The BBC used to be known as Auntie. Now you might as well call the corporation’s news output a non-stop Tory election broadcast.

Anyone who has watched the BBC News during the election campaign can see for themselves how “Auntie” now interprets her statutory requirement of impartiality.

I usually write from my perspective as a therapist, but today I am putting on my journalist’s hat.

I have worked for 40 years in the regional and national press. I have held senior positions on a Labour-supporting paper, a Tory-supporting paper and the impartial national news agency.

So I know what impartiality looks like – and it doesn’t look like BBC News.

I’m pretty sure there was a time when the BBC would turn up at an election event and simply report what happened.

Now it seems to be a requirement that political staff give their “analysis” of what they have seen (or would like to have seen). And it doesn’t help that BBC political journalists are encouraged to use Twitter to express their “personality”.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg gets the most flak for this, but she is not alone. John Humphrys, Nick Robinson, John Pienaar…they all get in on the act.

They would claim that they are even-handed, that they treat politicians of all parties to the same scrutiny. But it is simply not true.

Last night I watched the BBC’s 10pm news with mounting astonishment. I foolishly believed that Kuenssberg had improved a bit since I complained to the BBC about her in January last year.

But no. It seems any report on the activities of the Labour Party has to be treated with a specially snide and sneery incredulity.

It’s not about asking tough questions, as she does for all party leaders. It’s about conveying to viewers that she doesn’t take Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party seriously, and neither should they.

It’s about focussing on the trivial to take the spotlight away from the serious,

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concentrating on the personal to divert attention from what really matters. It’s a sleight of hand.

Without social media I wouldn’t have had any idea of the crowds that have been turning up to Corbyn’s speeches.

The BBC’s idea of balance is to show Theresa May’s appearance in an almost-empty room talking to glum-looking guests, then Corbyn’s speech in close-up, hiding the huge crowds that have turned out to see him.

Last night’s Kuenssberg report was followed up by a totally pointless vox pop from York, dismissing Labour’s manifesto. It started with John Pienaar (whom I always regarded as being an intelligent type) allowing a passer-by to display his ignorance on immigration, and finished with Pienaar emerging from a sweetshop with a lolly.

What is this, Newsround?

You might also have noticed one key feature of any report of Labour proposals: an obsession with how they will be paid for.

Funny how nobody seems that interested in what the Tories have done with your three-quarters of a trillion pounds.

When they came to power in 2010, the national debt was £979 billion. This has now risen to £1,731 billion.

Labour rebuilt schools and hospitals and got us out of the global banking crisis. After seven years of austerity, what is the Tories’ excuse? Yet it is Labour’s spending plans that apparently require the BBC’s forensic microscope.

You might wonder who sets this agenda – and I will tell you. Kuenssberg takes her cue from the national press. Right from the start, she adopted the line of the Murdoch and Rothermere press: that Corbyn is a joke who doesn’t need to be taken seriously.

It is not surprising – political correspondents work closely together. But the BBC should rise above that pack mentality.

Ed Miliband had a tough time with the press but I’m pretty sure he received from the BBC at least some of the respect that is due to the leader of the opposition. Kuenssberg simply picked up on the mocking approach to Corbyn of the Mail and the Sun and adopted it for the 10pm news.

Of course, you might think that is reasonable. You might think that Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere (as well as Richard Desmond and the Barclay brothers) have your best interests at heart. And if you believe that, then you might think the BBC is right to mock the leader of the opposition and his party.

Or you might think as I do: that it is very dangerous in a democratic society for our national broadcaster to slide so far in that direction.

And if you do agree with me, you know what to do. Tell the BBC what you think.

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38 thoughts on “Making a mockery of BBC journalism

  1. You right I have thinking the same for long time were as the money gone for selling of gas ele water trains post NHS they don,t ask the Tories that

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  2. I find it extremely worrying the way Jeremy Corbyn is being treated. There seems to be no impartiality in your programs. I far as I can see you are broadcasting Conservative party election propaganda. Seeing as you are taking money from everyone for a TVs licence. You should represent everyone’s views. I am watching the BBC less and less. You are subverting our democracy. Shame on you.

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  3. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the increase in the national debt, by the conservatives, but essentially they have cut services, and spending, implemented under labour. What was the alternative? To continue spending, and thus further increase, the National Debt. I accept this, and if you don’t think that services should have been cut, and we’re prepared for a greater national debt, then, that’s your politics. However, complaining about conservatives increasing the national debt, and there cuts, at the same time, seems disingenuous. Please show me how this is not true.

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    1. You are confusing debt with deficit. However, labour proposes investing in public services and raising tax on high earners/dealing with corporate tax avoidance. Investing in public services creates jobs and raises tax income too. This money generally circulates in the economy, creating more jobs, as opposed to money that goes ultimately to corporate shareholders who don’t spend their money on the high street. The Tories have applied an outmoded and discredited model that has massively increased inequalities. At the same time as most ordinary people (but particularly the poor) got poorer, the rich got vastly richer. It wasn’t funding public services that rocked the economy, it was the recklessness of the banking sector, which was then bailed out by the government. I will grant you that under New Labour, the regulation of the banking sector was allowed to decline, making conditions ripe for what eventually happened, albeit the crash was a global phenomenon, not restricted to the UK. Other counties have not imposed austerity and have not suffered as badly as we have in terms of real reduction in wages.

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    2. The alternative is to increase taxation on those who can afford it and who would rather currently spend that money employing their accountancy teams to find avoidance loopholes. And don’t threaten some kind of mass exodus of entrepreneurial talent should this happen; talent like nature abhors a vacuum and new, more creative personnel with new ideas would rise to fill any positions vacated by a now stale managerial level

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    3. How about getting the real people who ripped the country off in the first place to pay for their deeds? Then the honest 95% of the British population wouldn’t have had to put up with a near decade of austerity and the slashing of essential services. Perhaps then our national debt would actually have ended up dropping. But there was no chance of that when the people in question are heavily hand in glove with much of the Oxbridge political elite that run our country.

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  4. I certainly do agree with your comments,so much so that I have stopped watching BBC news.I saw Laura Kuensburg interviewing Jeremy Corbyn,a few days ago,but it was more like an interrogation, something she does not do when she is interviewing the Tories.I take extreme care now when I watch any reporting of the news

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  5. I have been spending afternoons flitting through News channels looking for things I take interest in, both home and global. I actually like being informed on all aspects regardless from which side they come. But I like accurate reporting of what was said, and by whom. Cherry picking and leaving out important part of what’s said is distortion of facts. If you think I should be doing something more constructive withy time, well I wish I could. But being housebound kind of limits how I can participate. For people who manage to see just one news broadcast in a day. It’s the BBCs duty to be fair.

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  6. We pay our licence fee expecting interesting and entertaining programmes plus fair and honest reporting of local and world events. What do we get? We are treated to vastly differing interview methods, when questioning polititions. They barrack Labour politicians and constantly try to force them to agree to statement so they can then pretend they are their own views and tear them apart. They challenge them, as they rightly should, but not in an open and honest way. Interviewers are so blatantly biased against the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular. Conversely, whenever they interview Conservative politicians they tiptoe round them and don’t challenge them or any of their failures, of which there are many. They ignore their lies and the fact that they have increased the national debt; spent money on hiving a large portion of the NHS to private companies whilst starving it of nurses, doctors and equipment; sold off swathes of this country, without telling us why and what happened to the money; starved schools of cash but managed to spend huge amounts opening free schools where they are not needed, mainly replacing fee paying schools for the already well off; forcing young people and young families into private rented properties, which are often unsuitable and almost always insecure; and leaving the elderly and infirm to live in fear of how they will manage to eat and keep warm, and who will be able to help take care of them. The list goes on but they are rarely, if ever, questioned about this catalogue of failures. As far as Theresa May is concerned, she is cosseted and fawned over; never challenged; given airtime to talk about her happy marriage and upbringing, portrayed as honest and strong when the opposite is so obvious it’s practically tattooed on her forehead. Photo calls and videos of the 2 leaders are presented in completely different ways, hiding the fact that TM is talking to a few chosen supporters whilst JC is interacting with huge numbers and honestly answering their questions. It couldn’t be more blatant if the BBC were being paid to produce a party politely broadcast for the Conservatives each day!
    What sort of country calls itself a democracy and treats people like this and why is the BBC so intent on helping a government to stay in/return to power, to continue this process. We have to ask ourselves whether these reporters and interviewers are naturally biased or are being pushed into failing in their persuit of truth by the people running the BBC.

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    1. Now you know how UKIP and their supporters felt. The BBC were so biased and interviewers were so rude sometimes and vilified anyone connected with UKIP. Nige Farage always remained a gentleman. Labour cannot complain now that it is happening to them.

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  7. yes, they treat Labour with mockery, but refuse to acknowledge the Greens even exist, yet broadcast endless comments from UKIP.

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  8. I have complained several times but to no avail. I am very disappointed as i used to thik their reports were properly balanced. I now have them on a par with such as the Sun nd Express.

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  9. Scotland has been saying that since 2013 . The Biased British Broadcasting Corporation.
    Much that has been used against Mr Corbyn was practised on Alex Salmond , and I suppose they could claim the ‘result ‘ of saving the union , but for what one may ask.
    Ms Kuenssberg , along with Mr Robinson and several others should be summarily dismissed for NOT following the contract of impartiality made with the licence fee payers – us.
    It has astonished me that the BBBC and the media in general has taken it upon itself to so obviously spin , manipulate and lie.

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  10. I have become so jaded by Kuenssberg’s attitude that I haven’t watched BBC News for months, much preferring Radio 4 where her influence seems to be less marked – though various elements of Radio 4 still seem very biased. As for Question Time and Newsnight, I have had to desist altogether out of respect for my blood-pressure. A National Scandal.

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  11. I find this a very plausible argument but cannot see how it will be taken seriously without a smoking gun – or gunpowder trail.
    To substantiate bias one would need to explain the means by which the BBC’s output has been turned against the left. Which people in which positions in th BBC have a vested interest in this agenda?
    By what means did this group of people take over the editorial role and what mechanisms do they use to make other members of staff conform?
    I am not trying to be difficult – I believe that UKIP grew on the strength of th BBC’s coverage – but believing it and proving it (without a whistleblower) are very different.

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  12. Can you give me the best way of contacting bbc. I would like to e-mail both the main news dept. and the today programme.

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  13. I have complained to the BBC twice about Laura Kuenssberg…but their response both times isthat they consider her fair and balanced. I have never been so disappointed inmy life. The BBC no longer r presents the people. It bias is obvious.

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  14. It’s a disgrace that BBC are allowed to openly voice their biased oppinions at every opportunity…Andrew Matt , Dimbleby , Andrew O,Neal , I could go on and on ! We to unite and do something about this ..We are the ones paying the license fee and their wages !!

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  15. I write in to complain frequently to complain but to no avail – complaints always ignored. A great analysis but so depressing.

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  16. Instead of demanding impartiality, let us demand an incentive / funding structure that should automatically exhibit impartiality.

    As I understand it, BBC UK is wholly funded by TV licenses. BBC World Service, however, is funded mostly by advertising revenues. BBC news channel I believe falls under the World Service. The same stories and reporters that run on BBC1, also run on BBC news channel.

    Therefore, BBC news may be quite beholden to its corporate clients.

    Any way that World Service dough could be ring-fenced / sold off??

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  17. The BBC haven’t been impartial for years. Not so long ago they were spending huge sums of money on legal to keep secret the members of a committee formed to deal with global warming, errr climate change as it’s been renamed, as it was largely a collection of cheerleaders for the topic instead of a balanced team.

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  18. I’m no lawyer, but in the days of crowdfunding, It would be interesting to find out if it would be possible to start a class action lawsuit against the BBC for the return of license fees as they are not fulfilling the terms of the BBC Charter with regards to impartiality.

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  19. This is old news if you’re Scottish , the BBC shafted Scotland in the exact same way , there were at least three large demonstrations at the time ( outside the BBC)which you more than likely missed, they also used the “close up” technique as a Throng gathered round labour’s Jim Murphy in an otherwise deserted Buchanan St in the last GE , they are simply put a propaganda department for the Tory government .

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  20. Such a pity that BBC News has become a Tory propaganda platform as I am sure they are capable of reporting impartially… just goes to show how the elitists are now manipulating society…

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  21. Isn’t it time that our politicians grew up a bit and set some sort of positive example to the youth of our society instead of the squabbling, cat calling, oneupmanship and school debating society tactics that we experience now. Whatever is said about Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, he has more integrity, honesty and trustworthiness than the rest of them put together and I’ll VOTE FOR THAT!

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  22. I too have become worried by the BBC reporting of and commentary on politics. For example they played mercilessly on Diane Abbot’s mistake over police costs (actually what happened was that she said thousands when she meant millions and then became flustered) but so far no mention of Michael Gove’s numerical ignorance during his LBC interview. Lot’s of coverage over the costing of policies in the Labour manifesto but little about the lack of costing in the Tory one and this after they had given air time to spokesmen and ministers all claiming that Labour costings were ‘pie in the sky’. Another example was with the LD idea of legalising and taxing Cannabis to collect 1 billion, said to be unrealistic until analysis showed that it was likely to bring in far more ( I saw no mention of this) after which it all went quiet.
    It goes beyond the UK however, the reporting mirrors the tabloid narrative. Look at erecent elections in Europe. In the Netherlands all attention was on the extreme right wing Wilders, no one else got any attention; he lost and all is now quiet. In the French election there was great excitement about the right wing anti EU candidate, hours and hours of attention given to her. She was crushed and suddenly all is quiet as a centrist, pro EU president doesn’t suit the narrative, all we get is that Macron will make Brexit more difficult. Now watch for fair reporting of the elections in Germany.
    Yes there is bias at the BBC, just look at the quests on Any Questions and Question Time, same old faces recycled time after time. I despair

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  23. https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-pertinent-questions/

    https://indyref2.scot/bbc-scotland-and-the-foodbank-nurse

    Everyone in Scotland found out about BBC bias in the first Indyref campaign. You can now buy badges in Scotland which simply state; is that true or did you hear it on the BBC.

    There were three major demonstrations outside BBC Glasgow during Indyref1 which the BBC did not report!

    There is also a grass roots campaign in Scotland called ‘BBC – Misreporting Scotland’

    Even Scottish Unionists known and admit that the BBC is completely biased against Scots Independence, which will, of course, only make Scots Independence all the more certain.

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