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Thursday 11 July 2019

Panorama And Labour - Worrying

Anyone who has dealt with the people who put together programmes like the BBC’s Panorama knows that this is, by and large, a group of dedicated and hard-working staff who are committed to good journalism. It is for that reason that Zelo Street passed no comment on the edition of the programme that aired yesterday evening, on the Labour Party and the current controversy on anti-Semitism, prior to it being broadcast.
Many others were not so restrained; this is understandable, given the nature of the issue, the variety of viewpoints, and indeed the desire of some holding those viewpoints to use the issue primarily as a points-scoring exercise. I will confine my observations to just three items of those presented to viewers to illustrate my concerns.

One is the Corporation’s own website news item, which is headlinedTop Labour figures 'interfered' in anti-Semitism disputes”. The need to use quote marks is concerning in itself: this means we are being asked to take one or more personal interpretations as data.
And that is merely confirmed by this passage: “Labour's disputes team is supposed to operate independently from the party's political structures, including the leader's office. But Sam Matthews, the party's former head of disputes, said he interpreted an email sent by Mr Milne - the Labour leader's communications chief - in March 2018, calling for a review into how complaints were handled, as ‘an instruction’”. He interpreted it.
As I suggested, that is concerning. It is highly subjective; moreover, it is a “sample of one”, which, as any good statistician will tell you, is unlikely to be a fruitful way to proceed. And then we come to a most unlikely Two: former Guido Fawkes teaboy Alex Wickham, who has told “BBC press release claims Jennie Formby intervened in Jackie Walker’s case, but it doesn’t say how they intervened... turns out according to Labour, Formby actually asked for the process against Walker to be sped up... not mentioned by Panorama”.
The accepted narrative on Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism accusations is that the Party has not acted swiftly enough, and continues not to do so. Wickham, now at BuzzFeed News, is suggesting this narrative is not borne out by the evidence.

And Three, this singularly disturbing contribution from the Labour Press Team: “#Panorama edited the email sent by Seumas Milne to completely misrepresent it. It stated ‘But if we're more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for antisemitism, something's going wrong, and we're muddling up political disputes with racism.’Panorama chopped off the part before “something’s going wrong”.
That not only strips the quote of its true context, it also brings back memories of the Murdoch Sun wilfully truncating a Milne quote to suggest he had claimed the attack on Fusilier Lee Rigby “wasn’t terrorism”. What Milne had actually said was “the attack wasn't terrorism in the normal sense of an indiscriminate attack on civilians”.

That last distortion is why I, and many others, are seriously concerned about the Panorama edition broadcast last night. I hope the BBC will address those concerns.
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Anonymous said...

You're missing the point, Tim.

This Panorama is what is known in PR jargon as a "psychological set". That is, one of many different propaganda pieces designed to create an impression or encourage a mindset. They accumulate over time until the perpetrators reinforce the propaganda as "reality". And "report" accordingly. The intensity and timing of it only varies according to circumstances. In time even an obvious smear - such a this Panorama - becomes "acceptable". There's nothing new about it at all.

The same goes for "push polling", in which questions are rigged and respondents selected to achieve a desired "opinion". Which is then presented falsely as a prevailing majority view.

BBC "News and Politics" has long been an utter right wing disgrace to British culture, a distortion of everything that really matters in public life. It shames us all.

This is but the latest disgusting example.

Neville said...

We need to defend the BBC against Labour's repeated attempts to cover up the anti-semitism allegations. When many of the party's staffers complain of a culture of both verbal and physical intimidation then we should ALL be worried.

Mark said...

Such a blatant hatchet job from the government's propaganda tool. What I equally find disgusting is how celebratory Rachel Riley is on twitter, even posting 'Happy Panorama Day' images. We get it luv, you're a Tory who seemingly will not appear to cease until the one political movement that will turn the lives of people less fortunate than your own around is ground into the dirt. The twitterings of this clique have, to my mind, nothing to do with A/S, religion or persecution. It's seemingly all about continuing to feather their own trendy wendy nests.

JohnTar said...

Did you NOT read the words set out above, Neville..? Did you NOT comprehend their meanings..? Do you NOT appreciate the meaning of the term "Witchhunt" when applied to the situation surrounding the Labour Party and especially its leader now - escalating ever more as the potential for a general election draws nigh..? Try to see the issues surrounding this from the perspective of those who do...

Mark said...

I got the usual guff in reply to my complaint:

To allow us to reply promptly to your concerns, and to ensure we use our licence fee resources as efficiently as possible, we’re sending this response to everyone. We’re sorry that for this reason we can’t reply personally to you on each point which has been made.

The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty.

Panorama, broadcast 10 July, explored a topic of undoubted public interest, broadcasting powerful and disturbing testimonies from party members who’d suffered anti-Semitic abuse. We also heard from former Labour officials, some of whom defied non-disclosure agreements to speak out about their experiences inside the Party and its anti-Semitism crisis. This shows the serious questions facing the party and its leadership on this issue.

The programme adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including a full right of reply for the Labour Party.

John Ware is a highly experienced and respected investigative journalist, whose track record includes critically-acclaimed and award-winning reports.

We reject any claims Panorama took any of the evidence out of context.

The significance of the email from Seumas Milne is that it showed one of the most powerful figures in the Labour Party expressing concern about the handling of anti-Semitism complaints and suggesting the wider process should be reviewed. This goes contrary to the Labour Party’s claims that this process was independent of the Leader’s Office. The impact of this email on those dealing with the complaints process was made clear in the eyewitness testimony shown in the programme.

As is the nature of such investigations, the BBC has relied on a significant body of evidence, some of which could not be included in the broadcast programme for reasons of source protection and space.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Anonymous said...

"John Ware is a highly experienced and respected investigative journalist, whose track record includes critically-acclaimed and award-winning reports."

Yeah, right.

He's a Murdochite. Which means he's a slimey, two-faced, lying gett. Like, for instance, the other Murdochite tub of sweaty lard, Neil.

The BBC: As trustworthy as a barrel of snakes coated in old soap.

Mark said...

Anon, I know right? I must have touched a nerve when I asked 'why did you, a supposedly impartial broadcaster, hire a journalist from The S*n with a record of anti-left propaganda?'