Earlier this week I wrote a piece on my blog complaining at the BBC News reports of John Redwood's deregulation proposals. In particular I cited news bulletins which started with the words 'Labour has today criticised...'. Others complained about TV News showing Redwood singing the Welsh anthem. You kindly responded on the BBC Editors' blog - a very welcome innovation, I might say - and admitted you were wrong on the anthem issue. You did, however, defend the news coverage, quoting at length various bulletins throughout the day, including the offending bulletin I heard on 5 Live. Contrary to what you asserted, the 5 Live bulletin was not the only one to use those words, as evidenced by several of my readers who heard them on other BBC stations.
Frankly, I had no intention of taking this further, but I am afraid after what I have heard this morning, I am beginning to despair. On Radio 2 at 9am and 5 Live at 9.30am their respective news bulletings began with the words...
Labour has sharply criticised Tory plans to...
There followed a thirty second clip of Alistair Darling accusing the Conservatives of a lurch to the right and more besides. There was no balancing Conservative voice and little attempt to explain the context. My complaint is not particularly one of bias, although you can understand why Conservatives get hot under the collar about this sort of thing. My complaint is of shoddy journalism. I have no idea what your news guidelines are, but might I respectfully suggest that they need updating.
You may well be able to cite examples of new bulletins which begin with the words 'The Conservatives today sharply critised Labour's plans to...' It's just that I don't ever recall hearing them. And even if this has happened, I would submit that nine times out of ten you would have had a Labour response within the bulletin.
I have tremendous respect for most of the news coverage put out by the BBC and I don't make a complaint lightly, but on this occasion I feel it is justified.
UPDATE 3.44pm: Apologies for the typos in the original post. I typed it on a Blackberry. The PS has also disappeared for some reason. It said something along the lines of that I thought the Newsnight and Today Programme coverage was very fair indeed.