The Tendentiousness Of The BBC Is Unlimited

Mick Hall accuses the BBC of being extremely biased. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

Anyone who has ever made a  complaint to the BBC's Byzantine complaints department will be familiar with the corporation's response to Craig Murray when he complained about about the unrepresentative audience for BBC Question Time from Dundee, which according to Craig included two ex-Labour candidates granted questions from the floor and an astonishing number of English accents.

Even if you jump through all the hoops which are designed to put you off following through with your complaint, you end up at waiting to be adjudicated by the BBC Trust's complaints committee, an unelected, unrepresentative quango stuffed full of banksters, hedge fund managers and media insiders. Whereas it once consisted of people from all walks of life including those from the trade unions.

Today the only criteria for sitting on the Trust is millionaire status, and a neoliberal political political bent. I doubt few of the current Trust even watch BBC TV. Still I digress.

The BBC reply to Craig Murray reads:

Thank you for contacting us about Question Time held in Dundee on 10th March 2016. We gather some viewers were concerned that the audience was not representative of Dundee and that therefore the discussion was biased.The programme, as with all editions of Question Time, was open to people from surrounding areas as well as those living in the city where it took place. We do aim for a wide variety of views on different subjects to be heard on Question Time.

The audience included SNP, Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats, Greens, UKIP and Scottish Socialist Party voters, reflecting political opinion across Scotland. On the question of the EU referendum the audience was balanced with equal numbers of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ supporters and a fewer number of undecided people. The BBC is obliged to cover the debate around Europe in a balanced and impartial way at this time.

If the BBC is truly obliged to cover the EU referendum in a balanced and impartial way as they claim, according to the latest Scottish opinion polls approximately 65% of the audience at Dundee would have been pro EU supporters, 22% against and 13% undecided. Balanced and impartial my arse, As far as the BBC is concerned to day, you get what the Tory Government demands.

The BBC reply continued:

There was plenty of applause for all sides in the debate. Whoever speaks from the Question Time audience is down to the dynamic on the night; who puts their hands up, who claps loudest and so on.

Presumably someone nipped over to ITV, went down into the vaults and stole one of Hughie Green's Clap-o-meters which were popular in the 1960s-70s on talent shows like Opportunity Knocks. They were about as real and reliable as Doctor Who's Tardis. Simon Cowell was not the first talent show host to rig the winner, old Hughie was a past master.

BBC reply concludes:

This means that though the audience was balanced; viewers may have felt that those asking questions represented the view of the complete audience. This is not the case, but we appreciate you contacting us with your concern in this matter.

And in the bin the complaint goes, job well done this boy will rise high.

Obviously Mr Murray is far from satisfied and correctly smells a rat:

The only problem with this explanation [from the BBC] is that it is totally different from the approach taken to the Independence referendum debates. There the broadcasters flatly refused to have a 50/50 audience and instead chose the audience according to how Scotland voted at the 2010 Westminster Election. That meant only 19.9% were SNP supporters and audiences were overwhelmingly unionist. Yet the next referendum comes along, and there is a completely different criterion for studio audience selection.

Of course we all know why the BBC does not wish to be consistent and now select by 2015 Westminster election vote… The tendentiousness of the BBC is unlimited.

Tendentiousness indeed.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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