In today’s Independent on Sunday:

It’s just after breakfast time and Giles Fraser is smoking his third fag of the day. Clad in faded black jeans and a baggy black T-shirt, he flicks haphazardly into a full ashtray on the floor and scrolls down the Twitter feed on his computer. As a morning ritual it is pretty familiar to scores of the jobless. Then again, the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, to give him his full honorific, is unemployed

Tomorrow he starts working shifts on the leader desk at The Guardian, which he plans to do for the remainder of his notice period. He also has a documentary planned with the BBC and will continue to do his regular slot on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

In the past month on the BBC:

19/12/11 Start The Week with guest Giles Fraser.
23/12/11 Thought For The Day with Giles Fraser.
24/12/11 Saturday Review with guest Giles Fraser.
25/12/11 Constantine – the man who invented Christmas presented by Giles Fraser
1/1/12 Sunday with guest Giles Fraser.
5/1/12 Newsnight with guest Giles Fraser.
6/1/12 Thought For The Day with Giles Fraser
13/1/12 Thought For The Day with Giles Fraser

During his recent appearance on Newsnight one of the programme’s producers – Sara Afshar – tweeted “Giles Fraser is great” and “I actually cheered at one point“. With his adoring lefty fans at the Guardian/BBC, one thing the Reverend Dr need never worry about is being unemployed.


Wonder if you share my..ahem..surprise…that Allegra Stratton, the former political correspondent at the Guardian, has been appointed political editor of the BBC’s Newsnight programme. 
BBC..Guardian..BBC. Let me quote Orwell..

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”


An eagle eyed B-BBC reader notes;

How odd….an article in the Guardian by one of Ken Livingstone’s mates echoes precisely a BBC article:
Both suggest it was Tory cuts wot done it….to youth clubs, jobs and police finances. Compare the beginnings of the articles:

From the BBC:
Was Saturday night an orgy of mindless violence or a cry of rage from a marginalised, disaffected part of society? Riots polarise opinion and instant analysis is a dangerous game.’
From the Guardian:
 ‘I don’t know what could have been done to avoid last night’s explosion of resentment and criminality. But I’m grimly confident of its potential elsewhere. Instant punditry on such events is a perilous and often irresponsible pursuit.’

and compare these two final words from each article….just how similar are they?

from the BBC…..
‘Would that alone have stopped the violence on Saturday night happening? Unlikely. If police had come out of Tottenham police station and spoken to protesters would that have been enough to ease tensions? Hard to say. Any number of things can spark a riot; especially if temperatures are already running high.’
from the Guardian:
‘Could the worst have been avoided? Might the police or the Independent Police Complaints Commission have made a better job of anticipating such trouble and so defusing it in advance? I don’t know what the answers are, but feel grimly confident that such an awful, perfect storm of rumour, resentment and criminality could break in a dozen other parts of inner city London any day. These are nervous times.’

As we frequently observe here, the BBC is simply the broadcasting arm of the Guardian. The only difference is we are FORCED to pay for one.


Is the BBC trying to mastermind the attack on Murdoch? Here’s the assistant editor of The Independent Ian Burrell a short while ago (h/t MySiteC2E in the comments):

Fishing around for a “safety in numbers” line of attack, perhaps?

And as an update to my earlier post about the BBC and Guardian combining forces, the BBC’s Kevin Bakhurst has explained how they are able to claim the Gordon Brown interview as an exclusive when the Guardian’s Nick Davies says it was “an interview with the BBC and the Guardian”:

Hope that clears things up. No? Well, for the time being perhaps it’s best we all just assume that the BBC and the Guardian are one entity.

Murdoch v The Media Elite Lynch Mob = Dan Rather’s Revenge?

In the old Soviet Union one tool Kremlinologists used to forecast shifts in the political climate was to peruse the inside pages of Pravda and spot the apparently insignificant article that they could identify as a marker for any forthcoming reconfiguration.

The articles were placed as signposts for mid level Communist Party members to prepare for changes in direction in their party “work” which, for the CPSU, as with any other totalitarian party, was almost exclusively agitprop –agitation and propaganda.

The BBC in very many ways can be seen as an agitprop arm of the British liberal/left cultural elite, a group which usually manages to direct the UK’s political and social agenda even though much of it (EU membership, unrestricted immigration, political correctness etc etc)is deeply unpopular with the majority of the population.

Moreover, with the globalisation of information media ,the lack of any patriotic affinity in the mindset of this elite allows it to integrate seamlessly with its equivalents in the USA and elsewhere

So the appearance of this article by Tom Geoghegan on the BBC website “Rupert Murdoch:Could his US empire be affected?” should be ringing alarm bells for conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic. For this is not really about the rather shady ethics of a few phone hacking tabloid journalists. Indeed, while the story only appeared to involve celebrities and politicians it never really gained traction. Moreover, because the hacking took place several years ago under a Blair/Brown Labour government that at the time was very cosy with Rupert Murdoch and his tabloids meant that it remained low key with Milliband, Balls and co. Besides News of the World staff had been jailed and the editor at the time had resigned so heads had rolled.

But what has given it legs in New York and London is the revelation that the paper’s staff had hacked into a murder victim’s mobile phone. This has, quite rightly, created immense public anger – and given the liberal/left media elite, so often out of tune with popular opinion, a golden opportunity to spearhead a lynch mob.

It’s not about Murdoch and his papers – after all the dead tree press as a vehicle for news is a dinosaur on its way to extinction. The real target is Murdoch the TV baron with Fox News in the USA and Sky News in Britain. Note how Geoghan slips “right wing” into the mix. It’s a standard adjective that is permanently attached to any comment about Fox News in the UK and, it must be admitted, a brilliant example of the effectiveness of well organised agitprop. The fact that every other US network/cable news platform is imbued as deeply as the BBC in the liberal/left metro mindset is always studiously ignored.

It is no accident that the long buried phone hacking story was disinterred by the New York Times last autumn and quickly picked up in Britain by the Guardian and the BBC just as Murdoch’s bid for the whole of Sky. the BBC’s only meaningful TV competitor was about to go under public scrutiny. All three have a keen interest in undermining Murdoch and emasculating Fox because they know that Murdoch is the only player in the game who threatens the dominant position of the liberal/left cultural elite in the UK and the USA.

A perceptive piece in The Commentator reads the runes with chilling accuracy. This is not about journalistic ethics. It’s a fight to protect the authority of the great and the good against the upstarts of the new media – and, at the moment, the right wing establishment is doing what it does best….running for cover.

It’s the revenge of Dan Rather.


Most newspapers are trying to come up with new angles on the phone hacking scandal but it seems one in particular is getting some extra help from the state broadcaster.

Yesterday afternoon (at 17.14 according to the time stamp) the Guardian posted audio of a phone conversation in which Barry Beardall, a scam merchant working for the Sunday Times, tricked someone at the solicitors Allen and Overy into giving up information about the sale of Gordon Brown’s flat.

A short time later the audio was taken down, as noted on Twitter by Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa and the Times’ David Rose:

@DRoseTimes David Rose
Guardian pulls audio of Sunday Times obtaining Gordon Brown’s property details “pending investigation” http://soup.ps/piKWTW HT @AntDeRosa

Adrian Monck, the former head of City University’s journalism department, suggested this was probably done at the BBC’s behest:

@amonck Adrian Monck
@DRoseTimes Audio prob pulled as BBC wanted exclusive at 10 – they just ran it

David Rose found it hard to believe that the Guardian and the BBC would be so cooperative (where has he been?) :

@DRoseTimes David Rose
@amonck And you think the Gdn would just back down over that? Or share editorial decisions? Also no mention of Sun Times defence on Beeb!

Monck replied:

@amonck Adrian Monck
@DRoseTimes Depends who scored the audio. Besides reporting was v weak + Beeb led on royal angle..

A clip of the Beardall phone call was then played on Newsnight as part of a Michael Crick report into the Brown revelations which, Crick said, “came from investigations by the BBC and the Guardian.”

Monck informed Rose:

@amonck Adrian Monck
@DRoseTimes Crick just nailed it as Beeb tape… co-investigation with Gdn

Rose checked with Kevin Bakhurst (Controller, BBC News Channel and Deputy Head, BBC Newsroom):

@DRoseTimes David Rose
@kevinbakhurst – is this correct? RT @amonck: @DRoseTimes Crick just nailed it as Beeb tape… co-investigation with Gdn

Bakhurst replied:

@kevinbakhurst Kevin Bakhurst
@DRoseTimes @amonck yes I think so yes

So, a co-investigation.

Once the BBC had broadcast the audio as an exclusive, the Guardian was free to re-post it on its own website.

The licence-funded BBC joining forces with the loss-making left-wing Guardian to attack Murdoch. Agenda? Perish the thought.

UPDATE 11:00. The BBC claims this morning’s interview with Gordon Brown was an exclusive:

Gordon Brown has alleged News International used “known criminals” to get access to personal information when Labour was in power, in an exclusive interview with the BBC.

But the Guardian’s Nick Davies says:

In an interview with the BBC and the Guardian…

BBC/Guardian United In Palin Email Frenzy

A short while ago I posted the following in the Open Thread:

I see the Guardian is going balls deep over the Palin emails. They’ve even got a dedicated Twitter account about it, FFS. And if something is big news to the Guardian you can guarantee it will be big news to the BBC.

Right on cue, here’s an exchange of tweets between Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis and the Guardian’s Ian Katz:

Don’t you just love that “(of course). (yiippee)”? They hate her. They really hate her.

UPDATE. They’re searching urgently for something really bad:

And just for good measure, also on Newsnight tonight:

Finding BBC bias – like shooting fish in a barrel.

Today Paper Review

A double whammy from Evan Davis on the first paper review of this morning’s Today programme. Not only did he treat us to the paper review catchphrase (“The Guardian leads with the same story as us”) he went on to tell us that the Telegraph’s main headline (about the IMF) was “slanted”. Thanks for the editorialising, Evan, but how about letting us make up our own minds?

What was it that former BBC journalist Peter Sissons said again?

By far the most popular and widely read newspapers at the BBC are The Guardian and The Independent. Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover. In the later stages of my career, I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.

Perhaps the Guardian has such low circulation figures because the lefties choose to listen to the broadcast version on Radio 4 every morning instead.

BBC Agendas

Yesterday the Guardian splashed with the story that David Willetts was considering proposals to allow the wealthy to pay their way onto oversubscribed university courses. The BBC, brimming with righteous anger, made the story its lead item in the morning.

Today the Telegraph led with a letter from 42 family doctors, the heads of GP consortia representing seven million patients, in which they declare their support for Andrew Lansley’s health reforms. The BBC ignored the story.

The Telegraph’s chief leader writer David Hughes has commented:

There was not a word on this story in the news bulletins of our public service broadcaster. Just imagine what would have happened if the 42 had written a letter saying the reforms were all a terrible mistake and simply would not work. The BBC would have trumpeted it from the rooftops; talking heads would have been wheeled into the Today studio; we would have been in full Coalition in Crisis mode. Instead, we’ve had a complete and rather shameful silence. There is something unsettling about the national broadcaster choosing to ignore a major political story because it does not suit its own agenda.

Quite so.

Wikileaks In The Telegraph? Meh.

Julian Assange has taken his latest batch of documents to the Telegraph:

WikiLeaks documents that disclose how British ministers secretly advised Libya on securing the successful early release of the Lockerbie bomber demonstrate that Tony Blair’s Government was “playing false” over the issue, Alex Salmond has said.

The BBC response so far:

Apart from a brief mention during one of the paper reviews on Today this morning I haven’t seen or heard anything about this on the BBC. How very different to the headline treatment given to similar recent Guardian stories (Wikileaks, Palestinian papers). In those cases the BBC seemed to be in the loop, primed and ready for action as soon as the early editions were out. Now that the Telegraph is splashing with Wikileaks revelations the BBC appears slow to react and uninterested. The fact that the latest documents are embarrassing to Labour could be a contributing factor too.

No doubt something will appear eventually, but one gets the impression there’s a greater sense of urgency at the BBC when the Guardian is involved in these stories. Apparently there are more important things to report on today, such as the suspension of a principal from a minor Scottish university.

Update: The BBC’s Wikileaks page hasn’t been updated for a while: