ANOTHER day, another BBC announcement about how its content is already perfectly impartial – but an inquiry is to be held just to double check.
The subject? Coverage of major migration topics affecting the UK which, says the BBC press release, are an ‘often intensely contested subject’.
Richard Sharp, the outgoing chairman, said the findings ‘will ensure the BBC continues to have the correct approach to producing coverage that audiences can trust’.
And who are the impartial duo who are going to conduct this review? Well, surprise, surprise, not Nigel Farage, whose views on immigration backed by millions of Britons have been rubbished and ridiculed by the Corporation for 25 years. Nor Lord (Andrew) Green of Deddington whose organisation Migration Watch,run by the indefatigable former ambassador Alp Mehmet, has been arguably the main national organisation fearlessly campaigning about the difficult facts about immigration since it was founded in 2001.
Nor is it my organisation, News-watch, https://news-watch.co.uk/ which for 20 years has been filing meticulous reports showing the extent of the BBC’s shortcomings and outrageous breaches of impartiality in the immigration domain, for example here and more recently in our 2022 report which compared the BBC’s and GB News’s coverage of the Nationality and Borders Bill and found:
‘Significant differences in the quality and quantity of coverage emerged. GB News covered the Bill and its ramifications, together with opinion for and against, in much more detail. The BBC devoted 3.3 per cent of its available airtime in the monitored programmes, compared with 12.4 per cent of total airtime by GB News. The BBC’s relevant content was skewed heavily towards that the new Bill would deter genuine asylum seekers entering the UK. That of GB News incorporated similar negative views of the Bill, but contained a wider spectrum of views in its favour and, unlike the BBC, included substantial input from members of the public on a matter of huge public concern . . .
‘The BBC output in the survey – from 11 flagship news programmes plus the content of the News Channel – devoted just 54 minutes of airtime to the story, half of which was repetitive short items on the News Channel. Six of the main news programmes (such as BBC2 Newsnight and BBC1 News at Ten) ignored the story . . . GB News, by contrast, devoted a total of 134 minutes to coverage, and it featured prominently in all seven of the monitored programmes.’
No, the BBC prefers to allocate such tasks to people it can trust. People it knows. Those who sing from the same hymn sheet.
So one of the reviewers is Samir Shah, who worked at the BBC as one of former director general Lord (John) Birt’s news henchmen between 1987 and 1998. He served as a non-executive director of the BBC’s Executive Board from 2007-10. He now runs the independent producer Juniper, a supplier of politics programmes to BBC One.
The second is Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University. This, claims the BBC release, provides ‘impartial, independent, authoritative and evidence-based data on migration and migrants’. Does it? Examination of her articles for the UK in a Changing Europe website suggest that, at the very least, Sumption’scomplacent views chime far more with the BBC’s than with those of Lord Green or Nigel Farage.
The fact that the BBC can even suggest that these appointees will produce an ‘independent’ survey illustrates starkly the depth of the rot in the body corporate.