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Saturday 9 May 2015

BBC Comes Under Fire

The right-wing press hates the BBC, yet no matter how much abuse is hurled at it, their readers keep tuning in to its programming. Those owners and editors pine for the day that the Corporation is cut down to a size where they can wield more influence, safe in the knowledge that their biased and selective reporting will have less competition. And their first-choice means to this end, a majority Tory Government, has now arrived.
And no right-leaning paper hates the Beeb more than the Daily Mail, where today’s Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, has asked its readers “is it too much to hope that [Dvid Cameron] might try to do something about the BBC’s anti-Tory bias, which has cost him so dear?” So dear that he won, eh? The projection - of a state that does not, and never did, exist - is all too obvious.

That the Mail intends to try and egg on Young Dave and his jolly good chaps into giving the BBC the kind of mauling that Dacre probably prays for on a daily basis is underscored by the paper giving a column to appalling old blowhard Leo McKinstry, who has dutifully thundered “BBC must now pay the price for its blatant anti-Conservative bias”. There must be bias, because they say so, and so about that bias Something Must Be Done.

McKinstry has one weapon he uses time and again in his rant, and that weapon is dishonesty. “The BBC had a woeful election night. In place of crisp authority, there was an air of incoherence and listlessness” he scoffs, missing that the Corporation’s coverage was by far the most popular. One would hate to hear his verdict on ITV, who came third in viewer numbers behind Channel 4.

This does not deter the blowhard: “With all its resources and experience, the Corporation should have set the gold standard for election coverage [it did] … But perhaps its Left-leaning producers [did he interview them?] were so shaken by the 10pm exit poll which pointed to a large Tory victory that they were unable to deal with the issues raised [the exit poll didn’t, it showed a hung Parliament]”.

Still, on he ploughs: “It is interesting to note that one of the Corporation’s key executives is James Purnell, a former Labour Cabinet minister [and the BBC Trust used to be chaired by Chris Patten, a former Tory Cabinet Minister] … Typically, Alastair Campbell was given a front-row seat to spout his partisan views [and sitting next to him was Michael “Oiky” Gove, given a platform to spout … guess what?]”.

And on he drones: “As the results filtered through, and the scale of the Tory victory became clear, the BBC seemed to go into official mourning over the phenomenal losses suffered by Labour and the Lib Dems … It was as if the Corporation, in its despair over the collapse of the Left, believed the whole nation shared its anguish”. Was he watching the same BBC the rest of us were? But that, for McKinstry and the Mail, is not the point.

It’s that the Tory victory is an opportunity to further emasculate a respected source of, yes, unbiased news presentation in order to make it easier for the likes of the Mail to fill any gap with its own dishonest and selective outpourings. Be afraid, viewers. Be very afraid.


mirandola said...

I thought the BBC election night coverage was crap - huge studios, over-complicated and confusing virtual reality graphics with near hysterical "experts" windmilling their way around - and that the ITV coverage was much better because it just had a few authoritative and informed experts in a relatively small studio on top of events and with crisp and to-the-point comments. Much less clutter and verbiage.

But on the point of the BBC being anti-Tory, the main reason I switched over was that it was so blatantly stuffed with Tories. Dimbleby himself (smugness vying with senility), Andrew Neill, Nick Robinson, Kuenesberg (married, I believe, to a banker). Paxman was thankfully on Channel 4.

It was wall-to-wall Tory. I started watching them when Huw Edwards took over.

Unknown said...

The entire election campaign, I thought, showed the BBC slavishly in thrall to the Murdoch/Dacre narrative, with so-called news items unquestioningly regurgitating stories from the Sun, Mail etc. I could only think the BBC was hoping to curry favour with the Tories under a future Government. For the first time in my life I now don't care what the Tories do to the BBC.

Rich T said...

Amazing to think that when I 1st got involved with the Labour Party in Islington, back in 1994, Leo McKinstry was a Labour councillor in the borough!

Pam Smith said...

I also switched over from the BBC on election night to ITV - it was really refreshing to see people being asked intelligent questions and then being given the time to answer them, and they had gathered a much better range of experts and pundits to comment on what was happening.

I'm really in two minds now about the BBC. I certainly don't want Murdoch to be able to pose as an impartial national broadcaster. But poor news values extend across their current affairs output, of which the heavy ballast of Tory supporting political journalists posing as commentators is only one facet. The reporting of the riots on BBC news was terrible. They used a background graphic of blazing buildings for days and there was no analysis at all other than sound bites from politicians deploring this or that aspect of it. I have given up the idea of expecting impartiality from any channel, including the BBC. I just look for the programmes where they make an effort to be informative and supplement my diet of comment by reading blogs like this one.