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Audio/Visual examples of bias and impartiality

January 25, 2009


Tom, Owen and Daphne – I’ve been thinking about audio and visual items that we can use in our presentation on impartiality and in particular how we can answer the question posed to us by Charlotte in our brief – How realistic is it to expect news and current affairs broadcasters to commit to due impartiality?

Our presentation is on 26th February at 9:45am. I think a good way to start would be to have a clip from the interview with Charles Wheeler on impartiality that Tom mentioned in his post and to use that as a starting point into a much wider discussion. What does everyone else think?

Here are some other practical examples we could use to illustrate when impartiality in the news is an issue:

The Middle East:


  • Most topically we can look into the issues surrounding the BBC’s rejection of the aid appeal for Gaza. See their  report here.
  • During the 2006 Israel/Lebanon conflict contraversial MP George Galloway accused Sky News of Israeli bias during an interview with Anna Botting.

  • Also in 2006 see this video from Newswatch where viewers complain about the BBC’s coverage of the conflict.

The American Presidential Elections:

  • Both Sarah Palin and John Mc Cain accused the media of having a liberal bias during the run up to the American elections, suggesting that the media had a love affair going on with Barrack Obama.

 Allegations of BBC bias:

  • During their coverage of the problems between China and Tibet in the run up to the Bejing elections, the BBC were felt to be anti-Chinese and protests were held by many Chinese students.

  • See this video to hear former BBC journalist Robin Aitken speaking on former online news channel 18 Doubty Street about the BBC’s bias against America.

  • A documentary broadcast by the BBC in Wales entitled ‘Wales, Power and the People’ was criticised by Ofcom for its comments about Margaret Thatcher’s impact on Welsh politics which breached the BBC Editorial Guidelines.

  • See this Newswatch video on bias in a report by Mark Easton for the BBC about the differences in health between those who live in the North or South of England. Many viewers felt angry about the way the BBC were not impartial in this report and furthered the idea of the North/South divide.

Channel 4 bias:

  • When the investigative programme Dispatches made a programme on Tory party funding, the conservatives accused Channel 4 of bias towards the Labour party.

  • As I mentioned in my post on Ofcom, the Channel came under fire for their decision to broadcast the contraversial documentary ‘The Great-Global Warming Swindle’ after concerns that it breached impartiality rules.

Does anyone else have any other good audio/visual examples of impartiality or media bias that we can use to illustrate our presentation?


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 26, 2009 12:14 AM

    Yeah I have some on the US front Ali, I’ll try to put some up in my posts, the O’Reilly interview of Obama is more of an attack, fascinating to watch though. The claims of media bias against McCain were quite expected even prior to the final showdown what with the furore surrounding Obama. I’ll touch on that in future posts.

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