David Keighley BBC Watch: BBC’s news boss Harding jumps ship – more Fake News?

So. Farewell then, BBC Director of News, James Harding.

He is quitting his £340,000-a-year post to set up an ’exciting new venture’ with a ‘distinct approach to news’. Sources say he’s been frustrated by the constraints of his current role.

Corporation Director General Tony Hall declared that he had done an ‘incredible job’ since his appointment (by Lord Hall) in 2013. Well, of course.

His achievements? Specially underlined were the appointment of (female) Laura Kuenssberg as the BBC’s political editor and the establishment of the BBC’s Reality Check unit to ‘counter fake news’.

Lord Hall declared: ‘He has led the BBC's coverage through two referendums, two general elections, an astonishing US presidential election, not to mention a series of extraordinary events at home and abroad.’

So with Lord Hall’s endorsement ringing in his ears, what is in store from Mr Harding’s dynamic, venture-capital-backed new outfit? TCW has been allowed an exclusive sneak preview of some of the first dummy news bulletins of his Not the Fake News service. Here is one of them:



Donald Trump, the madman elected President of the United States by imbecilic rednecks and rust-belt no-hopers, has thankfully been banned from visiting the United Kingdom. Hurrah! Lady Nugee, the wonderful shadow foreign secretary, has called for a national day of anti-Trump emoting.

Workers at BAE Systems – who were foolishly thinking of protesting about losing their jobs because of a shortage of orders for the Typhoon jet – have seen the error of their ways. They have sided with Jeremy Corbyn – hurrah again! – in realising that all arms-making should end and their company should fold.

On the Brexit front, Not the Fake News has been continuing its relentless search to find and give airtime to all those who think that leaving the EU is the worst mistake in British history. Our latest interviewee – a long-lost cousin of former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who also adores Nicola Sturgeon – has exclusively told us that leaving the EU will lead to the wiping out of the Yorkshire rhubarb industry because of a shortage of immigrant rhubarb pickers. Immediate protests by Momentum are planned.

Still with the EU, our correspondent has conducted yet another interview with Lord Heseltine about his views about the EU referendum. He still believes it was a stupid exercise, that those voting for exit were gullible idiots, and that they were overwhelmingly uneducated yobs and saboteurs.

Finally, on climate change, our special investigations unit has found that an alarmist denier has been covertly smuggled into the BBC and has been generating ‘Fake News’ stories which suggest there is no need for alarm. We have handed over our dossier to the BBC authorities and the police. They have promised immediate action to root out the offender under ‘hate crimes’ legislation.

Cynics, of course, would say that nothing much distinguishes this from actual BBC bulletins. Spot the join.

What has Harding achieved? A key moment under his regime was when the Corporation disgracefully made a public spectacle of a police raid on the home of Cliff Richard, thereby causing the singer immense distress. The BBC’s conduct was described by leading human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson as ‘a conspiracy to injure’ Sir Cliff.

At the same time, Harding has resisted all attempts to make the BBC more transparent. Or accountable, especially with regard to impartiality. This was most evident when he appeared before the Commons European Scrutiny Committee in October 2015, talking about how the Corporation would ensure impartiality in its referendum coverage.

As TCW noted, he obdurately rejected any form of systematic monitoring of Corporation output because ‘it threatened editorial freedom’. As a result, the BBC’s long-term bias in the reporting of EU affairs continued during the referendum campaign, as was conclusively shown by News-watch here.

And since last year, Harding has authorised an approach to the reporting of Brexit which is even more partisan. Essentially, his battalions of journalists have been on a permanent quest to explore – and give maximum exposure to – obstacles to leaving the EU, while under-reporting the potential benefits. Most strikingly, there has not yet been a single programme from his (or any) BBC department which looks at Brexit in a positive light.

According to Guido, the early runners and riders to succeed Harding are all senior news figures within the Corporation. If that turns out to be true, the chances of any significant changes to Harding’s approach are remote indeed – they inhabit the same WIA 1AA ‘bubble’.

David Keighley

  • Alan Llandrindod Wells

    The BBC should be shut down, or sold off.
    Get all my news from RT and surprisingly Bloomberg.
    Neither are bogged down by the BBC’s cringeing, socialism, and Commie fake news

    • Reborn

      I can’t get RT, unfortunately.
      When I’ve seen it in hotels, it seems OK.
      A bit different like France 24 & not a bit like Al Jazira which should be banned.
      Funny how the EU, BBC etc demonise Russia ( which has plenty of faults, obviously)
      but cultivate Turkey, a culture with which we have little in common.
      Without Russian music & literature, the West would be much poorer.
      Without Turkish culture ?

    • PutinCooksSocks

      While I don’t necessarily agree with RT’s worldview, it is nice to watch it every now and then. You don’t encounter the blatant misandry every 5 seconds that characterizes the BBC these days.

      • You get your news from Russia Today and consider it ubiased ?

        Maskirovka anyone?

  • Shaunr19

    OT, but what happened to Nick Booth’s article? Did CW’s lawyers get the collywobbles?

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Come on TCW.
      Have the courage to treat us as adults.
      Tell us why we can’t see it.

  • Harley Quin

    Jon Sopel, the BBC Washington Correspondent, has made his position on gun control quite clear: He is in favour of it.

    Just like he is opposed to Donald Trump. His excitement as the questions were ‘piling up’ over the fake Russia conspiracy was / is positively palpable.

    It is not BBC journalists’ place to have a position on anything. Yet they do, don’t they?

    • simonstephenson

      “It is not BBC journalists’ place to have a position on anything. Yet they do, don’t they?”

      The BBC’s position is that aggressive advocacy journalism is the only form of journalism that has any chance of achieving anything “good”, or what the BBC considers to be “good” anyway, and that a crucial part of making this aggressive advocacy effective is, of course, to deny that it is going on at all. After all, the millions of people looking for information and guidance about the affairs of the world are far more likely to be influenced by presenters who have successfully passed themselves off as being impartial reporters than they are by people who openly admit to being opportunistic promoters of a particular, intuitively-derived worldview.

      • Cassandra

        Quite right.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Jon Sopel, one of Herr Lord Hall’s Brownshirts.

      • Ordovici

        Lord Hawl-Hawl

    • Well, that’s nice, glad he’s thinking so kindly about us. Then again, I have opinions about the UK (and the BBC) the former are rather kindly, the latter run along the lines of Samuel Adams circa 1773.

    • John Smith

      He is a great guy to expose on his obvious Trump bias and hipocracy, via twitter
      He really gets the hump when his obvious failings and bias are pointed out.

  • TheRightToArmBears

    It is your patriotic duty to resist paying the TV levy.
    bbctvlicencing.com will tell you how to avoid, not evade, paying the levy.
    Paste this on every website and help the revolt against tyranny.

    • Simon Platt

      Broken link.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        Oops! Should be bbctvlicincing.com

        • Simon Platt

          Did you mean this: http://www.bbctvlicence.com ?

          • TheRightToArmBears

            Yes, my mistake – early morning for us bruins.
            You might also look at this example of Aljabeeba lying through their teeth –
            https://www.facebook.com/tvlicenceresistance/videos/894976133871844/
            the BBC blatantly lying of how a woman ended up on the train tracks with her child, blaming the police.

          • Simon Platt

            That rings a bell. I am glad to have seen the video that shows what really happened. Thank you.

            I’m afraid that I assume that nothing I hear on the BBC is the truth; I mean, nothing that demands more evaluation than do the football scores. That’s been the case for several years now – as long as I can remember. As for BBC TV: I never watch it, unless there’s rugby on.

            P.S. I get the same standard letters from TV Licensing as does the chap who runs http://www.bbctvlicence.com . It would be amusing if it weren’t pernicious.

    • PutinCooksSocks

      Excellent site. Will use this to defend myself against the BBC bullies. Thank you.

  • Simon Platt

    Call me a cynic, but nothing much distinguishes that from actual BBC bulletins.

    (I was actually thinking exactly that before I came to the pertinent sentence. Weren’t we all?)

  • AlfTupperDarlin

    I can gather all the news I need on the weather report (© Paul Simon)
    Hence I’ve got nothing to do today but smile

  • David Kane

    Harding was a member of Tony Blair’s cabinet, a supporter of open borders and a fanatically pro EU advocate, in other words, a perfect fit for the BBC (read: the fascinating chapter on BBC personnel in “2030: Your Children’s Future in Islamic Britain” by David Vincent, Amazon and Kindle), will the BBC appoint their former Newsnight economics editor and hardline Marxist Paul Mason, as his replacement, or maybe the less hardline Marxist editor of Newsnight Ian Katz? What are the odds?

  • John Smith

    What is the betting he is somehow subcontracted back to the Beeb on some sort of a tax avoiding wheeze

    • 3aple

      Like Yentob, after being pushed out following the exposure of his bullying pro-Kids Company chairpersonship.

      The Beeb refused to sack hm from his programme making role, thus providing a lucrative income. Though he seldom used to make programmes, Lo! At least once a week he’s on the screen presenting some lame fringe offering.

      • John Smith

        Yummy Yentob should have been uncerimoniously bounced out of the Beeb after that dramatic incompetence.
        One can only conclude he knows where many other Beeb bodies are buried

  • Tim Mantripp

    Does putting Nigel Lawson on endlessly with his “I know nothing about climatology but that isn’t going to stop me” not bother the author? Does that no sane person doubts that Trump is a maniac not at least make him think? On Brexit I get it, there are a lot of people that are less bothered that the economy is going over a cliff than they are about ultra-nationalism and xenophobia. That is their prerogative but don’t expect that not to get reported negatively.

  • PutinCooksSocks

    I managed to watch the BBC for nine minutes last night before having to listen to another anti-male rant, this time by Isobel Hardman on HIGNFY. Switched it straight off.

    Switched it back on this morning and literally the first word I heard was “rape”. Switched it straight off again.

    Thought I’d check out the F1 racing calendar on the BBC website and what I got was this story about sailing:

    In previous races, an all-male crew could be made up of eight members. But such teams are now restricted to seven, while mixed crews can be made up of 10 sailors, and female-only teams can feature 11.

    “This is giving more opportunity to the very best female sailors in the world to compete on equal terms,” Volvo Ocean Race chief executive Mark Turner said last year.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/sailing/41510271

    Unbelievable.

    • HIGNFY is a comedy programme. I watched that episode and thought Harman had very little to say and nothing that any conservative male with respectable habits towards women could object to. She was not and did not engage in an anti-male rant; she pointed out in a humorous manner how obnoxious it is that fat, ugly old men with power, such as the one in the news right now, should expect to receive se x ual favours from young models and actresses and should even dare to assault and paw them. If you don’t see the sense and rightness of this attitude she evinced there was something terribly wrong with your upbringing. I am as red blooded a male as the rest of them, but my mother taught me about self respect and the idea of respecting other people. She also made me aware of the notion of consent and not being a perv.

    • Two-steps-forward

      Oh Volvo, the irony!

    • 3aple

      Radio 4 is The Wimmin’s Channel.