Saturday, 7 May 2016

From Our Biased Correspondent



Also while catching up with comments here at ITBB, Mishal Husain's new BBC Radio series From Our Home Correspondent contained a remarkable report from the Corbynistas' bête noire Laura Kuenssberg on the EU referendum debate.

Given that Laura is the BBC's Political Editor, I'd have hoped for her to be scrupulously neutral here. 'Scrupulously neutral' she most certainly wasn't though.

Why was it biased? Well, try this:
When the Chancellor marched onto the gleaming floor of a high-tech factory to deliver the economic Exocet at his rivals who want to leave the EU...
Was it really an "economic Exocet" (as pro-Remain types might say) or merely a rain-soaked sparkler (as pro-Brexit types might say)?

A clip of George Osborne sternly making the economic case against Brexit was then played. 

Laura then gently mocked some of the more apocalyptic claims of the Remain side while continually stressing the seriousness of the issue:
Of course, it is the case that our decision on staying in or leaving the European Union is a significant decision, probably the biggest choice we've taken as a country for decades. The consequences of leaving might be economically disastrous. It is certainly a risk.
As for the Leave side? Punters wanting to hear Boris. "Gags" flowing from Boris. Selfies...
Knickers, and the fictional excesses of the EU.
"Fictional excesses of the EU"? Impartial BBC commentary??

An example of lefty Laura-bashing
And Laura continued, sarcastically:
So what of those pesky hard questions from journalists? 'Dear Public, ignore those hacks who want us to explain how life outside would work'.
She then used two adjectives to characterise both campaigns. For the 'In' campaign she chose "sober". For the 'Out' campaign she choice 'garrulous'. The former is a more positive term than the latter.

She then chose two more phrases. For the 'In' campaign "authority". For the 'Out' campaign "striking political exuberance". 

She then chose some more phrases to characterise the experts backing each campaign. For the 'In' campaign, she called their experts "an alphabet soup of economic heavyweight organisations". For the 'Out' campaign, she called their experts "less conventional backers".

The whole thing she then characterised as "the classic head versus heart" - as if reason was on the 'In' side. "Safety" versus "daring-do", she continued. 

The 'Out' side, Laura said in conclusion, are "having more fun" though.

I don't think you need a degree in English to comprehend where the bias of that piece of BBC reporting lies.

3 comments:

  1. I used to get condescending criticism from a good number of commenters, either admitted journalists or just anonymous drive-by critics, who dismissed my attempts at analyzing the bias as making something out of nothing, for spending paragraphs imagining the meaning of a single word, seeing things that were not there. Here you've provided a collection of words that cannot be so easily dismissed. They all add up to one agenda, no question.

    The "economic Exocet" line will be excused as merely saying how Osborne would have viewed his message, not actually Laura K's own commentary on it. That it's a risk to leave is not in dispute. It's the only reason so many people are still on the fence. But the claim that it will be disastrous is not balanced out. Her value judgements on the message from Leave gives it away. The line about how Leave have yet to explain how a post-Brexit Britain would look is an outright lie, and a tired one at that which ought to be past its sell-by date. I would wager that a good number of those still undecided thing that's the case, largely because most of the media have lied about it. And the various Leave voices really haven't done enough on that end, spending too much time on immigration. Although they don't control the agenda when they're being interviewed, so I'm still ultimately blaming the media for this failing. Still, it's an outright lie to claim that the Out campaign is telling reporters to shut up and telling the public to ignore the tough questions. They get attacked on their claims of how things will work all the time, so it's BS to claim they're keeping shtum about it.

    "Sober" versus "garrulous" is fair enough, though, isn't it? Granted it would have been more fair and accurate to say something about Remain being largely about making everyone afraid versus the more optimistic message from Leave(except for the immigration issue, and let's not go there about what's optimistic or pessimistic or why). Laura K is also right about "safety" being the Remain reasoning, but "daring-do" is a value judgment. That's the pattern.

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    1. What LK is doing by using a word like "garrulous" as opposed to say "energetic" or "lively" is to play to the BBC authorised version on Boris - that's whilst he is fun he is not a serious politician.

      I don't accept that "sober" is a correct adjective for the Remain campaign. It's a comfort blanket campaign that completely ignores the very serious issues involved in being tied to the EU.

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  2. Regarding those "pesky hard" questions, why do BBC reporters never ask any of the Remainers e.g. "Could a future UK government give up its opt outs, its rebate or join the Euro?" (the answer is yes, but Cameron talks as though all these things are set in stone forever). "When Turkey joins the EU we will have a border with Iraq, Iran and Syria. Is that a good idea?"
    If comparative regional growth rates continue at the levels of the last 10 years we will be tied to the most sluggish economy on Earth. Won't that mean we will be much poorer off? "

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