By David Keighley – The Conservative Woman
BBC director-general Tony Hall delivered the prestigious Lord Speaker address to peers last week.
His central message? That the BBC – which Lord Hall has run for almost seven years – is totally impartial, is the best news organisation in the world, and that the Corporation is in the vanguard of upholding news values and investigative journalism.
His evidence for his sweeping assertion about impartiality? Zilch. He simply knows that this is the case. In reality, the BBC’s only verification of its lack of bias is self-run opinion polls.
Yet further down in his speech was clear evidence of his bias. From the heart of his BBC bubble, he trotted out a list of the areas where he claimed BBC was pursuing important journalism.
On the menu was not ‘exploring Jeremy Corbyn’s links with Hamas’, ‘making sure the EU referendum vote is upheld against the tyranny of parliament’, or ‘the strengths of Donald Trump’s administration’. Rather, it was a litany of Leftist concerns: ‘climate change’ followed by ‘population growth, migration, energy and sustainability’ and then ‘healthcare’.
Not in themselves loaded words, of course, but translated into the reality of BBC coverage, what he meant was using the Corporation’s lavishly-funded journalistic machine to ram home climate alarmism, tell the British public how racist and xenophobic they are about immigration, to pursue the green energy agenda and to use every opportunity to declare how brilliant the NHS is, and that there are no alternatives.
Lord Hall also trumpeted in his speech the importance of the BBC ‘reality check’ unit against the advance of so-called ‘fake’ news. In reality, News-watch surveys have shown this unit to be highly biased.
Coincidentally, too, on the day of Lord Hall’s speech, the Briefings for Brexit website demonstrated that in its determination to rubbish both Donald Trump and the dangers of accepting food from the US (rather than the beloved EU), the reality check unit seriously misrepresented food poisoning statistics.
Presenter Chris Morris told Today that more people were affected in the US – suggesting it was because of looser standards across the pond – when the reverse is the case.
Professor David Paton, holder of the chair of Industrial Economics at the University of Nottingham, summed up Morris’s offering thus: ‘The trouble is that virtually every element of Chris Morris’s Reality Check was either flat out false or based on a seriously incompetent use of statistics.’ Ouch!
In the wider context, the BBC is being allowed to get away with such shortcomings in its journalism at least partly because, under the Theresa May administration, there is a continued grave dereliction of duty by parliament in holding the BBC to account.
Mrs May herself has relied on the BBC in furthering her ‘deal’ agenda. Thus she appointed Robbie Gibb, a BBC senior producer, as her main communications aide. Clearly, she thought he had perfect qualifications to meet her objectives. She knew full well that he would take every advantage of the Corporation’s pro-EU and anti-Brexit instincts. News-watch surveys have repeatedly shown that she was not disappointed.
Another factor is that the three culture secretaries to have served under the May regime, the obsequious May apparatchik Karen Bradley, the colourless Matt Hancock and, currently, barrister Jeremy Wright – whose experience of the media before his appointment was conspicuous by its absence – have left the Corporation totally alone.
Were they appointed simply to ensure this? All three campaigned for Remain in 2016, and are now among the most enthusiastic supporters of May’s so-called ‘deal’.
Another matter of concern is the Commons culture select committee. During the first Cameron administration, this was headed by John Whittingdale and he took seriously the need to keep the BBC on its toes.
Now, though, it is chaired by Damian Collins, who is one of the Commons’ most fervent champions of the EU. https://www.conservativehome.com/highlights/2018/10/profile-damian-collins-gung-ho-attacker-of-fake-news-when-committed-by-leavers.html
During his watch, not a finger has been lifted in the domain of BBC impartiality – even though in some areas of coverage, the Corporation has blatantly abandoned all pretence of impartiality, for example by describing those who are sceptical about climate alarmism as ‘deniers’.
Against this background, Lord Hall knew when he stood up in the House of Lords last week to deliver his speech that he could crow about BBC rectitude virtually without fear of real challenge. That was reflected in almost every word he spoke. This failure to hold the BBC properly to account is of major national concern.
His speech chillingly underlined that, through the Corporation’s reliance on bogus fact-checking, increasing colonisation of local news sources (filling the gap left by the collapse of local newspapers, itself triggered partly by the BBC’s aggressive internet expansion into local news provision), and its strident stance towards demonising ‘fake news’ (in other words, those who disagree with its nakedly leftist worldview), the BBC has an increasing stranglehold over national discourse.
And as things stand, nothing is getting in its way.
Example of BBC bias, dishonesty and incompetence:
On Climate Change The BBC Is Once, Twice, Eight Times A Liar
By Paul Homewood
They say once is an accident, twice is a conspiracy. I wonder what eight times is?
Following my complaint to the BBC about its news report claiming that African penguin populations were declining because of climate change, the BBC has now formally upheld the complaint, and logged it on the Complaints website:
This is the eighth climate-related complaint I have been involved with which has been upheld against the BBC in the last two years. There may, of course, be others that I am not aware of.
In March 2017, the World at One made the ridiculous claim that sea levels at Miami were rising at ten times the global mean. The BBC was subsequently forced to admit that sea levels there showed ‘little divergence from the global mean’.
In October 2017, the BBC broadcast an episode of Russia with Simon Reeve which linked the deaths of ‘tens of thousands of reindeer’ to climate change. After a complaint was submitted, the BBC accepted that reindeer populations were, in fact, stable or increasing.
In December 2017, a supposedly factual article appeared on BBC News online, headlined ‘Is climate change making hurricanes worse?’
Written by Chris Fawkes, the BBC meteorologist, it categorically stated: ‘A warmer world is bringing us a greater number of hurricanes and a greater risk of a hurricane becoming the most powerful category 5.’
The actual data shows this is simply not true, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) themselves have made perfectly clear. Eventually, the BBC printed a correction that their claim was based on ‘modelling and not historical data’.
In May 2018, Roger Harrabin wrote an article on the report of the Environmental Audit Committee which criticized the government’s clean energy policies.
Harrabin claimed that investment in clean energy had slumped following a fusillade of policy changes, including a ‘ban on new onshore wind farms’. There has been no such ban, only the removal of subsidies.
The BBC Executive Complaints Unit accepted that the article was materially misleading and that there had been a serious lapse of editorial standards.
In June 2018, John Humphrys interviewed Lord Deben, the former John Selwyn Gummer, allowing him to get away unchallenged with wildly inaccurate claims about wind power.
In particular, Deben stated that ‘even where a community wants to have an onshore wind farm, it can’t have it’.
In fact, there is no such ban, and the Government has actually devolved the decision to approve onshore wind turbines to local councils.
As a result, the BBC Executive Complaints Unit found that Deben should have been challenged on this point to ensure listeners were not left with a materially misleading impression.
December 2018 saw an episode of the BBC Weather World programme, which was little more than a free puff for onshore wind farms.
At one stage, the presenter casually commented that ‘already about 30 percent of the UK’s power is produced by wind energy’. The actual figure is 15 percent.
Following a complaint, the BBC accepted their claim was wrong, and have now withdrawn that segment of the programme from their website.
In February 2019, Roger Harrabin covered the newly published report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, ‘Facing up to the age of environmental breakdown’.
Central to the IPPR’s case was this statement: ‘Since 2005, the number of floods across the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold.’ [‘Since 2005’ was subsequently amended to ‘since 1950’.]
Harrabin made absolutely no attempt to challenge or query this statement, or some of the other contentious claims in the IPPR report, despite the fact that it was patently absurd. Instead, his article was effectively just a cheerleading exercise.
The IPPR claim is in reality totally fake, as they misinterpreted the International Disasters Database used for their analysis.
As the organization that maintains the database makes totally clear, many disasters occurred in past decades but were never officially recorded in the database, purely because of better methods of reporting nowadays.
After considerable controversy, the IPPR made substantial changes to that section of their report, accepting that the original claims were false. The BBC then withdrew the fake claims and issued a correction.
Finally, we come to the story about the decline of African penguins, which was broadcast on the BBC News Channel last October. Introducing a video report from South Africa, the presenter baldly stated:
‘The next report is about the African penguin population and how it’s rapidly declining. Conservationists are saying their habitat is being hit by rising tides caused by climate change. And it’s interesting that since that report by the UN last week on climate change, so many different organizations have been coming forward to emphasize the importance it has on their work.’
Amazingly the video which followed made no mention of climate change or rising tides at all. Zilch! Nada! Instead, the local ranger, who was interviewed, categorically blamed the decline on overfishing.
This is actually very well understood by experts, such as those from the Organisation for the Conservation of Penguins.
Despite the efforts of the BBC to fob off my complaint, the Executive Complaints Unit agreed that there was no evidence for the presenter’s claim and criticized their journalists’ failure to check claims.
I have no doubt that these eight cases relating to climate change are just the tip of the iceberg. Many other such fake reports are broadcast and go unnoticed.
It is also true that the BBC regularly try to fob off complainants with spurious replies, leading many to give in. This is even the case when their inaccurate claims are obvious, easily proven, and factual.
Indeed, one of the things which continue to astound me is how the BBC continues to broadcast so many claims about climate change which are so utterly preposterous that even my dog would find them suspicious.
Are their reporters and presenters so absorbed by global groupthink that they believe every bit of tripe and junk science put before them?
Are they more interested in propaganda than facts?
Are they just lazy?
Or are they following orders from higher up?
Unfortunately, it is a fact that the BBC’s coverage of climate change has been unreliable for many years, and has long since abandoned any pretense of impartiality.
It has got so bad that Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, sent out a missive to all her staff last year, itself full of factual errors, directing staff how they should report climate change and how they should marginalize skeptical scientists.
As a result of this one-sided, blinkered approach to climate issues, the BBC frequently finds itself accused of misinformation, lack of objectivity and promulgating downright falsehoods.
But no matter how many times they have complaints upheld against them, one problem remains. The original fake news has gone around the world and back before the truth emerges.
By this time, nobody actually gets to see the ‘corrections’ hidden away in the online news reports originally published months before.
Something has to change.
Read more at Conservative Woman