Bias on Sky

WHILE the “foaming at the mouth” brigade continually bang on about anti-Conservative bias at the BBC, I’ve discovered a startling piece of anti-Labour – or, more accurately, anti-Gordon Brown – bias over at Sky News.

On tonight’s newspaper review, presenter Steve Dixon, discussing a recent speech on the economy by the prime minister with his guest Michael Dodd, said this: 

“I would love to know whether that sort of rubbish makes a difference to voters because it means nothing…

“‘Calm, determined British spirit’? – Nonsense!”

Can you imagine the outcry if any BBC presenter used that kind of language to describe Cameron? The “foaming at the mouth” brigade will probably jump to Sky’s defence, however, on the simple basis that they’re not the Beeb and it was GB and not “David” who was the target.



Filed under Gordon Brown, Labour, Media

22 responses to “Bias on Sky

  1. Rob F

    I was watching – pretty clear to me they were both talking about the language of political speeches in general, just citing this as an example

  2. That Steve Dixon bloke doesn’t hide his political leanings very well at the best of times.

    While we’re talking media appearances though, I saw you on The Record last night. Either you’re a giant of a man or the interviewer is very petite.

  3. John

    Why haven’t you put a link to your Today in Parliament interview on your blog?
    It’s very honest (as I have come to expect from you) so please link it.

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    “Balance” is what I would have called it. We have to put up with leftie media all the time led by the BBC. so whats your problem. So I look forward to a shift to the right from Sky as we need balance to the BBC. However I find News at Ten far less pro Labour than the BBC.

    The BBCs political agenda is a disgrace for a publicly funded operation.

  5. Curbishly

    As far as I’m aware Sky Tv doesn’t require you to pay for it with the threat of prison if you don’t.

    James “when we win” McNaughtie.

    The bias is there and I can understand why you seek to ridicule it. It is, after all, in your interests to do so.

  6. John

    I don’t see a problem with this as Sky is not paid for from the TV license fee.
    The BBC on the other hand are, so should be completely unbiased, and its guidelines state as much. I heard a BBC radio presenter state that both he and his program were 100% in support of Obama.

    You didn’t seem to have a problem with the recent C4 documentary Dispatches program.

  7. Stu

    I would agree with you insofar as the BBC aren’t quite as awful as some would have you think, but you forget an important distinction.

    The BBC is paid for by the government/taxpayer.

    Sky can say what they darn well please – if somebody objects to political bias on Sky news they can cease watching and cancel their Sky accounts. Through advertising or subscription, they have withdrawn their own support for Sky’s reports.

    A viewer cannot similarly withdraw their funding for the BBC based on perceived bias. Therefore it is incumbent on the BBC to be as neutral as possible. While they do, bless ’em, try hard on occasion, they are sometimes quite a bit harder on HM’s Opposition than HM’s government. That’s life. Move along. There’s no need to get a chip on your shoulder about it.

    Oh, and anti-Gordon Brown statements can hardly be called ‘bias’ can they? I’d have thought that would be better termed ‘objectivity’!

  8. Previous commenters have got the wrong end of the stick. The requirement for objectivity is one that is imposed on all news broadcasters in the UK, not just those funded by the licence fee. Sky is legally not allowed to express political views any more than the BBC is. The licence fee, while being a great source of anger and indignation to some, is a complete red herring when it comes to bias.

  9. Johnny Norfolk

    So why do you not critisise the BBC for Labour bias. Or do you not see it.

  10. In my not-at-all humble opinion, the real worry is the anti-politics bias which infects most of the media. Possibly it’s because some of the more influential employees are failed politicians (or maybe they’re all just rather bitter & twisted human beings & who wouldn’t be in their place? Many journos work long, stressful hours and get paid the square root of very little)…

  11. Any academic observer of the media will tell you that it is inherently biased. It is impossible to present facts without context, and it rarely possible for that context to be entire. Cultural, social and political leanings infuse the news we provide. Bias is inherent and inevitable. While I would suggest that the Reithian principles of the BBC need a re-affirmation, it may also be time for us to re-appraise the notion of what it actually means for a public service broadcaster, or indeed any broadcaster, to be duly impartial and/or balanced, particularly in an era of 24-hour and online news.

    Regardless, as an MP once said, politicians complaining about the media is like sailors grumbling about the sea.

    I am now sufficiently inspired to come up with something of my own about this on my blog later.

  12. Stewart Knight

    Bias in this interview was non-existent, and you well know it. Balance and hard comment on a trite and rhetorical sound-bite may have been present, and rightly so.

    We have had the unedifying and embarrassing spectacle of Brown virtually taking credit for the drop in world oil prices in a sound-bite, to mention just a single example amongst very many, and why has no-one taken him to task over this? Would you start whining and beating your breast again if they had?

    As has been said before and is truly the case, we pay for the BBC and should expect them to be unbiased, but Sky need not be, despite your claims otherwise, besides there was no attack on the man but on the sound-bite.

    WHILE the “foaming at the mouth” brigade continually bang on about anti-Conservative bias at the BBC

    Is this how you describe anyone who dares to object to content on the BBC? Seems to me you are doing exactly what you accuse of others of doing. Presumably your anti-Sky ‘foaming at the mouth’ rants will continue.

    As is usual, and has been the case for approaching twelve years, Labour (not NuLabour, there is no such thing) has failed to realise that THEY are the party in power and are the party to be held to account as the Government. You cannot accuse a news service of bias for attacking what Labour has done and said and not attacking the Tories for what they haven’t yet done and said. This is why Labour will be kicked out at the next election; they have not matured past the playground stage of politics, while the electorate, in the new electronic post BBC monopoly stage, most definitely have.

  13. Cassandrina

    So NuLabor have now got bloggers that seek to recover lost ground.
    The bbc is totally biased not only in openly supporting NuLabor but in openly promoting PC, immigration, marxism (their version of which Karl is spinning in his grave), positive discrimination, anti- Englishness, anti-Palinism and the Republican Party, anti-Americanism.
    I could go on and on “foaming at the mouth” but as usual with loony leftism you forget the bbc has a charter and is supposed to uphold ethical content etc etc WHICH neither you nor your party acknowledge nor support.
    I am not right wing or a Tory supporter, but I will fight you and your kind for making the bbc the very deeply flawed news broadcaster it has become over the last 20 years, using our money.

  14. ani

    “I’ve discovered a startling piece of anti-Labour – or, more accurately, anti-Gordon Brown – bias over at Sky News”

    Startling to you if you’ve only just discovered it, but not to those of us who watch Sky news.
    I wasn’t aware that Sky was legally obliged to be impartial, and even Kay Burley’s eyebrows seem to have missed that fact, but not wanting to be accused of being trivial, the answer is I suppose, to complain, and I’ve done that once or twice, not that I’ve had an acknowledgement though.

    ‘WHILE the “foaming at the mouth” brigade continually bang on about anti-Conservative bias at the BBC’

    Ah. So true. You’ve also discovered the ‘Biased BBC’ website then?
    Is there a Sky one I can foam at, do you know?

  15. Robert McG

    “there was no attack on the man but on the sound-bite”. This was absolutely the case. The critical comments were about the Mirror article in which GB said ‘the people of Britain were calm and collected and would take this in their stride blah blah blah’.

    The presenter was saying, to paraphrase ‘does this (nonsense) resonate with any voter, or do they just want to know what the problem is and how to fix it’. It wasn’t party political, it just happened to be Brown who was coming up with the spin this time around.

    Frankly, as far as Mr Dixon is concerned, I thought it was an excellent point, well made.

  16. Stu

    Sorry, Tom, but are you complaining that the ‘Biased BBC’ crowd are being hypocrites, or that Sky News is unlawfully showing bias? You can’t argue both at the same time, really.

    If you believe Sky are behaving unlawfully, you should file a complaint with the relevant authorities. If you’re just moaning about the Biased BBC lot, you should accept that the reason they complain about the BBC is that it is taxpayer-funded, not that it is unlawful.

    I and others made the point that Sky News aren’t funded by the taxpayer, and you countered that by saying it’s against the law any way. That’s moving the goalposts – your original post didn’t mention anything about the legal standing of media bias. My guess is that most of what you refer to as the ‘foaming at the mouth brigade’ wouldn’t mind even blatant political bias in the news, as long as they weren’t forced to actually pay for it.

    On the other hand, I’m actually a supporter of the BBC, and of the licence fee, so I don’t quite know where that puts me in this particular argument…

  17. Paul Williams

    Sorry Tom, but this smacks of “Hey, because I found some bias on another channel it therefore justfies it on the BBC”. Well it jolly well doesn’t.

    Bias views (if this is indeed one) on Sky should be complained about the same as the BBC, it should not be used as in excuse to negate the (rightful) views of those that come from the “foaming at the mouth” brigade, a point which you are so clearly implying.

    And certainly anything you highlight here are nothing compared to the biased views of the BBC which have become much more pronounced recently, especially with the obvious difference in the treatment of the Labour and Conservative conferences.

    Is anyone in any doubt who Justin Webb wants to win the America election? This man is a disgrace and should be sacked.

    So as a MP you should be holding the BBC to account on behalf of us taxpayers, not essentially insulting us.

  18. Martin Cullip

    It has to be said that Paul Williams is right, the bias on BBC Five Live, that I listen to daily, is getting increasingly ridiculous the more Labour are embattled.

    Example (on my turf): Not ‘Do you think banning smoking in homes and cars is right?’ but instead ‘Do the Government’s plans on banning smoking in cars and homes go far enough?’, accompanied by phone-in editing that was atrocious.

  19. Like Tories, I too find the BBC biased. I find it biased towards the Tories. However, unlike the Tories I’m smart enough to see that that’s probably my own bias talking, and that although their general viewpoint is fairly liberal (and therefore they tend to cover the Liberal Democrats and liberal elements of the Conservatives more favourably than they should) they aren’t really biased towards any political party.

  20. Zorro

    “The requirement for objectivity is one that is imposed on all news broadcasters in the UK”

    While that may be the legal case there is a significnatly higher moral argument for non bias at the BBC, as we are all forced to pay for it.

    It’s not really going to far to call the BBC Pravda…

    Steve Dixon balances Anna Botting who always drives me potty when interviewing tories. Talk about Bias!

    Anyhow my main point. I don’t remember you complaining when the Murdoch papers came out to support Labour in 1997?

    Oh that’s different is it because it’s papers? That support didn’t cross-polinate to Sky at all? Oh of course now how stupid and mouth foaming of me.

    If it’s true that broadcasters are legally disallowed from political bias, how come Sky are allowed to transmit Fox news? The No Spin Zone, yeah right! Does that not count as it’s US political bias?? (*Yes Tom I would prefer Obama to McCain!)

    Tim F can I have some of what you’re smoking please. Sure the bias is sometimes subtle but boy you must be dim/stoned if you can’t see it.

  21. Curbishly

    “so far as I’m concerned Bevan was being unusually generous when he likened the Tories to vermin”.

    I think Tim F. that this comment from your website sums up quite accurately your worth in this debate.

  22. Sacha

    Identifying a single supposedly biased piece on Sky hardly compares against the hundreds of examples people have dug up on the BBC. Whilst I wouldn’t say its anything like as bad as the bias you get on some American news channels, it does exist and its clear to see if you compare the questioning of a Labour MP against the questioning of a Conservative MP by the same person. The Today Show and Andrew Marr have become well known for being far more combative in their interview style when conservatives are in the chair.

    If there was a consistent anti-Labour bias, a group would have sprung up to identify it. But of course, there isn’t, because it doesn’t exist. In much the same way, Fox News doesn’t have a group complaining about anti-republican bias but its quite clear where it is coming from.

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