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Sunday 3 May 2020

BBC Bashing Running On Empty

The attempts by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press to use last week’s edition of Panorama as a stick to beat the BBC continues: the pretence that five NHS workers interviewed all supported Labour was evidence of bias, when around 80% of those workers back Labour, against 6% for the Tories, continued unabated.
Today’s lame excuse has come from the Mail on Sunday, where political editor Glen Owen has brought forth a fresh and steaming pile headlined “Culture Minister Oliver Dowden blasts BBC director-general over bias in the wake of Panorama programme on the Government's handling of Covid-19”. What this means is that Dowden has written a letter to Lord Hall-Hall, maintaining the dishonest pretence that the five were all “activists”.

Owen claims “It was revealed after the broadcast that the medical professionals interviewed on the programme were Left-wing activists”. It wasn’t. Merely voting for a particular party does not make that person an activist: Owen is taking his cue from the lies circulated by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.

So what does Dowden’s letter bring to the table? “In his letter … Mr Dowden says that, while respecting the editorial independence of the BBC, he is sure Lord Hall 'will agree that at a time of heightened risk of misinformation and disinformation, it is more important than ever that the BBC upholds the values and standards we all expect. The public should be able to turn to the BBC for transparent, unimpeachable, reliable news’”.

Was the Panorama programme factually inaccurate? We don’t get to find out, but do get “After referencing the Panorama and Burberry items, Mr Dowden says: 'I am sure you will agree that it is vital that public confidence is maintained in the BBC's long-standing reputation for fair and balanced reporting, and that any damage to that would be deeply concerning.’” Yes, yes, but what was factually inaccurate? We don’t get to find out.
Instead, we get an intervention from the new-look Ministry Of Truth. "Last night, a senior Government source said: 'The director-general needs to get a personal grip of this so the BBC quickly get its house in order. There is a worrying pattern emerging of the BBC not doing its homework and presenting partisan contributors as impartial’”.

Circular argument, anyone? The statement, which will have originated not a million miles away from chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings, assumes guilt has been proved. It has not. The key revelations in the Panorama programme were not brought to the table by any of those interviewees, who were there to share their experiences as front line workers. The kinds of people the MoS and its daily stablemate likes to call heroes.

Owen does the job that has been assigned to him: smear the BBC and bolster the idea that the Corporation is some kind of hotbed of Rotten Lefties™. His problem is that neither he, nor indeed Oliver Dowden, has cited one single inaccuracy in the edition of Panorama about which they are complaining. The interviewees’ testimony is not even mentioned - it’s just a series of personal attacks. Just crude tribal politics. Approved by Government.

While we don’t expect any better from the Mail on Sunday, it’s sad that rather a lot of the lying is clearly being driven by Polecat Dom and his pals. Paid for by We The People.
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Arnold said...

The Tory governments for nearly a decade have underfunded the NHS, cheered when a proposed pay rise for nurses, and made a total ball-up of coping with the pandemic. Why should any NHS employees vote Tory?

Anonymous said...

Just another tory sturm und drang at the Heil.

It's what its gutless clerks are bought-and-paid-for.

Anonymous said...

What all this brouhaha conveniently camouflages is the central revelation of the programme which has had surprisingly little follow-up coverage, namely that the status of Covid 19 was downgraded just a few days before complete lockdown..It had been regarded as a High Consequence Infectious Disease - as of March 19 it wasn't. As of March 23 it was high consequence enough to close down the country.


This decision had the consequential effect of making it fine for medical practitioners to treat it without full WHO-approved PPE.

Any self-respecting journalist should be asking why this decision was taken and if it has even now, been reversed. And if not why not? But that would mean not having a Press which pursues partisan politics even when claiming to do the opposite.

Anonymous said...

I'd guess there might be a problem finding a right leaning health professional working on the frontline at the moment, at least one willing to stick their neck out to praise the nasty party.
Bit like when someone asked for more right wing comedians on the BBC, to counter all those left wing ones they insisted on using...

Winstanley 1 said...

The only thing I have come up with don't buy the papers (unless it's the Morning star) and try to stay away from the BBC'S news & politics shows. They will never have a good word for socialism or the Labour party.

Rosie said...

Morning Star does not quite do it I am afraid. Poor website. Late journalism. Single issue obsessions. Stalinist history. No resonance. In fact there is no reliable paper in the UK. On Covid, Guardian has been pretty excellent. But on Labour and Corbyn it was partisan superior and slanted. The BBC is the most influential News programme and has been known to be a revolving door for reactionary journos bent on a career as a SPAD or Director of Comms to some Tory Secretary of State. Allegra Stratton anyone? What a bent bitch. Hence Panorama. It is capable of producing a pile of pickled porkies with its anti-semitism in Labour lie-fest of a largely fictional programme last November, before the Dec 12 Election and this quite good one on PPE. Meanwhile we have a largely brain dead electorate who voted for this shower.