BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Blog favourite Shaun Ley, today hosting 'The World This Weekend', featured the findings of the Madano Partnership (a communications consultancy) concerning the social backgrounds of the 'class of 2010' - that is, the prospective parliamentary candidates considered most likely to win their seats in the coming general election. The section focused on 'gender', education and previous jobs.

Ley then interviewed a prospective Conservative candidate, the omnipresent but engaging Shaun Bailey, and a charmless ex-Labour MP, Julia Drown (from the 1997 intake).

In typical Ley fashion, Shaun Bailey was asked the question about why so many of the 2010 will be from private/independent schools & about whether this would exentuate the gap between MPs and their voters. This, of course, tied the question to the Tories. The findings, however, if you look beyond the BBC's coverage, show that it's not just a Conservative phenomena, but a Labour one too.

Julia Drown was then asked, again in typical Ley fashion, to comment not just on potentially embarrassing news for Labour but also on potentially embarrassing news for the Conservatives - thus giving her the opportunity to concentrate on the latter only: "Are you then disappointed that Labour, for example, still doesn't have that many candidates who've run businesses, looking at the propective intake of new MPs, and that the Conservatives have so few that have been teachers, or lecturers, or nurses?" Surely Shaun Ley should have asked only the first half of that question to a Labour interviewee? Also note the half-glass-full, half-glass-empty contrast between "that many" and "so few", which again works to Labour's favour (unless I'm being too picky on that point!)

As for Interruption Coefficients, Shaun Bailey's interview scored 0.9, whereas Julia Drown's scored 0.5. Yes, Shaun interrupted Shaun twice, but interrupted Julia only once.

Bias, bias and yet more bias.

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