Thursday, December 5, 2019

BBC doubles down with arrogant reply to complaint about Andrew Neil's factual inaccuracies

I've just been taking a look at the screenshot on Twitter of the reply David Hooks received from the BBC after his complaint about Andrew Neil's interview with Nicola Sturgeon. I presume the complaint related to the factual inaccuracies in Neil's line of questioning, which were so blatant that in one case the BBC's own Fact Check tacitly acknowledged the mistake. Even by the BBC's standards, the reply is dripping with arrogance and corporate propaganda. It follows the familiar trick of ignoring the actual complaint and responding to an imaginary one instead - ie. "how dare Andrew Neil interrupt people". This is the bit that leaps out -

"As a consequence, it is true that Andrew Neil often interrupts politicians, but he only does so when he does not feel he is getting a precise and direct answer to the question he has posed. He does so courteously but firmly."

Now, we all know that's not true.  Andrew Neil often crosses the line from being an interviewer to being a participant in a debate in which he puts forward his own opinions, and the purpose of his interruptions is often to loudly drown out a point he disapproves of and doesn't want viewers to hear.  One obvious example was a couple of years ago when he challenged RT presenter Afshin Rattansi about the complaints against RT upheld by Ofcom, which he suggested were proof that Putin was pulling the strings.  Rattansi countered by quite reasonably pointing out that the BBC Trust had upheld a similar complaint against the BBC's own Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg.  Neil immediately cut him off and angrily denounced him for suggesting that Kuenssberg and her employers were anything other than saintly figures who hadn't received their due in prestigious industry awards yet.

Not all of Neil's interruptions of Nicola Sturgeon were in that mould, but a good few of them were.  Specifically she was refusing to accept the premise of his questions relating to the supposed requirement for a country to have its own currency before joining the EU (a requirement that the BBC Fact Check later admitted does not exist).  He did his utmost to talk over her to the extent that viewers wouldn't even notice that she was disputing him on that point of fact - frankly he failed, but that was his intent.  At one point he even bizarrely suggested that Ms Sturgeon had accepted his claim, and when she pointed out that she hadn't done any such thing, he hurriedly changed the subject.

Antics of that sort are not an attempt to furnish viewers with greater illumination.  They're an attempt to deceive viewers.  There's simply no excuse for it, and it's little wonder that the BBC proved unable to address that point directly.

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I have two more constituency profiles in today's edition of The National - this time it's North-East Fife and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

40 comments:

  1. I think the only thing people will remember about the Neil interviews is that Johnson was chicken.

    I would question the wisdom of Swinson participating now (if indeed she is intent on doing so). Nothing so far suggests she equipped to do well unless Neil decides to go lightly just to annoy Johnson.

    While Neil steamrollered as always I don't think Nicola came out too badly and by going first and letting the subsequent interviews and non interviews imprint on the consciousness she is under no pressure,

    Neil won't change.

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    1. Swinson was interviewed by Neil earlier in the week

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    2. It shows you how much of an impression she made - Swinson has already been interviewed by Neil.

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    3. Really? That totally passed me by.

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    4. Me too. How did she do?

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    5. The questioning was very weak, Neil spent the first 10 minutes or so going on about the revoke policy being a mistake. She denied this but too long was spent on it.

      She didn't handle questions on her voting record as part of the Tory coalition very well but then who could defenf her record of votong.

      Overall it was pretty mundane stuff and nothing like the grilling Sturgeon or Corbyn had from Neil.

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    6. According to one of the Herald's columnists writing in the paper today - Friday - she did Ok and handled it better than the others. Maybe she was watching the abridged version.

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  2. Looking at the BE poll tracker, the data clustering suggests Labour hit 33% on the 30th November, although the running average lag means that's only being suggested for today. Running out of time now though for any final surge to 40%. They need some upper 30's numbers before we could suggest that's happening. 1 x 35% so far just isn't enough.

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  3. Not much future policy is debated in those interviews. Listened to Vine and Farage today BBC Radio 2. Nothing new both were passing the time.

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  4. Don't watch the bbc or give it any money.

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  5. Old Mother SwinsonDecember 5, 2019 at 7:30 PM

    I watched Jo Swinson and thought she was marvellous. She would make an outstanding MP. In fact she will go down in history as the finest PM we have had since Lloyd George.

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  6. If GWC would support independence then I would vote for him.

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    1. I would vote for her if she promised to build a railway line from Glasgow to Ayr.

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  7. Where are all the Scottish polls?

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    1. Looks like one in the Times tomorrow. Some details but not the voting numbers although the raw figures do suggest the SNP polling between 40 to mid 40%

      https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/rx0hm1jfkw/TheTimes_191203_Scotland_VI_Results_w1.pdf

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    2. Any sign of a reduction in Tory support?

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    3. I get 46% SNP from an 2017 unweighted base of 38% SNP.

      So should look decent enough, and possibly up a little on the last couple from yougov (42-43%).

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    4. That part of the total sample of 1002 has not been shown. The raw figures have 215 voting Con to the SNP's 359. Of those unweighted they voted Con 221 and SNP 303 in 2017. No doubt the pollster will strip out those not voting/doubt know etc. Big drop in Labour support though, 107 2019 v 196 2017. LD 91 v 56. Remain vote going to SNP and LD?

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  8. Interesting, Marcia - you are far cleverer than I , I cannae make head nor tail from that apart from reading previous voting/well liked etc.

    Think the SNP need to be over 40% preferably closer to 45% to finally nick those Tory seats in the old SNP heartlands - and to go from having a good night to a fantastic night (next Thursday).

    The SNP polled reasonably well in 2017 often 40-45% but on the day only received 37% of the vote. I really hope we don't end up with a similar result.

    Fingers crossed.

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    1. The SNP were polling as low as 36% by this point in 2017, having been consistently losing share for 2 months.

      This time they have held solidly, and even crept up a little steadily in line with rising Yes, which bodes better.

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    2. I like your posts, SS.

      That is good to know that they were polling less by now. I seem to recall an STV IPSOS one from 2017 (may well have 2-3 weeks before the election) but it had SNP on about 50 seats/45% of the vote that sticks out.

      Going from word on the ground. I know of 5 quite apathetic-usually SNP voters who are voting/postal voted for the SNP and this is in Dundee East and Angus ; so fingers crossed, a lot more will return to the ballot box!

      We really need to get the vote out! I think 43-44% is the marker for an amazing night and lots of blue Tory seats.

      Speaking to a pal who's up in West Aberdeen ; and if I was to wake up on the 13th and see the Tories had only kept four seats in Scotland , I'd wager that West Kincardine/Aberdeenshire would have been one. He says that is is super tight! And canvassing probably has the Tories just ahead, but if the SNP can GOTV and even get a few remain/Lib types (like the ex Lib who even voted for Blackford) then the SNP could take the seat.

      Roll on Thursday night, I'm off on Friday so depending on the night. I don't drink reguarly, but I may well open up the old uisge-beatha if it is a good night!

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  9. MORI had the SNP losing ground from the moment the election was announced. They fell from 52-54% at the end of April, to 43% 2 weeks before the election. A whopping 10 point decline over the course of the campaign. That poll was very foreboding for me. It was a 'please don't drop any more!' one.

    The recent MORI poll is SNP up 5% on their last one, with the caveat that their last poll was in 2018.

    Trends are generally the key. You want to be going in holding steady or rising. If you are heading for voting day on a clear downward trajectory, then it's probably not going to be a great night for you.

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    1. As a point of reference here are the Scottish polling averages as of polling day in 2017. As can see they over estimated the SNP vote, hopefully the same will not happen again this year!

      42% SNP
      28% Con
      24% Lab
      6% Lib

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    2. This average was very out of date though given how fast the vote was falling in the end. So there wasn't really any overestimate. What you are showing is the average nearly a week before polling day.

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    3. In terms of when fieldwork for many of them began that is.

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    4. I agree. I don't think there was a polling error in 2016 and 2017 and more a last minute swing in both cases. I 100% expected the EU election polls to overstate the SNP, especially in a low turnout election, but they were bang on.

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  10. Campbell is now busy on Twitter advocating a vote for Johann "Scots are not genetically programmed to make political decisions" Lamont.

    Real asset to the Yes campaign that one.

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    1. He made one statement that he would vote SNP in 56 seats, but would rather have an openly anti-Scottish labour MP than the current Integrity initiative disciple and science denying MI5 plant.

      Which says all you need to know about the sleazebag S MacDonald and his equally perverted friends.

      Would you vote for a politician who openly attacks you and encourages his coterie of scumbag perverts to pile-on?

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  11. Tomorrow's Scottish Times front page looks interesting.

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  12. Stuart Campbell is engaged in what business calls *mining* he needs a new audience of followers to financially maintain him so like any grubby politician *here are my new principles would you like to buy some*

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    1. He is standing up against the constant attacks from the SNP. Why don't you ask why the leaderene refuses to call of her attack bitches? While you are there you could ask why she never challenged the S30 requirement in court 2 years ago? Why she is still not putting Independence front and centre of the election campaign, and why she openly encouraged people to support Lesley Laird against Neil Hanvey?

      it is the scumbag Sturgeon who is responsible for the present attacks on the Yes wing of the party. It is she who threw Neil hay to the dogs and ensured the election of that slime filled pustule murray. It was she who threw Michelle Thomson to the pigs of the press and guaranteed the election of jardine and colehamilton.

      When the leader of your party is sabotaging the election then questions need to be asked.

      An election campaign is the only time the majority of the population are paying attention to politics, so there is no better time to force her to answer for her crimes.

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    2. Don't talk pish

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  13. New full Scottish Yougov poll:

    Westminster:
    SNP: 44%
    CON: 28%
    LAB: 15%
    LIB: 12%

    Holyrood Constituency:
    SNP: 46%
    CON: 26%
    LAB: 14%
    LIB: 11%
    OTR: 4%

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    1. Vote for the Unionists still ahead of the Nat si fascists.

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  14. You Nat sis have just 9 days to switch on the brain if you can find it and reject the Tartan Tories. Vote Labour for a bright new future outside the EU.

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    1. So hoping you go to vote on the 15th :)

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    2. You sound so girly with your so hoping. You're probably wearing a bra.

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    3. ...but are you looking at it? I think you are.

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