An open letter to the BBC re. biased reporting

Thank you for acknowledging my recent complaint (ref. CAS-4522568). You ask for further explanation and this is it. But firstly some background… I have loved the BBC ever since as a child I was introduced to it, and I have preferred the BBC over the alternatives ever since. I regularly listen to the BBC, particularly Radio 4, and my complaint is about one of my favourite shows, “The Today Programme”, which is what I am writing about here. I have been aware in recent years of complaints of biased reporting and selective “going for the jugular” (aka the late Robin Day) and a lack of depth when interviewing people who really need to be taken to task, yet given a free pass. There are other examples I could cite, but the two I am about to give illustrate my point. It seems there is a bias, i.e. liberal, leftie, globalist and what is common in both examples – anti-Trump. I do not expect the BBC to take sides on the matter but rather to bring each side to account in an objective, unbiased way. As a public service broadcaster, that is your duty.

My first example relates to a blog titled: “Al Gore, Climate Change and BBC interviews”. “My beef with the Today interviewer was he was too accepting and soft (especially given I have listened to many a Today interview where the words Spanish Inquisition came to mind). Funnily enough I later had the same impression listening to LBC’s James O’Brien interviewing Al Gore. He struck me as being awestruck in the presence of the great man and this is one who takes delight in trapping and then crucifying hapless lesser victims because they were unable to back up their opinions with hard evidence.

I concede there is sometimes a place for giving an interviewee a free reign and a lot of useful information came out as a result. While it was clear Gore was no Trump fan (we knew that anyway) he was quite discrete in his criticisms and even gave Trump certain credit in his handling of the North Korea Crisis. But what grated was that Gore was not challenged on his statements, like Trump leaving the Paris agreement was down to him surrounding himself by climate change deniers. The interviewer kept bringing up Ivanka Trump as one who might have prevented him, which I found irksomely weak. After all there are reasons for Trump’s decision as my earlier blog argued: e.g. an antipathy to globalism and government constraints, a reasonable belief that the private sector might do better, the unfairness of the agreement toward the USA, compared with India and China, and the creation of a million new US jobs since Trump was elected, and huge surge in the stock market. And why didn’t he point out that Gore has become incredibly wealthy out of climate change and instead of owning several luxurious properties he could have helped the homeless and saved on his huge energy bills?

The reason is the BBC is biased and sadly lacks interviewers of suitable depth and independence (a sad indictment given over the years some of the Today program interviewers have been legends). I am all for deference when needed but it is strange who the BBC shows deference towards. Meanwhile, I follow developments with interest. I am NOT a climate change denier. I do yearn for facts and viable solutions. As Al Gore says: we need to bring truth to power”.

My second example relates to by blog post titled: “Charlottesville, left & right, news bias, Trump, Lee, etc.” “On the subject of mainstream reporting, I had my second experience in less than a week of BBC biased reporting, which leads me to want to conclude this is one reason why many of my friends are so anti Trump. Firstly they interviewed the deputy mayor of Charlottesville. His explanation of why they wanted to pull down the statue (which I will come to) was plausible but he was not taken to task on why some may have felt strongly otherwise or his administration’s lack of action, when it came to doing what was needed and could have been done to stop the violence. Secondly, they interviewed their USA correspondent and the focus was unsurprisingly on Trump’s lack of condemnation of the white supremacists and missing the many other positive, pertinent points he did make”.

To be frank, I would be surprised if you are going to change things in the light of what I write, which is why I have made this an Open letter, hoping others will join me in respectfully challenging your position. BBC bias is nothing new; I can recall a day when a past Director General, Sir Hugh Green, stuck the proverbial two fingers up to Mary Whitehouse, but I had considered when it came to news reporting you would be true and balanced. Sadly, no longer and because of your bias, that manifests itself in other areas too, I can no longer rely on the BBC as my primary news reporting source. This is even sadder because the BBC has an international reputation, particularly in those countries where there is censorship, but if it can’t be relied on, where do they go to get the truth?

Addendum 28/08/17: Thank you for your courteous recent reply to my second attempt at submitting my complaint. I understand your refusal to respond was to do with my not doing so in the prescribed way. I decided on balance not to try a third time because it would take a fair bit of time and effort to fit what I wanted to say, which should I would have thought been quite clear from the above, incidentally, into what appears your fairly rigid prescribed format for raising such matters, and (more importantly) I have little confidence my efforts to do so would bear fruit and I would do better doing other things. While I believe there is an unholy elite that controls the narrative, in this case what is presented on the BBC (notwithstanding all the good stuff) and specifically when it concerns Donald Trump, my efforts might be better served trying to change society by doing good and preaching the gospel.

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