morning a Bloomberg story got picked up by several news outlets, including Warren Buffett Watch, reporting that Bundchen had asking to be paid in euros rather than dollars due to uncertainty about the U.S. currency’s future. That would have put her in the same camp as Buffett, who’s been bearish on the dollar for awhile now.

But just a few minutes ago, CNBC Squawk Box producer Stephanie Landsman spoke by telephone with Anne Nelson, Bundchen’s manager. Nelson tells us reports that Gisele wants to be paid in euros are “false.” Nelson’s take: “Some idiot in Brazil reported something just to make news.”

Nelson points out that Gisele lives in New York City, and thus needs U.S. dollars for her big-city lifestyle.

Those pesky wire-services, again – though at least this one gets credited – presumably because the BBC wasn’t willing to take responsibility for standing up such a dubious sounding story themselves.

Bündchen’s manager’s statement of the obvious (to anyone in possesion of half-a-brain and access to Google that is), that “Gisele lives in New York City, and thus needs U.S. dollars for her big-city lifestyle”, rather gives the game away, at least for any reporter who wants to honestly report the finer details of the remuneration of a supermodel (who’s not exactly a household name, at least not in this household), as distinct from reporters keen to rush into print with an anti US-dollar story.

I wonder if we’re going to see the BBC publish a correction just as prominently for just as long, or if we’ll have to make do with a small after-thought of a correction on the story page, long after the damage is done and most people have moved on…

Update: Supermodel Gisele not dumping dollars for euros, her sister says:

“This information is not true … I do not recall ever having said anything that could be interpreted in that way.”

The company that handles publicity and contract negotiations for Gisele in Brazil, Image Net, has demanded a retraction from various media outlets, Patricia Buendchen said.

Thank you to Biased BBC reader moonbat nibbler for the links.

Last Thursday BBC Views Online reported Ex-mayor guilty of benefit fraud


A former mayor and his wife have been convicted of fraudulently claiming state benefits.

John Walker, 57, who was mayor of Sefton, and his wife Catie, 43, were found guilty of exaggerating ill health to obtain disability living allowance.

Two Biased BBC readers pointed out a surprising omission from the BBC report, contrasting it with this earlier report from the Liverpool Daily Post, Benefit fraud trial mayor victim of ‘grudge’:

A former mayor and his wife were accused of swindling benefits because of political grudge against him, a court heard today.

John Walker, 57, the former Labour mayor of Sefton, Merseyside, and his wife Catie, 49, face two counts of conspiring to falsify applications for state benefits.

Can you spot the obvious detail that escaped the notice of the fearless and impartial reporters at BBC Views Online (or at least escaped their report)?

Yes, it’s that the ex-Mayor is, surprise, surprise, from the Labour Party.


BBC Views Online’s latest Spot the (Labour) Party competition

We’ve seen this sort of BBC Views Online omission a few times before when dodgy councillors have had their comeuppance. Usually it’s the Labour Party that doesn’t get mentioned, though to be fair to BBC Views Online, I recall one occasion when it was the Conservative Party that was omitted – which raises the question, are such omissions down to bias, or is it just incompetence, another of the small but significant shortcomings of the News Website, as ‘John Reith’, our resident anonymous BBC commenter put it?

P.S. JR, you’ve forgotten to reply to a couple of points raised re. your comment above:

i) asking you to enumerate some of the small but significant shortcomings of the News Website, so that BBC News Online might benefit from your wisdom and we might understand BBC Views Online better; and,

ii) my suggestion on how those of you at the BBC involved in the real business of broadcast journalism (making TV and radio) might avoid get[ting] a bit narked about being associated with the small but significant shortcomings of the News Website;

Knowing how assiduous you are I’m sure this was just an oversight. Perhaps when you have a minute you might address these very interesting points. Thank you.

P.P.S. Apologies for the recent paucity of posts. Sometimes real life gets in the way.

Biased BBC reader BM reports that Saturday’s BBC Views Online report, Labour ‘united despite mistakes’

, might as well have been a Labour Party Press Release – a jolly retelling of Ed Balls’ words, unencumbered by any opposition response (not even from the BBC’s favoured ‘opposition’, the LibDems), with, for good measure, a free kick at David Cameron at the end.

Biased BBC reader Pete points out another BBC Views Online story, NHS staff protest against reforms, apparently so universally uncontroversial that it too requires no balancing comment.

One incoming link to Biased BBC today is from

. One of their contributors, tank slapper, has linked to Biased BBC as part of their discussion, BBC. Why? Another contributor, Ecks Ridgehead, has responded:

Yes, well that blog is hardly reliable, is it? Ten minutes of brief checking shows that the post Why Doesn’t The BBC Name Emily Thornberry?" is undermined somewhat by the fact that the BBC article referenced names Emily Thornberry in the second paragraph, and that if you examine the item about Daniel Hannan having had an invented quote attributed to him, you’ll see that the BBC quote "Daniel Hannan MEP told Mr Cameron to ‘stop playing games’ on the issue" is not so far away from his actual words of "Let us play no games of our own", and every journalst in the world tweaks quotes.

You are right that it is easy to see bias if it happens to be similar to your own views, but it is similarly easy to invent bias if it opposes them. Personally, I don’t think that any news source can ever be completely unbiased, but I certainly don’t think that the bias in the BBC is as great as many around here seem to think it is.

So, off I go to check, and yes, sure enough, long after the fact, long after the original story was featured on BBC Views Online’s index pages, long after the story was highlighted here, BBC Views Online have indeed re-edited the article, changing paragraph two from:

Sir Philip Mawer revealed in his annual report the unnamed MP then e-mailed the doctored press release on to the media as if it were an official release.


Labour MP Emily Thornberry e-mailed the doctored press release on to the media as if it were an official release.

Unfortunately this article doesn’t appear to have been caught by the normally wonderful Newssniffer Revisionista system, but you can catch the edit here via Google’s cache, while it lasts.

The original BBC article, prior to its much later revision.

Moving on to demolish Ecks Ridgehead’s second point:

…the BBC quote "Daniel Hannan MEP told Mr Cameron to ‘stop playing games’ on the issue" is not so far away from his actual words of "Let us play no games of our own", and every journalst in the world tweaks quotes.

…let’s put this in terms even Ecks might understand. Consider:

“let us not engage in speeding ourselves” as equivalent to “let us play no games of our own”


“stop speeding” as equivalent to “stop playing games”

…and then, hopefully, even Ecks will see that in the first case we are being asked to not start doing something, whilst in the second case, we are being asked to stop doing something that we have been doing. This is no mere ‘tweak’ – it is, indeed, “far away” from what Daniel Hannan said. If someone is being quoted directly, within quote marks, there is no excuse for not having those words exactly as stated! None! As it is, the BBC have subsequently corrected this calumny, noting that the original Hannan misquote was supplied by a news agency – a fact that was omitted from their original story – i.e. the BBC got the words, the wrong words, from a news agency and published them unattributed as their own (to support the BBC line on Cameron and Europe), when in fact, the original and correct words were available free of charge on Hannan’s own Daily Telegraph blog all along!

In closing, let us note that Ecks BoneRidgehead skipped past two newer stories to cherry-pick his examples (since demolished), and that he ignored more than five years worth of preceding blog posts and comments in his rush to belittle Biased BBC and defend the BBC – a BBC that, as usual, has done its utmost to cover up its errors and downplay its falsehoods – all for the bargain price of £3.5 billion in tellytax a year.

Update (Friday): As with the BBC’s belated confession to the provenance of their Daniel Hannan misquote, they have taken the unusual (though welcome) step of annotating their Emily Thornberry amendment thus:

Earlier versions of this story did not include the name of the MP as it was a straight report from Sir Philip’s report in which she was not named. We added the name, and some extra background, once we became aware of her identity.

They don’t, of course, admit that they “became aware of her identity” courtesy of complaints from various bloggers, rather than simply by doing their jobs using nothing more sophisticated than a few minutes with Google. Strange that.

Here’s a gem of BBC groupthink from last night’s BBC Six O’Clock News

, transcribed in full:

George Alagiah: The number of immigrants arriving in Britain is too high, that’s what the Conservative leader, David Cameron’s said, in his first ever major speech on the issue. He says there’s an unsustainable pressure on public services because of a rising population. The Tories say that there should be strict annual limits on the number of migrants allowed to come here from outside the EU, which would be substantially lower than the figure coming in now.

We then cut to a clip of David Cameron:

David Cameron: Well at the moment the net figure, that’s the difference between people coming and people going to live elsewhere, the net figure, is about 200,000, so that’s two million over ten years, it’s a large number. We think it should be substantially lower than that, I’m not naming the number today, because we think what should happen is a conversation between business on the one hand, that talks about the skills we need in Britain, and public services on the other, about the pressure that immigration brings, and we should arrive at the number, arrive at the limit, through those conversations.

3, 2, 1 and we’re back in the studio with George:

George Alagiah: Well, lets speak to our Political Editor, Nick Robinson, Nick, David Cameron is aware presumably that immigration has proven to be a rather controversial topic for Tory leaders in the past…

We then cut to Nick Robinson, ‘Going live!’, outside at Westminster:

Nick Robinson: So aware that the ‘I’ word, immigration, has barely passed his lips since he became Tory leader, aware yes that Michael Howard, who he worked for of course, and before him, William Hague, were accused of playing the race card when when they spoke of immigration…

Were they Nick, were the Conservatives, sorry Beeboids, let’s use your term, the Tories accused of ‘playing the race card’ when raising legitimate public concerns about population growth, pressure on public services and the establishment of substantial unassimilated foreign communities in the UK on a far larger scale than ever before? Were they really? Who would have done a thing like that?

Nick Robinson: …but quite a bit has changed since then George, first of all the Tories policy now talks of immigration and does not mention controls on asylum seekers. Secondly, there is much greater public concern about a rising population. Thirdly, David Cameron today was careful to talk about family breakdown, as well as immigration, contributing to that increased population and pressure on public services. There could be trouble ahead though when he finally does give us a number, if he ever does, of the number that he wants to come into this country. Why George? He cannot limit the number of Europeans coming, from the EU, those he limits therefore, and let’s just say it, are unlikely to have white faces, they’re likely to have faces that are black and brown, and the controversy will continue. (emphasis added)

George Alagiah: Nick, thank you.

And there we have it: the race card, played by Nick Robinson and the BBC – doing Labour’s dirty work for them. The BBC. It’s what we do.

P.S. In related news, Guido reports former Beeboid Julie Etchingham revealing her leftie prejudices more directly than usual. Her views are usually plain from her disdainful manner when interviewing eviiil toreeeys, but yesterday, whilst Cameron’s speech was being carried live on Sky News, as Cameron said: “Let me outline the action that a Conservative government would take. As we have seen, some of the increase in population size results from natural change – birth rates, death rates. Here our policy should be obvious… “, Botchingham opened her gob, microphone switched on, and said “Extermination!”. Nice – a true professional. It’s a pity that ITN didn’t pick one of Sky’s better presenters to keep Sir Trevor company when News at Ten returns.

On Thursday night the Guardian broke a story, published on Friday, that Peer was paid to introduce lobbyist to minister

, concerning the payment of cash to former Labour frontbencher, Lord Hoyle, formerly Doug Hoyle, a onetime government whip, MP for Warrington and chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, by a lobbyist:

…for an introduction to Lord Drayson, the defence minister in charge of billions of pounds of military procurement, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian.

The story was mentioned briefly in Newsnight’s round-up on Thursday of Friday’s newspapers, but not all, at least not noticeably so, by any other BBC news programme until Friday’s Newsnight, where Michael Crick had a filmed report with various interviews, but played it down, in the subsequent studio discussion, as not much of a scandal.

Experience suggests there’d have been a good deal more interest in this story across the BBC if Hoyle was an eviiil Toreeey. Strange that.

Jonathan Calder of Liberal England asks Why doesn’t the BBC name Emily Thornberry?

Parliament’s standards watchdog, Sir Philip Mawer, has criticised the behaviour of an MP who inserted a quote into an official press release as “unwise”. Sir Philip didn’t name the MP in his annual report, but as Jonathan points out, it takes little effort to find that the MP in question is Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South, subject of a report by the House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges (PDF).

Obviously too much effort though for our fearless and inquisitive BBC Views Online cut’n’pasters, who confined themselves to reporting MP ‘unwise’ to alter news release. I suspect they’d have managed a bit more of a splash if the MP was an eviiil Toreeey though.

via Iain Dale.

Sky TV (BSkyB) have applied to Ofcom to remove

their three free-to-air channels, Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Three, from Freeview (Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT) to replace them with five pay TV channels. This will also require new Freeview equipment for those wishing to subscribe.

I don’t mind Freeview having subscription services on it – indeed, if it did, there would be even less argument than ever for the unique way the BBC is funded by the tellytax rather than through subscriber choice*.

The issue, of course, is that removing Sky News from the free-to-air channels on Freeview will be a serious blow to consumer choice and broadcasting competition, leaving only the BBC providing readily available rolling news coverage on Freeview.

Therefore, Biased BBC calls upon everyone who cares about our democracy and freedom of choice in news services on Freeview to object to this proposal, at least in so far as it affects the availability of Sky News on Freeview.

More details about the proposals are available from Ofcom in the form of an Executive Summary and a PDF of the full proposal.

There are several ways to respond, probably the easiest being online using Ofcom’s online response form. It’s not necessary to answer all of the questions.

* Not surprisingly, when Freeview came into being, the BBC, acting in its own narrow self-interest as usual (rather than the public interest you would expect of a tax-funded public service), ensured that there was no requirement in the Freeview standard for Freeview boxes to have provision for subscription services – with the result that many current boxes aren’t subscription capable. (Though what the BBC didn’t bargain on of course is that the price of Freeview equipment has fallen so dramatically that their self-interested ‘fixing’ of the standard is rapidly ceasing to be a valid objection to the BBC becoming a subscription service).

Thank you to Biased BBC reader Ali P.

Following up on recent revelations about the BBC invasion of Facebook

, Samuel Coates, deputy editor of Conservativehome, has cleverly found a silver lining to such wholesale Beeboid waste of tellytaxpayer’s time – revealing that there are eleven times more ‘liberals’ at the BBC than ‘conservatives’.

Facebook lets you target advertising at people based on various criteria, including their workplace and their declared political outlook (using the American terms liberal, moderate and conservative to represent left of centre, centre and right of centre views).

Currently there are 10,580 known BBC people registered on Facebook. Of these, 1,800 have indicated their political views, as follows:

BBC staff profiles on Facebook:

All BBC staff


BBC liberals


BBC moderates


BBC conservatives


It’s not a scientific survey, but it’s certainly indicative of the imbalance of views represented by those who work for our beloved state broadcasting institution.

For good measure, Samuel goes on to compare the breakdown of BBC political views on Facebook with those of the general UK and London populations on Facebook. It turns out that across the UK, the ratio of liberals to conservatives on Facebook is just 2.5 to 1, with London at 3 to 1 – a long way short of the BBC’s 11 to 1.

There may be an argument that the use of the American terms liberal, moderate and conservative causes confusion, but in that case, why does it seem to cause so much more confusion at the BBC than among the UK population at large?

I wonder how long it will take for the BBC to forbid their employees from indicating their political views on their Facebook profiles…

Update (1pm): Samuel adds:

There are tonnes of stats out there waiting to be found via Flyers Pro in Facebook’s Advertising section, including that the Lib-Con ratio is fairly even throughout the demographics of BBC employees, with men having a very slightly better ratio than women and over thirties slightly better than twentysomethings.

Thank you to Samuel for the tip. Top stuff!

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 be moderated.