Hitchens To Get 'On Air Apology' Following BBC UKIP Misrepresentation

Hitchens To Get 'On Air Apology' Following BBC UKIP Misrepresentation

The BBC has told the popular author and commentator Peter Hitchens that he is to receive an on air apology following misrepresentation by the corporation’s News Briefing programme last weekend.

Breitbart London reported earlier this week that Mr Hitchens was subjected to another incident of misrepresentation of one of his articles, the second time the BBC has committed such an offence against him. This time, the subject at hand was UKIP.

Mr Hitchens reports on his Daily Mail blog

“The BBC now tells me that it plans to apologize on air for its treatment of me, during next Sunday morning’s ‘News Briefing’.

“The Corporation’s e-mail reads as follows:

‘I have been discussing this matter with the relevant editorial staff at BBC News since you alerted us to the mistake. We would like to inform you that we will be apologising for this error during the equivalent slot of ‘News Briefing’ on Sunday 25 May 2014. Additionally, we will publish an entry on the BBC’s Corrections and Clarifications page explaining our actions. 

We regard this as an editorial error; however we don’t agree that it represented wider or electoral bias against UKIP as you suggest.'”

Last Sunday, the BBC’s ‘News Briefing’ radio programme used a selective portion of a column by Mr Hitchens. His article 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.

Mr Hitchens suggested today that the grudge at the BBC, and specifically at Radio 4 may be against him personally:

“Yet it is of course now not unique. There are now three such instances, two of them on Radio 4.  Is it not passing strange that I have twice had my writing misrepresented on air by the same Radio Station? And thrice by the BBC as a whole? Has it happened to anyone else, ever? Even once? Radio 4 is a not unbureaucratic organisation. Why have its checks and balances failed so completely on two occasions, both involving me? 

“It then explains to me that I can take the matter to the Editorial Complaints Unit if I am dissatisfied. I shall.  I am dissatisfied, not least because the apology will not be broadcast until after the polls have been closed, polls which may have been affected by the bias I believe was displayed on this occasion. I have written to the ECU. 

“Then of course there is the problem of the biased selection of comments about UKIP, at a key stage on the election. I must stress again, this is a grave breach of due impartiality on matters of public controversy, made worse by the fact that it took place soon before the poll and while postal votes were actually being cast.  It needs to be investigated as such. Since almost all the press have been hostile to UKIP during this campaign, I believe the BBC rules would require *either* that they found enough comments on either side to provide balance, or that they did not recount the comments at all. If Fleet Street is biased, the BBC has no duty to repeat that bias, but on the contrary has a duty *not* to repeat it.