More BBC lies about the Tories

This morning the Today programme kept repeating that the Conservatives have done a U turn on public spending.
Instead what they did was do exactly what they promised – agree to Labour spending up to 2009, and then review it. They have now reviewed it and decided spending has to be lower than Labour plans thereafter – and rightly so.
We were also told the Conservatives do not know what to do about the banking crisis – yet I heard them say, again rightly, the government needs to change the terms of its massive bail out package, because it is not working.

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27 Comments

  1. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I think there is an inherent problem within the BBC when it comes to dealing with anything technical in current affairs programs. My impression is that the production and editorial staff are not particularly interested in technical matters, such as related to engineering and mathematics, so the production of programs, both in terms of structure and personnel, makes effective coverage impossible.

    A three hour program covering a wide range of topics presented by generalists will never get to the bottom of any complicated issue. The Today Programme presenters seem to me to be smart people, but they are heavily biased to the arts. Even Evan Davis seems to have been muzzled. So every interview of a specialist by a generalist always ends up with the specialist on top. I gave up bothering to listen to interviews of Gordon Brown as Chancellor as the questions were incompetent and the answers disingenuous.

    The interviewer, out of their depth, soon resorts to pointless questioning. Thus, the interviewee is not pressed on the issue to test the credibility of their knowledge and expertise because the interviewer does not know what to ask. So they fall back on questions asking for predictions based on gut feelings, questions about what will be said by a minister at a time when the contents of the speech embargoed, questions about whether the prime minister has told them their job is safe, and so on.

    It is made worse when the "tough" interview is thought to be one where the interviewer is simply rude.

    Human being when taken to task in areas where they feel vulnerable tend to dissemble. They may even resort to lies to protect their position. Any inherent bias will make maters worse.

    It is a shame that the Today programme has no competition. The BBC could do a lot better, and an effective competitor could show us all how well it could be done.

    • mikestallard
      Posted November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Allow me to congratulate you on a really thoughtful and true post!

  2. evil g
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives are unbelievably bad at getting their message across.

  3. Rose
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I can't decide whether this frantic misinformation has got more frequent since the BBC noticed conservatives calling for their special privileged status to be reviewed, or whether it is just the same as ever it was. What do other people think?

  4. Mr C
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Too often these days the BBC simply parrots the output of New Labour's spin machine, rather than faithfully reporting the facts. The BBC has a habit of recklessly misrepresenting the views of people or parties whose opinions run counter to the government's brief.

    Some of this might be attributed to political bias, to lazy journalism, or to the incestuousness of the Westminster bubble. However, another important factor is the dumbing down of the BBC's news content. The output of BBC News increasingly resembles that of its light entertainment department.

    The BBC's political reporting in particular has a distinct soap opera-ish feel to it. What it seeks are splits, plotting, good guys, bad guys, and lots and lots of name-calling. Any policy revision or shift is heralded as a U Turn and 'momentous' or 'historic' events are now a penny and pound. The current entertainment playing at the BBC theatre is called 'Brown: The Great Leader Rescues a Grateful World From Financial Doom.' Naturally, this is work is one of utter fiction!

    Important issues, such as the concerns you have consistently raised about the government's response to the banking crisis, do not fit well into this narrative or are otherwise regarded by the BBC as too subtle to move the 'action' along.

    This is not what I pay my licence fee for.

  5. Blank Xavier
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    It is fundamentally improper for a State funded broadcaster to offer *opinions* of any sort.

    To allow themselves to do so is in the very same act to modify their opinions by their inherent self-interest in pleasing, or at the very least not antagonizing, those who control their funding.

    Worse than this, it opens the possibility of not merely the bias inherent in self-interest, but a worse thing, a deliberate collusion with those who control funding – especially since those who pay are not those who really pay, but merely those who take what others have worked for (and who will not receive) and give it to the broadcaster.

    • APL
      Posted November 23, 2008 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Blank Xavier: "Worse than this, it opens the possibility of not merely the bias inherent in self-interest, but a worse thing, a deliberate collusion with those who control funding."

      Yes. We ought to scrutinize carefully where else the BBC receives funding from, for example the EBR&D.

      I like Stewarts suggestion put forward a few days ago. First act of an incoming Tory administration. A one line bill.

      "The BBC licence fee is abolished."

      Let the BBC sort its own affairs out from then on.

  6. ChrisD
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    John, what is the answer, because I am at a loss?

    When the BBC and other media report on the government's policy, position or what they actually do. There seems to be a much more discernible need to get their position right.

    But, with the opposition parties, there is no such watchdog as it were. They have so much more scope for allowing their own interpretation and opinion to get in the way of the facts. It is vital the the BBC put both the government of the day and the opposition parties under fair and balanced scrutiny.

    But for so long, this government and its former Chancellor, now PM have simple not had this type of proper scrutiny.
    This recession and the already incredible series of economic crisis's have been almost sanitised for viewing. The BBC should not be planning how they report the oncoming recession, never mind taking decisions to use words like downturn instead of recession.

    Its not the duty of the media to talk up/or down the economy, only the state of it. They are supposed to report the facts clearly and correctly and allow us to make an informed decision on the back of that.

    The worst example yet was their reaction to Osborne's intervention on Sterling last weekend. Their problem was the fact that this had been totally ignored by the mainstream political lobby in recent weeks. But the performance of Sterling goes to the heart of the government's performance, and the response of the main opposition party on present economic policy. But, even then, the emphasis was more about how *extraordinary*, talk of political mistake on the back of a fantasy *convention*.

    Apart from a few dissenting voices like yours, the media bought Brown's economic myth coupled with his equally mythical accounting for years. But I don't remember this kind of sanitised view of an economic recession back in the 70',80's and 90's. And we did not have 24 hour news and internet then either.
    Over recent weeks the media have allowed many new myths to be born on the back of goverment figures and claims. Some people are going to be very disappointed and angry later on.

  7. anthonythesensetive
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    But when asked on the Spectator blog if the BBC are bias, Francis Maude evaded the question and came out with a load of waffle. Why? Why did he not tell the truth. They are bias.
    Of course it's lies and the Conservative party are going to be on the receiving end of a lot more lies before the next election and it's about time the Conservatives got rid of that stiff upper lip, it's causing you/them a lot of damage.
    Lets face it Mr Redwood, you have been talking sense for years (about most things) but nobody is listening because to most people it's technical and boring. The Conservatives have got to find a way of putting the message across. And you could start by telling the Dimbleby's and the Humphreys of this world to stop interrupting you and your fellow MPs when your talking.
    God help us but even though Prescott is a miserable excuse for a human being he sure knows how to bash the Tory's and its time you lads came off the bench and started punching your weight like he did.
    I was talking to my local MP (in a south coast constituency) last week, lovely man, a gent, but he will never hate the Labour party as much as they hate him. The Conservatives have got to learn to hate them. It's the only way.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Sad but so very true.

  8. Robert Eve
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    In today's Daily Telegraph Charles Moore is saying he will refuse to renew his TV licence in protest at their failure to sack Ross. Instead he plans to donate an equal sum to Help the Aged. Sounds like a good plan and I hope many others are minded to do so.

    The BBC is failing in so many areas I hope Cameron takes action when he is in a position to do so.

  9. mikestallard
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    And, yes, I blame the Conservatives for letting the BBC get away with it.
    Lord Mandelson and Alistair Campbell are managing to get the Labour lies across splendidly. "Spending our way out of the crisis" = bribing the electorate for the coming election in the spring; "infusion" = pumping borrowed money in; "Not cutting back on schools and hospitals and other public services" = 50,000 more non jobs in the Guardian next week too; "this is a World Wide crisis" = not my fault, gov.; "We will soon pay back this loan which, in any case is much smaller than the one we were saddled with by the Tories in 1997" = yes, if you leave out PFIs, banks now supported or nationalised and the enormous liability for public service pay and pensions.
    So where are the people who are priming the BBC and other media (what about the Times, for heaven's sake?) on the Conservative side?
    There are a LOT of people who do not want another five years of the same. Where is our voice?
    Fingers out, please.

  10. A. Sedgwick
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    The licence fee today has as much logic as the window tax. The cost is now sufficient to prevent less well off viewers paying a subscription service for what they want to watch. There is a clear bias to their paymasters. The Corporation is vastly overstaffed – more staff went to Beijeng than UK competitors and are the Olympics in the middle of the night that popular? The vastly expensive move to Manchester is inexplicable. They have foul mouthed employees masquerading as entertainers. Their original remit as the public service broadcaster could be accommodated on BBC2 and Radio4 at a fraction of the cost. If you choose not to pay you can end up with a criminal record. It is about time there was some political honesty about this broadcasting dinosaur.

  11. Span Ows
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Someting is seriously wrong at the BBC, all programmes, blogs and reports seem to be (no, not seem to be…they are…) giving Brown the easiest possible ride; is it to cover their own blatant cosing up to NL over the last decade? Is it because they fear what the Conservatives would do to a patently bias 'public service'? Why is it? When they do things that are indeed lying, blatant untruths or accidently-on-purpose misrepresenting what has been said what can be done?

  12. The Wilted Rose
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Many BBC staff consider it their duty to campaign for Brownian socialism. Thus, they will tell the most ludicrous lies to trick the public into voting Labour in again.

  13. newmania
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I get so so angry with the BBC .Still , nice new poll out today which shows the Brown bounce to be a dead cat as it was before .

    What will Polly say this time ?

  14. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    This is the BBC for you. They will try and show Labour in a good light and the Conservatives in a bad one all the time. It is getting more and more blatent. What do the BBC managers do about it. Nothing as i suspect most of them are also Labour supporters.

    What are the Tories going to do about the BBC. The very least they should do is to promise the return to impartial reports and a clear spilt between news and views.

    There is a massive difference between cuts and a reduction in the rate of spending.

    For those at the BBC who do not understand.

    A cut is if you spend £100 last year and propose £95 this

    A reduced increase is that you were going to spend £110 but now it £105.

    Its still an increase on the £100 but less than was planned.
    This information is for the BBC not others that read this blog so pleae forgive me.

    If anyone cannot see the need for this. Then heaven help us.

  15. Bazman
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The BBC may or may not be bias. Is the Daily mail Bias? Don't see many complaints on this site about their nonsense. The BBC are a state funded organisation so are probably supporters of socialist causes. I'm sure you all love paying your subscription to SKY and enjoy it's excellent news coverage and wide range of quality informative channels, programmes and ADVERTISEMENTS!

    • David morris
      Posted November 23, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, let's analyse this one.

      1) When I last looked every one of us had a choice whether or not to buy any newspaper. Don't like the Daily Mail = don't buy it, don't like the BBC = tough pay up or go to jail..

      2) BBC programming has advertisements between every programme, albeit for their own programmes, and usually completely unnecessary digital channels.

      And as for the "may or may not be bias(ed)" – give me a break, the only reason Vince Cable is a permanent fixture on BBC political programmes is because he can be guaranteed to criticise the Tories whilst completely ignoring the party that actually got us into this mess.

      Anyway are you moving up to Manchester with the rest of your BBC chums? Got a really good apartment available with stunning views of the pennines……..

      • Bazman
        Posted November 23, 2008 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        SKY for you then? Not much free choice there is there? Maybe we could have them run the BBC. In a Fox news type way. Or Local TV broadcast locally like in Germany.
        The license is in fact a tax and why should you be allowed to decide what tax you pay.

        • David morris
          Posted November 23, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

          Actually I have no problem with a tax on TV ownership that either went to treasury or was shared around between a number of licenced broadcasting companies. Like many, however, I do object to the outdated notion that all the proceeds should go to the BBC, who are, currently, little more than the government propaganga department.

          What Sky (in fact Boulton would not be out of place on the BBC his head is so far up Gordon's rear end but I'm not forced by law to pay to hear his bias), Fox or Germany have absolutely nothing to do with your completely fatuous defence of the indefensible.

  16. Chris Thompson
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    On Tuesday 18th November everyone witnessed a Tory U-turn on policy. Several days’ later John Redwood is complaining that the BBC’s Today programme is biased against his party.

    The Today programme was not lying it was merely reinforcing what David Cameron announced a few days’ earlier regarding his public spending cuts. His announcement was covered by all the main news channels not just the BBC. Indeed Channel 4 News dedicated 15 minutes of air time to this very issue.

    Maybe what concerns John Redwood is the wide gulf his leader’s message created between Labour and Conservative public spending policies. Such a chasm makes it easier for the electorate to see which political party operates in their best interests.

    There’s no BBC bias, there’s only Tory paranoia in having a leader who’s rating in tumbling when it should be growing!

    Reply: not so – try reading what the Conservative leadership said for a change

  17. jean baker
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    anthonythesensitive,

    Obama's landslide victory was based and won on integrity and intelligence, publicly displayed throughout – without hatred.
    He rose above the opposition's dirty tricks and gimmicks – he wisely turned 'the other cheek' which placed him 'head and shoulders' above his opponent.

    The Tories focus and policies are based on the good of our nation and electorate's concerns. The historically dire results of Nulabor unionists self profiting rule, based on lies, and media manipulation is the reason 85% of people want a return to government based on honesty, integrity and intelligence.
    David Cameron has shown integrity and intelligence throughout many vicious 'opposition' attacks by pro labour (unionist) biased interviewers.

    Taxpayers and TV licence payers have been conned into profiting biased 'unionists' for years – BBC lost it's independent status in our democracy years ago. Voters are not as stupid as Nulabor presumes …… public head to head debates always sorts the 'truth from the lies and spin' – as Obama (and Cameron to date) have overwhelmingly shown and confirmed.

  18. Bryan Davies
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    John – all very sound and reasonable comments BUT unless the Tory front bench start getting their act together in terms of firepower against Labour and its many mistakes, lies etc there might well prove to be a fickleness in the public that retains GB for another term. The message of Labour failure and Conservative alternatives is just not coming across. One has to ask the question – were the high polls for the Tories due to their policies or Labour /Brown failings.

  19. Gordon
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the BBC should be unbiased due to its nature, but can anyone tell me why the broadcast media in general has to be unbiased while the print media can do what they want? (I'm not saying the print media should be restricted, but why can't, say, James Whale tell people to vote for Boris without being fired but the newspaper columnists can?)

    Thanks for any answers

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted November 24, 2008 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      You have a choice if you decide what paper to buy.
      You have no choice about the BBC.
      Thats the difference.

      • Gordon
        Posted November 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        I wanted to know why commercial stations have to be unbiased

One Trackback

  • By Cameron’s U-Turn « Mid Dorset Labour on November 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    […] Tory U-turn on policy. Several days’ later under the heading ‘More BBC lies about the Tories’ John Redwood complains that the BBC’s Today programme kept repeating that the Conservatives have done a U turn […]

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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