BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Monday, 1 February 2010


Last night's Westminster Hour was largely devoted to the Conservatives, although no Conservative politicians were present.
This week's all-seeing journalist was George Parker of the Financial Times. In no way can George or the F.T. be called ideologically left-wing but they have aligned themselves with the Labour Party for years now and Mr Parker was critical of David Cameron and the Conservatives here. Anyone tuning into Westminster Hour will have heard criticism of David Cameron and the Conservatives from the week's all-seeing journalist for weeks on end now!
When can we expect a Conservative (or UKIP) supporting journalist from the Times, the Telegraph or the Mail to receive an invite to appear on this most unbalanced of BBC programmes? Surely next week?
Here's that (growing) list again:
31/1/10 George Parker of the Financial Times
24/1/10 Kevin Maguire of the Mirror
17/1/10 Andrew Grice of the Independent
10/1/10 Nick Watt of the Guardian
3/1/10 Michael Savage of the Independent
27/12/09 no programme
20/12/09 no journalist
13/12/09 Andrew Miller of the Economist
6/12/09 George Parker of the Financial Times
29/11/09 Toby Helm of the Observer
22/11/09 no journalist
15/11/09 Nick Watt of the Guardian

The politics panel consisted of:
Tom Harris (Labour)
Lynne Featherstone (Liberal Democrats)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
This is the second time that the Conservatives have been dropped so far this year. Labour and the Lib Dems have each been dropped once and should, if fairness is a guiding criteria at Westminster Hour (!), each be dropped in turn over the next couple of weeks (and if not why not?). I will be listening to see that this happens.
Despite there being no Conservative spokesman to defend their corner, Carolyn Quinn asked her three left-of-centre guests what they thought of David Cameron's policy on tackling burglars. They all rubbished the policy and slagged off the Tories. Is that a fair thing for Carolyn Quinn to have done? No!
The main section of the programme closed with a review of recent Conservative Party history with Dr Tim Bale of Sussex University. Though he had a downbeat story to tell (made even more downbeat by Carolyn's slanting of it) at least he's not an opponent of the Conservative Party. That's something at least.

I will listen to the Sunday Supplement when I get home (early) from work because it's the second part of Dr David Runciman's 'Turkeys Voting for Christmas' (see Very ominously its subject is Inheritance Tax, that hottest of British political hot potatoes. Will it be as biased and dishonest as last week's take on American politics?


  1. The inheritence tax and the "truly" married tax benefits are being used by Nulabor to as a smokescreen to cover their own totally inadequate narrative (as with their odious new partners LibDems) in convincing the thinking electorate internationally.
    Remember Jimmy Naughty and his stupid "bonkers" statement? bbc responded -
    I appreciate you were left very concerned by James Naughtie's interpretation of David Buick's comments on the programme. I note you felt it was wholly inappropriate to use the term 'bonkers' in describing how he sees George Osborne's position on President Obama's banking proposals.

    As a specialist, James' passion, perception and political knowledge are matched by his communication skills and deep commitment to fairness and impartiality and we're confident that he adheres to the BBC's high standards.

    In dealing with any matter we're required to give a fair and balanced report. While James' reading of the remarks was off the cuff and quite blunt, David Buick was forceful in his opposition to these initiatives and James merely sought to sum this reaction up.

    Nevertheless, I do recognise you felt his description went too far and we're grateful for your feedback in this respect. We monitor reaction to programmes carefully to try to ensure that presenters do not overstep the boundaries of what is considered acceptable by most people.

    Please also be assured that your comments have been included in our audience log. This is circulated widely within the BBC and made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with the strength of your views.

    Regards, BBC Complaints - name removed to not implicate the guilty.

    You will note two things in this statement. One, that "he" being Naughty, believes he is being objective, not the bbc.
    Two, he mentions Osborne, though in fact I mentioned Cameron. Is this because getting at Osborne is the easier option?

    Drip, drip, drip feed of Soviet Pravda disinformation from what was once a famous objective media institution, misdirected by a management with a mindset remeniscent of that of trench-warfare in WW1.
    Yet this week the bbc had very good news - by the appointement of Adam Crozier at ITV.
    If he does to ITV what he has done to Royal Mail, FA, etc, etc then the bbc will soon have no TV opposition.

  2. Love the "Nevertheless, I do recognise you felt his description went too far." Very big of them!!

    This is what I got back today:

    "Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Today' on BBC Radio 4.

    I note you believe James Naughtie showed an anti-Conservative bias during an interview with Clark McGinn on 23 January.

    While I appreciate your concerns, the role of an interviewer is to sometimes play "devil's advocate" and ask the questions that are in the mind of the listener. Added to this, journalistic inquiry and experience can lead to interviewers analysing and interpreting the statements of interviewees and placing them in a context that helps the audience understand a particular story.

    Jim may apparently be a fan of the word "bonkers", but we don't believe this betrays any kind of political bias. BBC journalists and presenters are well aware of our commitment to impartial reporting. They are expected to put their own political views to one side when carrying out their work for the BBC. They seek to provide the information which will enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds; to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard. Our senior editorial staff, the BBC's Executive Committee, and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

    Your complaint will be added to our audience log, a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us."

  3. Comparing the two, I think you must have worded your complaint better than mine, as I think I got the more patronising reply!

  4. But both BBC responses are still bonkers !

    Don't the Beeboids just love left-wing historians ? Admittedly, there is an almost limitless suppy of them as most universities are controlled by the left and it is difficult to get a post if you are not left-wing. Runciman seems to be the latest.

    I realise Andrew Roberts was on QT recently, but not quite the same as giving him a serious to balance out the endless programmes by the loathesome Simon Schama.

  5. Tristam Hunt, Simon Schama, Michael Wood, all BBC historians and all paid-up lefties!

    David Starkey and Niall Ferguson (both class acts) just had to be on Channel 4, didn't they, because, like Andrew Roberts, they're far too right-wing to be given a series by the BBC.

  6. "serious" should have read "series" !

  7. I almost forgot. Yesterday morning's 'Today' programme featured a bonanza of 'bonkers', as both John Humphrys and Sarah Montague chucked the word about like confetti after the paper reviews at 6.40 and 7.40. I think they must have been reading our complaints and providing cover for their mind-reading colleague Jim 'Tories are bonkers!' Naughtie.


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