Posted by: John | October 19, 2009

Broadcasting’s instutionalised discrimination against the Liberal Democrats

Thanks for Stephen Glenn who blogged Chris Huhne’s thoughts on political representation in the media during election times.

I would go further – there is institutional discrimination against the Liberal Democrats.

Let’s look at the evidence.

Bedford Mayoral win raised hardly a mention except perhaps on local BBC news bulletins – yes, there was a lot else going on in the news yet surely it warranted ten seconds. BBC producers must ask themselves `if the Conservatives had won would we have featured it?` If the answer is yes then they must rethink their whole view of balance.

There is another glaring example – if anyone listened to the programme on the increased pay rewards (iplayer only available for a limited time) for Council chief executives yesterday they would have noticed all three parties meticulously represented (negatively that is). Thus, when there’s a negative story all parties have to be represenated yet you can bet your bottom dollar that you have to fight like Amir Khan to get something positive on air.

We’ve heard about `no platform` for the BNP – the big story is that there’s been a partial `no platform` for the Lib Dems! Whether it’s the `twin tory` approach on Question Time/Any Questions (ie a Conservative MP and a Conservative intellectual) or the fact that Chris Davies MEP has never been on QT (Nick Griffin has been an MEP for 5 months, Chris for 10 years). Why don’t they invite the many Lib Dem bloggers and intellectuals to appear?

The other thing that concerns me is the increasinly slapdash political research work of the BBC. I extracted an apology myself on `The Westminster Hour`. On that programme they made the `schoolboy error` of saying that `the Lib Dems held the balance of power on Newcastle and Sheffield`. Any sixth form student could have looked up in ten seconds that we were the CONTROLLING group on those Councils.

This weekend I bumped into someone who tries to arrange Lib Dem spokespeople for all the media shows (I don’t envy him this task). On one show they told him they’d already found a Liberal Democrat called Lucy. I’ll leave the readers of this blog to ascertain the professionalism of the BBC when I tell them that the Lucy in questoin is the Labour candidate in Manchester Withington (Lib Dem MP John Leech) and our chief opponent in that ding-dong battle!

Perhaps they don’t see Lib Dem/Labour contests as real contests?

One wonders whether they actually take the sophisticated nature of our modern politics seriously at all.

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