Bias, balance and alternative facts

The BBC regularly says it must be getting it right because  both sides accuse it of bias. The problem is there are more than two sides in many cases.

I have never argued the BBC is biased against the Conservatives and in favour of Labour. I understand the lengths they go to criticise  both Conservative Ministers and Opposition Spokesmen, and grasp their idea of balance, offering an alternative  view in many cases.

The issue of bias and alternative truth takes more subtle forms. There is firstly the bias in the selection  of stories. The BBC loves running endless Brexit and climate change stories. It loves making other news items into Brexit or climate change stories, when many of us think there is little or no link. There is the endless sourcing of “the government should spend more” stories, because there are so many lobby groups with that as an objective.  People who want less government, who like Brexit, or are sceptical about the theory that man made C02 is driving damaging climate change do  not feel properly represented. Scientists are not interviewed with a view to highlighting errors, inconsistencies and poor research in the way politicians are.

Then there is the unintentional bias of the questions. Ministers are regularly put under pressure for not spending enough. It is very rare to hear Ministers under pressure for spending too much, for presiding over government waste, for failing to find cheaper and better ways of doing things. There is nearly always an automatic assumption that spending a lot in any particular part of the public sector is good, and spending more is even better. There is little probing behind the slogans to find out what the real numbers are, and to ask why in some cases so much is spent to so little good effect.

There is the permanent anti Brexit bias in many scripts and questions. The interviewer or journalist starts from the assumption that Brexit must be damaging. Good news is then recorded “despite Brexit”, often with a caveat that it could deteriorate in the future when Brexit  bites more. Never do you hear an interviewer asking the other side to comment on how the Brexit vote has triggered higher car output, more homes being built, higher consumer activity, better confidence levels.

Prior to the referendum there was always a bias against Brexit or Eurosceptic speakers. We had to be introduced with unflattering descriptions, interrupted more, and usually assumed to  be wrong. I remember when I was warning about the banking crash and had a proposal on how to handle it, I was competing with Lib Dem Vince Cable. I wanted controlled administration of overstretched banks – the system they now say they will use in future – whilst he wanted bank nationalisation. He got many more interviews than I did. He was often introduced as an expert because he had had a former job as an economist at Shell. I was introduced as a Eurosceptic with my past roles in  business and investment ignored, though they were more relevant experience.

I’m all in favour of them asking me tough questions, but I just want them to do the same for all the so called experts as well.

 

 

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165 Comments

  1. Duncan
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    The solution is simple. De-monopolise the BBC, by cutting its funding by 50% and with this surplus set up a second and competing state broadcaster, call it BBCX or such like. Its remit will be in complete contradiction to the incumbent BBC who for many a year now has been ‘liberal left’. Their bias is open, blatant, deliberate and designed to provoke and they adopt this position because they can. They enjoy a huge income guaranteed by the criminal law. It is morally offensive that I should have to pay a licence fee under the threat of criminal prosecution to an organisation who then takes my money and uses it to accuse me and people like me of racism, xenophobia and hated simply because I voted to leave the EU.

    This organisation is poisonous and in many cases slanderous. What is more shameful is that a tory govt has done nothing to influence events at the BBC. What is wrong with your party John? Why are they so sheepish? Or do they just enjoy an easy life and embrace the status quo? Confront the BBC and force it to change using threats because believe me the BBC and its employees despise the tories

    • Hope
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Bias out of touch- look at Westminster.

      Once again, through Bercow, the Westminster swamp has embarrassed itself and our country by making false inflammatory remarks about Trump. Out of touch pip sqeek who does not represent the public view. About time he sorted out the low standards that he promised to change!

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        The chances of an MP putting up a vote of no confidence in the man are near enough nil.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      De-monopolise the BBC, health, education, law and the very many other things the government tends to make a complete pigs ear of.

    • Chris
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Our government will not do anything to the BBC as long as the BBC continues to serve a purpose to the government, and that, of course, is what is both revealing and highly concerning.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Cameron even put the dire Lord Patton in charge! Confirming for sure Cameron was not a proper conservative.

  2. DaveM
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The BBC – or Trump Watch as I like to call it – has become ridiculous. If I’d just woken from a long coma I’d think Sturgeon or Tim Farron was the PM, Parliament had mived to Scotland, the UK was the evil aggressor in a war with the EU, and that all sport had been abolished in favour of celebrity dance programmes.

    • DaveM
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      I’d also think my country – England – had been renamed “Brittun”. Where have all the Englishmen and women gone, I’d ask. Have we gone back 2500 years to when the land mass known as Great Britain (in order to differentiate between this island and Brittany in France) was inhabitated by a largely forgotten race called the Britons? No, I’d conclude, we can’t have done – there are still Scots and Welshmen, it must just be that the word England has been replaced by a new word – Brittun. But I don’t want to be described as a Briton – that’s not my identity at all. I want to be English.

      What’s that? I HAVE to pay for this BBC thing? What the hell is this government playing at? Might as well go back into my coma.

    • zorro
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Indeed, it is ludicrous… every news item = negative Brexit/Trump. We have to keep on fighting and winning.

      zorro

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Well we do have lefty, interventionist, red tape pushing, workers on company boards and enforced gender pay reporting, rent controlling(?), ex(?) remainer, “BBC think” Theresa (Miliband) May.

      • Kenneth
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes, because going along with the BBC is the path of least resistance.

        Hence why there is such a political gap between the government and Conservative back-benchers.

        If you toe the BBC line you get on the telly and get noticed.

        The BBC tail wags the government dog.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Ha ha !

    • hefner
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Aren’t those things what a number of contributors to this site seem to believe? If they were so fed up with the BBC, they could go and watch or listen to other channels, or better just listen to some Mouths of Truth, like Russia Today, or take their essential news from JR’s site (The world would be so much better today if the other Cons had listened to him instead of going for Major), they would not feel so aggrieved, would float in their little bubbles of happiness, and not encumber this site with references to the dreadful BBC, or the wonderful DE, DM, DT. I am sure they would live better and not feed their stomach ulcers.
      As they were saying in the ’70s: “Cool, man, cool”.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        hefner, if the BBC was funded as all of the other channels are then I would agree with your statement but the BBC is funded by a compulsory licence fee and thus should be balanced to all viewers not just a predominant point of view. I choose not to have satellite channels, I can’t choose to pay or not to pay the licence fee. I’m just as likely to read the Guardian and Independent as read the Mail or the Telegraph.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      So basically, there’s a kind of civil war emerging in right wing politics and business between Trump / banking industry / populists / protectionists and the large corporate globalists.
      Even if globalisation does need re-shaping, Trump is the wrong man for the job. He lacks the overall strategic intelligence and experience to do it. Instead he’s essentially just used anti globalist sentiment to get into power but lacks the big-thinking, stragetic skill or vision how to re-shape it. And could end up doing long-term damage to the US economies (and the UK’s if we align ourselves to closely to him).

      • libertarian
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        Any evidence for this piffle or is it just more of your make it up as you go along stuff ?

    • John
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:24 am | Permalink

      Can anyone explain to me what Trump has done wrong ?

      When I look in to it, all the negatives are fake news.

      The BBC, that I have just been forced to pay £145.50 for by the govenment, are one of the main culprit.

      Why is this happening ?

      What can be done to stop this BS ?

  3. Mick
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/763152/BBC-EU-funding-European-Union-millions-broadcasting-filming-David-Davies-Get-Britain-Out
    Confirms what people have been saying for years, about time the license fee was dropped so they have to be self funded

    • zorro
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, the BBC is one long ‘progressive, Common Purpose’ rant which is of little journalistic value and totally partial.

      zorro

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        There is an excoriating article by Patrick Cockburn in the current(2nd Feb) issue of London Review of Books -“Who supplies the news”.

        It’s mainly concerned with the coverage of the Syrian and Iraqi wars but his conclusions have wider relevance.

        “The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organisations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side”

        • Chris
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and some of the most accurate reports and filming of the Syrian conflict actually came from RT.

          • hefner
            Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Have you tried Al Jazeera?

  4. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    A particular problem at the BBC is a bias when recruiting staff. Although they know they have to be balanced they think only left-wing staff are able to put aside their own political beliefs and provide that balance. Like recruits like. One example is Newsnight which has used the left-wing talk radio host James O’Brien as a presenter (who regularly calls Farage, UKIP, and Trump racists for example) whereas they would never employ a similarly controversial right-wing talk radio host.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      There are also knowing looks to camera. Arched eyebrows aplenty after Farage has spoken.

      • Timaction
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely. The Biased Broadcasting Company has a centre of gravity far to the left and needs radical reform. Our only hope is that it finally gets made to be a subscription channel so I don’t have to be robbed to pay for it. In today’s day and age that should be an option? When are the Government going to act for its people, particularly the English?
        I paid mine today, late as always in a minor protest. My last complaint about The Marr show which had all the usual biase was met with the standard we’re right and you are wrong as we are the BBC!

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      I agree Roy. I don’t think they employ anybody with a science degree who can actually do arithmetic. If they did then there might be better questions for Mr. Redwood and his colleagues such as; ‘when will government spend less than it receives in taxes?’.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, someone with a decent science degree who can do arithmetic and logic would be very, very welcome.

        Second rate, drippy, chip on the shoulder, pc lefty, green crap pushing, pro EU, second rate air head art graduates to a woman or man.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      The “Guardian think” people at the BBC (doing the recruiting) surely just recruit more of the same. Wrongly thinking everyone is, like them, pro EU, believes in climate alarmism, expensive religious energy, the environmental agenda, a huge bloated state, the dysfunctional joke NHS, magic money tree economics, open door immigration, rent controls, attacking landlords and businesses and in ever higher taxes.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I have great respect for people who came from nothing to do well in life, financially, and in every other sense (and have no time for snobby people who look down on the backgrounds people were born into). But saying that, Trump represents the worst aspects of the American parvenu.
      Can I remind people that this is England – not America. And Americans such as Trump can learn a thing or two from us about behaving a bit more like a gentleman in public life (and i don’t just mean manners). But even we in the UK have gone a bit bonkers, and many might find my comment quaint (unlike past generations would, i know, would be saying the same thing as me).

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        The very use of the word parvenu suggests a pronounced tendency towards snobbishness!

        Any garag(e)ists in the house I wonder?!

        • hefner
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          That’s all the fault of William and 1066, these Latin-speaking monks, and French-speaking Court.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 9, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            As far as i know, it only became unacceptable to use certain everyday French words such as toilet, serviette, and so on, during / after the Napoleonic Wars, and the tradition carries on. However, that social rule never/doesn’t apply to more ‘educated’ words such as coup d’etat, parvenu or the more typically used nouveau riche etc …

  5. Sean
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe we should start a petition against the BBC licence fee.

    Why force people be forced to buy something the don’t want. Isn’t it against our human rights, shouldn’t they be forced to become a subscription service.

    They are no longer a public service and haven’t been your years.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the BBC should just charge for those who want to watch it.

      Nor should the public have to pay for the dire NHS if they chose not to use it, nor the fairly poor state schools (we should get vouchers to use as we choose). Nor should they have to pay to subsidise the feckless or give some people (who can afford it) subsidised housing.

      • Bob
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        The £4 billion p.a. TV Tax should be ringfenced to provide social care for the elderly so that they may be able to leave hospital and free up beds for other patients.

        The BBC should raise it’s revenue in the same way that Sky & Virgin do.
        Lets see how well loved the BBC is when they don’t have TV inspectors, courts & police service enforcing their revenue collection.

      • hefner
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        LL, What about retreating on a some sort of desert island. I am sure you would thrive as the new Robinson Crusoe.

    • John
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      If we had the website voting system that John used to have, I would upvote you.

      I too, can’t understand why I am being forced to pay for this brainwashing cr*p.

  6. Mark B
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Well, well were do we begin with Auntie ?

    I predict +200 posts on this, including those from Lifelogic 😉

    He was often introduced as an expert . . . .

    I now no longer watch the Beeb’s output, so I cannot give a blow-by-blow account of its activities. But if there was one thing, which judging by our kind hosts comment above, it is the curse of the, un-named experts that drew the most ire form me. At least though the ‘expert’ in the example given was named.

    There was an interview done by the Beeb on YouTube with, Milo Yiannopoulos. In typical fashion they tried to paint him into a corner but, as he is clearly a very clever chap, he managed to turn it around and called the Beeb interviewer out on his tactics. This in my view needs to be done more. Nigel Farage seems to be doing the same.

    I am sorry Mr.Redwood MP sir, it is time to take the gloves off and start to fight back. Highlighting its bias on its own programs is the only way to do this. Name and shame !

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes Mr Redwood, can I recommend a BBC watch part to your website-let’s open this up

    • APL
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Mark B: “it is time to take the gloves off and start to fight back.”

      Don’t bother Mark, the Tory government has been in power since 2010, they’ve not done a single thing about the poisonous BBC.

      Draw your own conclusions.

  7. Richard1
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Certainly there is a huge but subtle statist-left bias in the BBC, we see it as you set out and with consistently left wing audiences – and majority anti-Brexit panels – on programmes like any questions. The left often assert that public favour right of centre policies because of fake news. You could equally ask what the majority for right of centre policies would be if there wasn’t an inbuilt left wing bias!

    Your principled and correct opposition to the Brown bank bailout was very much a minority view at the time, but has been shown to be the right way to go subsequently and has now been adopted in the U.K. And elsewhere.

  8. Pd
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I can’t disagree with any of that. I will say though the BBC is v clever in the way they do this

  9. Bob
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    “The BBC regularly says it must be getting it right because both sides accuse it of bias.”

    Have you ever heard anyone from the left suggest that the Licence Fee be abolished?

    I haven’t, and I would suggest that is the acid test.

  10. Bert Young
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I have almost stopped watching and listening to BBC channels ; they are ” leftie ” and extremely biased and have been for some time . Efforts to introduce change from the very top have failed ; the management have always won – a situation that has gone on for years . I make my comments from my relationship with previous BBC Chairmen who were charged with the objective to invoke necessary changes ; in the end they confessed that BBC management overcame their efforts . The only solution now is to stop them operating and leave communication services to the private competitive sector .

  11. alan jutson
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Its not only the bias during interviews, their so called experts are almost all left of centre in their views, explanations and summing up.

    Hear little about the waste of spending from our Foreign Aid Department.
    Little comment that we are the second largest spenders in the World on refugee camps, second only to the US, who also get criticised.

    The Environmental Agency are never to blame for poor use of their resources in regard to flood prevention.

    The list and bias is endless, rather like many of our schools, and NHS, those in charge just want the government to spend more and more (which may be true) yet they fail to see or report the huge amount of financial waste.

    Then of course as you say, everything is despite Brexit, nothing about the Five Presidents Report and what the EU will likely become.

  12. The Active Citizen
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Very good perspective, thank you.
    Here’s a current example from the BBC’s website. The article is called: “France elections: What makes Marine Le Pen far right?”
    The opening sentence is “She described Britain’s vote for Brexit as the most important event since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Donald Trump’s US presidential victory as ‘an additional stone in the building of a new world’.”

  13. Nigl
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    You have all the levers and a Culture Secretary who should pull them. Unfortunately the present incumbent is a junior level ministerial jobsworth from a tax advisory background with no history of achievement and certainly no definable presence.

    The previous Secretary made the right noises but was nobbled so you only have yourselves to blame.

  14. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    It is not just the BBC. It is the same in Australia – I would say worse – where the BBC equivalent, the ABC, is funded from general taxation. The left is highly globalised, an ambition since the days of Karl Marx, while protesting against, wait for it, globalisation. It’s the same with its stance on most things.

    Unfortunately if we only had commercial television and radio, they would be unspeakably ghastly. At least nobody would watch or listen to it.

    Social media is barren and hate filled.
    What’s left? Books. Books? You mean we’d have to read stuff? On paper?

    Sorry, I don’t know the answer.

    • Kenneth
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      For the BBC the answer IMHO is either:

      1. Turn the licence fee into a voluntary subscription

      or, if we are to continue to pay for it with public money…

      2. force the BBC to sell off the popular shows and for it to concentrate on minority broadcasting that commercial channels will not broadcast

      Whichever option, the BBC will mount a fierce campaign against it so it will need a brave government to do it

      • APL
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Kenneth: “Turn the licence fee into a voluntary subscription”

        That’ll do, and the technology to do it exists today, has been tried and tested and could be had for next to nothing.

        But the BBC and the government world rather prosecute single mothers ( a good chance many of whom are living on government benefits ) for watching TV.

    • Duyfken
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the ABC is possibly more rabid than the BBC. Oz seems still to be in thrall to the unions (which I well remember in my youth were more politically intent on destroying the economy than was possibly the case in UK). Turnbull and his predecessor Abbott, have both failed to tackle the political bias in the state-funded media, whether from lack of balls or from unyielding opposition. In a number of ways Oz can and has shown the way to responsible administration (yes immigration). It’s a great pity they have not tackled this media problem and provided the path for the UK also.

      The answer? Gawd knows, but we could start with making the ABC and BBC fund their needs from any source (advertising obviously) other than the licence fee, and be subject to rigid regulation to ensure the founding (BBC) principles are maintained in practice.

    • hefner
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, Peter, books. Unfortunately the local bookstores have almost completely disappeared, and public libraries with a bit of money to buy books are also on the wane. Tough to be obliged to buy “The death of Britain?” or “Singing the blues” from Amazon!

  15. Alan
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It won’t just be the BBC that is biased against Brexit, it will be all organisations which employ well educated people. For reasons not obvious to me there is a good correlation between educational attainment and wanting to remain in the EU, so almost all such organisations will have majorities wishing to stay in the EU. The exceptions will be those organisations that will clearly benefit from leaving the EU, or where employment is dependent on being opposed to the EU.

    It’s a bit unfair to blame the BBC, when it is just part of a UK-wide trend.

    • Peejos
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Alan, you use the word educated ~ that is the problem. For nearly five decades education has been biased ever more, so that geography and history and by extension a sense of pride in our county’s achievements has been distorted. You will recall our late PM’s comment about the USA fighting alongside us at the start of WWll to appreciate just how deep, even in the best of schools, that process of attitude change has gone on. It is of course one of Karl Marx’s tenets.

      So the potential pool of candidates for journalism of any sort actually has nobody with a centrist, let alone right wing, outlook for the market place. That is coupled with the long standing rejection of anybody remotely qualified in the sciences rather than the arts to ensure that emotion inevitably trumps facts. It’s not just schools, but the teaching collages that need root and branch re-establising

    • matthu
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      How much of this correlation can simply be explained by successive governments having stacked like-minded people into various institutions including House of Lords, Universities, Royal Society, BBC, etc. etc.?

      When you add to that the immense amount of government funding being directed at people who conduct research into favoured government (or EU) projects (such as climate change) and finally consider also the charities and other lobbying groups who receive massive funding from the EU precisely to lobby government into directions favoured by the EU, and it is no wonder there is hardly an independent mind left in any position of influence.

    • Bob
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      @Alan

      “For reasons not obvious to me there is a good correlation between educational attainment and wanting to remain in the EU”

      Being educated and being intelligent are not necessarily the same thing. The educational establishment are infested with Frankfurt School types and the collectivist doctrine is implanted as part of the “educational” process.

      That’s why the students become so hysterical and violent when their ideology is challenged, like rescued Moonie victims or Mao’s Red Guard. They are convinced that their ideology is the unassailable truth,

  16. Beecee
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    There is clearly an anti Conservative and pro left wing agenda at the BBC.

    Political balance, as they present it, is always to give or show the Conservative view/case first, whether in Government or Opposition, and the Labour view/case last thus leaving the viewer with that as the final impression.

    They do the same with interviews.

    Equal time does not always equate balance but the Beeb seems to get away with it.

  17. Wynkyn de Weerde
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    And this is never more pronounced than on Question Time when (Labour) women are allowed to scream interjections and have them picked up and translated while people who sensibly raise the idea of staying in the EEA, while applying Article 50 are told that “this question is coming up later.” It never does, of course.

  18. Andrew Sheldon
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The practice of correspondents providing the analysis is wrong to me. On BBC radio and TV news, usually the presenter interviews the correspondent. It should be a journalist interviewing persons outside of the organisation, with a balance of opinions. Media generally seems more opinion pushing than news reporting. which I think has led to a lack of trust in reporting. The gap being filled by more direct access to opinion through blogs and social media, where the reader makes their own editorial decisions.

  19. R Spriggs
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Your restraint is admirable, unfortunately a large number of us are appalled by the constant and blatant propaganda the BBC broadcasts under the guise of news or general programming. That we have to pay for this with an annual licence fee under threat of prosecution is unacceptable in our so-called democracy. It is high time that the BBC was forced to compete for viewers and the licence fee abolished. From the inaction of the Government I can only conclude that it is happy with the bias of the BBC, which is terribly disturbing. Not paying the licence fee seems to be the only way to force the issue and despite being uncomfortable with such behaviour I find this is the only option left.

  20. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Spot on – I have given up watching News at 5 because of the reasons you cite, in my view the interviewers frequently ask soft questions on the favoured topics and when waiting for the alternative interview there is none, less time or a dismissive attitude. I do not see the value in the 24 hour rolling news channel – it is like a never ending soap opera. Cameron failed yet again to implement one of his pledges with radical change to the BBC. It is another anachronism like the Lords, coincidentally they have a series starting this week on the upper chamber – both are overblown tax funded antiquities and should have been part of the bonfire of quangos – happy days.

  21. zorro
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    John, what you say as many of us here have stated is self evident. The BBC is a clear and present danger to democracy in this country. It has set itself up as the official opposition. Unless it changes (very soon) it must be de-funded and set itself up as a private news source. It is not fulfilling its charter purpose. We must fight fire 🔥 with fire 🔥……

    zorro

  22. JimS
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear!

    When we joined ‘the Six’ we were told that nothing would change against our wishes, we had a veto. That went. We were told that ‘free movement’ didn’t happen in practice and the situation wasn’t expected to change. Then they added the ex-Soviet states.

    Lately we were told that Turkey would never be a member, that there would be no EU army. Where were the questions to the ‘remainers’ about the initial promises and the actuality and the direction of travel?

    Now we have Guy Verhofstadt saying that it is too hard to get agreement within the 27/28, let’s have more single-purpose Europe! Why were the ‘remainers’ never tasked about the destination of the EU and allowed to get away with the obligatory comment, “it needs reform”, (the Guy Verhofstadt single state ‘reform’?)?

    • Vinnie52
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Guy Verhofstadt was on BBC’s own Hardtalk programme and basically admitted the EU was unfit for purpose in it’s current form. A soundbite that should have been a gift to a serious news organisation but which remained buried in a podcast. I wouldn’t go as far as describing BBC as #fakenews, but it consistently presents / omits information as suits it’s doctrine. Like others, I ignore it’s news output although I make an exception for Stephen Sackur / Andrew Neil. I don’t need to know the politics of these gentlemen, but my experiences is I get balanced and thoroughly researched interviews, and that is my minimum expectation.

      • rose
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Sackur failed to pull him up on two assertions:

        1 Nationalism being the cause of the war – I should have said that Hitler, like Napoleon, was rather more than that, both having very grand plans for conquest but not as grand as the EU.

        2 “I am not a protectionist”. I have never heard an EU fanatic assert this
        but Sackur let it pass, as any good BBC man would.

        • Mitchel
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          In my experience Sackur’s interviews are certainly well researched but they are hugely slanted.

  23. Liz
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I agree with this summary – BBC news is frequently unwatchable.
    You often hear the expression – “on the extreme right” to describe someone who is more right wing than they approve of. However those on the extreme wing of the left are described as belonging “to the hard left” as in their view however left wing you are you can’t be an extremist. Many would say that many on the Labour front bench could be described as extremist using their criteria for the right.. The kind of bias you describe in interviewing and priority of news stories is not to be found only on the BBC – the ITV news has become much more left of centre/anti Brexit recently and ITV even weave left wing bias into their drama. Sky news will never feature a good news Brexit story only a continuation of project fear.How many times do all these news organisations have Anna Soubrey – a back bencher – on spouting her anti Brexit views compared with any back bench pro Brexit MPs? She was on Andrew Marr show yesterday. There are almost no good political interviewers left now – maybe only Andrew Neil – who can argue from both sides

  24. Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    What you have said sets out why it is so important for the Conservative party to be lead by someone who believes in the cardinal virtues of freedom and democracy and understands why freedom is compromised by high and socially directed taxation. There has not been a Conservative leader who really believed in what are expected to be the central tenets of their party since Mrs Thatcher. The reason it is so important is that if not even someone at the head of the Conservative party is prepared to stand up and be counted, it is hardly surprising that a state run propaganda machine remains free to make the running and is never taken to task by someone of whom even it feels obliged to take notice.
    Incidentally I find it ironic that Mme Le Pen has morphed from being described as ‘far left’ (which she is apart from her views on the EU) to being ‘far right’. People always conveniently forget that Hitler had ‘Socialist’ as part of the name of his party.

  25. Duplex Head!
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    “The BBC regularly says it must be getting it right because both sides accuse it of bias.”

    Sides? Interesting! Who are the sides? A Little Liberaaal or else a Little Conservatiiiive?
    Well bless my soul. There’s me thinking I was not part of one of two rival collectives of Borgs.

    The mind-crushing bias of the BBC is that it believes they are the doctors and we are the patients.To them, we patients can only think in a binary way: we either prefer to limp on the right leg or prefer to limp on the left leg with the centre-ground being for hobbling along on both knees with a pixie-like expression of self-satisfied “balance” on our cloned faces.
    About right for a BBC Question Time audience.

  26. Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t watch the BBC now especially newsmight which is the guardian brought to life.
    Sky is slightly better and I find myself watching Russia today for a more reasoned interview. Frightening that the BBC had driven me to watch communist tv when I’m a faragista.
    Why do the government let them get away with it. Whittingdale would have addressed this had Osbourne not stole the opportunity for a treasury grab.

    Why should I pay a licence fee to a co that mispends on left wing propaganda?

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      I’d hardly call Russia or Russia Today communist!But RT does offer a much wider range of perspectives than the UK mainstream outlets and their interview and discussion programmes ,taken as a whole,are an important part of the media mix,unless you want to be a sponge soaking up received opinion.

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        The Dictatorship of the Commentariat is over!

    • Doug Powell
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Agree with most of what you say, but would like to correct one point – Russia is a now a capitalist country, and a conservative one at that.

  27. rick hamilton
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It is hard to understand why the Conservative government tolerates the blatantly leftie leanings of the BBC, as identified long ago by Paxman, Marr and others. Perhaps it is because there is no proper opposition in Westminster. It’s about time the news and current affairs side was spun off and made to earn its own living in the tough hard world. They could call it the So-Called BBC as it does nothing positive whatsoever for the image of the UK overseas.

  28. turboterrier
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The Bull **** Broadcasting Company is way past it’s sell by date and your excellent entry today highlights the key areas of their complete lack of understanding to some of our countries greatest problems. All of them are being paid vast sums of money for producing in lots of cases unadulterated crap driven by their own personal views and beliefs. Reporters never seem to take on the real experts (highly qualified electrical engineers) when talking about the real cost of climate change or mention the millions of extra people who have come here and overloaded the NHS for example.
    The top level of the organisation must take a lot of the responsibility but it obviously has dripped fed down through the management levels to give the licence payers what is in effect a second rate service. Thanks to the Beeb it keeps the numpties and the luvvies that are totally left of the views of the population in the constant limelight.
    The beeb has had its chances and hasn’t changed and should be shut down and completely revamped as should the House of Lords

  29. Andy
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Sorry John, but I don’t agree with you on this. I think the BBC is inherently anti-conservative and has been so for 30+ years. I also think that you MPs need hauling over the coals for allowing the BBC to grow so large and to dominate broadcast news provision as they do. It badly needs to be cut down to size. In any democracy it is dangerous to allow one provider of news and current affairs to have such dominance which is why the BBC needs to be broken up.

  30. Yosarion
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Must be getting somewhere, they talked about the Four! Nations this morning, rather than the closet Scots Nat Brown’s, Nations and Regions

  31. MikeP
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    We had another case only today on BBC Breakfast where the fall in the pound “since Brexit” was cited as an issue for importers, a driver of inflationary prices et al but no mention of the help it provides to exporters, balance of payments, or recent improvements in the FX rate. Nor any mention that the FTSE has gained almost exactly as much as the pound/dollar has lost, so almost every pension provider (and holder) should have welcomed that. Yet again we had a Ryanair executive forecasting difficulties ahead despite them doing very nicely thank you in the present growth climate and seizing the opportunity to advertise for free their low fares. And don’t get me going on man-made Climate Change.

  32. Peter T
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The anti Trump hysteria of the BBC is so extreme ; I do wonder when they will start calling the US government the Trump ” regime ” .

  33. Mark
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Yesterday, David Rose in the Sunday Mail broke an astonishing tale of fraud from a whistleblower at NOAA, explaining that the Karl “pausebuster” paper that was so influential at the Paris climate summit was based on bad computer programmes and bad science. As far as I can tell, the BBC has yet to acknowledge this at all. It does not fit their preferred version of events.

    • stred
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Our future king, who keeps lecturing his future subjects on green matters has been writing about the lack of the warming pause with his Friends of the Earth. He quoted the pausebusting paper in his newspaper article and has written a Ladybird book so that even dim subjects can understand. The very small increase and fact that previous climate models have been shown to be wrong are not mentioned.

      Presumably, he will now add a retraction following the news that the latest figures were fiddled.

  34. Gareth Jones
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Do I take it from the tone of your article that you think there is significant scientific doubt about human contribution to climate change? Because there isn’t – the scientific consensus is overwhelming that human CO2 emissions are majorly contributing to climate change. Which is only to be expected – the emissions are increasing and CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    There is uncertainty about how to counteract it, but none at all about the best way of stopping it getting worse – reduce CO2 emissions.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Science is not about consensus. The scientific debate is what “majorly” means as the current climate models have little prediction accuracy. The political debate should be about whether we should even try to stop it getting “worse” and how much to spend on that – impoverishing the poor even more with high energy prices (our current policy) is only one option.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere which is also a plant food. The scientific consensus you bleat about was/is headed by a railway engineer and many on the committee are not climatologists.
      The climate has been changing since the earth began and no amount of stupid taxation will stop it changing in the future.
      Trump has recognised it is a scam and the latest bogeyman after the collapse of communism.

      • Gareth Jones
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Right. So on the one hand you say the climate has always changed, then on the other you say it is a scam. Your inconsistency betrays your scientific ignorance.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      There is evidence that CO2 had been increasing; there is evidence that most CO2 is trapped in the oceans; at higher temperatures it is released and at lower temperatures it is absorbed. There is no evidence that CO2 drives the climate; that is simply an assertion supported by fraudulent data. Why would CO2, a minor constituent of the atmosphere, have more effect on climate than the Sun and the clouds and the ocean currents? Wake up.

      • Richard G
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Not sure what you mean about CO2 having more effect than the sun or the clouds, but I can point out that as far back as 1861 John Tyndall published measurements showing that atmospheric infra-red absorption is due solely to trace gases such as H2O and CO2. And that before that, in 1827, Joseph Fourier had shown that any atmospheric absorption of infra-red would cause Earth’s surface to be warmer than it otherwise would be. But I guess I’d be wasting my time…..

        • forthurst
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          ..and H20 (Cloud) is important and CO2 is not for two reasons: the CO2 spectrum across which the xun’s energy is absorbed is narrow and it becomes saturated at low levels such that further CO2 has no additional effect. Laboratory experiments are irrelevent to predicting an open system like climate.

          • Gareth Jones
            Posted February 9, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Well, that must explain why the planet Venus – which has an atmosphere of CO2 – is so cold, freezing in wintery temperatures in excess of 400 Celsius.

          • Richard G
            Posted February 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            Ah… the argument you are putting forward was first advanced in a 1900 paper by Angstrom, and is fallacious – I’m sure he’d feel embarassed by it if he’d lived long enough to see it properly corrected. Strong absorption peaks get saturated in their centres, but they have tails that are not saturated; the effect for CO2 is that the forcing becomes logarithmic rather than linear in concentration. This was realised more than 50 years ago, and the idea has disappeared from peer reviewed scientific literature.

            You’re either learning climate science from peer-reviewed literature from long ago, which I doubt, or from more modern sources that are not subject to peer review.

          • hefner
            Posted February 9, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            Forthurst,
            1. H2O, there is an hydrological cycle, which means that H2O evaporates, condenses in clouds, precipitates and the actual atmospheric water content is an increasing function of temperature (Clausius-Clapeyron).
            2. There is no such rapid cycle for CO2, so even if a major proportion of CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, it mainly stays there, the transformation to carbonates being much slower. As for the atmospheric part, it keeps increasing. You’re right that the main absorption bands of CO2 get easily saturated (15 microns), but there also are much weaker bands (9.4 and 10.4 microns) which react linearly, so are still very far from being saturated. These two bands are also located in what is called the window region (between 8 and 12 microns) which means that increasing opacity translates into increasing temperature, not a lot but sizeable over 40 years and with increasing CO2 concentration.
            1+2: increase CO2 -> (small) direct increase in temperature -> positive feedback with increase in atmospheric water content -> more “efficient” hydrological cycle (i.e, more precipitation, more droughts, on a global scale, maybe not over LL’s Guernsey)

            This effect is seen in observations (not modelling), with spectrometers from the ground looking upwards or embarked on satellites for impact on temperature, and meteorological observations for the impact on the hydrological cycle.

            As you were saying, wake up.

        • Gareth Jones
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t bother, Richard. Sad to say, forthurst, like others on this blog, gave no interest whatsoever in evidence; their only concern is to maintain their biases.

      • Gareth Jones
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Ah yes.

        2+2=4? Fraudulent. Do your “alternative facts” tell you that it equals 5?

        • hefner
          Posted February 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Or as would be concluded by the some TV or radio programs, in a face-to-face program with one contributor saying 4, the other 5, the actual answer should be 4.5
          That’s Matt Ridley for you.

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      “The emissions are increasing and CO2 is a greenhouse gas”.

      That is factually correct but, unfortunately, (for you) it is a poor greenhouse gas, compared to water vapor and is effective over a narrower band of the EM spectrum. Carbon Dioxide levels below 180 ppm will lead to cessation of photosynthesis and plant life (not good) whereas higher levels (than we are currently experiencing) promote abundance of flora and organisms dependent on it (us?). All this can be easily found on t’internet (try New Scientist website) and was even widely known when I was at Uni in the 1970’s. In those days, the scare story was Global Cooling and a fear of the onset of an ice age!

      • Gareth Jones
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        It’s not really the point. What is the point is that climate change will cause regional changes such as increased drought in some areas, increased rainfall in others, higher temperatures in some areas and perhaps lower in others, but with the overall average temperature increasing. The regional changes will lead to severe local problems, with effects on the human population there. Expect local disasters and mass migrations.

        Our civilisation depends on stability. Changing climate will lead to regional instability. It won’t be the end of the world, nor likely the end of civilisation; but it will be the end of the way of life that many people have around the world. That will affect us.

      • Richard G
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Not sure what you mean by a “poor” greenhouse gas, other than that its forcing increases logarithmically, rather than linearly, with concentration. You’re right that water vapour is a very important greenhouse gas, but seem to have missed the essential point that its concentration increases with Earth’s surface temperature, while the concentration of CO2 is independent of surface temperature on decadal timescales; i.e. water vapour provides a strong positive feedback greatly amplifying the effect of CO2. This was realised by Arrhenius in 1896 when he published the first paper estimating the expected temperature rise if the concentration of CO2 were to double. You can read up about it in many textbooks, e.g. “Principles of Planetary Climate” by Pierrehumbert.

        The warmer, higher CO2, climates of the past did have more abundant plant life, at least at these latitudes. However switching to such a climate within a century will emphatically not be good for our flora – they can’t move poleward fast enough! There’s a nice graphic in the latest IPCC reports providing numbers on this.

        I certainly remember talk in the media in the 1970’s about the coming ice age, and some may well have represented it as imminent – never completely trust a journalist! And of course the current interglacial is bound to come to an end, and it’s interesting to to try to predict when this will happen. I’ve never come across a peer-reviewed paper from that period that said that might happen on a timescale of anything less than millenia; if you can refer me to one I’d be fascinated.

        For a 1970’s prediction relevant to decadal timescales, I can refer you to an article by Sawyer published in Nature in 1972. It predicted 0.6 degrees of anthropogenic global warming by 2000 – more or less spot on! 1972 was before any measureable warming had occurred, the effect of rising CO2 probably being masked by cooling due to sulphate aerosols and natural forcings.

  35. Original Richard
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    The worst aspect of the BBC’s bias is the pretence that it is not biased.

    As a national broadcaster with its huge reach, and with its current method of funding, the BBC should be forced to allow different journalists and editors to produce its range of political programmes within some system of rotation.

    The BBC has one view on all subjects and not one journalist is allowed to stray from the official line. I presume if they do they will be sacked.

    The bias is inherent and inevitable if the same journalists year after year are producing and presenting these programmes.

    The BBC news journalism can easily be biased through omission, the tone of the broadcast or questioning of politicians.

    As a typical example, on a Sunday morning political programme on BBC R5 two weeks ago all 7 guests were remainers discussing Brexit, thus giving the impression that there was not one leaver left in the country.

    With such bias, for anyone who relies upon the BBC to represent the views of the nation, the EU referendum result will have come as a tremendous shock.

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Seven months on the BBC is still picking at its post-referendum scabs:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38762034

    “Local voting figures shed new light on EU referendum”

    The “new light” actually being much the same as the existing light, that it was a mistake to allow ill-educated old people to vote in the referendum.

    I don’t know whether the BBC paid for this study.

    • Know-dice
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      An how did they get this accurate new data?

      So, if a university was in an area that voted remain, they assumed that this was a more intelligent area.

      What about data for older voters? Did somebody trawl though the secret ballot slips and assign names and ages to votes – I hope not.

      All smoke and mirrors – nothing to learn here, move along…

      • rose
        Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Funny how they don’t see students as gullible teenagers, brainwashed for years by their EU corrupted institutions. Universities and colleges are severely compromised by their “EU” subsidies, as is the BBC. This is not superior intelligence, but lack of integrity and patriotism.

        As for the stupid old people who shouldn’t have the vote, how did this study know their common sense and wisdom did not arise from being educated? Anyway, as Bevin said to the US president who was so impressed by his intelligence when drawing up NATO and asked him where he was educated: “I gathered my education on the hedgerows of experience.”

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I question whether someone highly educated could be said to be well informed on other subjects. You see people from sport to education who are so dedicated to their interest their views on anything bar their specialty is highly suspect.

    • Mark
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      The thought that the supposedly “educated” were in fact largely brainwashed in their hatchery and conditioning centres where there is no platform for “heretical” thought would never occur to them, because they share that background. I do wonder why we allow a few university lecturers to have so much influence.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Diane Abbot said recently that “Labour had the six most passionately pro-leave constituencies and the top six most passionately pro-remain constituencies” is the educational levels of each of those six in line with each other?

      I know lots of low skilled unemployed people that voted to remain because they didn’t want any change to their benefits.

  37. See SawMargery Daw
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The BBC never admits the case I hold at the moment. It will debate should we- shouldn’t we, invade/intervene in such and such a country. Carefully it will form a panel of those for, those against, those with funny voices seemingly saying both at the same time and, a studio audience full of partially deaf people.
    But my case is that it should not be debated any more than one should debate whether we should or should have sex with a five year old.So the BBC is the un-biased focus/fulcrum of the devils plaything: the seesaw of evil.
    “Keeping the balance” is not necessarily a virtue.

  38. roger carradice
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    John
    Why do they call Marine le Pen far right but never Jeremy Corbyn (or anybody) far left?
    Roger

    • hefner
      Posted February 10, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      As already explained elsewhere, the two MPs from Front National (Marion Marechal-Le Pen, Gilbert Collard) sit at the far-right of the hemicycle that is the French Parliament, a choice supported by a long tradition, originally linked to how “deputes” (MPs) were sitting in the Assemblee in 1790.
      It still makes (some) sense in the French context, but is not so clear in a British one.

  39. ACN
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Each morning I wake up to the Today programme. A three hour procession of people asking for more ‘resources ‘ for their particular field of interest or employment. Varied only by negative items re Conservative government, Trump, or Brexit. Not good start to the day.

    • Graham
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Er – why not tune to another station ? Or do you get a perverse kick out of knowing that you are going to be lied too😎

    • Mark
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      I prefer to read this site (and several others). Much more enlightening and refreshing.

  40. oldtimer
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    You are right to criticise the BBC. I have commented before on how the BBC ruthlessly pursues its own agenda and promotes particular causes. It will employ all the resources at its disposal to do this. These most obviously include news and documentary programmes. But these will also include drama and comedy shows so that they too will reflect the BBC agenda. Apart from its Brexit and Climate Change agenda it is clear it is pushing feminist and anti-meat eating themes on a regular basis. I have little doubt that the editors of the different departments are well briefed on the lines that need to be taken and these are reflected when programmes are commissioned and broadcast.

  41. Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    John the real problem is the framing each political party has used about government spending.

    The lie that is the monopoly issuer of £’s can run out of £’s. Cameron used this John to his advantage and their is not an ounce of truth in it.

    The sectoral balances and accounting don’t lie John. The budget deficit = the non govermental sector savings to the penny.

    After all treasury bonds are just £ deposits at the BOE. If you look left on the balance sheet that’s where all the assets are.

    Until the truth is told you are always going to get bias from both sides. Ultimately, after Brexit the truth is going to have to be told at some point and only then will we get a balanced debate.

  42. Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I agree to some extent. The BBC suffers from bandwagon syndrome. The corporation gives inordinate coverage to trending stories – currently Trump and Brexit as you and your other respondents have pointed out. They have taken their eye off their charter requirements to inform and educate in respect of news.

    During the referendum debate, they concentrated on the more extreme of the combatants on both sides. “Project Fear” was not limited to Osborne and Cameron. One recalls the spectre of millions of Turkish immigrants raised by one of the Leave campaigners.

    However, the “balance” of the debate on BBC in the month preceding the referendum must be contrasted with the previous years of neglect of objective reporting of EU institutions. An organisation which believes that 70% of English law is made in Brussels (a misconception which was relayed by at least one presenter and not contradicted on-screen) should surely have shown the Great British public how those directives were created and what contributions UK ministers, MEPs and Commissioners made to them.
    The straight broadcasting of proceedings in Commons and Lords on BBC-Parliament is exemplary. More on those lines in respect of European affairs would have been helpful.

    • rose
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The only reason the Parliament channel is exemplary is that no BBC people appear on it for most of the time – only MPs and Peers, together with the people they are interviewing on their select committees.

  43. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have long thought that, since the BBC cannot police itself – even though I am sure they think they are trying and are merely oblivious to failing – that it doesn’t deserve my hard earned money. Unlike most other taxes, I do not feel that left-wing propaganda is something I should be made to contribute towards. Let the BBC spout their opinions, dressed as facts, to those willing to pay; alternatively, since centre right, libertarian viewpoints are so inadequately represented in the media, perhaps it is time dedicated programmes were introduced at reasonable times, if they want to keep their funding. They could start by airing the crowd-funded ‘Brexit: The Movie’, which should be proof positive of a market willing to see such viewpoints represented.

  44. A different Simon
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    The BBC is a good example of how the establishment channels/funnels public money to finance leftist causes .

    The cash is injected under coercion by the outrageous license fee .

    It then flows to The Guardian in the form of fees for job advertisements .

    Same money go round happens with Quango’s and academia .

    If you’ve ever wondered who these socially corrosive organisations get their money from , it is you – Joe Public !

  45. Anonymous
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The BBC heaps blame on the elderly. They get the blame for the housing crisis and the NHS crisis (though they can’t be blamed for the accompanying schools crises, conveniently forgotten.)

    “Because of the ageing population.”

    The BBC also uses the middle aged/elderly to play their villains or bumbling clowns in drama/comedy. The only pejorative expressions allowed in these PC days is when one character calls another a ‘geriatric’ immitating grandad sucking a pipe. (So called ‘comedy’ Bluestone 42)

    The results of allowing only one part of the demographic with all this is manifest in the abuses in carehomes and the neglect of our elderly. The BBC is brainwashing people to disrespect them.

  46. Iain Gill
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It’s not just bias, although I agree that’s a problem. Made worse by them recruiting and promoting people in their own mould.
    It’s also poor quality information. You see on those few subjects where I am genuinely a real specialist, and could write the text book, when I see things in the press that mention these subjects they always get things wrong. Spectacularly wrong. So much so that I have decided that if they are getting those things wrong they are probably making similar mistakes in subjects I don’t know enough to spot the errors.
    Good that the internet allows me instant access to those that do know these days.

  47. Jansen
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    BBC : remove their Charter and force them to become commercially self- sustaining. They can still be biased in whatever direction they like BUT not at the expense of the people of this Country who by law are required to pay a licence fee. With that will go a name change.
    House of Lords: substantially reduce the present numbers( no more than 50); reform the method by which they become Members and limit the number of years each member can remain to a term of no longer than 4 years. These people must be proactive in debate ( not just turn up for their fee/expenses) and must be elected and accountable.
    Experts: Mr. Gove I know EXACTLY what you mean in spite of what you say!

  48. clear
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Such a big subject. So many links out there analyzing it from decades ago up to today.
    Won’t link. Best to look yourselves if you have the time and motivation.

  49. J.White
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    This morning the business person interviewed the finance officer of Ryan Air. In the main bulletin the finance officer stated they had an 8% drop in profits but the highest number of people flying. He stated that they would still operate and adjust after Brexit. In a later shorter prensentation it was only the 8% drop in profits mentioned in line with ‘due to Brexit ‘. Unfortunately all news channels seem to have the same EU bias. I find myself watching the news but dreading it at the same time!

    I also hope that any rebel MPs realise that democracy itself is in the balance here. Is this a democratic country or a dictatorship? If they vote against the Govt and we end up with a watered down Brexit etc then this is not a democratic country or should I say (parliament) but a dictatorship. The public being dictated to by the monied elite who have interests they want to protect in the EU. That would not end well. Plus the reputation of the UK as democratic country is also at stake. The world is watching this debacle and for a country who is (used to be) a champion of democracy it’s embarrassing!

  50. Antisthenes
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The BBC’s have an obvious bias toward the political left, the more alarmist claims on climate change and is an ardent EU supporter. It has a statist mind set so therefore takes every opportunity to promote causes that demand government does more. Realising that by doing so it increases it’s popularity enough to immune it from government punishment for breaking it’s charter. It’s balanced criticism of political parties is a sham. When denigrating the right it is because of fierce opposition of their views . When doing the same to the left is just to pretend impartiality and to shape them to it’s form of socialist thinking.

    We always fail to remember that power is a corrupting force so we allow institutions, organisations and corporations public and private to accumulate it. The result being those bodies become wedded to their self preservation, aggrandisement and to the propagation of their opinions and beliefs. The BBC is just one example of this process in action. The EU is another which thankfully we woke up to the dangers of and are therefore going to quit it. A lesson we should use to purge other such bodies starting with the BBC.

  51. Chris S
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    A brilliant analysis of the situation totally in tune with what so many of us have observed since Blair left Office.

    The BBC and most of the rest of the media have abandoned any thought of balance since President Trump was inaugurated. The BBC in particular has been totally over the top, vindictive even.

    I can’t remember them having been quite so anti when Ronald Reagan won the Presidency, but then they were already running at full throttle against Mrs Thatcher.

    The BBC rightly defends its independence however in return they have a duty to represent things in a fair and equitable manner. This they are certainly failing to do, and for all the reasons you suggest.

    This is only a problem because the organisation is so riven with liberal and lefties at all levels that they simply can’t see it !

    • hefner
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Ronald Reagan had been Governor of California between 1967 and 1975, Mrs Thatcher had been Education Secretary.
      What is the political experience of Mr Trump? Local level, state level, national level, international level?

  52. formula57
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Indeed ” It is very rare to hear Ministers under pressure for spending too much, for presiding over government waste, for failing to find cheaper and better ways of doing things” and Ministers do not have the excuse that they are funded by a licence fee, enjoyed without any real accountability, so can behave as they want whilst repeatedly telling us all how much we love them and what a suprerb job they are doing.

    I find the BBC’s shortcomings, extensive and serious though they are, have less impact now I deny it the oxygen of funding and do not make use of it at all. It is an outrage that law set by parliament then means I cannot consume the live output of the BBC’s competitors except by risking criminal prosecution. Perhaps Mrs. May’s commitment to making the state deliver for ordinary people will see that point dealt with properly?

  53. sm
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    A long, long time ago in what now indeed feels like a galaxy far, far away, the BBC used to have an intelligent, single-subject, highly-respected current affairs programme called Panorama. It lasted for an hour and enabled an in-depth explanation and investigation of a variety of issues.

    It still exists, slashed back to 30mins, and is effectively worthless. How much more important it seems to be for a public broadcaster to fill such a large proportion of its programming with endless celebs in quizzes, or chat shows or doing up houses.

  54. alastair harris
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    It’s “newspeak” in action! Given the current increase in interest in Orwell, apparently by those in Trump denial, we might expect more of this.

  55. Kenneth
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Since for every credit there must be a debit, the bias towards bigger government is quantifiable.

    If we added up the approximate sum of our money the BBC has urged the government to spend and compare that to the sum of our money the BBC has urged the government to reduce spending by, we get a good idea of the bias.

    Many of the calls to spend taxpayers’ money are about the NHS.

    The problem is that the BBC largely measures NHS performance on the level of spending.

    It is entirely the BBC’s fault that it is very hard to find reliable information about NHS outcomes. Today’s woeful attempt by the BBC to compare the Nations’ NHS performances is useless. The only decent data I can find is from a report from the 1980’s (when the BBC was running a constant campaign calling for more NHS spending) when our outcomes compared well to similar nations.

    Running stories calling for more spending is not a news service. It is propaganda.

  56. Tom William
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Dominic Raab was recently interviewed by Stephen Sackur on Hardtalk about Brexit. He refused to be browbeaten or interrupted and corrected wrong facts and bias. A masterly performance, but not everyone can do that.

  57. Tim L
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    John,

    The fact that we still hear the phrase Eurosceptic proves the point.

    The ‘opinion poll’ back in June tells us that being sceptical about the EU is the prevailing view of this country and those advocating the opposite have just become the sceptics and deserve to be labelled so.

  58. Tweeter_L
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Only (if memory serves) yesterday on Radio 4 The World at One, Mark Mardell decided to pose the question “Was it after all very smart of Theresa May to visit President Trump so soon?” So where did he go to find his vox pop contributors? An anti-Trump rally in London! This was followed by a much briefer set of comments from people taking a more pragmatic view. I’m so disillusioned with the BBC: after being a loyal listener for 40+ years it has become impossible to deny the existence of bias and I find that very sad.

  59. Atlas
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Well John I’m waiting with baited breath to hear or even see the BBC mention the item in Sunday’s Mail newspaper on potential inaccuracies in a scientific paper produced by the USA’s NOAA on global temperatures. Apparently the paper was rushed through in order to meet the deadline for the Paris Climate Change meeting where (Ex) President Obama was attending. According to the Mail the scientific paper overestimates the rise in Earth’s mean temperature.

    • Chris
      Posted February 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for posting this. I tried to post this but it is still being moderated!

  60. Iain Moore
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The BBC bias can be seen the questions they refuse to ask, especially over issues where two of their ‘truths’ come into conflict, such as Global warming and immigration. Government figures suggest that 47% of our CO2 output comes from the built environment. You expand the population , mostly with immigration, you create the need for more built environment, but this is one issue the BBC we never touch on. It is similar with housing , a question you will never ever hear the BBC challenge a Minister on is ..’Minister if you are so concerned with the housing shortage , how come you persist with a mass immigration policy? ‘ So the BBC bias isn’t just what they go on about , its what the choose to ignore.

  61. Martyn G
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I had an interesting experience with the BBC. Became 75 in January 2016 so thought, license paid up to June 16, I’ll leave it there and take advantage of, I mistakenly thought, not needing a license any more. Each threatening letter, starting in July I think, went straight into the bin until December, when I for some reason read the back of the letter, to find that unless I applied for a free license, I would be taken to court for not having a license and and presumably be fined for not having applied for one! How mad is that?
    Soon after applying on line for my free license I received a cheque from the BBC re-funding my paid license from January to June, which I must say astonished me, having not thought to claim it back.
    I suspect that the reason one must apply annually for a free license is for data capture reasons so that the BBC could at some point make the case to government for increased license fees to make up their perceived funding shortfall because of us oldies increasing in numbers. Oh well, its our fault I suppose, staying alive beyond 75…..

  62. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Why are politicians, all of them including Conservatives, so sycophantic about the BBC? If people love it so much, let them pay for it. I detest it yet have to pay them to peddle their views – which I invariably disagree with – and for them to make it impossible for others to compete. How can any other news organisation compete with an organisation that has a publicly funded budget of three and a half thousand, million pounds.

    How/why this has ever got past EU rules on state funding and competition/monopoly legislation baffles me. Yet so many liberal, middle class luvvies of all political persuasion force us to pay for it.

    One thing they don’t have is enough correspondents. Two or three in every major city on earth covering every subject on the sun can surely not be enough.

  63. Sick Dinosaur
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Gigantism in the body-NHS

    £1.8 Billion ..”a relatively small amount of money for the NHS ”
    ( The money estimated to cost the NHS in treating people who are not entitled to be treated )

    Mentioned many times from “professionals” in the NHS in just a few hours of news on TV

    When £1.8 Billion is something small and insignificant, then the NHS has become confused, disturbed and unhealthy. Too big for purpose! Too big to succeed!

    • DaveK
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      It could go towards their £2.5 billion annual deficit though.

  64. Lawrence Hartley
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Excellent observations about the BBC Bias !! They make strong arguments for the left/remain/anti Trump views and then ( for the sake of ” balance ” , and to keep the licence feey money ) pay lip service to opposite views. Merkel’s doing the same with her two speed Europe claim! Its just to keep the populous onside until after the various 2017 elections, then they’ll get the foot down again on more integration !

  65. BOF
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately the BBC is run and staffed by left wingers. As is about every public body, every quango and every charity. Until this changes I see little hope so can the Government please start with abolishing the BBC Poll Tax, otherwise known as the Licence Fee!

  66. getahead
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The BBC is not blind John. Its bias and bigotry are totally engineered to fit in with its political stance.

  67. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    No one would think there was a broadcasting code which requires accuracy and impartiality from broadcasters. It is breached daily by all the main broadcasters and neither the regulators Ofcom or the BBC Trust seem to take any action. We are fed a daily diet of propaganda by smug overpaid presenters.

    • Tweeter_L
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and there’s a very pernicious “accepted point of view” among the army of smug “comedians” throughout the BBC on TV and radio e.g. Have I Got News For You, The News Quiz, The Now Show and others, all echoing the “mainstream” left/remain/anti-Trump media view. It seems that the most outrageous comments can be made, as long as the target is Conservaties/Leave/Trump and so on. Were similar comments to be made about “the left”, all hell would break loose.

  68. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    whoops, sorry for ranting again

  69. Margaret
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that you even put this into text. Well of course ! this is uni speak , it is lawyer speak , it is medical speak , it is nursing speak , it is teacher speak , it is making a case and bringing in things that will strengthen a case however irrelevant, however indirect a link . If it works it is powerful , if it doesn’t, it is a tableau for ridicule.

  70. fkc
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you John for putting the situation regarding reporting of BBC and others so well. I and my family have long since given up on these people as reasoned truth and researched reporting is no longer available. I feel the BBC should provide balanced output and cease trying to drive their own agenda.

  71. ferdinand
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    There is one further bias which have slightly touched on an that is that questions to remainers for example start with a negative assumption of Brexit and questions to people like yourself are started with approval for the Remain position.

  72. Nigel
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Rather than report the news, the BBC likes to make it. The news tonight is an example: “a BBC survey has found that the NHS is in crisis…”
    The composition of their news programmes is 20% news and 80% left wing commentary.

    • hefner
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Why is a BBC-initiated survey so much worse than a survey initiated by one of the various think tanks, right-wing or left-wing, producing regular reports on all kinds of topics?
      And for all keen BBC listeners, how often is a report from a right-wing think tank reported as such? Very rarely. When is a report from a left-wing think tank reported as such? Almost always. (This, mainly from the morning Today program and news at ten on BBC4 radio).
      Problem is, to me at least, that the average listener is likely to notice the “left-wing” bias but will swallow the right-wing report without noticing.

  73. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    It is getting worse.

    Head of the 6 o’clock news, we’re seeing how badly the government funds and runs the English NHS. The BBC of course can’t face itself with the fact that any business charging a fixed fee and providing endless goodies will eventually go bust. This could be solved so easily by restricting access to those who have paid the appropriate level of insurance, and thereby charging the appropriate level of insurance for what is provided. Then let alternative providers set up in a competitive system. Problem solved.

    Socialism, meet the real world.

  74. treacle
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for being off-topic, Mr Redwood, but I feel hugely depressed by the Speaker of the House of Commons declaring that Mr Trump is sexist and a racist and should not be allowed to address Parliament. I am fed up with people being called racist, sexist, homophobic etc. all the time, and I think Mr Trump is a good man, besides which he loves this country. But Mr Bercow’s comments are also highly damaging to the national interest and to our relationship with the US. Incidentally, the pro-Trump petition now stands above 300,000 (but you won’t hear that reported by the BBC).

  75. Owen
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I have noticed in conversations with friends colleagues who voted remain that they often begin with the assumption that “to remain” is correct, like an axiom. This causes difficulties as they can then only come to the conclusion that I am gullible, stupid, ignorant or evil. This then becomes the argument but they are puzzled because they know I am not any of these things.

    I have met few remain voters who can say the difference between the European Council and the Council of the European Union.

  76. anon
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    1) Abolish the requirement that receiving “live” broadcasts require a license.
    2) Sell off most of the BBC, and or split it up.
    3) Use the funds from the sale to contract public provision of news and ensure some competition.
    4) Cant we get AI to read the news these days? Seems presenters, managers etc are a little overpaid for a public service with little to no competition from new entrants.

  77. Margaret
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    I think John Bercow Is brilliant , however in banning Trump he is wrong. To ensure equality exists we need to not pick and choose who we ban to speak in the House of Commons .That judgement should be on an equal footing or Mr Bercow himself is guilty of breeching equality sensibilities. There have been leaders who demonstrably are sexist who have spoken , there have been leaders who ban homosexuality who have spoken .

    To be fair to all ; all views should heard and decisions made on a full round of opinion. That is what democracy is about.

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Bercow said the right to address parliament had to be “earned” .

      Maybe Bercow would like to tell us what Barack Obama had done to “earn” his right to address parliament ?

      He’s turned Parliament into little more than a reality TV show .

      Regarding your last paragraph Margaret , I quite agree . There is no room for “no-platform” policies in British Parliament ( or tbe BBC with climate change UK universities for that matter ) .

      Think I might create a placard to welcome Donald Trump and see how much confrontation it leads to .

      J.R. , Can you invite Donald Trump to Wokingham please ? After all Barack Obama went round Wokingham pubs on his relative from Bracknell’s stag do .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Trump must visit the Commons and the Queen like President of China did – fingers crossed though the Duke of Edinburgh will be in top form with his faux pas.

  78. Margaret
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I love Hilary Clinton and her fight for women . Then why is she using her husbands name ?

    • hefner
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Not sure I agree. She is also well known as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

      • margaret
        Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Clinton is a name she took upon marriage . Her father GAVE her away so her husband could own her and give her his name . Hilary is the product of her mother and father , their names , their line, not Bill’s.
        In the marriage service disrespectfully the congregation are asked who wants to GIVE THIS WOMEN AWAY as though she was property ! It has to stop

  79. Northern mountaineer
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The BBC has become a national disgrace.
    Completely unrepresentative, especially on clexit, brexit, energy and the environment.
    Their metrocentric guilt-ridden juveniles just don’t get it.

    Abolish!

  80. ale bro
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The BBC should rent out the bandwave it’s hogging for BBC 3.

    BBC3 has been off air for a long time now, and it’s not coming back.

    Any business needs to realise the economic potential of its assets, so why isn’t the BBC taking advantage of this?

    If they don’t need the money then it would be hard to accept an increase in the license fee.

  81. Richard Butler
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I am still cross this morning thanks to Channel 4 News last night being a charter for the ‘liberal’ left. I heard not news, but opinion. The other big concern right now is the mass expulsion of anyone of non ‘progressive’ views right across the internet. This HUGE news. The anti Establishment anti ‘progressives’ must build their own platforms on which to communicate and leave the social justice warrior cultists to their echo chamber.

  82. Finely balanced
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Frank Little,

    Sanity expressed at last. UK Governments of all complexions have had more than a small hand in the legislation that led people to vote for Brexit. What on earth will we do when we can no longer blame Europe? That must be a scary thought for politicians of all sides. When the European dragon has been slain, we, the voters, might notice that the dragon-slayer is not as mighty as she/he pretended!

  83. Stevie Gee
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    So what you are saying is, they are anti-conservative, not anti-Conservative. We see the difference and there is a grain of truth in that, though it remains against their charter.

    Abolition of the license fee is inevitable and really should make it into next manifesto – it’s a poll tax for goodness sake! Let the poor watch ITV for free, they’ll be happy and wealthier.

  84. Ian Stafford
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Excellent and to the point precisely: There is also a further class of bias where the form is like – The Government intends to spend X on Y “but campaigners say this is not enough”. The point is that no mention is made of who these campaigners are.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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