Sunday, April 24, 2005

The BBC: abandoning even their sham pretense of balance

The Telegraph reports that the BBC has, in violation of their guidelines, been using hidden microphones and staging news by sending hecklers to Conservative Party events. They singled out the Tories, and the fig leaf they constructed was a “documentary” on political heckling set to air the night before the upcoming polling day.

«“Last night a BBC spokesman said: "This is a completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling. The programme observes hecklers at other parties' campaign meetings and not just the Conservatives…"
The spokesman was unable to provide details of any other campaign meetings attended by the BBC3 crew”
"Mr Black's strongly-worded letter accused the BBC of staging the event "to generate a false news story and dramatise coverage. . . intended to embarrass or ridicule the leader of the Conservative Party". The letter said that BBC staff were guilty of "serious misconduct"

"I do not believe that the BBC should be in the business of creating news..."

"This is a clear and serious breach of recognised BBC producer guidelines, and accordingly a breach of Section 5.3(b)1 of the BBC Charter Agreement. I also believe that the recordings which were taken of these organised hecklers, of ordinary members of the crowd and/or of Conservative officials who reacted and were recorded, would amount to 'surreptitious recording' under those guidelines."»
Biased-BBC’s David Farrer (of Freedom and Whiskey )reports on the damage control cover your tukhus scramble going on at Broadcast House and points out that they’re laughably still trying to pretend that they aren’t biased. The commenters to that piece put a great deal of it into context.

Noted one commenter on the pervasiveness of their bias:

«[I’m] Surprised the biased BBC blog hasn`t made a post about the two part Doctor who programme, the second part of which was shown last night.

Basically the story turned out that a family of aliens (high up and powerful in government) wanted to start a war for profit despite not having a UN resolution, one of their motives was oil. There was a bogus threat of 45 seconds. Yet to whip the people up in a frenzy the alien family were behind the crashing of a spaceship into big ben in order to give them a reason to start a war.

Worked it out yet?»
Űber-blogger Natalie Solent pointed out that Scotland on Sunday called it for what it was:

Fury at BBC sabotage of Tory speech

«The admission that hecklers were equipped with microphones for a programme that will be viewed before polling day on May 5 leaves the BBC open to allegations that staff showed political bias, in breach of corporation regulations.

The BBC has claimed that the exercise was carried out as part of "a completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling".

The BBC added that it had "observed" meetings [Ed.: As if conservatives were little more than alien creatures or animals in the wild] carried out by other political parties, but refused to say whether it had miked-up hecklers for meetings carried out by other parties. It has been claimed that none of Tony Blair’s meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in the same way.

The BBC’s use of surreptitious recording devices is strictly limited by the corporation’s rulebook, the Producer Guidelines.

They lay down that plans to use hidden microphones must be approved by senior management within the BBC, and that it should only be used "as an investigative tool to explore matters which raise issues of serious anti-social or criminal behaviour".»

Un-freaking-glaublich! Maybe THIS is what's really chapping their lederhosen:

«I believe red tape, bureaucracy, regulations, inspectorates, commissions, quangos, ‘Czars’, ‘units’ and ‘targets’ came to help and protect us, but now we need protection from them. Armies of interferers don’t contribute to human happiness. »
- Michael Howard

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