The BBC has been caught out attempting to bury a massive screw up by Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
Corbyn destroys May at #PMQs so BBC news show just a second of him speaking. They're just laughing at us with every bulletin they do.
— Devutopia #SocSocM (@D_Raval) October 12, 2016
— Gary Whitley (@gary_whitley) October 12, 2016
The consensus that the Labour leader was the clear winner was shared even by political correspondents at The Telegraph, Corbyn’s critics within his own party and hordes of other pundits and politicians who can hardly be described as his biggest fans.
Jeremy Corbyn confident, relaxed, reinvigorated. Exposed Theresa May's vacuity on Brexit economic fallout. Won that bout #PMQs
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) October 12, 2016
#PMQs – the verdict
Jeremy Corbyn came out on top at this week's PMQs. It's fair to say he had a spring in his step today.
— Telegraph Politics (@TelePolitics) October 12, 2016
Good gags from Theresa May, but nobody's laughing at her failure to answer the serious questions posed by Jeremy Corbyn #PMQs
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) October 12, 2016
Yet our public service broadcaster began what appears to be a whitewash, reading out a series of emails from viewers that were far from representative of this consensus on its flagship Daily Politics show. A handful of minutes later, the BBC continued this trend, giving almost all the space on its main lunchtime news bulletin to Theresa May, while cutting off Corbyn midway through the only sentence of his they showed:
The pound is plummeting, business is worrying and the government has no answers. The Prime Minister says she won’t give a running commentary –
He was cut off mid-sentence. Viewers of BBC News were left unaware, but Corbyn had continued:
but isn’t it time for the government to stop running away from the looming threat to jobs and business in this country and living standards to millions of people?
Beforehand on BBC Daily Politics, our public service broadcaster set the scene as presenter Jo Coburn read out the corporation’s choice of viewers’ emails, beginning with following:
I feel we have a Prime Minister and a leader of the opposition who have very few answers. Confusing policies and I can only summarise, it’s the blind being challenged by the blind.
A comment equally critical of both Corbyn and May, one might argue. But totally at odds with the positive response to Corbyn’s performance on social and traditional media alike.
An assured performance from Jeremy Corbyn, who looked like an opposition leader. Theresa May had no answers for him and it showed. #pmqs
— Michael Wilkinson (@ThatMichaelW) October 12, 2016
— Momentum Oxford (@MomentumOx) October 12, 2016
Meanwhile, May avoided answering vital questions on Brexit, resorting to making up comments from the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, so she could set up what looked like pre-written jokes:
For the sake of a lame joke, the PM misleads House saying I'm calling for a rerun of Brexit referendum. I haven't and don't. #PMQs
— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) October 12, 2016
Theresa May attempting to deliver a joke is like a buffalo trying to knit a scarf. #PMQs
— Kevin (@kvn_dnls) October 12, 2016
Burying the gaffe from May, the BBC floated another response backing up her fabrication about Thornberry:
When will the ‘Remainers’ stop whinging and allow the government of the day to get on with process of negotiation, exiting from the EU and carrying out the wishes of the Brexit masses?
While one comment commended his performance, the other featured on the show peddled a myth about his referendum campaign:
At last Jeremy Corbyn is showing his true colours regarding Brexit such a great pity he didn’t raise his voice before the referendum or was he merely keeping his powder dry.
But actually, it turns out the BBC and the other mainstream media broadcasters now appear to have played a huge role in that perception of Corbyn’s performance during the Remain campaign.
The main evening bulletins throughout the EU referendum on Channel 5 (5pm), Channel 4 (7pm), the BBC, ITV, and Sky News (10pm) were analysed by the New Statesman. The findings showed that a huge 71.2% of political sources were from the Conservative Party, compared to just 18.4% from Labour. Such polarised disproportionate coverage will give the impression Corbyn was being quiet.
Corbyn catches fire
The BBC could have shown a number of swift comebacks, rebuttals and questions from the Labour leader in its coverage. After May tried to mock Corbyn’s reelection, he laid into her nonexistent mandate to cheers from the Labour benches:
I’m most grateful to over 300,000 people who voted for me, which is rather more than voted for her to become leader of her party.
She had no response. After capitalising on her being an unelected Prime Minister, Corbyn took aim May’s Brexit comments and anti-immigrant policies announced at the Conservative Party conference.
"This government has no answers, just gimmicks and scapegoats"
Corbyn sums up the stories in one sentence. #PMQs
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) October 12, 2016
At PMQs, Corbyn played an absolute blinder. But the BBC appeared to try and shield the public from what went down in its coverage. Fortunately, eagle-eyed citizens were there to call our public service broadcaster out. Dogged by a series of studies representing a consensus that it has pro-Conservative bias, the BBC should really try and up its game.
You can watch the exchange here:
– Check out the Media Reform Coalition.
– Write to your MP, asking their view on media monopolies.
– Support the work of new media organisations here. Please add more that you like in the comments.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?