The only thing more insulting than the Question Time panel was a message the BBC sent viewers before the show

BBC Question Time panel
Tracy Keeling

The BBC put out an infographic ahead of its first Question Time of the season on 13 September. Clearly, the public broadcaster wanted to show potential critics how balanced its panellists are.

But the BBC‘s pre-emptive defence went down like a lead balloon with much of the British public. Especially as the programme didn’t live up to the broadcaster’s portrayal of itself.

Nothing to see here

The BBC News press team alerted people to Question Time‘s return after its summer break on 13 September. But the public broadcaster noted that it “often” gets questions about its choice of panellists. So, it included an infographic to put those queries to bed:

Unfortunately for the BBC, its choice of panellists for the very first show of the season didn’t exactly bolster its claim of balance:

This sort of panel line-up isn’t an anomaly either. It chose almost exactly the same ‘balanced’ panel in May, just with different people taking up the left-wing vs right-wing positions:

Wait a minute

But people didn’t only take issue with the BBC‘s choice of panel after its Twitter message. They raised numerous problems with its defence. Some questioned the date range it chose:

Others criticised the BBC‘s choice not to acknowledge that “other panellists” often have left/right leanings of their own:

Meanwhile, people also called out the broadcaster for brushing over the fact that Labour representatives can differ in important ways:

Of course, with the amount of discussion Question Time has given to Brexit and Nigel Farage, that came up too:

Show us the goods

A number of people are now asking for the BBC to release the data it used to create the infographic. So, its attempt to answer the questions it “often” gets about panels has just given rise to more. That’s probably not the result the BBC hoped for. Or, as one Twitter user put it:

But then, the BBC shouldn’t really have expected anything less. Especially not when it chooses a predominantly right-wing panel after posting ‘proof’ of its impartiality.

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Tracy Keeling