BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Saturday, 5 September 2009


It's groundhog day again. Michael Crick's latest report on Newsnight (his last one being about Boris and the Tories) was about...yes, of course...the Tories. (The man's obsession with them just goes on and on and on..., as all true obsessions should!)
It was also, ostensibly, about UKIP - being provoked by Nigel Farage's (excellent) decision to stand against Labour-friendly, expense-grabbing Speaker John Bercow in the forthcoming general election. I say 'ostensibly' because UKIP spokesmen were thin on the ground in Crick's report, with only 19 seconds going to a local party activist, Brian Adams.

The main purpose of Crick's report was to highlight more problems for David Cameron and his party. The understandable desire of many Conservatives, including party activists in Buckingham, to vote for the truly conservative Mr Farage rather than for the no-longer-conservative-at all Mr Bercow is causing confusion (if Crick is to be believed) in the party. How should active Conservatives handle it? Back Bercow? Back an anti-Bercow official Conservative? Or vote for Nigel Farage?

The secondary purpose of Crick's report was to heap praise on the Left's favourite Bercow. "Some UKIP activists concede John Bercow has been a good local MP", he said. More praise for his constituency work followed from various talking heads. The Daily Telegraph's revelations about Speaker Bercow were not mentioned.

I also look for the word 'independent' in any description of a 'talking head' in a report, as the word gives the speaker an authority that may or may not be deserved - and that's a sign of bias, in that either the person is likely to be one of whom the reporter approves or is expressing opinions of which the reporter approves. So my ears pricked up when I heard this from Crick: "But the vice-chancellor of the independent Buckingham University believes Farage would be bad news for the seat." The word 'independent' is strange in this context anyhow. Why call a university 'independent'? Surely only for the purposes of bias, outlined above? Indeed, why include this man at all?
If I ask again why Crick keeps on reporting on the main opposition party rather than on the government of this country, I too will be giving you a groundhog day experience! So I won't.

The Crick Count

Conservative - 6
Tory - 6

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