Monday, 21 November 2011

A Fair and Balanced View.

An essential fair and balanced view

I'm becoming more than a little unhappy with the BBC. It seems more and more obvious lately that the powers that be within what is supposedly an independent, objective news organisation are aligning themselves more and more closely to the established government line, to the detriment of fair and balanced reporting.

For several months I have been annoyed by the political discussion show "Question Time" chaired by David Dimbleby. The panels are increasingly weighted on the side of government argument with one Cabinet minister, one Tory MP, one LibDem MP and as often as not a celebrity supporter of Conservative policy with a token Labour voice or independent panellist. On top of that I feel that Mr Dimbleby's chairing leaves much to be desired when it comes to objectivity and the ability to provide a fair and open discussion. Often he will question the antiestablishment voice on the panel again and again in supposed "clarification" when he rarely does this to other panel members and he's much more likely to interrupt any non-government speaker or curtail the time allotted to them to answer a question. I've also found him irritatingly dismissive of clear and sensible questions from the audience pertinent to the discussion at hand for no explicable reason. He also allows Tory and Lib-Dem {or is that Con-Dem} to veer off piste, usually prefaced by the "Of course, we inherited this terrible position from the previous govt who failed to......" or "What the previous govt failed to do was ...."  before waffling on about some twaddle which clearly the party want on the agenda but certainly isn't a direct answer to any question put to the panel. And OK, to be fair ALL politicians are prone to this nonsense - but it's the role of a good chairman to keep the panellists in line and stop this infuriating and insulting rubbish out of it. The question is usually "What are you going to do about" something or "Do you feel this is the right way to deal with" something. When asked this, all we want to know is what you are doing about it and why - not what the other party have failed to do or what they have done that's "made things so very much worse than they first appeared". To be honest if you didn't know exactly what was going on then your a bloody poor opposition - and if you couldn't find these things out then you can bet your doing just as much you want to keep hidden too.

 I'm beginning to wonder why I watch the damned program.

Even the main evening news on BBC1 the other evening contained what I consider to be biased reporting and subliminal messages elevating the position of the government both in national and international issues regardless of other relevant points of view. For example; a news item showed the three main party leaders visiting a factory together in support of a jobs initiative. The first shot showed the three leaders entering the factory floor together while a voice-over explained that David Cameron and the other two party leaders had visited the factory. The narrative continued explaining that "Mr Cameron" was leading an initiative to improve jobs and apprenticeships in British industry. The next 3 min went to great lengths to explain "Mr Cameron's" visit and each shot showed only the Prime Minister and not any of the other party leaders. David Cameron was heard to ask questions of workers on the shopfloor and was shown posed in statesmanlike poses amongst the workers as he listened attentively to them. The voice-over continually referred to him as Mr Cameron, something I don't remember happening before when the previous prime minister was referred to as "Gordon Brown" or simply "the Prime Minister". It seemed obvious to me that the whole tone of the article was designed to increase David Cameron's stature in the public eye and though he was visiting with the other party leaders in this instance, to focus on him as being the only relevant person.

Almost the next item in the news was about "Mr Cameron's" position on the euro financial crisis. As the newsreader read the article a photograph was displayed behind her – a compilation of two images – one of Angela Merkel the German Chancellor, the other of the Prime Minister, but in this instance these head and shoulder portraits had been manipulated so that her figure appeared slightly below that of Mr Cameron and his arm appeared to be wagging a finger at her. It seemed to me that this was designed to give the impression that he was on the higher moral ground and was reprovingly warning her off. Interestingly, when you looked closely at the picture it was clear that this hand was in fact not David Cameron's but hers.

It may be a sign of modern times or it may just be a sign that I'm a grumpy old so-and-so but I'm really disappointed when at almost every news program I can pick out something that is being emphasised in a particular direction with no balancing point of view. I'm no intellectual but I'm no idiot either and I resent being treated in a manner that offends my sense of justice and appears to assume that I haven't the ability to smell bullshit when it's propped directly beneath my nose.

Okay – rant over.

See you later.

Listening to:


Nicky said...

I empathise, Alistair. I thought it was just over here that this kind of crap was ongoing. Seems the UK isn't immune though either. I often think I'm turning into my grandfather.....when he was alive he used to grumble about this kind of stuff and I'd just jokingly roll my eyes. Litle did I know I'd become him one day!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I nearly wet my knickers at the image. Thanx for making my Monday

Morning's Minion said...

J. watches news shows and commentaries on his favorite tv station--just passing through the room at such times leaves me snorting with indignation--its all about who can interrupt most often and make the most noise--not at all about an objective presentation. Arrrgh!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

The BBC establishment has always had a right-wing inclination, and almost all of the media tends to boost the profile of the PM, of whichever party, and you must have the constitution of an ox to listen all through these interminable political debate shows. I know that they are supposed to be important part of the democratic process, but I just find them mind-numbingly boring.

32 days to Christmas.

Doesn't that make you feel better?

Alistair said...

Thanks all - Wanted to vent {and don't feel finished yet]

Alistair said...

And NO - 32 days to Christmas doesn't make me feel any better.



Kat_RN said...

Sounds like the BBC is learning from our Fox
Network. I am appalled at this sort of nonsense.
You put it well.

Alistair said...

God, I hope not Kat. That Fox network is an abomination when it comes to balanced reporting.

The Clever Pup said...

Sorry I can't keep up with British politics at the moment, so I'll just look at the pictures. Ian Dury seemed to have a big head and skinny arms.

Alistair said...

Aye, he does - it was spina bifeda I think. Great artist and great character he was.

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