BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


The Daily Politics is undoubtedly the most unpredictable of the Beeb's current affairs programmes, with a decent balance of presenters between the right-of-centre Andrew Neil and the left-of-centre Anita Anand and Jo Coburn - though, as their respective interruption coefficients clearly demonstrate, Andrew Neil is by some way the most likely of the three to interrupt his 'own side' - and, therefore, the least biased. (Please click on their respective labels for the proofs of this).

That said, the programme is not completely free of the corporation's strong bias towards the Left, as a look at the last three days reveals.
Monday's was the most balanced of the three shows, in several respects. The main guest was John Cassidy, a liberal English journalist on The New Yorker. The Chilcott Inquiry, on the other hand, was discussed with Michael Howard and the fearless Andrew Gilligan. Then came a remarkable debate on climate change with a warmist, Professor Bob Watson, and a sceptic, Professor Fred Singer. That's the sort of debate the Beeb should stage much more often.
Yesterday's programme was far less balanced in its choice of guests. To discuss parliamentary reform, the producers invited on the Conservative Sir George Young. The main guest, however, was the sort of businessman the BBC likes - a liberal one, an ardent green, keen on keeping the ban on fox-hunting and pro-pacifism. This was Mark Constantine of the 'natural cosmetics' store Lush. He also got to present his own film. Then to discuss the row between the Local Government Association and OFSTED there was a Labour MP, Barry Sheerman (interviewed by Anita Anand, I.C. of 0). Then, to cap it all, came a discussion on hung parliaments. between yet more voices from the Left, the 'Independent Labour' MP Clare Short and snooty Michael White of The Guardian.
Today's PMQs-centre edition was much more wide-ranging, with Ken Clarke and Jacqui Smith as main guests. Matthew Oakeshott of the Lib Dems was on hand to discuss the government's secret loans to RBS and Lloyds (and got a roasting from Andrew Neil in the process, I.C. of 1.9). The Calman Commission on Scottish devolution was then discussed with Mike Russell of the SNP. I suppose you could say that that's three for the Left, and one for the Right - but at least it's fair across the parties (except UKIP). The tilt to the Left was clearest though with the choice of Bianca Jagger, a true left-winger's left winger, as the programme's final guest. She also got to present her own film (another bit of green propaganda).
So, although The Daily Politics is the best the BBC can do, it's not perfect by any means.

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