How the BBC Trust betrays our trust (Part 2)


Comment at end

Or –

28th July 2011

How the BBC Trust betrays our trust (Part 2)

Just a brief reminder of what this is all about.

In their findings on the latest complaint (see earlier post here) by one of our Ban Blair-Baiting campaigners, the supposed BBC watchdog, the BBC Trust, clearly showed how they distort and ignore key points put to them when  adjudicating on complaints about the BBC’s handling of anything to do with Tony Blair and the Iraq war, particularly when their lead presenter, Jeremy Paxman, is involved.

BBC TRUST REPORT – “Editorial Standards, Findings, Appeals to the Trust and other editorial issues considered by the Editorial Standards Committee, May 2011 issued June 2011″

In my earlier post I discussed the Trust’s defence of Paxman’s use of the term “dodgy dossier” in his anti-war article. In this post I turn to their conclusions on Paxman’s views about how the war affected the public’s trust in government. Based on a string of public opinion polls appended to the paper prepared for them, the Trust’s adjudicating Committee put it in this (typically starchy) way –

“Regarding whether the public’s perception of the impartiality, integrity, independence and objectivity of the BBC had been undermined by the statement in the article that: “the cost (of the war) wasn’t measured just in blood and treasure but in our ability ever again to trust governments”, there was clear evidence that the public’s trust in government has been negatively influenced by some aspects of the prosecution of the war. In reflecting this in his article, Jeremy Paxman had reached an evidence-based conclusion and was not advocating a personal view.”

Yet in his comments on the paper put to the Committee, our campaigner, Stan Rosenthal had pointed out that ” the evidence cited is irrelevant since the main point here is not whether there was indeed a loss of trust in government resulting from the Iraq war but whether Mr Paxman gave the impression that the loss of trust resulted solely from the  misdemeanours of the government (i.e. that he inferred that there had been a breach of trust not just a loss of trust).”

It should be noted that the reference to loss of trust came at the end of a paragraph detailing a number of negative thoughts about the war, including references to the initial lies that took us to war and to ‘the summoning of clubby members of the House of Lords to conduct later “inquiries” (note the inverted comas here which were specifically excluded from Mr Paxman’s reference to the dodgy dossier) that claimed so much and revealed so little’.

Mr Rosenthal went on to say that

“the paragraph clearly illustrates how Mr Paxman’s words resonate with the words of those who allege that the case for war and the subsequent inquiries were a stitch-up and that it was this that caused the loss of public trust. The other view is that we didn’t go to war on a lie (as explained in my appeal letter), that there was no inquiry whitewash and if there was a loss of trust in government this has more to do with how the story has been treated by the media than anything else.  All of which is debatable of course but certainly Mr Paxman had no right under the BBC rules to express himself in a way that clearly identified him with the case made by opponents of the war.”

These observations by Mr Rosenthal (along with the others that have been exclusively passed to me) were not only completely ignored by the Committee but did not even appear in the BBC Trust’s website report of the findings which is supposed to cover the key points made by complainants. At a time when attention is being focused on the skullduggery of the press and the inadequacies of the Press Complaints Committee, it is an even greater scandal in my opinion that the BBC’s complaints watchdog should be getting away with this kind of blatant bias regarding how it treats complaints which conflict with the liberal-left consensus on controversial subjects like the Iraq war.

The third and final example of how the BBC Trust betrayed our trust in this particular case will appear shortly.




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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.


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