Tag Archives: BBC News

The Tories’ Exploitation Of Voter Apathy

How many times have you heard some people say, when referring to political parties, that “they’re all the same” or “there’s no difference”. There may have been some truth to these beliefs once upon a time, but things have changed, and while Blair’s Nu Labour project bore little resemblance to the Labour Party, which was often referred to as “Old Labour”, and more resembled the Tories, there is real difference between the parties. Of course, that isn’t the way that either the Conservative Party or large sections of the media want you to see things.

In the last two General Elections, the Tories cynically played the “they’re all as bad as each other” card to win seats. Sadly, too many people still fall for these PR shenanigans. In 2015, the Cameron-led party won a majority and two years later, the May-led party lost almost all of that majority. In each case, they used the same slogans and tried to exploit the electorate by resorting to the “they’re all just as bad, so vote for us” strategy. In this election, like dogs returning to their vomit, they have gone back to the previous elections and dusted off the same tired messages: “coalition of chaos”, a “Labour/Corbyn-SNP/Sturgeon alliance” and so on.

However, rather than offer a semblance of balance, the media has been all too willing to amplify these messages. For example, last Friday’s terrorist incident at London Bridge has seen the BBC, particularly, claim that “both parties” have “politicized” the tragedy , this is despite being urged not to do so by the father of one of the victims. Only one party has been exploiting the incident for political gain and that’s the Conservative Party.

Today, Neil O’Brien, the Tory candidate for Harborough, Oadby & Wigston and former head of Policy Exchange tweeted this:

Of course, he isn’t the only one, but he’s the only one that I replied to today.

The rationale behind the Tories’ efforts to undermine trust in politics stems from their desire to rule at all costs. They may talk about ‘effective oppositions’ but it’s all hot air. If anything, they’d prefer a token opposition like the one that existed in Francoist Spain if they had to face one at all. Tories, contrary to what they say, despise democracy and would prefer it if people didn’t vote. Please disappoint them by not voting Tory on 12 December, people’s lives are depending on it.

Don’t fall for the Tories’ cynical PR. Vote them out.

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BBC: We Made A ‘Mistake’

If there’s one thing The Cat hates it’s being thought of as stupid. The French have a great saying: tu me prends pour de la merde, meaning ‘you take me for shit’?

Taking us for shit is precisely what the BBC has been doing for a long time. In the space of a mere couple of weeks, the Corporation has doctored video footage of Boris Johnson laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and only a couple of days ago, it edited out the laughter at his response to an audience member’s question on the issue of trust. Instead of admitting it deliberately edited out the laughter and stitched applause into the soundtrack, the Corporation has insisted it was a “mistake”. It’s as if those in positions of authority at the BBC believe everyone outside their world is stupid.

However, those of us who know how digital editing platforms work understand how footage can be manipulated to tell any story you like. Media Studies and Media Production students know this and it is perhaps for this reason that politicians especially dismiss these subjects “useless”. Their claims barely conceal their anti-intellectualism and authoritarian tendencies. These people hate the idea of an educated working class and fear a politically conscious electorate.

The Corporation’s attitude in this and other matters is high-handed and arrogant, and this air of condescension and smug superiority comes from the social and cultural capital of its executives and editors, who are mainly drawn from the social institutions of Britain’s bourgeoisie. That’s the Oxbridge and public/independent schools to you and me.

There may be some decent people at the state broadcaster, but they’re rather thin on the ground these days. There is a culture of bullying at the BBC and many are too scared to step out of line, while others are only to eager to promote the government’s narrative during this General Election campaign.

Ironically, three years ago, the BBC announced that it would “help students to identify false news”. Given their penchant for misleading the viewing public through their use of creative editing, perhaps they could use themselves as an example of how to really generate false news.

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Propaganda, Lies And The BBC

I don’t think anyone can convincingly argue that the current general election is a fair fight. The Tories and their friends in the establishment media will never concede when they’re in the wrong nor will they admit to doctoring photographs or editing video footage to flatter their hero, Boris Johnson, nor will they admit that the words they’ve chosen to use in each political, news or current affair programme have been carefully selected to implant messages in voters’ minds.

The BBC’s so-called Question Time leaders’ debate on Thursday was such an occasion. Few people, apart from those with agendas or whose senses have been so badly compromised that they fail to see what’s in front of them, can say that Boris Johnson performed well, nor can any of those people claim that Jo Swinson did well. Yet, former Blairite SpAd, propagandist and wannabe comedian, Matt Forde tweeted.

He must have been watching a different leaders’ ‘debate’ because I found Swinson to be superficial, lacking in detail and all too quick to fall back on the ‘Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite’ slur to get her out of trouble. Swinson may be quick to use anti-Semitism as a political weapon but when it comes to Hostile Environment and Windrush, she’s nowhere to be seen. Indeed, a hierarchy of racism and suffering has been constructed over the course of the last 5 years, in which non-Jewish minorities come a long way down in the taxonomy of ‘races’, and politicians like Swinson promote and perpetuate it through their words and deeds.

In the aftermath of that ‘debate’, only one poll surfaced, which laughingly claimed that the Conservatives were 17 points ahead of Labour.

Yesterday, Murdoch hack, Tim Shipman tweeted his seat projection based on that fake poll.

But that isn’t the worst of it. In the BBC News bulletins that followed the ‘debate’, newsreaders and reporters kept telling us how each leader faced questions of trust. Be in no doubt, this is the BBC’s way of telling you that, if you don’t trust any of the leaders, then you may as well vote Tory (because they’re the natural party of government). This is the same cynical “they’re all as bad as each other” approach that was used by David Cameron in 2015 and Theresa May in 2017. Only this time, it’s the BBC, the state broadcaster, who are using it.

Even when the BBC are caught editing video footage, they continue to lie about it. Take this tweet from Peter Oborne, who’d noticed what thousands of other viewers had noticed about the editing out of laughter when Johnson gave his reply to the question of trust.

Instead of putting their hands up and admitting to the doctoring of video footage, they doubled down and added a lie instead.

Tory Fibs tweeted the doctored footage:

Steve Brookstein added.

Ironically, the BBC’s technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones wrote this piece for the BBC website in October in which he says:

New research shows an alarming surge in the creation of so-called deepfake videos, with the number online almost doubling in the last nine months. There is also evidence that production of these videos is becoming a lucrative business.

And while much of the concern about deepfakes has centred on their use for political purposes, the evidence is that pornography accounts for the overwhelming majority of the clips.

As Orgreave and ‘Wreathgate’ show us, the BBC isn’t above producing deepfake videos of its own.

The BBC has a fact-checking service that it’s named ‘Reality Check’. It may want to reconsider that name in the near future.

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The BBC Covers Up Boris Johnson’s Gaffe. Surprised?

Take a look at this. This is Boris Johnson laying a wreath at the Cenotaph, but the wreath is upside down. This photo was in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror.

Image

Then compare the above photo to this:

Rather than display the original footage on their website, the BBC have instead posted footage from 2016 with Johnson carrying an entirely different wreath the right way up.

The BBC must think we’re as stupid as they are.

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What Is It With The BBC And The Far Right? They Can’t Help Themselves

I’ve written on this blog before about the relationship between the BBC and the far-right. This is a relationship is about as old as the corporation itself. The first manager, and then Director General of the BBC, John Reith was known to admire Hitler and Mussolini. Coincidentally, the BBC was founded in 1922, the same year that Mussolini came to power.

I came across this photo on Twitter and no, it isn’t photoshopped. This is actually Newsnight’s Evan Davis having a selfie taken with Britain First’s Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen.

We’ve been here before. Remember this from a few years ago? Nick Robinson claimed he didn’t know who she (Fransen) was.

Image result for nick robinson jayda fransen

It’s a piss-poor excuse.

The fact of the matter is that the BBC has always gone soft on the far-right, while, at the same time, denying a space to the far-left for balance. On the exceedingly rare occastions when someone from a far-left party is invited into the studios, they’re talked over, shouted down and patronised, while their far-right counterpart is given the softball treatment.

We’re constantly being told how figures like Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen aren’t far-right or fascists, but are ‘populists’. This would seem to indicate that the BBC is seeking to trivialize, even legitimize neo-fascist politics.

Davis claims he was “duped” in this article in The Daily Star from 2016.  If your job is to report on politics, then it’s incumbent upon you to know who is involved in which party.

 

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A BBC Producer, Guido And Me

The antics of Britain’s news media in the last few weeks have been, to say the least, discomfiting and laughable in equal measure. From the production of anti-Corbyn smears to their fulsome and unquestioning support for the government’s vague position on the Skripal poisoning case, the media has shown itself incapable of critical analysis and devoid of professional curiosity. It has, instead, resorted to smearing the leader of the opposition, who advised a more cautious, even statesman-like approach. For his trouble, he was smeared by the government, the media and even some members of his own party, most notably the MP for BAe Systems, John Woodcock.

The BBC has been especially poor and has recently taken to sourcing news stories from the disreputable flak machine that’s Guido Fawkes. I wrote about the site in this article from 2012.

Last October, as I watching The Daily Politics, I’d noticed that the editorial team had sourced an item about Labour MP, Jared O’Mara, from Guido. I took to Twitter to express my disgust and disbelief.

On Monday, anticipating a smear story that was about to break, I took to Twitter again after it emerged that the BBC and other news organizations, had sourced a story from Guido.

This morning I noticed there had been a reply from someone claiming to work as a producer for Radio 4 ‘s You and Yours.

The arrogance here is astonishing.

I responded, first by telling him he was “projecting”, then I quoted his tweet, so that everyone could see what kind of people work for the BBC.

Mousley has yet to respond. But if this is how one BBC employee replies to viewers and listeners, then it’s a fair bet that this high-handed, smug attitude is consistent throughout the Corporation. If Mousley deletes the tweet, then I have a screen shot.

We expect better from our news providers, but when they produce blatant propaganda pieces and repeat smear stories sourced from sites like Guido, then they no longer deserve the trust and support of the public.

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The ‘Strong Economy’ Soundbite

For the best part of 20 years, soundbites have become the lingua franca of careerist and dishonest politicians. We can see this whenever the subject of the National Health Service or public services is raised in an interview with a Tory minister: they’ll trot out the familiar soundbite of “in order to have a properly funded NHS, we need to have a strong economy”. What this actually means when it’s translated is “we’ll keep running down the NHS, until we get it into such a position that we’ll have to sell it off”. When it’s unpacked, the ‘strong economy’ soundbite is actually an admission that the economy is actually weak and not as “strong” as the Tories suggest. The Tories will then contradict themselves by telling us that the economy is “strong”, even though many of us know this is not the case. Why? Because we can see the evidence of a weak national economy with our own eyes.

If the economy is so “strong”, then why are working people forced to go to foodbanks? If the economy is so strong, then why are public sector workers having their pay effectively cut year on year? If the economy is so “strong”, then why are people put into a position where the only jobs available to them are casual and short term jobs?

So, if  the Tories are to be believed and we have a weak economy, does that mean we can’t have an NHS? Nonsense. After the Second World War, Britain was broke and its economy was weak, yet we still managed to have an NHS.

The mass media – especially the BBC – is failing the public by refusing to challenge Tory politicians on their claims and their meaningless soundbites. They are helping to undermine, not just the democratic process (the election), but our flimsy democracy too.

We deserve better from our politicians and our mass media.

 

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Filed under BBC, General Election 2017, Media, Yellow journalism

BBC Complaint

The BBC must think we’re all as stupid as their journalists. I recently complained about a puff piece that Newsnight ran on Theresa May a couple of weeks ago, and Laura Kuenssberg’s appallingly biased Tweet. Naturally, the BBC saw nothing wrong with either of them. Here’s their reply to me:

Dear Mr Hell

Reference CAS-4338575-LYC8NX

Thank you for contacting us about BBC News output.

I understand you feel a recent interview with Theresa May in ‘Newsnight’ amounted to a ‘puff piece’ and Laura Kuenssberg’s post on social media regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigning in Scotland and the Prime Minister’s absence in comparison displayed bias against Mr Corbyn.

We were naturally concerned to learn of your unhappiness but we’d explain that all BBC correspondents, reporters, presenters and editors are very well aware of our key commitment to impartial reporting at all times.

All staff are expected to put any political views to one side when carrying out their work for the BBC, and they simply try to provide the information and context on the story or issue using their professional insight to allow our viewers, listeners and web users to make up their own minds.

BBC News aims to show the political reality and provide a forum for discussion on issues, giving full opportunity for all sides of the debate to be heard and explored. Senior editorial staff within BBC News and the BBC Board keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

The key point is that the BBC as an organisation has no view or position itself on anything we may report upon – our aim is to identify all significant views, and to test them rigorously and fairly on behalf of our audiences.

We always strive to be robust and consistent in our dealings with politicians and figures of public interest. The interviewer’s role is to put the questions that audience members want to know the answers to.

Our journalists seek to hold politicians and public figures to account by asking them pressing questions on a variety of topics, however the nature and tone of these questions may well be different depending on the programme or juncture the interview is broadcast on.

As the BBC’s Political Editor, Laura can’t publish ‘personal’ views on politics. Her role instead brings a professional and informed insight to events, based on her specialist knowledge and experience in the field.

This tweet conveyed the contrast in the two leaders, reflecting the tactics and mindsets in each party’s campaign. Laura was making the point that because of the conflicting positions on Trident within the Labour party, the Conservatives had made a conscious decision not to engage on the issue at that time. Senior staff are engaged in making sure that all BBC News output, including social media, is in line with our editorial guidelines.

Please be assured we do value your feedback about the points raised. All complaints are sent to senior management and in this case the BBC News team every morning, and I included your points in our overnight report of audience feedback.

These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your concerns have been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Kind regards

Nicholas Bannon

BBC Complaints Team

First, I put it to the BBC that if they were going to run a puff piece on May, were they going to do that same for the other party leaders. The silence, as this reply illustrates, is deafening.

As for Her Ladyship’s tweet, you will notice how Mr Bannon swats away my complaint by telling me she (Kuenssberg) “can’t publish ‘personal’ views on politics”. Oh? So why did she take to Twitter to air them? She certainly wasn’t doing that in a personal capacity.

The BBC’s claims to “impartiality” don’t stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, Mr Bannon’s reply to me amounts to little more than gaslighting.

I will be escalating my complaint to Ofcom.

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Britain’s press and the race to the bottom

The King Rat of sewer journalism

Last Thursday, the starting gun was fired in the British press’s race to the bottom. Just when you thought Britain’s media couldn’t sink any lower, up pops the BBC’s Ben Brown with possibly the worst interview ever conducted on television this year.

This descent into the gutter has been in progress now since the BBC opted to run a 24 hour rolling news channel that it likes to tell us is “award winning”.   On BBC Breakfast, the following day, the snide Bill Turnbull and his on-screen ‘spouse’, the simpering and gushing Sian Williams, repeated the same line of questioning. Turnbull and Williams, it should be remembered, infamously allowed Stephen Pollard to talk over Ken Loach in the day before the Iraq invasion took place in 2002.  The BBC wanted to compete on near-equal terms with Murdoch’s Sky and its US counterpart, Fox News, which offers nothing that can be described as ‘real news’.

Brown’s insensitivity was defended by Toby Young, who says in his Telegraph blog,

Watching the above clip, I don’t think Brown did anything wrong. He may look a bit callous for not making allowances for the fact that McIntyre suffers from Cerebral Palsy and just treating him as he would any other interviewee, but that’s exactly how the interview should have been conducted. For Brown not to hold McIntyre to the same standard as he would any other person on the programme because he’s disabled would be deeply patronising. After all, there’s nothing wrong with McIntyre’s brain.

But that isn’t the point, Tobes, it’s the fact that Brown insinuated that McIntrye could use his wheelchair as a “weapon”. McIntyre’s cerebral palsy is not the issue. Young offers a wee concession at the end of his blog but this is quickly followed by a boot in the face.

I’m horrified by the way in which McIntyre was treated – this really does seem like an open and shut case against the police officer concerned. But if only he had understood the policy properly – realised that it would actually make higher education more accessible to children from socially deprived backgrounds, not less – he wouldn’t have been on the street in the first place.

Young, like so many other soi-disant journalists makes the usual point of missing what the protests are all about. He, like the others, continues to labour under the misguided assumption that the demos are about tuition fees alone. Wrong. They’re about the cuts that his beloved government are about to make on public services.

The Telegraph’s John McTernan tries to make amends by saying,

My esteemed colleague Toby Young makes a brave attempt to stand up for Ben Brown’s interview of Jody McIntyre on BBC News 24. He really needn’t have bothered. The clip speaks for itself. To be honest, Brown looked like a police stooge when he repeated their claim that prior to the clip on YouTube McIntyre was rolling his wheelchair towards them. “Aw, diddums, did the man with with Cerebral Palsy scare you, and you in your riot gear and all” would have been the right response to whichever Metropolitan Police flak had the chutzpah to offer up that nonsense

But McTernan soon reveals his true colours towards the end of the blog,

While Frank Field was asked to “think the unthinkable”, today Iain Duncan Smith is going one better – he is “doing the unthinkable”. I look forward to many more blogs from Toby Young explaining precisely why the protesting public have got the wrong end of the stick about a change to the system which is really in their own best interests.

By far the worst offender in this race to the sewer, is the Daily Mail’s Richard Littlejohn. To tell the truth, Littlejohn is a long-term resident of the sewer (having moved there from the gutter years ago). He’s merely there to welcome the others to his world of turds, spent condoms, used baby wipes and discarded tampons. What’s worse is that he’s commissioned the Mail’s resident cartoonist to create a sort of Little Britain-inspired image. The suggestion here is that Jody McIntyre is ‘faking it’ because he isn’t four square behind the government’s misguided plans for higher education

The text that accompanies the cartoon isn’t any better – as one would expect.

I want to go to the demo…

Wheelchair-bound Jody Mcintyre has complained that he was beaten and manhandled by police during last week’s student fees protests.

But if he’s looking for sympathy, he’s come to the wrong place.

A man in a wheelchair is as entitled to demonstrate as anyone else. But he should have kept a safe distance.

Mcintyre put himself on offer and his brother pushed him into the front line. It’s not as if he didn’t know there was going to be trouble.

He was also at the last student demo in London and persuaded friends to hoist him on to the roof of the Millbank Tower. If his brakes had failed and he’d gone over the edge, who would he have blamed then?

Jody Mcintyre is like Andy from Little Britain.

‘Where do you want to go today, Jody?’

‘Riot.’

‘Are you sure? Wouldn’t you rather go to hear Bob Crow speak at the Methodist Central Hall. You like Bob Crow.’

‘Yeah, I know.’

‘So, we’ll go there, eh?’

‘Riot!’

‘Ken Livingstone will be there, too. He’s your favourite.’

‘Riot!’

‘All right, then.’

Five minutes later at the riot . . .

‘Don’t like it.’

I wonder how long it took Littlecock to dream up the idea that Jody was really Andy in diguise? Not long, I should think. Littlejohn lives in a world where he imagines himself to be under siege from the ‘polticially correct-gone-mad’, liberal do-gooders, lefties, feminists, gays, blacks, Muslims, lesbians…in fact anyone who doesn’t support Littlehjohn’s distorted version of reality is an ‘enemy within’. 9 years ago, Littlejohn had his first novel published. Titled To Hell in a Handcart, the book was roundly condemned by critics as well as those who understand real literature. The Guardian’s Stephen Moss had this to say,

To Hell In A Handcart is racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic trash. Now, Richard Littlejohn should be satisfied. He said recently that if the Guardian dismissed it in those terms, he would put it on the cover as a recommendation. Littlejohn, you see, hates the Guardian.

Christ, that sounds worse than Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

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Postcards From the Barricades (Part 6)

I can only report on yesterday’s demonstration from the comfort of my home. I’ve been doing some work. Trying to catch up with a lot of stuff that I’ve been neglecting. Like organizing my notes. They’re in a real mess. I had the telly news on and was receiving updates from the #demo2010 and the #DAYX2 Twitter feeds for most of the day. I’ll be there for the next one. The above photograph came from here.  It was posted by a ‘concerned citizen’ who stormed “I hope the organisers are going to condemn this”.  Others piped in with the usual stuff ranging from “Marxists”  to “skagheads”. How imaginative.

This Tweeter who calls himself WatTyler_Thinks describes himself as,

Sceptical, angry, cynical young man, Libertarian, Rants in less than 140 characters

Okay, we get the picture. Wat Tyler as any kid will tell you was the leader of the Peasants Revolt. This guy isn’t a peasant and most certainly isn’t revolting – well not in the revolutionary sense at least. There seems to be no real historical connection with his namesake either. Here’s one of his tweets on #demo2010

Dear Marxists – have you realised the irony of you being in Trafalgar square, an imperial war memorial

Quelle drôle. But I’m willing to bet that he’s overlooked something here. Can you see what it is yet? In fact, he and a couple of others remarked on this ‘wonderful’ monument to British imperialism and demanded that the culprits be transported to the colonies. I always worry when I hear people talk about the Empire and who publicly lament its passing because I know that underneath this sentimentality there lies the beating heart of a fascist.

Television news channels looked very desperate and did all they could to inject some ‘excitement’ into their reportage. BBC News kept talking about the crowds playing “cat and mouse” with the police. Sky repeated the same line with the addition of “there have been several scuffles” adding words like “violence” whenever a bottle was smashed. Eventually the BBC abandoned its rolling coverage and concentrated on the snow. “Let’s go north to our reporter Fiona Trott who’s in Rothbury in Northumberland. What’s the snow like there, Fiona”?  Rothbury was where Raoul Moat was holed up before he shot himself. The villagers must have thought “Oh, no, not again”!

This morning there was nary a comment on the protests. BBC Breakfast opted to report on the arrests and the “vandalism” citing the graffiti that was left on Nelson’s Column. I didn’t bother with Sky this morning. BBC Breakfast is bad enough. Today’s newspapers talk about the 155 to 170 arrests (none of them seem to agree on the exact number) as though the protests had suddenly spilled over into the following day. The Bristol Evening Press led with the by now familiar “Non students to blame for trouble”. Apparently the police said,

“BE CAREFUL who you follow” – that is the warning to students from Avon and Somerset police, who said a second mass protest against university fees and spending cuts was disrupted by non-students who were intent on causing chaos.

Chief Inspector Mark Jackson “called for someone from the student body to come forward so they could better co-ordinate what he referred to as a “leaderless protest””. The CI added,

“I think that should be a warning to the students – be careful who you follow because the person you follow isn’t always genuine.”

Yesterday’s protest was set up via a group called Bristol Against Education Cuts, set up on social networking site Facebook.

The Evening Post contacted the group for a comment but had not received a reply last night.

Naturally the Chief Inspector failed to comment on the numbers of police who were seen without their ID numbers. Remind me again, who’s looking for trouble here?

This morning the bloggers at the Telegraph were noticeably quiet. Most unusual. I guess there was no violence to report. That didn’t stop Sky from trying to inject some into the reports.  I read one tweet from a Sky reporter who allege that “news crews were being attacked”.  It’s likely that if any news crew gets attacked it will be a Sky crew. Of course, no mention was made of this in the news bulletins.

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