BBC accused of trying to ‘bounce’ Labour into their version of debate – instead of most-watched option

The BBC has pre-emptively announced that Theresa May – unsurprisingly – prefers a BBC-hosted programme for the Brexit debate between her and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour’s preference is to let ITV host the event – and for it to take place just before the final of the channel’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ show for the maximum audience. Not spoken, but no doubt present, is an awareness that the chances of a neutral ‘referee’ are greater outside the BBC. The party had already announced an agreement with ITV.

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Author and journalist Liam Young, who has excellent connections with Labour’s front bench, accused the BBC of trying to ‘bounce’ Labour into accepting its version of the debate:

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His opinion has been echoed by journalists and others. Some news outlets are already claiming the BBC has ‘won the battle’.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the BBC is colluding with the government – and that Labour should insist ITV is the host channel:

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Regardless of the BBC’s intent, it’s a bad look for the BBC to be publicly campaigning for Theresa May’s format & venue.

In fact, it looks remarkable like an exercise in ‘manufactured consent’ to assist in the manipulation of public opinion.

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  1. The BBC long since abandoned any pretence of balance in its news and political broadcasting,and precious little anywhere.

  2. Don’t get too paranoid – the news and current affairs empire is scared shitless of offending government (remember – political control has been tightened), and, yes, it has alway had a bent towards the establishment – but there’s more to the Beeb than that.

    Remember how scared they are of the Israel lobby – it’s this timidity that is the shaping force.

    As to this debate – I’ll be surprised if it ever happens. All that’s needed is other parties to start kicking off about representation, and the Beeb – on past form – will run a mile.

    BTW … have I missed the LibDems banging on about this??? – they’re usually there complaining about balance.

    1. News and current affairs is more than bent towards the establishment. It is the establishment. Look at the people in charge, the DG, the heads of news, the editors. It is not timid. It is aggressive. I speak as one who
      was a Press Officer at the BBC for 6 years when Marmaduke Hussey .
      was regularly contacted by Thatcher. He was Chair of the Board of Governors and a close friend of hers.

  3. The real fly in the ointment with the BBC’s format is this panel of 4. What will be their role, who will they be and how will they be selected. The BBC’s proposal will introduce unnecessary levels of complexity and conflict into setting up this program and getting both sides agreement. (maybe that’s the intention).

  4. Johnson Minor just on BBC thinks the worst thing about Brexit would be a GE defeat for the Tories worse than 1997 🙂
    Clearly it’s the effect of that on the country he cares most about… clearly.

  5. It’s absolutely pointless having political debates on the BBC. When they can still employ stooges like Laura Kuenssberg after her attempt to smear Corbyn and Alison Pedley the Question Time audience producer with her influence on the bias of the QT audience, the BBC has lost any credibility they ever had.

  6. What’s the point of a debate? Everyone’s already made up their minds and unless there is a stitch-up we leave the EU next year. I would also remind non Socialist Labour supporters that England voted leave by a large majority.

    1. Not a very large majority was it? Many are now saying they did not understand it. Sold a pup. Many voted because they hate immigrants of any nationality.

    2. “Everyone’s already made up their minds.”

      Well – let’s test it, then. This is the UK – and ‘Leave ‘ was a minority vote (37%) on a major constitutional issue, and a vast number of people clearly had no idea in 20016 what they were voting for (listen to any sample of vox pops). I wouldn’t run a knitting circle on that basis.

      1. Oh God, can’t you come up with anything other than “we’re too thick to understand what was at stake and we all drink in Wetherspoons” shtick….it’s so tired and full of hate.
        People had 40 years to make up their minds.

  7. There must be reams of evidence of the BBC’s smearing of Corbyn and Labour.
    When the BBC complain about JC’s refusal to participate in a debate on their terms I suggest holding up a thick file of it and explaining that to prevent further subversion of democracy we intend, once in government, to make some changes.

    1. If I may be allowed a moment of unreconstructed sexist piggery – I wasn’t convinced by her acting.
      In fact I wasn’t even convinced she was a she.

  8. Here is the Labour Party’s latest statement on the TV debate

    Theresa May is running away from the scrutiny of a head to head debate with Jeremy Corbyn, as she did in the 2017 general election campaign.
    When Number Ten told the media she wanted a head to head debate on her botched Brexit deal, Jeremy Corbyn immediately agreed.
    Jeremy Corbyn then swiftly accepted ITV’s proposal for a straightforward head to head debate with Theresa May. But the prime minister has rejected it.
    Since then, the prime minister’s team and their preferred broadcaster, the BBC, have put together a confused format which would limit head to head debating time, with a built-in advantage for the government.
    The BBC’s latest proposal is a mish-mash, with a lop-sided panel of other politicians and public figures, not a straightforward head to head debate.
    The BBC could, as ITV and Sky have proposed to do, fairly represent other viewpoints and parties in other programmes on its network.
    The public has a right to a genuine head to head debate on the prime minister’s worst of all worlds deal.
    Either Theresa May should accept ITV’s straightforward proposal or, if she prefers the BBC, to ask the corporation for a genuine head to head debate. Jeremy Corbyn is ready to take part in either.
    If the prime minister turns down the opportunity of a genuine head to head debate, it will be clear she is once again dodging a TV debate with the leader of the opposition on the future of our country.


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