As a citizen-funded media outlet, the BBC is rightfully expected to present information in an impartial manner. But it has been consistently criticised for failing to do so. And the 5 May local elections were no exception, garnering strong critiques from people on social media.
The major criticisms were of BBC Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg, and BBC Question Time. Both were perceived to have placed a significant and inappropriate emphasis on attacking Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
So why so much focus on Labour? At the time of writing, results from 79 out of 124 councils in England showed the Labour party to have lost only 22 seats. Considering previous comments from The Guardian, saying that even a loss of up to 50 seats would still be a good result for Labour, it seemed like the party was actually on track for a decent performance.
This incoherence at the BBC was not lost on Twitter users.
Laura Kuenssberg as a Tory propagandist
Firstly, Kuenssberg was the target of criticism – from a wide range of sources:
Is there a BBC producer in @bbclaurak 's earpiece? Or Conservative Central Office? Woeful anti Labour bias. Woeful.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) May 6, 2016
— Nick Wrack (@NickWrack) May 5, 2016
I see @bbclaurak is on her usual Corbyn bashing hobby horse.
— Rory Patton (@springingtiger) May 6, 2016
#Elections2016 Who is this Laura on the BBC? She has the analytical skills of a hairbrush and speaks like a Tory spin doctor.
— Lal (@Lalwendeboggart) May 6, 2016
— Andy (@Taxi_Andy) May 6, 2016
— Frankie (@FrankieGJones) May 6, 2016
— John McMahon (@JohnMcArts) May 5, 2016
— Mountain Boy (@sharpeleven) May 5, 2016
— Uncle Buk (@HalfManHalfLard) May 6, 2016
— Susie Stewart (@susiepip) May 6, 2016
— julie anne⚘ (@stoneyrocks) May 6, 2016
BBC Question Time as a forum for Corbyn bashing
But before the BBC’s election coverage had even begun, Question Time also came under fire on Twitter:
— Donna Mai (@Donna_Mai_) May 5, 2016
That was disgusting. Blatant hatchet job from #bbcqt against Corbyn / Labour. Wt actual? They seriously had NOTHING about the Tories??
— Babs (@BabsSheKing) May 5, 2016
— Nick (@Mylegalforum) May 5, 2016
Tonight's #BBCQT was as always …..
A Party Political Broadcast for the #Tory Party
— Nick (@Mylegalforum) May 5, 2016
All this smearing, back-biting and media demonisation is a huge compliment to Corbyn. It's what happens when you stand for something. #bbcqt
— Ricardo Picasso (@Ricairdooo000) May 5, 2016
— Nicolai. (@nickh1877) May 6, 2016
The power of popular outrage
With the failures of the BBC and other mainstream outlets, Twitter has often been a clear source of strong popular expression. The BBC’s poor coverage of the potentially illegal Tory victory in the 2015 general elections, for example, got slammed by Twitter users on 3 May. The #VoteConservative campaign, meanwhile, got brilliantly hijacked on 5 May.
But the point is not that the BBC appears to be biassed towards the Conservative party. It’s the mere suggestion that the BBC should favour any particular political party. As a public service, it should not be right wing, left wing, or even centrist. It should simply be a source of objective information and balanced debate. That is what the British people deserve… It’s just not what they’re getting at the moment.
You can see one moment from the BBC’s election coverage here, where Laura Kuenssberg thinks she has trumped Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell with some leaked information:
– You may like to make an official complaint about BBC bias here.
– You might also like to remind Laura Kuenssberg very politely about her responsibilities as a public service broadcaster.
– Support The Canary, so we can continue to step in where mainstream outlets like the BBC fail.
Featured image via BBC Newz/YouTube
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