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Archive for the ‘bias’ Category

Not a moment too soon it actually looks like the BBC’s cosy world of unaccountability, an appallingly cavalier attitude to income it does not earn but extorts from the general public for whom it has constantly shown nothing but contempt in recent years, and a severe political bias that has penetrated every level of the organisation over several decades, is about to come to an abrupt end. It certainly looks like Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative culture secretary, has actually been listening to people like me (and there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people like me) and has bravely, recognising the urgent necessity, decided to be the one to stand up to and take on the monolithic social, economic and cultural parasite that our national broadcaster, in its current form, has become.

If we are to believe what Hunt has told the Daily Telegraph, then the skids really are finally under the BBC closed shop. Furthermore, if its managers refuse to budge on certain issues, including Hunt’s very reasonable proposal that there be a significant reduction in the ridiculous licence tax given the Labour-generated current economic climate, then it could, finally, finally, herald the moment when long-overdue and massive reform comes to the creaking, unfit-for-purpose, throwback-Soviet organisation.

The Telegraph reports Hunt as saying, among other things:

There are huge numbers of things that need to be changed at the BBC. They need to demonstrate the very constrained financial situation we are now in

All the concerns I had in opposition about executive salaries and use of licence fee funds for things many people thought were extraordinary or outrageous – that (next year) will be moment when I express them

Now, I know this won’t lead to the kind of breaking-up of the corporation I want to see, with the selling off of all but the core radio and TV channels (R4, R2, Five Live, BBC1 and 2), the abolition of the jurassic licence fee (to be replaced by a central grant, charitable status and fundraising powers), but I certainly recognise that this is far more than mere gesture politics at a ripe moment. Hunt means to force the BBC into putting its house in real order, or else.

Never thought I’d see the day. Well done Jeremy Hunt. Let battle commence!

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200K London Superhead? Yer ‘avin a larf in’t ya?

I know, I know – if you wanted to read about how bad the BBC is, you’d make your way to the first rate “Biased BBC” blog. But I just can’t help it, mainly because every day with relentless regularity, the BBC – particularly its online news incarnation – confirms all my suspicions about it. The chief suspicion, of course – that the BBC is institutionally left wing, pro-Labour and viscerally Tory-hating – can hardly be called a ‘suspicion’ any more since so much evidence to prove this is right beyond any reasonable doubt has been forthcoming over the years. Lame BBC managerial and editorial statements to the contrary have become a joke.

You, as I often do, might be wondering to what lengths the BBC will go in pursuit of its propaganda goals. Well, today we have yet more data to show that “any” is the answer. Consider the farce of Ed Balls’ entire education strategy for the past three years, given plummeting literacy and numeracy levels and ever-dumber standards in exams. Consider, for instance, the £10Bn+ that has been frittered away over and above the £30Bn school building and refurbishment programme, now being gallantly corrected by Michael Gove.

Consider also today’s extraordinary news that a primary school head teacher has been raking in 200 large a year on the back of, we assume, some half-decent administration of a small school, the consequence of another Balls brainchild, “City Challenge”. Jackpot! At least for Mark Elms, that is, who, it seems, is some kind of hyper-teacher, a true saviour capable of healing the educationally sick and giving the word-blind sight. At least I assume that’s how good he is otherwise why is he troughing eight times more for running a primary school than a close relative of mine retired on after 35 years of highly distinguished teaching and administration in the secondary sector? No one, but no one, in the education industry is that good.

It seems the BBC’s reporter, one Hannah Richardson, disagrees. I’ll quote a bit of it, but you will need to read to whole thing to get a taste of just how extraordinarily one-sided it is – and I mean in favour, by implication, not of the teacher in question, but of the brains behind the ridiculously expensive but “prestigious” (according to Richardson – you betcha, girly! Anyone who can syphon off 200k from the government for running a primary school deserves some kind of admiration) “National Leader of Education” programme, Edward BALLS.

For this work, at his 400-pupil school, Mr Elms receives a basic salary of £82,417.This is well within the maximum head teacher pay rate of £109,000 for large inner London state schools.

The bulk of the £200,000 pay package he received last year was for the work he did on the London Challenge and City Challenge project over two years.

These schemes support schools in challenging circumstances and have been very successful in improving education in deprived areas of the country.

Well now, pardon me for complaining, but does this or any of the other half-baked comments she makes in her little piece remotely justify giving one man two hundred grand for running one school, no matter how bad it had become in a Labour-run inner city area. As I said, however, it’s important to recognise that that’s not the real purpose of this dizzyingly-spun article. The real purpose for this editorially on-message young BBC hackette is to speak out for a very expensive, and highly divisive, Labour schools policy, and therefore, by implication, up for Balls.

Gladly, if the rider at the top of the old Department for Children, Schools and Families, website dedicated to this policy from the incumbents is anything to go by, the “City Challenge” policy Ms Richardson seems to like so much, and Mark Elms obviously loves, is now as defunct and kaput as the failed government that spawned it. It goes:

A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.
To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk

I like it! Seems Hannah Richardson was reporting on a dead policy walking, regardless of her motives for doing so.

Time she and the BBC woke up to the fact that Labour is out of office, and that their cosy world of protected political bias is no longer as safe as they might like to believe. Just as Mark Elms can expect no more ridiculous bonuses (or perhaps “bribes” would be a better word) for doing his job in a less than salubrious area of the Smoke, left wing BBC hacks, editors and managers can expect no more sanctuary in a public institution that urgently needs to be given back to the public, or go the way of the “Department for Children, Families, Schools, Pets and Wasting Money”, Ed Balls and the entire, trainwreck New Labour Government.

Do you think they get that yet? I don’t.

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It never should, is my point, when its very existence is at stake. Now, I have to be careful what I say here because of my line of work. I can’t afford to get too mixed up in the political side of this latest hooha over Israel’s security policies and the nefarious activities of spurious ‘aid workers’ who themselves seemed to think they needed to be armed and travel in division strength to perform best in their capacity as putative angels of mercy. With that in mind, I think I’ll stick to the historical dimension. (Possibly – we’ll see how it goes 😉

In addition, I have to be careful because some pointless commenter on my last post has said that my writing style (I didn’t think I had one) stinks and that I don’t know how to punctuate. Now, I don’t mind the first meaningless dig – that’s about taste – but the second one is patently bollocks. Nobody know’s how, to punctuate better than me. they really dont. It felt like I was being told off by Pee Wee Herman. What a weirdo. And all because the twit in question thinks that David Laws isn’t a troughing thief who deserved all he got – and more.

Anyway, back to Israel. I would like to make a couple of points about this latest non-story coming out of that part of the world, and they mainly concern the British reaction to it and what history tells us the Israeli reaction to that British reaction will be. There is a prejudice against Israel that runs so deep in this country that it is pretty difficult to quantify. It emanates from several sources and comes in a number of varieties but it all amounts to the same thing: loathing. Powerful political, lobbyist and media blocs in the UK indulge a fairly private agenda that is driven by a desire to kick Israel, and to see Israel kicked, as hard and as often as possible. That Israel’s desire to search 10,000 tonnes of ‘humanitarian’ gear being shipped to terrorist-run Gaza warranted such a vicious reaction from the suspiciously well-armed, boarder-repelling ‘aid workers’ was very telling to me.

That these terrorist sympathisers’ film of the inevitable firefight, as Israeli soldiers sought to defend themselves from what must have felt like a deadly assault, was the footage preferred and shown over and over again on British televisions speaks volumes about the unconscionable bias of Britain’s mainstream media, especially (naturally) the BBC. Just imagine if this had been the USA and ATF officers or the US Coast Guard had been violently repelled by a foreign ship’s crew and passengers. “Nine dead?” people would say, “Uncle Sam must be going soft in his old age. They were lucky they weren’t all shot!” No one would have batted an eyelid.

But oh no. This is the plight of the Palestinians, so we have to bring out the standard, Pavlovian hyperbole and hysteria. The Left, the George Galloways of this world, who hijacked this issue long ago as they do with all issues they think possess the required propaganda potential to further the Marxist cause and the coming dictatorship of the workers, make the worn-out, cliched Israel=USA=Zionist Conspiracy=Great Satan lunatic link and condemn both the Jews and the USA for just about everything in the entire world they can think of (and probably things they can’t), while the Establishment blames Israel because that’s been official Foreign Office policy since the end of WWII, when Britain was humiliated by the new Israeli state into very kindly buggering off.

Allied – or maybe alloyed – to these unsavoury truths is the role of a highly partisan and blinkered media, whose journalists fall into one of the two above categories: leftwing dogma on Israel (BBC, Channel 4 etc.), or Establishment dogma on Israel (Telegraph, Times and so on). I’ve ignored the Far Right anti-Jewish dogma because as far as I’m concerned, it’s fundamentally so far beneath contempt that it’s not worth contemplating seriously. Suffice to say, however, it does complete a rather ugly picture. And then there are the Arabs!

But both the key positions in Britain, Left and Establishment, are equally corrupt when it comes right down to it because both are motivated by the same thing: prejudice. And this grows from shared characteristics of basic dishonesty, ignorance and/or malice. Without fully appreciating the entire history of Israel and Palestine unadorned with propaganda, from the late nineteenth century onwards, for instance,and Britain and America’s roles in the creation of the new state post-war – America leading, Britain marginalised – then no possible resolution of the situation is remotely possible today. Furthermore, it would be wise not to forget the events leading up to and during WWII that directly led to the creation of the state in the first place. The Jews certainly haven’t. Nor should we because when nutters start talking about wiping Israel off the face of the earth, Israel takes it deadly seriously; she will defend herself, as would we if we were in the same boat. They have every right to do so. They will not just quietly go down to the gas chambers this time around.

Finally, a note about the moderate, objective, professional media voices who always make me think there might be hope for truth in this country, and, therefore, hope for Israel after all. Today, the two Iains, Martin and Dale, deserve a special mention. Their writing on the subject of this unfortunate incident has been right out of the top drawer so far, and both should be commended for showing the rest of UK MSM journo-land what real unbiased reporting and commentary looks like.

(Incidentally, I don’t “do” unbiased because this is my blog and these are my thoughts. If you don’t like them, or how they are presented or expressed (or punctuated, grrr), then vote with your feet, do, there’s a good punter.)

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Nick Davies, a quick bit of Wiki-ing reveals, is a 57 year-old Oxford-educated, Mirror-trained, former Guardian and now a freelance journalist who contributes to the Observer. He wrote a book a few years ago much loved by some of his peers in the professional media called Flat Earth News that basically rubbished 76% of journalism in the United Kingdom and beyond (he was that precise) . I’m not going to plug it. I thought its basic premise was weak (pretending that the underlying purpose of journalism, particularly newspaper journalism, is some sort of crusade for originality and not merely to sell news, recycled or otherwise, is ridiculous and naive). I also thought it was boring and did not finish it.

Anyway, the upshot of his interview this morning on Radio 4 was, simply, that having gratefully been given the chance to plug once more his dated tome, he merely repeated his feeble assertion (now equally dated) that only the Guardian and the BBC do real news. There was no alternative view in the interview, just some American fembot from the Washington Post giving almost exactly the same views, but in ‘Murcan. I nearly blew my horn in disgust (see how mad I was?). Aside from the fact that the BBC hasn’t broken an original story in, I would say, oh 26 years ( that would have been the Ethiopian famine in 1984), its journalist standards are non-existent. It does not so much report news, vastly over-resourced and over-staffed thanks to its generous taxpayer-funded budget though it is, as filter it through a BBC lens, which itself can be broadly deconstructed into three primary layers: obsessive Political Correctness, social statism and left wing political orthodoxy. There are other layers, such as climate change orthodoxy, but while they are just as significant in how they form the BBC’s editorial stance and its recruitment policy, they are secondary ones. And woe betide anyone who does not toe the BBC line, and who has slipped through the recruitment sieve. They will not be working there for long (pack your bags Andrew Gilligan and Jeff Randall. You’re fired!). The Guardian is sort of the newsprint arm of the BBC. The less said about it, the better. I’m surprised it doesn’t think it’s entitled to state funding, just like its TV sister, the Beeb. Perhaps it does!
There are one or two other things to say about the Graun, actually. Compare and contrast, for instance: in 2009, with the expenses scandal, the Daily Telegraph broke the biggest story of the decade bar none. All its many stories – and there were dozens – were sourced from completely original material – the most original you can get as a matter of fact: raw data. The Telegraph’s expert, highly professional coverage then rocked parliament to its very foundations, and rightly so, and very nearly brought down a government. It has led to six prosecutions so far, and rising, and the retirement of scores of MPs. This story, which drove the entire news cycle for nearly two months – and still is to a certain degree over a year later – has to all intents and purposes changed the political face and historical direction of the United Kingdom, perhaps forever. It could well have saved parliament from permanent and long-term decline and forced a new government to ring the changes and call time on the last rotten government’s (whom the BBC and the Guardian supported) institutional corruption, venality and dishonesty. What the Telegraph achieved there was not just a spectacular piece of classic scoop journalism a la Watergate, complete with their own Deep Throat, they did this country a service on a scale that will not be repeated for a long, long time. I wonder what kind of a dent that put in Nick Davies’ bravely unverifiable “statistics”.
And now, by comparison, let’s ask what the Guardian did in 2009 to further the cause of investigative journalism which, one assumes, is not driven by any political agenda. Ah yes, it tried to get Andy Coulson fired from his new job because of something he wasn’t responsible for (a court said) in his old one, glossed over the Damian Green arrest, virtually ignored the other big scandal of last year (Climategate) – or tried to spin it away – and spun around like a headless chicken editorially as it tried to work which loser to back. The BBC did much the same thing, though in its case it’s unnecessary to come out and actually back someone or misreport stories it doesn’t like. Oh no. It can be far more cunning than that with its spin. Its editors can simply cover what they feel like covering, invite whatever guests they like on talk shows to gloss over distasteful ‘badthink’ news, ignore political stories that might place the Tories in a favourable light and emphasise ones that might not, and do the reverse for their buddies in the Labour party. They can manipulate public opinion by generating it (do you know how easy it is to splice together four punters in the street saying they agree with something and leave out the four dozen who said they didn’t?) and they can be openly hostile or dismissive of anything or any one they don’t like (like the Israelis). Simply put, they test the limits of what they think can get away with all the time, everywhere. And believe me, they can get away with a hell of a lot.
I’ve hardly scratched the surface. But now, I hope, you can at least see why I thought Nick Davies’ nonsensical comment on the BBC, about the BBC and the Guardian and journalism generally, was worth a mention. Whatever his journalistic credentials – and he is well-regarded by his colleagues from across the spectrum of the MSM apparently – he is not very honest and he’s not at all right.
Still, though, I suppose we can let him off. He was only trying to sell his book, after all.

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Deja Vu

Today, like every other weekday, began with the usual routine for me: up at around 6.30; ablutions; cup of coffee; quick spin of the hound; 7.30am sharp, Liberal Democrat News conference on three BBC channels….

Hang on. What was that last one again? A Liberal Democrat News Conference. Every damn morning I’m faced not with the latest news about scary ash clouds not damaging 747s at all but still closing down the country, but with Nick “My Dad’s Richer Than Dave’s Dad” Clegg banging on about hopeless Libdum ‘policies’ (today it was the turn of the bankers. Vince wasn’t there, though. Curious, that). He gets a full half hour of free airtime from the BBC every morning just when most people will be checking out the news, too.

I did what I usually do, seeing as I haven’t heard anything fresh, or worthwhile, from the Libdums for months, and switched back to the Murdoch channel. They don’t carry it – usually. But shock horror! There he was again! Trotting out his endless, codified claptrap once more, relentlessly. To be fair, though, Sky only aired the first bit (praise the Lord).

But the BBC. Sheesh! They’ve got a nerve. If you only watched the BBC’s news coverage, and only in the mornings, you would be forgiven for thinking the Libdums were the only party in the country. So why is the Beeb blatantly backing the yellows now? Well, not only are they biased, but they’re not even that bothered about hiding it any more – perhaps as this latest scandal about a now-suspended BBC ‘complaints’ manager (and Labour candidate) partly demonstrates. It seems their tiresomely – and tirelessly – left wing editors and managers have finally decided that Labour can’t win, so, with brazen cynicism, they’re going to try to make sure that if they can’t have their beloved party, they’ll make it as hard as possible for the Tories to form a government by splitting the vote.

Sound crazy? Just remember who we’re dealing with here. They despise the Tories quite a lot more than they despise the Liberals, half of whom are ‘social democrats’ (socialists) as it is. Whatever the ins and outs of it, and I doubt it’s a conspiracy, but it is undoubtedly an attitude, the BBC is now buying into the hung parliament trope (or ‘balanced’ parliament, as it was referred to on the Today programme by one of the presenters this morning, no doubt in deference to Alex Salmond), and buying in big style.

This only annoys me slightly less than shutting down the entire UK’s aviation industry because the Met Office and the EU says we have to. I put the BBC into the same category as those two menaces to a free and productive society.

But before we put all the BBC chiefs up against the wall, can’t we just have a little less of the Libdums? Pretty please? It’s getting beyond a joke.

Or is there an argument for letting Clegg get overexposed, so everyone can eventually see him for the pseudo-socialist, public school-educated airhead that he really is? And how utterly shallow and confused the party he leads is in reality, too? Interesting conundrum to me, that.

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Yesterday, we were greeted with the second morning in a row of that nauseating LibDum father and son double act (the Cable and Clegg show) on the BBC. Full coverage of two very dull press conferences. Today, it was the turn of the Marx (as in Karl) brothers: Mandy, Balls & Burnham. The BBC provided them with as much live airtime as they wanted to spread what I can only call, having read (bits of) the Conservative manifesto (it was free!), outright, barefaced, scurrilous, amoral, wickedly misleading lies. From start to finish, you had the three of these strangers to reality, let alone the truth, dishing out scaremongering propaganda that simply wasn’t true. None of it. Nada. Not a thing. Labour’s dirty tricks are big news for the BBC.

I didn’t have time to wait for the Q/A section. Was there one? Or has the BBC finally given up even the pretence of impartiality now and decided to allow any attacks on the Tories, however perfidious and, in this case, outrageously smearing, in some cases personally, to go unchallenged altogether? It’s a fair question and the answer to it, if the past two mornings of its coverage are any evidence, is disturbing.

Don’t get me started on the Today programme. Suffice to say, its editors appear to be attempting to maintain some kind of ‘balance’ – by at least allowing a few, you know, Conservatives actually to answer the critics wheeled on, conveyor belt-style to trash policies, especially good ones. But the agenda is crystal clear. Treat the Tories like they’ve been in power for thirteen years – and treat Labour like the official opposition. Clever. But a nightmare to listen to and watch, a sign of how corrupt and contaminated the BBC really is, and bad news for the Conservative party.

Even I’m beginning to think that the political bias of the BBC, ever-more flagrant, and the hard-nosed commercial agenda of Sky/Murdoch (hung parliaments sell papers and boost viewing figures) is beginning to influence the direction of this general election campaign. If these factors influence the outcome, then the outcome will be meaningless and the country will have been betrayed. That much is at stake so wouldn’t it be nice to hear a little more complaining from the big boy bloggers from now on, too? Or don’t they care?

If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask yourself this question: where is the BBC’s coverage of a Tory press conference? If there isn’t any coverage in the next few days, maybe then people will begin to realise what is happening; it’s not just tinfoilhattery on my part.

I’m assuming the Tories have planned a few press conferences. They have, haven’t they? Well, if they haven’t, they damn well should!

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I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed how out of control the BBC has become. Last night’s Newsnight and this morning’s Today programme were so unashamedly, dispicably, outrageously pro-Labour that it’s difficult to imagine how they could have been any more biased without having “this is a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour party” at the beginning.

The brilliant Biased BBC blog has the full story.

Mark Thompson talks about ‘impartiality’. Either he has no idea what the word means, in which case he is stupid – and should be fired by a new Tory government. Or he knows what it means, in which case he’s a stinking liar – and should be fired by a new Tory government. Or he has no control over the company the Labour party employed him to head, in which case he’s incompetent – and should be fired by a new Tory government.

When he’s gone, Cameron can set about breaking up the entire, thieving corporate edifice, too.

Shouldn’t be difficult; it’s rotten to its contaminated core, and has been for years.

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