Posts Tagged ‘news’

Distorted news coverage by the BBC

June 26, 2014
Metro letters

Metro letters

You may or may not have been aware that 50,000 marched against austerity in London last Saturday.

You may or may not have been aware that the Saturday previous, across the country Vodafone was occupied in protest at their tax dodging activity.

If you were thinking, maybe you missed the mention by the BBC, you’d be correct. You missed the mention because there was no mention.

Nor would you be aware that the Green Party were offering a radical alternative, which is more can be said of Labour under the spineless Ed Miliband, which is offering, what ever the Tories offer, we will hit the poor and disadvantaged even harder, as we saw with the threat to curtail benefits to young unemployed.

We have banal news coverage at its worse with the Westminster Hour, or the infantile exchanges at Prime Minister Question Time.

We have has-been politicians wheeled out as ‘experts’.

We are led to believe there are no alternatives to austerity, that there is no money.

There are alternatives, it is simply that they are not being discussed.

There is the money, if tax dodging was dealt with.

If a poorly resourced outfit like Democracy Now, can cover the issues, can wheel out experts, why not the BBC?

A couple of nights ago, BBC Radio 4 World Tonight had a report on what the Germans thought of British thoughts on the EU. Does anyone give a toss?

BBC Radio 4 World at One, once a week wheels out their so-called MPs Panel. Does anyone give a toss?

BBC is obsessed with the minutia of what happens at Westminster, the tittle-tattle.

On Climate Change, BBC practices what can only be described as false impartiality. A reputable scientist will be pitched against Nigel Lawson, a has-been politicians, disaster as Chancellor, and an ignoramus on climate science (which he dismisses as opinion). No mention of where the funding is coming from.

Across Europe, and in Latin America, though to a lesser extent in the UK, as a reaction to austerity, people are moving towards collaborative commons, a sharing economy. When did you last hear this discussed, analysed or reported on by the BBC?

This criticism could equally be levelled at the mainstream media. True, but when newspapers are the organs of Big Business, we know what to expect, we can choose not to buy, not to read.

BBC is funded by us, we have already paid up front for the coverage.

BBC is a public service with a remit to cover and analyse news, events signifying social and political shifts in the country, and not a spokesperson for power or corporate interests.

We have a cosy elite, all went to the same schools.

Do we need to launch a campaign for real news?

Without news, analysis, people do not know what is going on in the world.

Failure to report protest is deliberate, it may give others ideas, show them it is the norm not the exception.

The response from the BBC is the usual Nanny knows best:

Thanks for contacting us about coverage of the People’s Assembly anti-austerity demonstration on 21 June.

We understand you feel there was insufficient coverage of this demonstration by BBC News.

We have received a wide range of feedback about our coverage of this story. In order to use our TV licence fee resources efficiently, this general response aims to answer the key concerns raised, but we apologise in advance if it doesn’t address your specific points in the manner you would prefer.

Your concerns were raised with senior editorial staff at BBC News who responded as follows:

“We covered this demonstration on the BBC News Channel with five reports throughout Saturday evening, on the BBC News website on Sunday, as well as on social media. We choose which stories we cover based on how newsworthy they are and what else is happening and we didn’t provide extensive coverage because of a number of bigger national and international news stories that day, including the escalating crisis in Iraq, British citizens fighting in Syria and the death of Gerry Conlon.

We frequently report on the UK economy and what it means for the British public. We also reflect the concerns of people such as those demonstrating, and others who hold opposing views, across our daily news output on TV, radio as well as online, and we also explore them in more depth including in our political programming and current affairs investigations, debates on ‘Question Time’ and during interviews and analysis on programmes such as ‘PM’ and ‘Newsnight’. Inevitably, there may be disagreements over the level of prominence we give to stories, but we believe our coverage of this subject has been fair and impartial.”

We hope this goes some way to explaining our position, and thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Convicted criminal Andy Coulson, former Editor of The News of The World and government spin doctor, was “concerned” that a forthcoming series of reports on the Government’s public spending review had the correct “context”.

Coulson made his concerns known to Helen Boaden, the BBC’s head of news, at a recent lunch meeting. Miss Boaden is understood to have “reassured” Mr Coulson over his concerns.

In the note for Mr Thompson, Miss Boaden provided Mr Thompson with a detailed list of all the positive news coverage that the BBC was planning, or had already broadcast.

It details the extensive opportunities that will be offered to Government ministers including George Osborne, the Chancellor; Nick Clegg; the Deputy Prime Minister; and Mr Cameron to explain the public sector cuts.

In the absence of a functioning independent media, not one promoting vested interests, we do not have a functioning democracy.

Please sign the petition calling for changes to BBC news reporting.

Transition Free Press

December 2, 2013
Transition Free Press - Winter 2013

Transition Free Press – Winter 2013

Who other than a madman would launch a new newspaper?

Who in not only today’s economic climate but in the climate for newsprint, when newspapers are losing money, would launch a new newspaper?

Local and national newspapers are losing money.

A downward spiral, less news, less frequent, less reason to buy, shrinking income, fewer resources for news gathering and quality journalism.

It is into this climate Transition Free Press has been launched. A real newspaper, real newsprint, not a digital newspaper, like the recently launched Guardian Australia.

Transition Free Press was launched this year as an experiment, a toe in the water, a pilot of four quarterly issues.

Transition Free Press has proved to at least be sustainable. Whether it will continue into 2014 will depend upon securing funding.

I came across Transition Free Press in The Barn in Farnham, one of their fifty plus distribution hubs.

Why print and distribute a newspaper, with all the risks involved? Why not be like the Huffington Post or Guardian Australia, on-line only?

A newspaper is shareable, and yes, on-line is shareable too. Indeed, I would go further, when you find something interesting on-line, be it Transition Free Press, this article, music, then please share, tweet, re-tweet, recommend.

Transition Free Press is quarterly, it is not transient like a daily newspaper, it contains useful information, thus more likely to be valued, kept for future reference.

So what is in it?

Articles on self-sufficiency, local communities, alternative energy, local economies, carbon reduction, protest, local currencies, sustainability, art, music.

The very first issue, what could be called a pilot for the pilot, came out last year to test the feasibility.

I have read Transition Free Press whilst in The Barn, and have been suitably impressed. At the weekend I found the latest edition, hot off the press.

The front page of the current winter 2013 edition, out now, has a front page lead story on protest. Taking the lead from comments on not voting and the need for revolution from Russell Brand, communities are taking the lead.

Activists staged a mass work out at COP19 Climate Talks in Poland last month. The talks had been hijacked by Big Coal, Big Oil, and other big carbon emitters and polluters. The point the activists made with an impromptu press conference outside the talks, was that we can no longer trust politicians, if we want change, we have to take action ourselves.

That is what Transition Heathrow did, they squatted derelict nursery gardens and brought them back into productive use, ran workshops. Even the local police reported they had a positive impact on the local community, with reductions in low level crime.

With the collapse of the Co-op Bank, and the unfolding scandal, whereto ethical banking, and was it so ethical at the Co-op Bank?

Payday loan sharks, are not only screwing those they have got their teeth into, they are draining money out of our poorest communities, communities that should be plugging the leaks and recycling money within the local economy.

An evaluation inspired by the Reconomy Project of the potential to ‘relocalise’ Lambeth’s economy … switching just 10% of the borough’s supermarket food spend to local retailers would release £37 million (and “money spent in independent local businesses can create 2-4 more times as much real value as money spent in chains”), and retrofitting housing stock with solid wall insulation could payback in 15 years and generate £100 million of local employment.

And yet, we see the opposite. The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, has been practising ethnic cleansing of local businesses in Farnborough and Aldershot. Squandering £1 million on repaving Queensmead will not attract people to Farnborough, any more than wasting £15,000 on a free wifi scam, a scam that will collect personal data, in order that locals can be bombarded with spam e-mail and spam sms text messages. Neither will demolishing the c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. The local economy will only benefit, when there are local shops and businesses to spend money in, local shops and businesses which then recycle money within the local economy.

The ConDem government, under pressure from the Big Six energy suppliers, are poised to axe or reduce the green and social levies on the Big Six, to reduce their commitment on green measures such as house insulation. Even if these levies were halved, at only 10% of the average bill, it would only see a reduction of 5%. On the other hand, if only 10% was knocked off the 90% of the bill the Big Six are responsible for, this would lead to a 9% cut in bills. The poor will save money if they use less fuel, they will use less fuel, we will all use less fuel, if our homes are better insulated. If we use less carbon-based fuel, we emit less greenhouse gases.

Money paid to the Big Six on fuel bills, is money drained straight out of the local economy. If we insulate, not only do we cut our fuel bills, reduce our greenhouse emission, that is money that is retained within the local economy, money, which if spent with local businesses, is money recycled within the local economy.

Transition Free Press is produced by a not-for-profit collective and supported, although not financed by, the Transition Network. You can help back the paper by signing up for an annual subscription, minimum £15 per year, though you can pay more if you wish.

You can also help, not only by buying a copy from a distribution hub, but chatting to your local indie coffee bar and similar local businesses, and suggesting they too become a distribution hub. It helps them, as they can bulk buy at a discount,and it helps them by bringing people into their coffee bar.

In a coffee bar, having a copy to read, or a pile on display helps. That is how I came across Transition Free Press in The Barn.

If there is not a distribution hub near you, you can find Transition Free Press on-line.

An edited version of a longer article published on Medium.

Resignation of George Entwistle

November 11, 2012
Salem Witch Trial

Salem Witch Trial

And now Nineteen persons having been hang’d, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear’d; about Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and Two Hundred more acccused; the Special Commision of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period,… — Robert Calef

When I put an end to the Court there ware at least fifty persons in prision in great misery by reason of the extream cold and their poverty, most of them having only spectre evidence against them and their mittimusses being defective, I caused some of them to be lettout upon bayle and put the Judges upon consideration of a way to reliefe others and to prevent them from perishing in prision, upon which some of them were convinced and acknowledged that their former proceedings were too violent and not grounded upon a right foundation … The stop put to the first method of proceedings hath dissipated the blak cloud that threatened this Province with destruccion;… — Governor William Phips, 21 February 1693

After seeing a picture in the past hour of the individual concerned, this is not the person I identified by photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me the man in the photograph was Lord McAlpine. — Steven Messham

Last night George Entwistle resigned as Director General of the BBC.

When George Entwistle appeared before a House of Commons Culture Select Committee, the day following a Panorama programme investigating the failings of Newsnight re Jimmy Savile, his testimony beggared belief.

He had heard in passing from one of his executives at a party that the flagship news programme Newsnight was investigating one it his flagship stars Jimmy Savile (now diseased), to whom BBC planned a major tribute, and he asked no further questions!

Newsnight for whatever reason, shelved its investigation into Jimmy Savile. There can be many reasons for doing so, the evidence does not stack up, superseded by more important news stories. So far the BBC has yet to come up with a plausible explanation.

Panorama then decided to investigate Newsnight. The programme was shoddy, allegations treated as fact, less than plausible witnesses, hearsay.

Last week Private Eye had a detailed look at the BBC, which cast even more doubt.

Newsnight, determined to play catch up and restore its damaged reputation, had what was claimed to be an expose. They went back to the 1970s, widespread abuse of children in children’s homes in North Wales, a cover up. An investigation into the abuse, the report was destroyed and never saw the light of day. This was followed by an Inquiry, which in reality was a cover-up. Police turned a blind eye and failed to follow up complainants.

In advance of the programme, names were going to be named. The programme proved to be something of a damp squib in terms of naming names, but it did highlight the abuse and subsequent cover-ups.

On the programme was one of the child abuse victims, who was prepared to speak on the record in front of cameras. He said the abuse not only took place within the homes, but that the children were leased out. That he was repeatedly raped, that a senior figure from the Thatcher era was involved.

At no time was anyone named. It was The Guardian on Friday that outed Lord Alpine as the named abuser, by using the clever guise of mistaken identity.

The victim has subsequently withdrawn the allegation.

This though raises many questions. Why was the victim shown a photo by the police and told it was McAlpine? Did the police have their suspicions? If the victim identified the person in the photo as the person who abused him, why was this not investigated by the police? Why was this victim not allowed to raise this at the Inquiry?

At least that appeared to be the case. But subsequent reports, it was the child abuse victim who handed photos to the police of boys being raped. Photos that were then ordered to be destroyed. Much later was the victim showed a photo which was not of McAlpine, thus withdrawal of statement, humble apologies. This being much worse than previous scenario.

But what has been overlooked, there were two witnesses on the programme. One who chose to remain anonymous. His voice only, was on the programme.

Yesterday morning George Entwistle appeared before John Humphrys on the Today programme. His position as Director General of the BBC became untenable following his performance. He knew nothing about the Newsnight programme, he knew nothing about the report in The Guardian. Did he know what day it was?

That evening, the inevitable, he resigned.

From my own experience in broadcasting, the BBC is bloated and arrogant. Too many layers of management, too much done by committee. As I learnt, a senior person will not talk to a junior person, they do so through intermediates, up and down the management chain, Chinese whispers.

Listen to Feedback on BBC Radio 4. Legitimate criticisms is dismissed by programme makers and station controllers.

Radio4 has lost many good programmes.

Cost cutting has decimated news coverage. News is too often trivia, because it is cheap. So-called experts on programmes are not.

Al Jazeera, Russia Today, Democracy Now are offering far superior news coverage.

Newsnight has been attacked for using The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. They are forced to do so by budget cutting and edicts on outsourcing.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism are being slurred. Is this part of a hidden agenda? They have been reporting on drone strikes in Pakistan.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism was established because of the failure or lack of investigative journalism in the corporate-controlled mainstream media. They ask questions that are not being asked.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has exposed the extent of Tory Party funding from financial sector, fiddling of MPs election expenses, high pay on public sector, fraud and scams within EU Structural Funds.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has worked with the Financial Times, Al Jazeera, not just the BBC.

It is worth repeating. Newsnight did not name Lord McAlpine, The Guardian a week later did. Newsnight said a senior Tory of the Thatcher era. Newsnight did not, as shoddy reporting is claiming, imply it was Lord McAlpine. They did not say, a senior Tory of the Thatcher era who just happened to be Party Treasurer. That the finger was pointed at Lord McAlpine was because of information that was already circulating, not because of Newsnight.

The name of McAlpine was circulating long before Newsnight did not name him.

Shoddy reporting by BBC News subsequent to resignation of George Entwistle: Newsnight did not name McAlpine. Newsnight did not imply McAlpine.

Why did the police show the abuse victim a photo and say it was McAlpine? Did they have suspicions? When the victim said yes that was his abuser, why no investigation?

We need a Judicial inquiry, not a mishmash of overlapping ad hoc inquiries.

The truth may never be known: passage of time, witnesses dead, too frightened, lacking in credibility.

What we do know is abuse took place, there was a cover-up.

The resignation of George Entwistle, who clearly was not up to the job, is obscuring the real issue, abuse at children’s homes in North Wales, was there a paedophile ring operating involving powerful men? There clearly were powerful men involved as it was they who orchestrated a cover-up.

BBC is now caught up in a witch hunt. For many weeks we have seen a Jimmy Savile witch hunt, mass hysteria orchestrated by the gutter press (who as a bonus can destroy the BBC).

In the 1950s we had the Senator Joseph McCarthy Reds Under the Beds witch hunts. Before that in Massachusetts the Salem Witch Trials.