Saturday, 31 October 2020

BBC "No Bias" rule seems to be just that.

Many  people think that the BBC is politically biased and that  the political editor of BBC News Laura Kongsberg is biased towards and that was also the position of her predecessor Nick Robinson and this was partiicualarly  evident on her treatment of former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In January 2017 the BBC Trust ruled that a report in November 2015 by Kuenssberg broke the broadcaster's impartiality and accuracy guidelines. A viewer had complained about her item, which featured an interview with Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC News at Six which gave the incorrect impression that Corbyn disagreed with the use of firearms by police in incidents such as that month's terrorist attacks in Paris. His purported answer to a question as broadcast in the report was in fact his reply to a more general (unbroadcast) question, not specifically about that terrorist attack.] The BBC Trust said that the inaccuracy was "compounded" when Kuenssberg went on to state that Corbyn's message "couldn't be more different" from that of the prime minister Theresa May, who was about to publish anti-terrorism proposals. The trust said that accuracy was particularly important when dealing "with a critical question at a time of extreme national concern."[27] Nevertheless, the BBC Trust found no evidence that there had been any intention to mislead, and their ruling was that the footage "had been compiled in good faith."[28] The Telegraph published a front page story about Kunnensburg in 2017 with the headline “the most divisive woman on TV today?”]

In September 2019 Kuenssberg received criticism for her portrayal of Omar Salem, a father who confronted prime minister Boris Johnson about the government's treatment of the NHS, as "a Labour activist."[30] Salem defended Kuenssberg, saying that she was doing her job "without fear or favour which is a vital part of democracy. I don't think 'Labour activist cares about NHS' is a huge scoop though...".[31]

In the 2019 United Kingdom general election, Kuenssberg was accused of bias, in various campaign incidents, alongside criticism of the BBC's election coverage. On 11 December, one day before the 2019 general election, she drew controversy by claiming on air that submitted postal votes, apparently viewed by both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, were "looking pretty grim for Labour in a lot of parts of the country."[32][33] Viewing postal votes prior to polling day is in breach of guidelines set by the Electoral Commission[34] and predicting electoral outcomes based on votes cast prior to polls closing may be a criminal offence.] The footage was subsequently withdrawn from BBC iPlayer, while the episode of Politics Live in which the incident happened was withdrawn and removed from the BBC Parliament schedule.[37] The BBC News press office tweeted: "Regarding today's Politics Live programme, the BBC does not believe it, or its political editor, has breached electoral law."] The Metropolitan Police Service later confirmed that there was "no 

Kuenssberg was criticised, alongside other major journalists, for incorrectly tweeting that a Labour activist had punched a Conservative Party advisor, without verification; footage was released showing this was untrue and she later apologised and retracted her tweet.[40] On 3 March 2020, however, the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit stated that "It found no evidence of political bias nor that Laura Kuenssberg had failed to check the story before publication." When apologising Kuenssberg noted that two sources had told her the story was true, hence why she decided to publish it.

of course there are many on the right who believe that the BBC is a hot bed of "cultural Marxism" 

With much of the other News Media unashamingly on th right however it is imperative that the BBC re-establish trust , with its viewers , however it seem that the likelihood is that under the guise of "impartially" it will be progressive voices that will be muted.

The Guardian report that 

BBC journalists have been told that new rules on impartiality mean they may no longer be able to go on LGBT pride marches, even in a personal capacity, in case their presence is taken as a sign of political bias.

The BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, introduced the rules on Thursday. They are designed to shore up the public perception of BBC impartiality, following long-running criticism pushed by rightwing media outlets about alleged biases of corporation staff.

In addition to strict new social media guidelines, Davie introduced a ban on the broadcaster’s news reporters taking part in “public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues” even when not marching under an identifiable BBC banner.

The guidelines state that “judgment is required as to what issues are ‘controversial’ with regard to marches or demonstrations, though it should be assumed that most marches are contentious to some degree or other”.

 Journalists in BBC newsrooms across the UK told the Guardian that managers had informed them that while pride marches were not specifically mentioned by the guidelines, journalists would be stopped from attending due to the new rules.

BBC sources did not dispute this, but said interpretation of the rules would at the discretion of local managers. They emphasised that there was no explicit ban on pride marches in the rules. BBC employees not working in the news or current affairs divisions would still be able to take part in public marches and protests.

One BBC journalist said their manager had been told that growing media and political opposition to trans rights in the UK meant public LGBT pride events were now more likely to count as controversial events, meaning they would not be able to attend even in a personal capacity.

Managers also held up Black Lives Matter marches as an example of protests that would be banned for news staff, even in their spare time.

BBC Northern Ireland pulled its employees from taking part in Belfast Pride last year, after politicians raised concerns that it breached impartiality rules by implicitly endorsing same-sex marriage. The same year, however, the BBC’s entertainment arm spent a substantial sum to launch RuPaul’s Drag Race UK with a float at Manchester Pride.

The introduction of the impartiality guidelines has also caught out Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news. She contacted staff on Thursday to introduce the strict social media rules, which explicitly warn reporters that liking posts on Twitter and other social media platforms could be seen as a sign of “revealed bias”.

Unfortunately, staff quickly noticed that Unsworth’s own rarely used personal Twitter account had most recently liked a 2019 tweet by a Liberal Democrat activist criticising the prime minister’s performance in a Question Time debate. The tweet said: “Boris has just offended everyone, male or female, in this room. I’ve never seen a more appalling performance by a UK prime minister. Absolutely dreadful.”

A BBC spokesperson said Unsworth had now deleted all of her “likes”. They said it highlighted the issues that the new impartiality guidelines were intended to address. “This just shows how vigilant we all need to be. This was a classic case of fat finger syndrome. She didn’t even realise she’d ‘liked’ it.”

The whole point of Pride and its marches that it is platform to show that LGBT issues transcends a "Niche" platform and includes people from alll backgrounds including the Military and Police.

I may be heterosexual but I see nothing in the Pride ( the name itself is a clue) that would find objectionable

However LGBT need to know that they are not discriminate against by outlets like the BBC and banning staff from taking part in Pride marches does not seem to elevate their concerns and once again calls into question what the BBC seem view where the line on impartiality should be drawnto

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