BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Yesterday morning's chat between Norman Smith and John Humphrys saw Smithie moving the bullying story on. He said that politicians, journalists and the general public were keen to move on from this uncomfortable episode. The phrase move on came up again and again.

The BBC News website would clearly like to do as Norm wants us all to do but can't, thanks to Alistair Darling's eyebrow-raising revelations about how Brown's inner circle unleashed the forces of Hell against him, not to mention immigration minister Phil Woolas's jaw-droppingly unpleasant comment about Mrs Pratt and enemy-of-the-people Max Clifford's surprise decision to represent Mrs P's interests.

The Woolas story is, in classic BBC fashion, buried away in an unmarked grave. The article is headlined 'Brown 'very upset' by bullying claims, says Ed Balls'. You will need to scroll down to Paragraph 25 (after lots of warm words about Brown from Balls, Mrs Brown and His Lordship Sugar) for three short paragraphs on the story.

What's almost funny about the article on the Darling revelations is the way the BBC writer keeps bringing in the Tories. Mr Darling himself brought them in, but the Jeff Randall interview and the way it's been reported elsewhere (from The Telegraph to The Guardian) makes it clear that the chancellor's mentioning of the Conservatives was pretty much a side issue. The BBC writer, however, wants to make it share centre stage with the main revelations about McBride and Whelan.

These are the opening pair of paragraphs:

Chancellor Alistair Darling has said 10 Downing Street and the Tories unleashed "the forces of hell" after he forecast the worst recession for 60 years.

He said supporters of Gordon Brown and the Conservatives had briefed against him on "a weekend you could have done without" after his interview in 2008.

Give this guy McBride's old job in Downing Street!


  1. This morning's Breakfast show has been a wall-to-wall "Defend Labour" party political.

    We've had coverage of the apology to migrants, making it clear Gordon Brown is going to do the apology. Isn't he just so caring!

    We've had coverage of the very low council tax rises - due to Labour Government Grants of course. Thank god for Labour stepping in with cash!

    Then we got the Darling interview where of course its partly the Tories' fault for doing what opposition should do - unleashing "the forces of hell". Those bad Tories, how nasty of them.

    Then we got a very long interview with Ed Balls. It was pointed out that their target on teenage pregnancies wouldn't be met - but that's ok because the "target was set too high". Don't even think of accusing Labour of failure!

    Ed Balls then carried on to defend the bullying. He clearly showed his disapproval that the Beeboids on the sofa had the cheek to actually question the whole saga. In fairness, the BBC were digging a bit on the whole "whose telling the truth" point, but Balls (and the studio controller) was having none of it - he was allowed extra time to spin Labour's version of events - eating into the local news slot. He easily had 10+ minutes of interview time. The Tories never get that long.

    We also had a brief report on the News of the World and their illegal phone tapping claims - now they are Tory supporting it’s fair game to make sure the public knows how bad the can be.

    We also got a plug for an upcoming documentary which is going to look at the impact immigrants have on a town, no doubt highlighting the wonderful jobs that they do for us and how we need them. I guess anti-immigration views must be rising so the BBC has decided that view needs to be put down.

    There was even one bit of bad news creeping in - the report on Stafford Hospital. This could be bad for the Labour but naturally no Tory voice is brought onto the programme.

    Finally, in case we didn't get enough positive coverage of Gordon Brown, we then get another interview snippet lifted from GMTV where Gordon Brown says there was no attack on his chancellor from Number 10. The steal from GMTV was clearly done to make it clear it was therefore just the horrible Tories who unleashed the forces of hell on Alistair Darling.

    A complete pro-Labour programme and not a Tory in sight.

  2. Llew
    Excellent post. So right.
    Gordon the Moron should really be apologising to those of us whose ancestors were not deported.

  3. The 'Today' programme trod much the same ground Llew. I don't doubt 5Live was fully on-message too, on everything. The BBC website is never anything but on message.

    The only Conservative on 'Today' was John Whittingdale, and he was only on to talk about his select committee's report criticising the 'News of the World'. This story gave Naughtie and co plenty of chances to mention that its editor at the time of the bugging scandal, Andy Coulson, is now David Cameron's chief of staff.

    Even here, when the Tory was telling him something he wanted to hear, Naughtie talked over him and interrupted him (I.C. of 1.4). He just CAN'T be civil around Conservatives!


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