Cost-Cutting BBC Axes Biased Presenters

The BBC has announced the headline presenting lineup for its upcoming relaunch of the BBC News Channel, following the merger of its domestic and international channels under one roof. A convenient way to reinvent itself “for a digital age”, or in other words, save money…

The five lucky “chief presenter” anchors are Matthew Amroliwala, Yalda Hakim, Christian Fraser, Lucy Hockings, and Maryam Moshiri. Lesser-known names, though Guido congratulates them all…

Two of those who didn’t make the cut will be more familiar, though: both Martine Croxall and Geeta Guru-Murthy have not been promoted. Co-conspirators will remember it was Martine who, just last year, couldn’t contain her on-air excitement at Boris withdrawing from the Tory leadership race. Geeta, meanwhile, made headlines three years ago after making the astute observation that a Brexit celebration rally in Parliament square had a lot of “very white” faces.

At the time, the BBC stood by Geeta, though they did bench Croxall for about a week. Now they’re both on the way out after all. Till next time…

mdi-timer 2 February 2023 @ 17:19 2 Feb 2023 @ 17:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Begins Economics 101 Lessons

24 hours ago we learnt that an internal BBC review found too many of their journalists “lack understanding of basic economics”. This morning the corporation’s own “economics correspondent” Andy Verity broke the news that the “UK pays more for electricity than it costs to make”. Clearly he’s just had his first lesson on the concept of profit…

mdi-timer 1 February 2023 @ 10:22 1 Feb 2023 @ 10:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Richard Sharp to Appear Before DCMS Select Committee

BBC Chairman Richard Sharp is to appear before the DCMS Select Committee in early February to answer questions about the Sunday Times report on him and Boris.

Guido reckons that last week the Sunday Times got over excited about a shadowy conspiracy, based around a shady dinner at Chequers, which they reported was held before Richard Sharp was appointed chairman of the BBC. The strong implication of the piece (and it was written with only the implication rather than any proof) was that there must have been a quid pro quo. Unfortunately for them Richard Sharp has now checked his diary – the dinner was in May 2021, after he had been made BBC chairman – months after the appointment process was completed in February 2021. Pogrund is a good reporter, this error is a rare slip up which has set a hare running… into a brick wall.

Since Sharp is always framed in the media as a Tory supporter, Guido suggests that the Committee ask him if he has made donations to any other political parties (he has), whether he supported any Labour candidates financially, for example if he gave money to Gerard Coyne’s campaign to become the Unite General Secretary. The DCMS Select Committee could be revelatory in unanticipated ways…

mdi-timer 24 January 2023 @ 16:02 24 Jan 2023 @ 16:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Struggles to Spin for Biden

For any Brits who keenly remember the Partygate saga, the story coming out of America will bring out a wave of nauseating déjà vu: a centre-left leader making great political capital out of a lapse of standards by his blonde populist opponent, only to get hoisted on his own petard. President Biden now faces his own Beer Korma headache, as it emerges from Washington that he himself possessed two batches of classified government records in private offices. While Trump is facing an investigation for allegedly mishandling similarly classified files…

While the second document discovery proves embarrassing for the White House, it’s proving equally awkward for Aunty Beeb, who are clearly struggling to keep up with the rapidly developing nature of the story.

On January 10th – before the second batch of files were uncovered – the BBC wrote an explainer attempting to downplay the story, “Why the Biden-Trump classified documents cases are different”.

A day later, the 11th, that had been changed to “How the Biden-Trump classified documents cases are different”. No other adjustments were made to that copy.

Yesterday however, that all changed. The article was amended for a third time, this time with the headline “How the Biden and Trump classified documents cases compare”. The article also revised its analysis that the discovery of documents “had the potential to be a political headache”. 

Following the discovery, this was updated to:

“The revelation that aides to Joe Biden discovered classified documents as they were moving boxes out of the president’s Washington-based think tank offices already had the potential to be a political headache.

Now a second batch has been found in a garage at his Delaware home, the embarrassment will deepen further.”

All news outlets struggle to nail down details during breaking news, though the BBC might’ve spared itself some embarrassment had they been less keen to spin for the Democrats in the first place. Readers are also offered no indication that the article has ever been updated. Tut tut…

mdi-timer 13 January 2023 @ 14:09 13 Jan 2023 @ 14:09 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Now Even Less Transparent Under Tim Davie

Guido’s old enough to remember when Tim Davie claimedeven more” transparency was vital to improving public trust in the BBC, and promised change. Unfortunately, it turns out nobody in the corporation was actually listening. According to new data from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the BBC’s average response time to FoI requests has increased from 11 to 16 days since 2019, with the number of responses within the 20 working day statutory deadline also falling by 4% in the same period. The longest response period has more than doubled, from 86 working days in 2019 to a whopping 215 working days in 2021…

Likewise, the number of requests the BBC has decided are worthy of responding to – even if only partially – has dropped from 69% to 63%. The usual excuse they like to trot out is that the information requested simply falls outside the scope of the FoI, and that “the BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.” In practice, that means it has no obligation to tell the public how much their ludicrous rebrand cost, or how much the taxpayer coughed up for a ten-part audio series and a TV documentary on Shamima Begum…

At the time of going to pixel, Tim Davie is currently in front of the Public Accounts Committee to talk about the BBC’s value for money. Worth bearing in mind…

mdi-timer 12 January 2023 @ 11:22 12 Jan 2023 @ 11:22 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Education Union Now Claims Closure of Schools is a “Last Resort”

This morning the National Education Union is levelling for a slice of the strike pie – currently all the rage with their fellow public sector comrades. Ahead of a meeting between her and the Education Secretary today, Joint General Secretary of the NEU Mary Bousted popped up on the Today Programme to argue “Children are being harmed every day by the crisis of the workforce shortages in our schools”. When challenged about potential strike action, Bousted told listeners that harming children’s access to education because of strikes is the “last thing we want to do”. A seemingly new-found view within the NEU…

In the dying days of the pandemic – October 2021 – the union was still calling for the reintroduction of school bubbles and other practices that would restrict children’s access to the classroom, a time well after the final peak of the virus when deaths were down to 120 a day. A Bousted flush of a policy…

Two months later in December 2021, the NEU called for a ‘plan B’ for schools, which would have forced those with Covid contacts to isolate:

“Children who have a sibling or other household member with covid-19 should not attend school/college until they have had a negative PCR test – as in Scotland – in addition to the Government guidance of 10-day isolation on close contacts of confirmed or suspected Omicron cases.”

“Government to issue guidance to all schools and colleges on safe organisation of gatherings and meetings, including options for social distancing or virtual events, based on factors including local case rates, outbreaks in the school/college itself, quality of ventilation and space available.”

In January 2022, Bousted arguedThe danger is we lift restrictions too quickly before the effects of returning to school are clear”. In other words, just this time last year the NEU’s attitude was to favour as many restrictions as possible on kids’ access to the classroom – far from such policies being “the last thing we want to do”. Forgive Guido for not buying the current line…

mdi-timer 9 January 2023 @ 09:59 9 Jan 2023 @ 09:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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