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News & politics

BBC bias

(88 Posts)
varian Sun 22-Jan-17 16:43:16

The BBC is supposed to at least try to be politically impartial, but is often accused by the right wing press of a bias to the left, and by the Labour party of a bias to the right.

It is true that many leading political commentators, such as Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson and Laura Kuenssberg appear to have a pro-Tory stance, but I do not regard that as a serious problem. Intelligent viewers will judge accordingly.

What is much more disturbing is the BBC's active promotion of UKIP, and in particular Nigel Farage, giving him the oxygen of publicity, which I think has played a significant factor in his success in the EU referendum.

The BBC's flagship programme, Question Time, is an indicator of who is favoured. By last December Nigel Farage had appeared 31 times, making him the 11th most frequent guest. Farage is an MEP who has failed seven times to get elected as an MP. All of the top ten are parliamentarians with an average of 30 years service - people like Ken Clarke, Harriet Harman and Paddy Ashdown.

Amongst next week's guests on QT is Paul Nuttall, the new UKIP leader, who will be a candidate in the Stoke byelection on February 23rd. Is this fair to the other candidates? I believe that he should not appear on QT before that election and I would like to see the BBC try a bit harder to be politically neutral.

rosesarered Sun 22-Jan-17 16:49:49

I think that Nuttall, as the brand new leader of UKIP, was always going to be a choice for QT.Farage presumably was always up for a spot on QT when he was asked.Not everybody wants to do it as it can be quite hostile.QT needs a good mixed panel.

LumpySpacedPrincess Sun 22-Jan-17 16:50:02

You're right, they helped to create the monster and happily wheel him out at any given opportunity. they never get Sandi Toksvig on do they.

daphnedill Sun 22-Jan-17 17:00:39

I don't know how many times I've read that the BBC has a left wing bias. It's a load of ***! I haven't kept track, but it seems to me that UKIP gets far more exposure than it deserves.

Somebody on GN (sorry, can't remember who) said Farage doesn't charge much to appear on TV programmes.

BlueBelle Sun 22-Jan-17 17:04:29

Our dear friend Farage is now a presenter on LBC, what a !!!!!! no words to describe the weasel

daphnedill Sun 22-Jan-17 17:16:38

Indeed not! No words to describe the people who support him either.

varian Sun 22-Jan-17 17:37:51

Have any of you ever had any success with complaining to the BBC and getting some sort of result?

If so, how did you do it?

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 18:17:33

Whatever Farage's personal success in elections, UKIP is a big player in British politics at the moment, quite out of proportion to its size and official representation.

Not to focus a lot of attention on it would be to ignore the fact that nearly 4 million people voted UKIP in the last election and there are many people, who traditionally always voted for one of the two main parties and found it difficult to imagine ever changing their voting pattern who are broadly in sympathy with UKIP's aims and are now thinking the unthinkable and voting UKIP. The current leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall, is standing for election at Stoke-on-Trent because it is not beyond the bounds possibility that he may win it.

I think there is every good reason for the BBC to be giving UKIP a lot of air time. Publicity works both ways, one in depth interview, if the interviewee balls it up can kill his and his party's chances.

varian Sun 22-Jan-17 18:44:47

Do you not think that the BBC, by offering Paul Nuttall, the opportunity to have his say on Question Time, is giving him an advantage over all the other candidates in an election taking place so soon?

This advantage could be a deciding factor, so the BBC, instead of being an impartial observer, becomes a flag waver for UKIP.

rosesarered Sun 22-Jan-17 18:52:14

Not if he does badly in his performance on QT, and even if he does well, if you don't want to support UKIP then you wouldn't be voting for him.
Maybe the other candidates either don't want / can't be on QT but may appear somewhere else, Andrew Marr or Andrew Neil programmes.

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 18:59:03

He has only just announced his candidature. I think once someone declares they are standing in a seat and submits their forms then impartiality rules come in. I believe that there are very strict rules governing how the BBC distributes air time during an election/bye election.

When we have a general election, you hear quite a lot from the top spokespeople of both main parties, but all the other people standing against them in their constituency, from the other main party to the dog walkers party do not get equal time.

Varian I do think you are being very patronising to the average viewer or listener, to think that they would vote for someone just because they saw them on TV.

Christinefrance Sun 22-Jan-17 19:16:13

Varian, I complained about Tim Wonnacott and his patronising use of a northern accent. Shortly thereafter he was suspended from Bargain Hunt. Don't seriously think it was anything to do with my complaint though. smile

varian Sun 22-Jan-17 19:16:27

No MOnica I do not think it is patronising to suggest that the average viewer, or even some viewers, will be more likely to vote for a candidate that has free publicity that his opponents do not have.

That is why we have strict rules about the amount of exposure politicians are allowed in the run up to an election.

whitewave Sun 22-Jan-17 19:19:29

Any publicity is better than no publicity

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 20:48:40

But for every one attracted by seeing someone on tv, someone else will be put off.

Not sure whitewave a lot of people have become the victim of hate campaigns by being in the public eye for some reason.

There is a very grey area between over promotion and suppression of legitimately held public views and UKIP represents the views of possibly as many as 8 million people in this country (4 million who voted for them and probably as many again who are sympathetic to their opinions. 52% (over 17 million) of those voting in the referendum voted out. Turn out was high at over 72%

varian Sun 22-Jan-17 21:33:03

I would have no objection to the UKIP leader being on Question Time after the byelection in which he is a candidate but I do object to him appearing before then, as his opponents will not all have that chance.

whitewave Sun 22-Jan-17 21:36:27

I will be interested to read the UKIP manifesto. I must have a look.

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 21:55:00

He is not a candidate until the bye-election has been called, which it now has, and he has submitted his nomination papers, which, as far as I know, he has yet to do. Until then election rules do not apply. There is many a person who has declared themselves to be a candidate for a seat and then not stood.

The other main parties have yet to choose their candidates, meanwhile, there will have been plenty of politicians from these parties appearing on Question Time articulating the views and policies of their particular political persuasion

The election is not until 23 February, so I doubt his appearance on Question Time in mid-January will give him any advantage.

MaizieD Sun 22-Jan-17 22:58:37

It's not mid-January, though. It's nearly the end. Next Thursday is 26th. I think that's pretty close to the by-election. Of course, if they were to invite all the by-election candidates from the major parties that would balance it out a bit...

Nelliemoser Mon 23-Jan-17 00:00:58

I wonder if Farage's high profile in question time might be because he is the only one in UKIP who was articlate enough to put his (nasty) ideas across.

As for bias if all sides in our nation's political parties complain of bias they a probably getting it right.

The best source of sensible unbiased current affairs journalism is probably on the Today program on Radio 4 and Newsnight where the issues are actually discussed and people properly interviewed. These people usually do have some experience of their subject and are usually far better informed about the issues than Joe Public.

I have no sympathy whatsoever ever for all those politicans etc who are interviewed by the "Today" team. James Naughtie. John Humphrys. Justin Webb. Mishal Husain. Sarah Montague. Nick Robinson.
I am quite sure that their interviewees are themselves very well trained in how to fendoff questions they do not want to answer.

I find Any Questions Radio 4 and Question Time on TV irritating. (In general there is just a lot of hot air flying about.)

kittylester Mon 23-Jan-17 06:37:39

I take issue with the statement that the BBC are pro Tory - in my view they are anti Tory. Which maybe implies that they are NOT biased.

Alima Mon 23-Jan-17 07:34:34

You are a brave lady kittylester, I salute you! Think the same but too scared to say. The "bias" always appeared to be in favour of Labour but now that is a non-starter because of Corbyn. Perhaps, if as some of you say, Nigel Farage receives more air time it is because he is like Marmite and gets a response. I have no links or quotes to back up what I say so if anyone asks they're flogging a dead horse.

kittylester Mon 23-Jan-17 08:09:51

Just my observations, Alima!

I agree with your post!

varian Mon 23-Jan-17 08:27:30

Whenever challenged on the question of bias, a spokesman for the BBC will say that as they are accused of bias to the left by some and bias to the right by others, it proves that they are completely unbiased.

I do not think that is a good enough answer. It seems to me that Nigel Farage was favoured because he was controversial, saying things which were provocative and sometimes outrageous and this made for a more lively programme. Politicians whose approach is more consensual are not so entertaining and entertainment has become more important than balance. Divisiveness has been encouraged.

daphnedill Mon 23-Jan-17 08:55:21

Accusations of left-wing bias by the BBC have been going on for as long as I can remember.

Margaret Thatcher's personal papers are gradually being released once the 30 year rule runs out.

Papers have just been released which show that even she was forced to stop Norman Tebbit's obsession with the BBC: