Curated Resource ( ? )

The BBC and pro-Brexit bias: The subtle consequences of liberal guilt.

The BBC and pro-Brexit bias: The subtle consequences of liberal guilt.

my notes ( ? )

Brexit coverage during, before and since the Referendum has been skewed in favour of Brexit... isn’t ... flagrantly biased or unbalanced: it is more subtle... because of the polarisation of views over Brexit, the BBC would attract criticism from both sides almost whatever it did...Nigel Farage stated ... BBC’s coverage had been “fair and balanced”...

A standard way to think about balance is the amount of air time given to each side and whether each side is allowed to reply... for every ‘remain’ statement there is a ‘leave’ response... this doesn’t really work very well for Brexit. Many of the technical issues ... don’t sit well with normal electoral senses of balance...Taking economics... the overwhelming balance of opinion amongst economists... is Brexit will be economically damaging... Yet ‘balance’ suggests that the pro-Brexit minority of economists be given equal billing... I gave several public talks where audience members believed that the economic evidence was equally split...repeated the mistake made in coverage of climate change: equating balance with due impartiality...

normal electoral rules did not translate well... the boundaries around what was and wasn’t part of the ‘campaigns’ were not clear... Beneath this ... almost all of the factual arguments made by the Leave campaign were untrue ... but ‘balance’ required the BBC to treat them as being as valid as the opposing arguments... the £350m claim ... was as untrue as saying the earth is flat... but couldn’t be treated as such by the BBC because it was regarded as a matter of opinion, to be treated in a balanced way...

in ‘normal’ news reporting... my overall sense is, again, that the BBC have erred towards a subtly pro-Brexit stance... the heavily criticised lack of coverage of large anti-Brexit marches... the BBC gave prominent coverage to ... Economists for Brexit) report claiming huge benefits from hard Brexit...it was not new... had been heavily and extensively criticised by several leading economists...

the prominent platform given by the BBC to certain pro-Brexit figures. The most egregious example is the joint highest tally of 32 appearances on Question Time by Nigel Farage... the only MEPs who have appeared on Question Time since 2012 are from UKIP, with the sole exception of the equally pro-Brexit Tory MEP Daniel Hannan...UKIP has been represented on Question Time in a staggering 24% of the programmes since 2010, compared with just 7% for the Green Party...an extraordinarily regular platform to Jacob Rees-Mogg... well before he was the chair of the ERG... there is no one individual on the remain side to whom the BBC gives the same exposure...

like other regularly featured Brexiters such as Iain Duncan Smith and Bernard Jenkin, is not a member of the government... the government are unwilling to put up ministers to defend Brexit policy...a major failure of political accountability...

I have never heard Andrew Neil conduct an interview on Brexit which is not tough and well-briefed... John Humphrys, by contrast, inserts his own implicit views about Brexit rather obviously... has a particular importance, because he is perhaps the Corporation’s most senior journalist... the headline interviews are almost invariably undertaken by generalists... don’t always have enough knowledge to hold interviewees to account on technical issues... The Brexiter case is very often that it will be simple, quick and technically easy... the interviewer needs to know the complexities to put the counter-case...the high profile set piece interviews are almost invariably easier on Brexiters...

it has been ... worn down) by the very vocal criticism of the anti-EU movement... relentless accusations... led it to a kind of ‘liberal guilt’... the BBC has bent over itself backwards to avoid accusations of pro-EU... [but] the 2013 [impariality] review actually showed that the evidence pointed in the other direction... for a very vociferous group of people in politics and the media anything other than uncritical cheerleading for Brexit... will be regarded as bias against Brexit...

45% of leave voters think the BBC has an anti-Brexit bias, compared with 14% of remain voters... 13% of remain voters and 5% of leave voters think the BBC has a pro-Brexit bias... leave voters are likely to interpret anything that isn’t wholeheartedly pro-Brexit as being bias against Brexit ... hostility to the BBC is linked with the range of socially illiberal attitudes associated with support of Brexit...

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The above notes were curated from the full post vip.politicsmeanspolitics.com/2019/07/31/the-bbc-and-pro-brexit-bias/.

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