BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


The decisive public spending cuts made by the Irish government (in contrast to our own Labour government) came under the critical eye of this morning's Today programme:

The Irish economy - once the Celtic Tiger - is one of the worst-hit by the
worldwide recession. Unemployment currently stands at 12% and the country is
12bn Euros in debt. Last week the Irish government brought in what many are
calling the severest budget in the nation's history. Wages for public sector
workers were cut, and welfare spending was reduced, and anger is growing that
the country's poor seem to be paying for the mistakes of the rich. Correspondent
Mike Thomson reports from Dublin.

You might have expected that a balanced report would have followed this introduction (though that would suggest that you don't know the biased Beeb very well!). Mike Thompson's report, in fact, turned out to be woefully biased against the Irish government and its actions - and by extension the actions of any party (the Conservatives? UKIP?) that might consider following their example here in the U.K. It was pure left-wing propaganda.
Adopting a concerned tone of voice throughout, Thompson roamed around Dublin. He talked first to "Fintan O'Toole, veteran columnist of the Irish Times". The Irish Times is Ireland's equivalent of The Guardian, and Wikipedia notes that Mr O'Toole holds "generally left-wing views." He attacked the Irish government for deflecting blame away from itself and onto "an allegedly underperforming and overpaid public sector" (in Thompson's words). A teacher, Ann English, followed. "She too believes that...public sector workers here have been unfairly blamed for all the country's ills". Father Peter McVerry followed and denounced "cuts in dole money, child benefits and a host of other social services. This he insists is both wrong and unjust." (He also attacked the rich. Checking him out he's "a socialist, activist, author and Jesuit".) Many of the red priest's 'troubled youths' added further criticisms. Then, to bolster his contention that "trouble could be on the way" - Thompson talked to Jack O'Connor, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. To the sound of a merry-go-round, Thompson then reached his point: "And what goes round might also come around for the people of Britain. Fintan O'Toole." O'Toole backed his point.
Not a Sheep points out a few lessons from this:
To give some redress, later in the programme Sarah Montague interviewed Ireland's Europe minister Dick Roche. The interview lasted just less than half the time that Thompson's totally oppositional report took to make its case. Is that fair?
This is not the first instance of this. Please see here
and you'll see what I mean. I suspect it won't be the last either.

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