Sunday, 17 January 2010

Another BBC complaints response

I've had a response to this complaint. Damn, my slightly ranty scattergun approach isn't foolproof (I will try and improve). Can anyone point me to BBC interviews with Nick which were annoyingly bogged down with talk of hung parliaments?
I remember seeing/hearing them but can't remember where/when.

Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Today' on BBC Radio 4.

I note you were disappointed that David Cameron wasn't asked about the possibility of a hung parliament during his interview with Evan Davis on 7 January.

We do realise that listeners have many questions that they'd like to be put to an interviewee, but, due to time constraints it's simply not possible to ask as many as our audience would like us to ask. The choice has to be selective and we accept that some listeners may disagree with the decisions we take.

As regards to the questions put to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, this isn't something we're able to respond to without reference to a specific interview you heard on 'Today' or another of our broadcasts.

BBC journalists and presenters are well aware of our commitment to impartial reporting. They are expected to put their own political views to one side when carrying out their work for the BBC. They seek to provide the information which will enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds; to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard. Our senior editorial staff, the BBC's Executive Committee, and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.


Monday, 11 January 2010

Most tenuous headline ever

This BBC article (okay puff-piece for own programme but still!) has the headline:

"Survivors cast survive swine flu"

Other than the fact they were filming in the midlands, they doesn't seem to be any reason to think they may have got it! Of course had an epidemic halted production we may have been saved the tedium of a second series...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Nick's been on fire recently

How nice it's been this last week, everytime Nick appears in the media he seems to say what I think he should be saying. Whether it's responding to the hung parliament question by saying we are not for sale or his personal comments on Gina Ford's baby rearing techniques, he seems to be hitting the nail on the head. With the comments on child rearing I think he may have inadvertently stumbled across the holy grail of genuinely reaching previously unreachable/politically unengaged people if the comments on this mumsnet thread are anything to go by.

We just need to make sure enough comes across in the media. Don't forget to join the MediaWatch group and keep up the pressure.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Dissapointed in Dale

My automatic Dale-o-matic confidently told me to expect the following post, but it hasn't appeared (yet):

Snow gives lie to climate change fanatics

I've got loads of snow in my garden. How do the climate change fascists explain this one?

The global climate conspiracy have been suspiciously quiet on this! Enough said.

Come on Dale don't let your regular readers down!

National Rail website makes itself less useful

With the news that the National Rail website has fallen over in the snow, I thought I'd articulate a problem I have with the websties revamp.

A month or so back, they revamped the website to make it prettier. However before when you would search for a journey and you clicked on "details" next to any resultant journey, you would get a page of the details of the 5 or so consecutive journeys after the time you wanted. This made it easy to compare the details of the journeys leaving at different times.

Now, on the new pretty site when you click on the details next to a suggested journey you get a page with only the details for that one journey and not the others. This makes it a real pain to try and compare them.

This makes my life that little bit less easy.

Progress, my a*se!

UPDATE: An anonymous commentator has pointed out that if you hover over the number of changes than you get a pop-up with the changes in. This seems to be the case but I'm sure it didn't do this when I wrote the post as I checked for this. Maybe something has been fixed.

Quick BBC response

To be fair to the Beeb they obviously respond quickly to delayed responses!

Here is the belated response to my Question Time complaint (it's basically an amalgam of responses others have had):

"Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Question Time' broadcast on 26 November.

Please accept our apologies for the long delay in replying.  We know our
correspondents appreciate a quick response and we're sorry you've had to
wait on this occasion.

I understand you'd like to know why there wasn't any Liberal Democrat
representation on the panel during a discussion about the Iraq war. I note
you felt that as a result of this, false claims about Liberal Democrat
policy went unchecked.

We forwarded your concerns on this issue to 'Question Time' Executive
Editor Gavin Allen who explained that we constantly monitor the balance of
the panel and that in light of their national electoral strength, the level
of representation for the Liberal Democrats on the programme remains very

He added that on this occasion the panel was rearranged to reflect a change
in the prominence of some of the issues due to be discussed on the
programme and in order to facilitate debate by having representatives
willing to question the central political consensus on these issues, of
which the Liberal Democrats are a part.

He also added that:

"It was regrettable - but necessary - that the decision to replace Jo
Swinson was taken relatively late, but we have to keep a constant editorial
eye out for the best possible panel and this can of course mean last-minute
alterations. To ensure the widest range of political views are heard there
are occasions across the series when nationalists or minority parties are
invited onto the panel".

It then goes on to say the standard stuff about the audience log.


"discussion about the Iraq war"

"central political consensus on these issues, of which the Liberal Democrats are a part."

Hmm, I'll see how I can take this further...

BBC complaints

I hope you've all taken heed of this cry for help with media monitoring. To this end I have just sent this complaint off to the BBC about today's Today programme:

"In David Cameron's full interview on the Today Programme he was not asked once about a hung parliament and was allowed to talk relatively unhindered about his policies.

Whenever Nick Clegg is on for the Liberal Democrats, the interview is dominated by obsessive questions about hung parliaments to the detriment of anything else. In not asking the same to David Cameron, the BBC are showing double standards as this question applies equally to all parties.

Can I take it then when Nick Clegg is next on , you won't ask him about hung parliaments and take up valuable time in which you could be helping to inform the public about what the parties stand for? Or does the BBC's mission to inform only extend to the cosy establishment parties?"

Hmm, possibly too ranty. Not as bad as my first attempt which was a complaint about a lack of a LibDem on Question Time in November which was dominated by the Iraq inquiry. I have had a holding reply but not a response. I have now complained about the lack of response!

I have learnt to my cost that typing directly into the BBC's tiny box on their complaint form is not a good idea. Cue much embarrassment when they send the complaint back to you by email and it doesn't make as much sense as you thought it did - never mind spelling! (See below). I suggest you type it into your favourite text editor first and then cut&paste it. Also this means you can easily send a copy to LibDem MediaWatch.

My overlong Question Time complaint is presented for your delectation (corrected for some spelling and sense!):

"I tuned in to watch a Question Time dominated by the Iraq
inquiry and was disconcerted to see no Liberal Democrat representative. As
I'm sure you know, the Liberal Democrats were the only one of the three main
parties to vote and argue against the Iraq war from the start and have a
distinct position on this issue.

Also I noticed that the SNP representative made a point about all three
parties failing on the Calman report which just isn't true of the Liberal

There wasn't a Liberal Democrat on last week and from David Dimbleby's comments at
the end it sounded like there won't be for the next two weeks. Is this

I don't see how this can be anything other than the BBC supressing legimate
opinion and hiding away the views of one party and also allowing its
opponents to tell lies unchecked about it.

Should it not at least have been incumbent on the chair to point out that
the Liberal Democrats weren't taken in by Blair in the Iraq war debate whilst
the establishment member's of the panel were all agreeing on how the house
agreed on war?

Question Time often makes space for celebrities or journalists (often
establishment politicians masquerading as independent journalists). Is this
realy more important than reflecting the range of party political opinion
and not presenting a skewed reality of the public?"

Ross is leaving!

Finally I might be able to watch a film review show or a Friday night chat show on the BBC again (without cringing and feeling wholly unsatisfied)!

The news that Jonathan Ross is leaving the BBC is being greeted with universal acclaim in our house!