Midlands Today

BBC local Midland news programme prefixing ‘good news’ investment stories with the phrase ‘Despite the threat of Brexit’.

Initial complaint was simply fobbed off, raising it again, to ‘Stage 1’ resulted in the following, begrudging admission of ‘accidental bias’…

Dear Mr Durnell
Reference CAS-4045252-VBB51S
Many thanks for getting back in touch about BBC One’s ‘Midlands Today’ bulletin broadcast on 3 October, and we apologise for the delay in responding to you.
We were concerned to learn that you remain unhappy about the reference to “despite the threat of Brexit”, and reviewing correspondence we realise that we haven’t addressed the point about the wording having been changed in the reports.
We’ve spoken to the programme’s Editor personally with your points in mind, and would clarify that the “threat” wording only ran in the first two regional Breakfast bulletins, and was then amended thereafter.
On reflection, the Editor would accept the that the “threat” word should not have been used on the basis that the vote had by then been cast and the UK Government had said Brexit is happening, thus making the word itself inaccurate here.
That said, we can assure you once again that there’s absolutely no bias and no intention to scaremonger or anything else – it was evidently just clumsy writing in the initial bulletins which was clearly reassessed by the team themselves early on and so was changed.
The BBC had and has no agenda on the EU Referendum and we did not “promote the Remain campaign” as you put it – we are an impartial and independent news organisation with no view on any matter and we are not connected to Government, the State, nor any side in any issue. We report matters and hear the views of others and facilitate the debate. You’ll appreciate we can’t comment on the views of a commercial newspaper who of course have their own views on the EU Referendum and on the BCB itself.
As a result of your complaint, the Editor has asked us to pass on her promise that she will watch more carefully the programme’s use of language around Brexit to hopefully ensure this isolated incident of regrettably clumsy wording is not repeated.
Many thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch. I do hope my reply here helps to clarify matters and allays any concerns you may have had. I also hope this demonstrates that your complaint has been taken very seriously, and indeed that the point you raise was actually spotted by the team at the time and rectified there and then.
Kind regards
Shona McCullough
BBC Complaints Team

One Comment on ““Midlands Today”

  1. Michael Stringer

    Put very simply so the pig ignorant morons at the BBC can understand: The BBC is completely biased and tells lies nearly all the time on political and current affairs programmes! The letter sent to Mr. Durnell is full of lies.
    No bias? Having read that outright lie, I went on the BBC website and found an item entitled “Ways Trump’s victory might affect the UK”. Next to this article is a picture of a young woman holding her head and looking sad. It is entitled “Brexit lessons – A survivor’s guide to unexpected voting results”. The article starts with a man called Ravi who states he is thinking of moving to Sweden and moves on to another man called Luke who claimed he “tried to get over the Brexit result by talking to young people he supports in his work. He found that the vast majority of them were dumbfounded as to how it happened – this gave him some hope for the future.” I wonder how helpful Clinton supporters in the USA would find that article? In addition, is it appropriate for Luke to use the young people he supports in this way?
    Now to the item about Trump’s victory and how it might affect the UK. It starts reasonably enough with comments about finance, but it gets in the snipe that the £ remains well below what it was before Brexit. Is that relevant to Americans? In addition, it fails to understand that a cheaper pound means more Americans will be able to finance a holiday here and help our economy. It goes on to state as fact “The downward move reflects the fact that markets believe the UK’s long term growth prospects will be weaker following our departure from the EU, and concerns about what our future trade relationships with EU and other economies may be …”. How helpful would American Democrats find this? To add insult to injury it goes on to “Politics and the PM” where the main focus is on denigrating British ministers. Does anyone think this is at all relevant to the issue? This article then moves on Trump’s problems with Scotland and a golf course. How is this important to the UK as a whole?
    At this point, please remember the article is allegedly about “The ways Trump’s victory might affect the UK”. This section starts with a reference to Obama’s ill-advised threat that the “UK would go to the back of the queue.” Perhaps the BBC doesn’t understand American politics, but Obama has lost all power to act in such a way; effectively he is a “lame duck president”! Hence the BBC comment is irrelevant. Why then is it there? The section goes on to imply that the UK will lose out because it is not in the EU.
    The remainder of the article rambles on about travel and holidays. The main focus is that of UK citizens holidaying in the US in future.
    The BBC article is not really about how a Trump presidency will impact on the UK, it is more concerned with putting forward its twisted views on Brexit!

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