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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Biased BBC online

BBC Online's coverage of the EU's 50th anniversary has been absolutely extraordinary. They have missed a great opportunity to deal with EU issues seriously and instead have presented the punters with pathetic, whimsical, biased nonsense.

A quick look at BBC online's list of EU stories gives a sense of what they have served up this week:

This could have come, and probably did come, straight from a European Commission or FCO press release. What about all the negative stories that were rubbished but turned out to be true (like Campbell saying Andrew Gilligan's story that there was going to be a "European Constitution" was "bollocks").

Celebrating the Environmental Union

At least this overtly written by the Commission. Its complete bull - but will there be a critical piece allowed on in response? Zero chance of that.

Ten things the EU has done for you.

This is just getting silly. It's 10 good things of course. Where are the ten bad things? Dumping on the devoping world, damaging our economy, undermining democracy? No chance of that on the BBC.

How Brussels has changed

For the better, it would seem. Half a dozen people quoted puffing the EU, but no critics, obviously.

The EU at 50: Your reflections

A spurious voxpop of the kind that the BBC's own Wilson review warned against. Three people saying the EU is absolutely great and then one person who says it is good for the countries that are in it but bad for Kosovo.

"For me, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives."
"Generally I think the EU has really helped our lives."
"I think many countries outside Europe envy the success of the Union."
"The EU may be good for those countries inside the club, but for us - on the outside - it's as if they have built a great wall all around the union."

This is balance?

Is EU good for economic health?

It would seem so:

"Looking back, it is tempting to declare euro a resounding success."

Nggggghhhh.... no chance of balance here either.

It seems to me that the higher-up journalists at the beeb have partially learned to at least present both sides of the argument. But they are atop an iceberg of dross - and too many BBC journalists still think that their job is to "balance against the press" (by which they mean the Sun and Mail, casually forgetting the FT, Indie, Guardian and Mirror).

This is pathetic journalism. What is it going to take for BBC online to present the issues fairly?

1 comment:

Stuart Coster said...

Great piece. That enviro propaganda piece was particularly infuriating.

No inconvenient mention there of how the EU promotes 'lowest common denominator' legislation, forcing Scandinavian countries in particular to dumb down their more stringent green regulations to the inappropriately uniform EU version.

Nor the failure of the ETS, the fridge mountain, problems of the CAP or the ecological nightmare that is the Common Fisheries Policy.

As one comment on the Beeb site put it so well: "With just one small piece of legislation it has managed to clean out all of those dirty smelly fish from the North Sea! How effective is that?"

Nor, in the praise for the REACH directive, how the needless re-testing of chemicals that have been safely used for decades is (according to PETA) going to cause the torture and death of "millions" of animals in labs.

Yet, as you say, what hope of a right of reply on this, or a 'ten things the EU has stuffed up' piece?

Too often the Beeb's idea of impartiality on this issue is discussing whether the EU is brilliant, or merely good.