The BBC: records (broken and otherwise)

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 18, 2007

Category: Old Media

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
4:57 pm and is filed
under Old Media.

CiF: Sunny Hundal – Liberals: abandon the BBC: The bloggers and much of the press won’t be happy until the BBC reflects their worldview without accepting that the whole picture may lie somewhere in the middle, despite their continual hypocrisy. Not only are they uninterested in balance, they are completely obsessed and convinced that this vast leftwing conspiracy dominates the Beeb… Supporting the corporation or focusing on editorial balance only seems to result in the centre ground shifting further to the right, since they are the only ones complaining. The likes of Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes and Biased BBC are merely following a strategy pioneered by the American loony-right blogs. It’s time the liberal left fought back.

Heh. Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes have also been busy declaring that it’s the left who are suffering from ‘a poverty of ideas’ while they recycle this tired old shit as fresh (and original) thinking.

It’s also fun watching the people who are laying into Sunny at CiF and on his website without actually reading his article first.


Now, to business:

I agree that the BBC should not be the recipient of blind support, and I’d like to think that the I Believe in The BBC page makes that quite clear.

However, I’m not sure that a leftish incarnation of Biased BBC is called for… particularly when there are media outlets and owners that are far more deserving of this level of attention.

That said… today is as good a day as any to bring this off the back-burner for a quick look-see:

I think the BBC should produce and publish written transcripts for all (as opposed to some) key interviews and items from Newsnight and Radio 4’s Today Programme online in order to make the content of these programmes more accessible to those who wish to scrutinise/verify/reference statements and claims made during them.

Easily accessible online versions of these transcripts would allow bloggers to present this information (with a link for context, natch) on their weblogs…. without having to write a complete or partial transcript themselves (as many of us have had to do in the past).

It would also provide the BBC with a more cost-effective way of archiving this material on a long-term basis for the very simple reason that text data is far cheaper to host, and will often make the online viewing of the video version of any given interview or report surplus to requirements*.

(*Except in cases where it could be argued that the delivery of the material is as/more revealing than the material itself.)

Newsnight would make the best pilot project for this, as a passable transcript is already created upon each broadcast for the subtitles.

But I’ll leave it to you lot to see if it goes back on the back-burner; if you think it’s worth pursuing, drop me a line.

Cheers all.

UPDATE (19 Sep) – A nice comment over at Sunny’s website that pretty much nails it. Also, Iain Dale has laid into Sunny here. Persistent chap that I am, I attempted a response and discovered that Iain’s ban on my commenting on his site has been lifted just as quietly and mysteriously as it was issued.

Some emails and comments are coming in in support of the proposed call for the BBC to publish transcripts, but not enough to get me fired up about it.

UPDATE – BSSC – The King of Spin


  1. ian says

    Surely it should be relatively easy for the BBC to take the subtitles from these programmes and publish them?

  2. Jangliss says

    You might be interested to hear allegations that ConservativeHome use comment censorship:

  3. Manic says

    Ian: Newsnight have already done so in the past for some interviews:"This transcript was produced from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight. It has been checked against the programme as broadcast, however Newsnight can accept no responsibility for any factual inaccuracies. We will be happy to correct serious errors."…Jangliss: Interested, yes. Surprised, no.

  4. Justin says

    I see the various comment threads eleswhere are have turned into massive circle-jerks already. Why are we bothering to engage with Dale and his ilk on this?It's a waste of time and energy and thanks to his pre-emptive comment moderation you argue on his terms – there's no guarantee of an honest debate whatsoever.

  5. Justin says
  6. Paul.Ferrari says

    Re the Update and Iain's ban on your comments – I think he may have deleted it, as I can't see a comment from you.

  7. Manic says

    Hahahahahahaha!This just in: Iain Dale uses to keep up to date with what's happening on his own damn website.A screengrab of what he published and then later deleted can be seen here:…Iain, if you're watching, you might want to delete this one, too:

  8. Jherad says

    It's well known that reality has a liberal bias.The BBC obviously needs more interpretation and comment, in order to offset pesky facts. Rebekah Wade should be able to sort things out nicely.

  9. Manic says

    Pfft! It took him a few hours, but he deleted that one, too:…I guess I'm still officially (and yet secretly) banned.He's still missing one. I wonder if he can find it without my help…

  10. McGazz says

    "I'm not sure that a leftish incarnation of Biased BBC is called for"Don't MediaLens do something like that already? Obviously, they don't single out the Beeb specifically, but it seems to be the likes of Newsnight on the receiving end of their ire more often than nnot.

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