The BBC has broadcast a misleading portion of an article by Peter Hitchens from the Mail on Sunday, prompting complaints over impartiality and accuracy.
The BBC’s ‘News Briefing’, which was aired on Radio 4 at 5am yesterday used a selective portion of a column by author and commentator Peter Hitchens. The piece was entitled “Here is the best reason for voting UKIP”.
Mr Hitchens began his column, “I don’t like UKIP or its leader, Nigel Farage. They are the Dad’s Army of British politics, doddery, farcical and very unclear about what they are actually for.”
But the BBC failed to report the headline or indeed any of the rest of Mr Hitchens comments which he described as “generally pro-UKIP”.
Instead, the host of the programme continued pulling negative UKIP comments from various newspapers for the rest of the segment. The entire clip can be heard here.
In his original article, Mr Hitchens went on to say: “But they have Captain Mainwaring’s virtues too. They are absolutely certain about what they are against, in this case an aloof political establishment that despises the concerns of normal human beings.
“They are also indomitable when under attack. And they need to be. I have taken a close interest in British politics since I was a schoolboy, and I have never seen a more disgraceful alliance between politicians and their media toadies than the one that has been secretly made to do down UKIP.”
He went on to expose a freshly reported alliance between the Guardian newspaper and Conservative Party Headquarters. The full article can be read here.
Mr Hitchens told Breitbart London that he has lodged formal complaints with the BBC, and noted that they have form in misrepresenting him.
“Every single item they quoted about UKIP was hostile to it,” Mr Hitchens said. “I’m sure Christopher Booker had a piece defending UKIP this weekend. It was by no means impossible for those looking for a balanced take to find things defending UKIP.
“We are in the final stages of these elections in which UKIP is a major party, and since the BBC is bound to impartiality, it is especially during this time that there should be extra vigilance”.
“To have something so selective that they misrepresented a generally pro-UKIP article is very striking”
The BBC’s cultural and political bias is long-noted, and Freedom of Information requests into its journalistic activities are often fruitless given a restrictive clause in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which protects whatever the BBC deems to be journalistic activity.
Numerous BBC personalities have however confessed to a bias within the organisation, and Breitbart London uncovered the organisation’s disproportionate purchases of the Guardian newspaper earlier this year.
Speaking on the issue, Mr Hitchens said, “[The BBC] is like a goldfish in a bowl. It thinks that is the world, and therefore you cannot change the BBC. They don’t know that they are hopefully and utterly biased.”
Mr Hitchens is understood to have complained to the BBC in three different ways, including once as a general listener, and once as the author of a piece which has been misrepresented. “I’m pursuing it in every way” he told Breitbart London.