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Charlie Beckett

March 19th, 2010

Basil Brush the BBC and bias

5 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Charlie Beckett

March 19th, 2010

Basil Brush the BBC and bias

5 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Socialist stooge?
Socialist stooge?

The Conservative-supporting Sun newspaper attacking the BBC for bias against the Tories is as unsurprising as daffodils in Springtime. The latest ‘analysis’ from Britain’s top tabloid has some credence – but not much.

Yes, of course, the BBC is generally staffed by liberal-leaning folk as are most media organisations. The BBC strives painfully to adjust for that. So as Evan Davies told a Polis audience, the Daily Mail is the most-read and attended-to newspaper in the Today Programme newsroom.

Here are The Sun charges:

  • BBC News gave disproportionate coverage to the row over Tory donor Lord Ashcroft’s tax status;

  • LABOUR panellists were given more time to speak on flagship political show Question Time;

  • A POLL on The One Show ignored issues with Gordon Brown to ask only, Is David Cameron too much of a toff to be PM?

  • THE Tory leader was stitched up when footage of him adjusting his hair was sneakily fed to all broadcasters;

  • THE Basil Brush Show featured a school election with a cheat called Dave wearing a blue rosette

  • The Ashcroft story is a classic elite journalism story about people you have never heard of who pull the strings of power. This is precisely why it should have been pursued. As William Hague’s story unravels it is clearly a genuine sore at the heart of the Conservative Party. The BBC were just as painstakingly obsessed by stories like the Dodgy Dossier. And there are plenty of right-wing hacks who agree that the Ashcroft saga is worth chasing.

    Caroline Flint did indeed get more time to speak on Question Time. And she probably wished she hadn’t. The reason she spoke more was because she was performing disastrously under fire. I am sure her Tory fellow panelist Justine Greening was delighted to see the flak, and therefore the airtime, given to Flint.

    So the One Show did an item on Cameron? er…he does want to be the next PM doesn’t he?

    If they think that the Cameron coiffure moment is going to swing the election, then the Tories are more under-confident than I had thought. And it was hardly a BBC management decision to release the material was it?  In fact, as a comment below reminds us, although the interview was outside BBC TVC, it was actually live on Sky.

    As for Basil Brush… How about Match of the Day? I am sure they show more teams playing in red than they do teams in blue. Boom! Boom!

    So there you go, through gritted teeth I have devoted a whole post to defending the BBC. It’s a meaningless exercise of course, because The Sun article has nothing to do with media ethics and everything to do with party politics and the wider commercial agenda of News International. I have nothing against them acting for those motives. It’s all good knock-about fun. And the BBC really does need to be held to account.  But if David Cameron has any pride he must be a little embarrassed by this kind of tosh.

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    Charlie Beckett

    Posted In: Journalism | Politics

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