BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Sometimes I can be slow on the uptake. I've just discovered Michael Crick's blog, which has a long archive. Just thought I'd click on August 2008 to see what he's been blogging about so far this month:

Is it lots more Tory-bashing (like on Newsnight), or does the blog show Crick's journalism in a more balanced light? (Can you guess the answer in advance?)

There are eight posts.

The latest, 'The key to tackling unwanted admirers' (2oth Aug) tells a funny story about 'drunkenness and debauchery' at party conferences (well worth reading in its own right). Crick says, "It's a good excuse to pass on a wonderful story which I heard a few weeks ago, and which captures some of the atmosphere of our British annual conferences." It tells of "a very attractive young woman" being pestered for sex by guests and getting her revenge. Now, at which party conference did this happen? This is Michael Crick, so - of course - it was last year's Conservative conference. Fancy Michael Crick passing on a story about Tory sex pests! Who'd have thunk it? So, that's one anti-Tory post.

Next comes 'Driving a car I will never be able to afford' (17th Aug), prompted by Compass's campaign against bankers' bonuses (as reviewed previously on this blog). This is a purely personal take: "And I get to drive a car I will never be able to afford, a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead worth around a quarter of a million pounds." Excuse my cynicism, but I bet Crick can afford it!!! No parties were harmed in the making of this post.

Next comes 'A big risk for any Conservative leader' (13th Aug) - ooh, the Tories again!! The 'big risk' in question is Alan Duncan, who despite good qualities "also has flaws" (including being "intensely ambitious"). Crick applies a nice double jab (and a bit of stirring) to the Conservatives: "It will be very hard for him to continue as Shadow Leader of the House when Commons reform is so high on the political agenda. On the other hand, Duncan might prove a formidable backbench critic." A second anti-Tory story.

The fourth post, 'MPs heading for the record books' (12th Aug), is more general in its aim, though no guessing its point of departure ("Yesterday's announcement by the former Conservative deputy leader Michael Ancram that he is standing down at the next election is only the latest example of a highly significant trend") or its final destination ("Which will all be good news, I suspect, for David Cameron.") The report discussed the numbers of MPs (from all parties) standing down and put the figures in a historical context. Even this, though, was not free from bias with another dig at Alan Duncan. So, a cross-party story slanted against the Tories.

Crick's fifth entry was back full-square on the Conservatives, "George Osborne's mischievous smile" (11th Aug): "A revealing comment by George Osborne at Demos this afternoon suggests what we've long suspected, that he and David Cameron don't always see eye-to-eye on foreign affairs." More stirring! He goes on, "It's a division which is likely to become a lot more public if the Conservatives achieve office." A third anti-Tory story.

The final three posts were also all about the Tories, "A Totnes moment in electoral history" (4th Aug), "Thumbs up for the Totnes primary" (4th Aug) and "Big turnout in Totnes primary" (4th Aug). These were follow-ups to Crick's snearing Newsnight report from late July, and - though he won't admit it - pulled the rug from under that snide, negative bit of shoddy journalism. The Totnes experiment was a success, despite all that Crick had (wrongly) predicted. Ha! (Please click on the label Crick for far more!). Follow the three posts from the earliest to the latest, and laugh! Crick was wrong, but cannot not be grudging in defeat: "In the end the Conservative Party primary in Totnes achieved 25 per cent of the vote, way above what anybody hoped for, or predicted. It would seem to be a big thumbs-up for such exercises, though the big drawback is the cost. I wonder if Conservative HQ will ever give us the figure." Later comes, "Conservatives are saying that the process in Totnes only cost them £37,000, which seems remarkably inexpensive. If that figure is accurate then it is a process that, contrary to what I said earlier, they could well afford to repeat. In a way, of course, the £37,000 is also a clever form of election spending, and one which it is hard for anybody to object to." Poor Michael!!

So of the eight posts so far this month, six have been all about the Conservative Party - three firmly anti-Tory and four more slanted against the Conservatives. None has been about the Labour Party, or the Lib Dems.

The Tory Party is the main opposition. It is not the government of this country. Why is Michael Crick allowed to campaign against them? Why is he not ordered by BBC bosses to stop being so obsessed with the opposition and start reporting on the government? Shouldn't the Labour government be his main focus?

If anything Crick's blog seems even worse than his reporting on Newsnight. It would be funny if it wasn't so outrageous. This is BBC bias at its clearest. It is anti-democratic. It must stop.

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