Strange Practices and Other Opinions

October 31, 2007

One thing often said by Biased BBC commentators when I describe something the BBC has done as a “mistake” is to say “funny how the mistakes are only in one direction”.

So here’s a reminder that there are people who think that the BBC has a bias towards the right.

I’ve posted on Biased BBC what I think about the mistake (see very bottom of page) in rewriting p.a. copy with an error in, based on a blog.

“Not being a journalist by training this is the kind of strange practice that I find hard to understand.”

Bias is a red herring here. 

But it shows that the old newspaper model doesn’t work on the internet. Three people were being paid, one to blog, one to produce agency copy, one to rewrite copy into a news story. Is this the best way to spend money on news? Do you need this if you can just link to the blog? Why doesn’t the agency turn its copy into freely available feeds so you can read the copy direct, or turn the feeds into a website? If they did that, would others need to rewrite it?

It is true that people still want news delivered to them in a packaged way. But I wonder if the balance is quite right.

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3 Responses to “Strange Practices and Other Opinions”

  1. Jack Hughes Says:

    Nick,

    Did you skip the sentence where Dave Hill writes

    “other BBC output leans a little to the left and so I think, all things considered, that an overall political neutrality is maintained.” ?

    I don’t see it so much as bias – more a group-think. Certain values, outlooks, ideas, memes become dominant in the group. Other ideas become taboo. Its not just the way a story or theme is covered – its also the choice of which stories to cover.

    The 2007 BBC report into its own bias had good coverage of some of this group-think – in fact it used the expression “group think” several times.

    You suggest that there is a large group of opinion that thinks the BBC is “slanted to the right” – and this counterbalances the Biased-BBC view that it “dresses to the left”.

    Well – I do not see this large group of opinion. Its just Dave Hill and his lefty mates. Every time anyone tries to suggest a right-wing bias it just turns out to be a load of lefties. There is no sustained collection of examples. None.

    And the idea that if its being attacked from all sides it must be good – that doesn’t work.

  2. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    Nice to have contact with someone who has actually read the Impartiality Report. I think its really interesting, although its worth pointing out that the report was specifically not about the BBC’s News output.

    I don’t like the word “group think” – it doesn’t really apply to the BBC in my experience. But it is true that people in the BBC could get out more and expose themselves to more ideas and opinions.

    With respect I suspect Dave Hill would dismiss Biased BBC as “a load of right wingers” and he does give examples. Just because Biased BBC gives lots of examples doesn’t mean they add up to a case. Sometimes, very rarely, they are right – but most of the examples don’t prove bias.


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