I spotted this remarkable tweet by former Question Time producer, James Macintyre
We’re not the only ones to have noticed the BBC’s problem with impartiality. Andrew Griffiths MP has written a piece about it in The Commentator. “Is the BBC incapable of impartiality?”
He is particularly concerned with the politically unbalanced panels on Question Time.
Andrew, where have you been all this time? Maybe you should start reading this blog.
Pleased to see that Biased BBC gets a mention here in the always excellent Newsbusters with regard to the behaviour of a Question Time audience on the topic of Bin Laden’s exit of planet Earth;
By total contrast, when Douglas Murray, the associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, told the BBC’s flagship program Question Time last Thursday that he felt “elated” at the news, he was booed, heckled, and almost shouted down. Another panelist, the writer Yasmin Alibhai Brown, was applauded when she said she was “depressed” by the killing, as it “demeans a democracy and a president who has shown himself to be the Ugly American. He’s degraded American democracy, which had already degraded itself with torture and rendition.” The former Liberal Party leader Paddy Ashdown was then cheered when he said: “I cannot rejoice on the killing of any man. I belong to a country that is founded on the principle of exercise of due process of law,” as though the United States was founded on some other idea.
In a sense, this edition of Question Time is the perfect book mark to the notorious episode broadcast a few days after 9/11 when the US Ambassador was jeered by the BBC audience and almost reduced to tears. Ten years on, the BBC audience applauds those “depressed” by the death of the 9/11 mastermind and attacks those who take comfort in his death.
I don’t often watch Question Time, but anticipating a clash of cultures between Douglas Murray (Hooray) and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Hiss) I thought it would be worth watching last night. In the event the excitement was generated by action-man Ashdown.
Elder statesmen-turned-national-treasure are often afflicted by symptoms of geriatric pre-dementia such as continually harking back to the glory days, and his youthful military adventures in the Royal Marines have provided Lord Paddy with eternal bona fides for his unassailable expertise on everything to do with ‘war.’
Having taken on a Tony Benn-like egotism, he peers out from concealed eyes, talking over others, and sniggering with fake incredulity at anything they might dare to say.
Yasmin’s arguments collapsed under their own inconsistency, so she made up for it by performing histrionic gestures of mock exasperation. The director featured shots of her over-dramatised shrugs and facial acrobatics at moments calculated to best mock and undermine Douglas Murray.
The QT zeitgeist was thrown off balance by certain members of the audience. In particular a lady who had experienced the sharp end of Al Qaeda’s London Jihad, who made an emotional speech in support of Douglas Murray.
Douglas Murray has to bear the hampering ball and chain of the demonising ‘neocon’ label, and he heroically puts himself in situations in which he is outnumbered by hostile and dishonourable opponents.
A remarkable example of BBC bias, or incompetence, call it what you like, came following Douglas’s explanation that the West didn’t need to ‘be seen’ to use due process of law to deal with Osama Bin Laden in order to show that we are ‘better than them’, because the West patently shows that this is the case the whole time. (Merely by being libertarian, democratic, and free as opposed to Islamic, oppressive and barbaric)
(28:56) Paddy Ashdown, however, deliberately or through stupidity, totally misrepresented this by repeating indignantly, despite Douglas’s protestations, that Douglas had merely said we don’t have to show that we’re better than Al Qaeda. (Cut to shot of Alibhai Brown’s bizarre, exaggerated clapping.)
Meanwhile, David Dimbleby who was filing his nails or tweeting, or not paying attention for reasons of his own, sat back and allowed this slanderous disingenuous drivel to continue unchallenged. (I’m fairly sure a shot of this was edited out of iPlayer) But whether he couldn’t see, or wouldn’t see what what Paddy was getting away with, it was appalling chairpersonship.
“How old are you?” Paddy had been allowed to ask Douglas earlier. The same question should have been put to Paddy, begging the answer “Well past it.”
Finally, I mustn’t forget to query why Armando Iannucci was given so much time to waffle on meaninglessly, or indeed why he was on the programme at all.
Brian Cox on QT, Tony Robinson on TW afterwards…..who the blazes wants to hear the views of these pompous, overrated, superannuated lefty luvvies? Actors have to be, by default, self centred, vain, bitchy and ruthless to get on – they make bankers appear furry bunnies in comparison, particularly in the C list division inhabited by the likes of Cox and co.
Robinson speculating about swivel eyed Ed leading us into a new form of economics (Pippa Dreadberg and her Marmite Street Theatre?), Cox informing us with actorly gravitas that he is anti Iraq war, anti nuclear deterrent….I am certain their agents assured them that millions would be hanging on their words with bated breath…
Still I suppose we should be grateful that we weren’t exposed to something even worse – one of those “cutting edge”, “brilliantly gifted” self righteous boors who liked to be described as a “marxist” comedian.
Last evening’s Question Time, liveblogged in this parish, is a great example of the toxic working of the State Broadcaster. You see it had a clear propaganda job to do last night on behalf of the Government, a task it facilitated with practised ease. You see Question Time came from Belfast last night and just last week the major political event here was the Democratic Unionist Party rolling over on their pledges and conceding IRA/Sinn Fein – the organisation that murdered police officers and judges – the right to now have a veto over every decision affecting police officers and judges. The Government warmly approves of this naked appeasement, of course, and so QT trundled into Belfast. And the audience – that alleged random selection of the public – was all set up to ensure that each time the IRA convict, Old Bailey bomber and Sinn Fein delegate Gerry Kelly spoke, there was rapturous applause for him. Each time the DUP delegate on the panel spoke, there was applause. And when the ONLY person on the panel who opposes this shameful surrender – my political colleage Jim Allister even tried to speak – David Dimbleby interrupted him and the audience met his comments in frosty silence. The media message was simple – EVERYONE supports what has been done here last week. Nothing could be further than the truth but then again the BBC is very far from the truth. The bias lies in the structure of the audience and the willingness of the BBC to act as whores to perpetuate government policy. Just saying….
James Forsythe, in the Telegraph, hits the nail squarely on the head when he says the the BNP can be dismissed – but their constituency can not. Unfortunately almost all politicians and vast swathes of the media, the BBC above all, have consistently failed to make any serious analysis of why the party has grown in membership and electoral support over the last fifteen years despite the seedy nature of it’s current leadership.
So naturally, as Minette Marrin pointed out in The Times, BBC’s Question Time concentrated on shooting the messenger by setting him up.
What Griffin’s Question Time also showed was, for lack of a better word, the pusillanimous political correctness of the BBC and its lack of moral courage — something not peculiar to it, but characteristic of most public debate today. Deciding to involve a studio audience and then rigging it, to get the sort of response that’s felt to be right, is a form of moral cowardice and it happens all the time.
Initially the BBC and the chattering classes felt Question Time had cracked it. By exposing Griffin as comparatively inarticulate, nervous and unsophisticated they hoped to destroy him and his party. Instead they turned him into a martyr. Also, by completely subsuming concerns about immigration and identity within the concept of “racism” they closed the debate yet again – and gave many of those people who voted BNP a signal that their worst fears had been justified.
Many of the middle ranking, younger cadres in the BNP, unlike Griffin, do not come from the old Tyndall/Webster NF machine with it’s neo nazi fetishism and aryan folk mythology. They will not be able to be baited in the way that Griffin was baited.
What will the BBC do then?
Coming your way shortly..be there or be square!
Hi all! Sorry blogging has been light for the past few days but I am busy getting organised for my holiday to the USA. A big thank you to all my colleagues here who are more than adequately covering for me.
This is just a quick heads-up that we WILL be covering THE “Question Time” debate tomorrow night. Hope you can make it. Please come early as we can only allow the first 25 guests to comment without moderation. I’m hoping this will be a record show for us. It will also be my last contribution on the site until November 4th.
As it happens, I will also BE on the BBC tomorrow discussing the BNP on QT along with the Jan Muir/Gately issue. I will be debating this Roy Greenslade on “Hearts and Minds” and it will be broadcast on BBC2 NI @ 7.30pm and then BBC1 NI @ 11.35pm. As ever, I am there to be the voice of moderation and reason. 😉
Did you read that Peter Hain is to make a formal complaint to the BBC Trust over the appearance of the British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, on BBC1’s Question Time?
This follows what insiders described as a “robust” meeting between the Secretary of State for Wales and the show’s executive producer, Ric Bailey, during the Labour Party conference. “Mr Hain said yesterday: “I fundamentally disagree with the BBC’s decision. I fully understand why colleagues feel they have to appear, but I certainly wouldn’t appear with a racist, fascist representative – I think it gives them legitimacy.”
Glad to see that Peter Sissons rebuffs the pain Hain.
“Instead of bleating to the BBC Trust, why doesn’t the great campaigner offer to go on the programme and dismantle the BNP’s policies himself?”