Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Move Along Now, Nothing to See

The new editor of Newsnight has replied to my post from Monday, which critiqued the Dragon's Pen section the programme which featured four Labour sympathising personalities. His general attitude is 'move along now, nothing to see' and how each of them wasn't really that left wing. The day the BBC ever features a programme featuring myself, Tim Montgomerie, Danny Finkelstein and Fraser Nelson is the day I will admit he has a point. And pigs might fly. Read what he has to say HERE.

UPDATE: Tim Montgomerie has fisked Peter Rippon's defence HERE. Tim writes:
"Speaking to one of Newsnight's team yesterday they admitted that the programme had "F**ked up". We'd all respect the BBC more if they admitted mistakes more readily rather than attempting to defend the indefensible."


subrosa said...

Get in there Iain, you must be guaranteed an invitation now for the next broadcast!

Richard Dale said...

IN writing his excuses Peter Rippon simply emphasises teh core of the BBC's bias. They have no idea that it exists. They genuinely think that the people they use for comment are not left-wing, as the leftist ideas they spout are taken as core assumptions by almost everyone 'important' in the left-wing corporatist BBC.

Anonymous said...

The BBC biased toward New Labour? Take a look at this from Question time

Jamie Sport said...

Yes, Conservative sympathisers just aren't getting the airtime these days are they? Hey at least you still have Sky News, even if that damn lefty Auntie won't let the Tories play!

Anonymous said...

That's not what he says at all Iain. If you're so biased that you're looking for bias then it's surely not much of a surprise that you find it. More hysterical preening from Dale, the master of petulance.

Dick the Prick said...

Nope, don't think I will read it, seen it all before - useless.

WV: cocts - how apt.

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Newmania said...

Richard Dale is quite right the BBC does not think it is biased it thinks it is right . When Polly Toynbee was the Editor of social affairs , which she was for years , the shocking thing was not just the fact of having a far left zealot funded to propogandize but that no-one saw anything odd about it

Thatsnews said...

He sounds like an utter clown, Iain.

But in the real world...
Gordon Brown lectures the world, robs the poor and MPs are breaking the law over expenses. Just an ordinary day for Gordon Brown

Elby the Beserk said...

Just so you know, Iain, the "email" link at the bottom of each post produces an error, and Firefox 3.5 has made a right horlicks of the top of the page, bleeding your Twitter announcements over the top of the first blog article.

Anonymous said...


What is important is that they are inviting new ideas for another run of this later in the year.

Having not seen the programme, I don't know what got floated, but I suspect it was the usual boring "cuts vs investment" stuff with no real thinking about doing things differently.

I have therefore submitted an idea to them - using the form you can get to from your link - and I suggest your readers do the same.

I did suggest an alternate panel as well: Jeff Randal; Stephan Shakespear; Lord Forsythe and Rob O'Neill. Wonder how that will go down?

strapworld said...

Rippon is operating within his bunker. Such mentality can never see beyond the bunker. He has picked the four because, all but one, do not work for the Labour Government- so in his eyes are neutral- The one that does 'understands' the programme and will comment on the 'ideas'

That all will have an inclination to think/support left of centre idea's is evidence of its bias. Whatever gloss this producer likes to place on it, he is simply wrong.

But, will Cameron complain? Of course not.

I heard Will Self and Rod Liddle on Any Questions. Now they would be interesting panelists alongwith yourself, of course, Iain with Nick Ferrari, Richard Littlejohn and Jon Gaunt

ContraTory said...

You have to watch what you ask for here. In the next programme, the BBC will introduce "balance" by having pro Conservative Simon Heffer and Peter Hitchens.

Anonymous said...

Problem is no one will watch the programme

Salmondnet said...

I note it is "predictable" criticism. Of course it's predictable. That is because the panel is obviously unbalanced.

TheBigYin said...

I get truly baffled these days when the BBC is accused of NuLabour bias. The reason for this is, when the Tories ruled us dismally for 19 years it was them that the BBC was accused of being bias towards, their paymasters at the time. Of course it is us, the taxpayer who are the paymasters so it's about time there was some bias shown towards us by the BBC.

John H Baker

Dave said...

The problem is it's freeform broadcasting and those of a more rightish persuasion are just very bad at that. Can you imagine being stuck in room with Peter Hitchins and Mel Phillips?
You'd be hectored to death. That's not really what these films seem to be about.

Unsworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unsworth said...

Rippon is a complete prat. "We are trying to do something different." Like what, exactly? Like ignoring all standards (insofar as there are any left at the BBC) of probity, quality, balance?

Who chooses the panel - and on what basis? Who chooses anything at all to do with this piss-poor programme?

"we are trying to do something different." Sadly, no, Mr Rippon. You exhibit all of the habits and traits of the biased, self-serving and incompetent BBC which we have now come to expect.

Desperate Dan said...

The "something different" that Peter Rippon is trying to do is dumbing down in order to appeal to the deranged and intellectually challenged. Judging by the quality of the comments from viewers on the Newsnight website he seems to have succeeded.

Paul Burgin said...

None of them are exactly fully paid-up Labour activists are they? Plus Greg Dyke's currently helping the Tories, if the panel had Alastair Campbell, Alex Hilton, Kevin Maguire, and Polly Toynbee, I'd probably agree with you

Anonymous said...

The BBC. Just how much spin can it churn out a day? 24 hours worth, on the second, every second.

Avoid the public service channels, they are nothing but lie and spin engines for Labour. The private sector is bad enough, but the BBC is a mind hazard and a total loss for freedom of speech.

I wish mine was a biased view. It would seem it is not a singular perception, but more of the plural kind.

Uncle Bob said...

As I've said in your previous blog on this, the only one who is and acts remotely politically neutral is Digby Jones. Greg Dyke might be working on a review for the tory party on creative technology but when it comes down to his politics, he's most certainly left wing. If you swapped that useless polling woman (No wonder Gordon gets it so wrong all the time if she's the one telling him what the public think!) and put one right of centre commentator in (Fraser Nelson would probably be the perfect person for that sort of thing) then maybe the BBC could get away with claiming it was a balanced team.

Boo said...

Nice statement of neutrality
"Indeed the majority of those who have pitched have argued for spending cuts, hardly a left wing agenda."

Hmm, well spending cuts are usually a consiquence of left wing agenda.

Man in a Shed said...

I had a brief read over Peter Rippon's reply.

It seems to be very flat earth in its view point. Only the BBC view is valid, and perhaps alternatives don't occur to him.

He invites people to watch the programme, and I will after work, but the following things are obvious now:

1) A complete failure of editorial control resulted in 4 pro Gordon Brown if not pro Labour characters being invited on. ( How could that ever be acceptable ?
2) He suggests the panel weren't biased. Of course he's wrong as the panel all share a similar world view and background ( ie that of being closely associated with Gordon Brown's Labour party ). Therefore there is bias by omission. The majority view in the country - with its hinterland of ideas and experience has been excluded from what is regarded as the key issue for the general election.
Wouldn't John Redwood for example be able to challenge ideas and evaluate them in a completely different way with his intellectual and idealogical background ?

As I said before I suspect the reason for the left wing and supporters only selection is to do with trying to save the Labour party from itself ( which many Beeboids have a vested interest ).

PS The idea that Greg Dyke isn't an instinctive Labour party supporter is laughable.

Man in a Shed said...

@Paul Burgin - Greg Dyke is very much a Labour man. If he's doing anything with the Conservatives it because he thinks we'll be the next govt.

I have a friend who was in a BBC staff meeting where they were talking about "winning" the general election.

Even if you were gullible enough to think Greg Dyke doesn't have a strong political bias ( and that takes a spectacular amount of double think even for a Labour party member ) - its clear that the impression is very much there. Which in itself is a violation of the BBC's requirements for impartiality.

Why are none of the thinkers from the right invited along to help evaluate the ideas ? ( Given that this is by far their area of expertise ! )

Come on be honest - you know this is a stitch up. Why can't you admit it ?

bergen said...

I don't think that there is the slightest point in moaning about the BBC.They have a set(left wing) view of the world and anyone who disagrees is either foolish or wicked.In either case,it would not be appropriate to give equivalent airtime.They demand payment of a licence fee which is a tax by any other name but do not consider themselves accountable to the public.They pay themselves vast salaries and waste inordinate money on the grounds that they have to compete with the private sector,an arguement which is untrue both in principle and practice.The good news is that the penny is beginning to drop with the public and the days of Rippon and his cronies are numbered.

Underhill said...

Well Peter Rippon's plea not to criticise the programme without watching it seemed reasonable, and they did provide a link, so I took a look. The basic format of the show appears to be a left-wing panel shouting down proposals from think tanks. The audience is encouraged to hold the opinions of the "expert" panel more highly than the people presenting; especially with a "comedy" proposal thrown in. Note: BBC comedy - may not contain actual humour. From the first episode I saw they only accepted one of the three proposals; and politically who would say no to a lower cost civil service? On the next episode, Trident was approved to be cut (left wing), and cutting Tory inheritance tax plans was also approved. The proposal to cut all immigration controls was reluctantly rejected, making this an arguable 2-1 to the left again.
I'll watch the last one later but it's not looking balanced so far.

Chris Paul said...

Which one of Dale, Montgomerie, Finklestein and Nelson was never actually a Tory, just took a self-aggrandising Lordship and a job? And which is associated with the Lib Dems having stormed out of the Labour fold? You are making a category error if you think your line up is even similar. Matteson and Taylor are core centre left "projectiles" is true but the other two ain't Labour at all.

hatethebeeb said...

Have you ever noticed that its always lefties jumping to the BBC'S defence.

neil craig said...

I have posted this - whether the BBC decide to publish it is another matter:

On Newsnight's own blog yesterday I commented on this event in part writing:

"since UKIP got more votes last time than Labour, we may expect the next discussion the BBC broadcast on the EU be between a UKIP supporter, a supporter of UKIP, a UKIP MEP & for a change, somebody who voted UKIP.

Any bets?"

This is far from the only instance of obvious BBC bias - reporting on "catastrophic global warming" is equally one sided, as Newsnight have indeed publicly admitted & the decision to give tens of thousands of times more coverage to the 1,100 Gazans killed by Jews in the recent war, mostly Hamas fighters, than to the kidnaping & dissection, while still alive, of at least 300 & probably more than 1,300 Serb civilians by NATO Police (formerly KLA) is even more difficult to reconcile with a commitment to impartial journalism.

Javelin said...

Rippon : "It does not need to be " ... " finely politically calibrated "
Translation : I'm focusing on fine calibration rather than what is evidently grossly biased

Rippon : Sir Digby Jones was part of the "government of all talents".
Transaltion: Political appointments aren't really political at all - reality check needed ...

Rippon : Greg Dyke was a Labour donor [re: this disucssion on BBC]
Translation: I'm focusing on history of donations rather than history of employment

Rippon: Deborah Mattinson is a pollster and her employment status doesn't matter
Translation : Trying to make every one sound non-biased tells us they all were

Rippon: Matthew Taylor [is political] but Politics Pen "is not about expressing political
Translation : You're drifting far from reality now .. this is called Politics Pen

Rippon:  those who accuse us ... do not point to anything
Translation: Yes we are pointing at the panel that why you're writing this

Rippon: We may ask you to pitch it in the Pen.
Translation : I hope I'm still in a job, because I don't deserve to be
Rippon: [off camera] I think I got away with it
Translation: No you didnt - resign now before all the shows staff get replaced