An Unholy Alliance – the BBC and the Tax Payer’s Alliance

 

 

True to the BBC’s entirely subjective editorial guidelines on impartiality, the corporation’s willingness to allow The TaxPayer’s Allowance a mainstream platform to air their obnoxious opinions only confirms the lie that ‘Aunty’ is ‘balanced, impartial and fair.’

Here are the BBC’s own guidelines on impartiality and the use of ‘contributions from other organisations.’

We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.

And here’s an extract from the TaxPayer Alliance’s annual report regarding their links to TV.

Television is a highly trusted and impartial medium and over the years we have carefully built up a range of close contacts inside the industry. We’re close to 4 Millbank, the base for Westminster’s political broadcasters, so we have great relationships with the BBC, ITV and Sky News. It’s not just news; we also work with producers and researchers on longer programmes and documentaries. For example, Inside Out South West covered our non-jobs report.

We work with national and local radio stations too. According to the latest RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) industry report, 91.6 per cent of the UK population now tune in to radio every week, making it a powerful medium for communicating our ideas. Over the last twelve months we’ve set our sights on new programmes in radio and television. We’ve also reached new audiences by targeting more chatty, lifestyle programmes such as Daybreak, Vanessa and The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Link

http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/annualreview2011.pdf

 

“So what?”  you may say but this so-called ‘Alliance’ of ‘Tax Payers’ is no such thing, it’s just a front for a bunch of ultra-right wing small government cranks masquerading as a ‘grassroots organisation.’ Their report crows about longstanding links to the media; the usual suspects in the press; The Mail, Express, Sun and  Telegraph who have no legal or moral obligation to be impartial and the TV and radio, who do.

The BBC more than any other broadcaster would like every licence fee payer to believe that their imposed licence tax is a guarantee of trust and fairness when it comes to news reporting but that lie is disproved with each and every news report screened each and every day. I pay my licence fee yet I never, ever see my opinions, extreme as they may seem to people who define themselves as ‘tax payers,’ represented on the BBC.

All BBC news follows a pre-ordained editorial narrative, whether that’s reporting on military or industrial conflict, economics, politics, social justice or the royal family.

Here is their get out clause :

Contributors expressing contentious views, either through an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested while being given a fair chance to set out their full response to questions. Minority views should be given appropriate space in our output; it is not for the BBC to suppress discussion.

Consequently, we will sometimes need to report on, or interview, people whose views may cause serious offence to many in our audiences. On such occasions, referral should be made to a senior editorial figure who may wish to consult Editorial Policy. The potential for offence must be weighed against the public interest and any risk to the BBC’s impartiality. Coverage should acknowledge the possibility of offence, and be appropriately robust, but it should also be fair and dispassionate. The public expression by staff and presenters of personal offence or indignation risks jeopardising the BBC’s impartiality.

 

What these mealy mouthed words amount to is this;  ‘We, The BBC, will decide who gets to speak and it is for US to decide whether the airing of views will cause offence or is not in the public interest.’ We are of course entirely impartial arbiters and it is not for us to suppress discussion as long as that discussion does not offend people like US.’

This patriarchal censorship has been a staple of BBC news since the corporation first began broadcasting. It is a state propagandist that spews a diet of sycophantic, elitist spin that maintains the political status quo and therefore guarantees its own survival in an era of digital  choice. The BBC, far from being ‘’fair and dispassionate’  is grossly biased and partisan.

Witness their reporting of two current issues; Syria and austerity. Not a single report goes on screen without some form of attack upon Assad’s regime and at least one interview with a ‘rebel’ spokesperson backed up by footage of usually ‘unconfirmed’ attacks on civilians and other atrocities. Now, these attacks may well have taken place but the narrative is clear; Assad is the ’baddy’ and the ‘rebels’ are the ‘goodies.’ The forces fighting Assad are ‘rebels’ whereas the forces fighting British troops in Afghanistan are ‘extremists’ ‘militants’ and ‘insurgents’

Likewise, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Ireland.  The reporter will also add his or her own twopenneth to any report, almost always giving tacit approval, if not outright support for any military action taken by ‘OUR’ forces or the dominant political position.

With the current austerity policies, there is an unspoken yet obvious narrative to all reports. The demonisation of ‘benefits scroungers, welfare claimants, social undesirables, illegal immigrants, legal migrants and others deemed offensive to ‘the audience perception’ is relentless and disgusting.

This is where the TaxPayer’s Alliance comes in. The other day a report on house building initiatives and  the impact upon economic recovery was discussed by a government minister, a member of the Building Federation and someone from The Tax Payers’ Alliance. This gives the TPA an equal billing as elected politicians and business experts.  Today another TPA goon was the only person interviewed regarding the Patrick Mercer ‘cash for questions’ scandal. This gives the TPA the opportunity to present themselves as non-political, which is an outright lie. They may pour scorn on certain Tories but only from an ultra-right ‘low tax/small government’ perspective. Here’s what the BBC guidelines have to say about using such spokespeople.

Campaigns

Similarly, the BBC must remain independent and distanced from government initiatives, campaigners, charities and their agendas, no matter how apparently worthy the cause or how much their message appears to be accepted or uncontroversial.

Careful thought will be necessary to ensure perceptions of the BBC’s impartiality are maintained when content is scheduled topically and coincides with a third party’s campaign. It is advisable to contact Editorial Policy.

 

Well, there’s no denying that the TPA are a campaigning organisation, Their own website describes the organisation as ‘Britian’s independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes’ and claims to have ‘over 75,000 supporters nationwide.’

These figures are impossible to verify. On that basis I could argue that YKTD has over a billion supporters worldwide and therefore we should be interviewed just after Nick Clegg (or before).  Imagine the outcry from the right wing press if say, Len McCluskey, president of Unite was interviewed on an equal footing as the Prime Minister or even the former  CEO of Tesco, Sir Terry Gobshite. Unite has over three million members in the UK and Ireland and yet has to endure a barrage of negative reporting from the BBC and other ‘impartial’ news broadcasters. 

I wonder if indeed this ‘Editorial Policy’ department is contacted  each and every time a person from the TPA is interviewed by a lazy, prejudiced BBC reporter, managed by  a lazy, prejudiced BBC producer, overseen by a lazy, prejudiced BBC News bigwig in a lazy, prejudiced BBC structure that claims to be impartial and a byword for fair and trustworthy reporting but fails its own tests each and every day.

I therefore propose my own grassroots campaign group, the National Insurance Payers Institute (NIPI) who campaign for everyone paying National Insurance contributions and defends Big Government and the Nanny State. We believe that the government should own EVERYTHING,  including the banks and that NI should replace direct taxation as the only form of direct deduction from salaries and used to fund ALL  forms of government expenditure.

On the 8-10-08 those two noble socialists, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling handed over £500 BILLION to ‘help restore confidence in British banks’ with one eye on their future earnings as touring economic ‘experts.’ Well, perhaps the TPA should be looking at how that fortune was siphoned away by the banks and how the rest of us, our kids and grandkids will be paying for that heinous act of treachery for decades, before they start spouting on about disability ‘scroungers.’

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