After Nick Robinson, Beeb Considers Abandoning Impartiality

Nick Robinson’s Distorted Reporting of Salmond on Scots Independence

Mike over at Vox Political and countless other bloggers, myself once again included, have posted pieces condemning Nick Robinson’s blatant political bias. The most blatant example of this was his flagrant distortion and censorship of Alex Salmond’s answer to his question on the effect Scottish independence would have on the Scots financial sector. The Scots First Minister committed the cardinal sin of giving a reasoned answer, with supporting evidence, showing that Scotland would not lose corporate tax revenue if the banks and insurance companies now based north of the Border went and moved south to London. This was something that Robinson clearly didn’t want to hear, and definitely didn’t want the British voting public to hear either. So the Beeb’s footage of the conference was manipulated to make it seem that Salmond was criticising the treasury, when in fact Salmond was making a few barbed comments about the Corporation’s own objectivity. It was then further edited and excised from a later report, in which Robinson lied and said that Salmond had not answered the question. This was the Beeb acting as Newspeak in Cameron’s ‘1984’ Big Brother Britain.

I did wonder what that great Scots writer, John Buchan, would have made of it all. Buchan was the author of The 39 Steps, Greenmantle, and other tales of British pluck and derring-do against the threat of the Kaiser’s Germany. He was a staunch Unionist, but I wondered if he wouldn’t have seen Robinson’s blatant falsification of the news as something deeply Un-British, a blatant flouting of the British tradition of a free press. A piece of state propaganda that only those benighted countries under an absolute monarchy or dictatorship, without the benefits of the British constitution, would suffer.

The Radio Times Looks Forward to Biased News

Unfortunately, the problem of BBC bias doesn’t end there. Bloggers like Mike, Johnny Void, the Angry Yorkshireman, Jayne Linney and their commenters and followers have long observed the Beeb’s pro-Tory bias. This is bad enough, even with the denials. There was an article in last week’s Radio Times, however, which threatened to make such bias official. Written by one of the news staff, the article suggested that the impartiality customarily expected of the Beeb would soon be a thing of the past. It had gone from American broadcasting, which had suffered no loss of audience as a result. American news broadcasting, the article claimed, had been enlivened and invigorated by presenters and news anchors with a distinct, unconcealed bias. How would the British public react, it asked, if a reporter or newsanchor over here made various critical remarks about the state of the three main parties. It then gave examples of the type of comments that could be made. The article left you in no doubt that the period of official impartiality on the Beeb was limited, and that with a few years it would be gone.

The Malign Influence of Rupert Murdoch

Now I find it shocking that the Beeb is even considering such a policy. The article makes it clear that it was considering the example of the Fox Network in America, which had taken over as the country’s most popular broadcaster from the older, established networks like NBC and ABC. What the article didn’t say was that this has come at a cost. The Dirty Digger is very touchy about his network’s reputation for impartiality. So touchy that he actually copyrighted Fox News’ slogan of ‘Fair and Impartial’, and then tried to sue a liberal writer, who dared used it as the title of a book questioning the integrity of his news service. Despite this, Fox News has a reputation for being anything but ‘fair and impartial’. It ain’t called ‘faux news’ in certain quarters for nuttin’.

The article was also somewhat misleading in that it seemed to suggest that equal time would be given to broadcasters of different political bias. For example, reporters critical of the Tories would have equal airtime with those commenting from a Tory or Liberal Democrat perspective. That won’t, however, be the case. What will happen will be what has already occurred in America: the airwaves will be dominated by the Right, and sometimes the extreme Right, like the various stars found ranting on Murdoch’s network. At the moment the Beeb has a right-wing political bias, but it’s concealed and at least the Corporation aims at objectivity.

Now I freely admit that I do take my news from biased sources. I don’t, however, want the Beeb to follow suit and become a biased broadcaster itself. I want it at least to try being genuinely objective, even if that goal is unobtainable. I want there to be a news service I can trust. This will go if the BBC adopts a policy of permitting and encouraging blatant political bias. Instead of objective truth, we’ll get official Tory propaganda and all the disinformation and spin the Director General and the head of BBC news thinks we’ll take.

It’s not the Beeb I want, and the movement to embrace blatant party political bias should be stopped now, long before it gets started.

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11 Responses to “After Nick Robinson, Beeb Considers Abandoning Impartiality”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Radio Times article heralds unashamedly biased reporting on the BBC | Vox Political Says:

    […] his latest article, the Beast […]

  3. jess Says:

    “I wondered if he wouldn’t have seen Robinson’s blatant falsification of the news as something deeply Un-British, a blatant flouting of the British tradition of a free press. A piece of state propaganda that only those benighted countries under an absolute monarchy or dictatorship, without the benefits of the British constitution, would suffer.”

    Buchan had a unique perspective on the uses of ‘propaganda’ He managed ‘Wellington House’, taking over from Masterman, in 1917 as ‘Director of Propaganda’ directed to neutral countries, reporting ‘directly’ as Messinger puts it [British Propaganda..Manchester, 1992] to Lloyd George.

    He would have loved the likes o’ Nick Robinson.

    • beastrabban Says:

      That’s interesting, Jess. I stand corrected. Clearly propaganda and the massaging of the news for the proles has been around for a very, very long time. And Nick Robinson definitely fits that pattern.

  4. hstorm Says:

    Yes and no. Of course any overt political bias is wrong, but the way the BBC currently behaves is actually more insidious. It *pretends* to be even-handed while quite blatantly favouring the right, and that can make the bias more difficult to notice unless the viewer is really concentrating.

    In that light, an end to the pretense would arguably be less dangerous than what is happening right now – bias in the style of Fox News Channel is almost impossible not to recognise.

  5. Tina Says:

    The BBC can be unbiased if it wants but I object paying for it to be so. It’s time for the pompous, puffed up corporation to stand on its own two feet instead of sponging off the tax payers it should be representing!

  6. George Berger Says:

    I left America for the Netherlands in 1972. From then to about 2004 I was addicted to the BBC, as a source of independent broadcasting. The Dutch media could not match that, thanks to its organisational structure, based on religion and political creed. After the Gilligan-Kelly affair and the resulting changes in the BBC’s management, I could no longer trust its news. This new development strengthens that belief.

  7. Jeffrey Davies Says:

    but we moan about the bbc yet the other channels 4 and 5 are nearly has bad has the bbc dont forget they also get monies from the licence fee perhaps we has the plebbs better stand up has we pay that licence fee you bet our politicians dont jeff3

  8. plhepworth2014 Says:

    Reblogged this on plhepworthblog and commented:
    I don’t have the time at present to carry out an extensive survey, but it seems to me that every day brings an example of right wing bias on the part of the Beeb. A recurring example is the uncritical presentation of the supposedly improved employment stats, which comes over as if the reporters and commentators were members of the government’s propaganda team.

  9. jaypot2012 Says:

    I pay no licence fee legally and even if it wasn’t allowed then I’d still not pay my licence. I honestly don’t know why people watch or listen to such a bias corporation – I have always found their news to be for the rich, not the poor men at home in poor areas.
    My father never let us watch anything on BBC except for a Saturday when he’d watch the racing *rolls eyes*. He was totally against the fact that we had to pay for a tv licence in the first place.
    He always had ITV (Granada) on and if we did want to watch anything on BBC then we had to go to a friends house!
    If people stopped paying for the licence on masse then the BBC would be really worried. There are thousands who live in Scotland that have stopped paying their licence because of the Nick Robinson lies.

  10. jaypot2012 Says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    I believe that we should all stop paying for the tv licence – after all, BBC are more right wing than the tories are!

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