The BBC's response to my claim of Bias

BBC Scotland Office - Glasgow

BBC Scotland Office - Glasgow
BBC Scotland Office - Glasgow

I complained over the quality of coverage by BBC News recently and especially on its focus on attacking Jeremy Corbyn no matter what the actual local election results suggested - they had a narrative from before the results had been declared and IMO stuck to that narrative even when the result contradited it. The whole aim was to make Jeremy Corbyn look bad no matter what the outcome of the elections.

The BBC has sent me the following response:

Thanks for taking the time to contact us about BBC News' coverage of the May 2016 Elections. We have received a wide range of feedback from our audience about our coverage of these elections. Bearing in mind the pressures on our TV Licence fee resources, the following response strives to address the majority of concerns raised, but we apologise in advance if not all of the specific points you have mentioned have been answered in the manner you prefer.

The BBC has very clear guidelines to ensure that political parties receive an appropriate level of coverage during an election campaign and our Editors are required to follow them carefully. The amount of airtime the BBC gives to a party in the run-up to an election is based on evidence of past and current levels of electoral support. This can include the number of candidates a party is fielding, how it performed in the last equivalent election, and other evidence of current electoral backing. Ahead of the campaign, we publish details of our approach on our website.

Some viewers and listeners have contacted us to say that they felt BBC News has been biased against the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn, with some people mentioning particular reports by our Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg.

We take our obligations to provide fair and impartial coverage very seriously and we are confident that our reporting of the May 2016 elections was balanced, proportionate and in line with our published Editorial and Election Guidelines. We seek to ensure that, over a period, all sides of any public debate are explored and explained, so that viewers and listeners can be better informed in coming to their own judgement of events. Senior editorial staff, the BBC Executive Board and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

We endeavoured to report each of the election outcomes separately, and in doing so we made it clear across our coverage that Labour had acknowledged doing badly in Scotland, but that they'd had a good result in Wales and had exceeded their expectations in the English Council elections as well, of course, as winning the London Mayoral election. That said, many Labour Councillors and MPs - including senior figures such as Shadow Cabinet members, the former Deputy leader and the former Home Secretary - were unhappy at their party's performance in the English council elections, and our programmes rightly heard from them.

Part of any journalist's role is to get politicians to explain their positions by asking the sort of questions that audiences want to hear answered. They seek to provide the information which will enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds; to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard. This can demand an assertive approach, but what matters is that interviews are conducted impartially and give the interviewee a fair chance to explain themselves. Opinions are bound to differ on what questions are legitimate and what approach is necessary, but we are satisfied that Laura's reporting was relevant and appropriate.

It's worth adding that the last week of campaigning was of course dominated by internal Labour Party difficulties and the expulsion of the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingston, thus it was relevant that these issues be explored in our coverage. That said, BBC News also repeatedly pressed Conservative Cabinet members on the controversial issue of Zac Goldsmith's campaign for the London Mayoralty as well as putting tough questions to various Liberal Democrats, Greens and UKIP representatives too across her reporting both before and after the elections.

We hope our reply here helps to explain our approach and allays any concerns you may have had about our coverage. Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints

A load of rubbish IMO. Just a standard response ignoring the facts of their coverage.