BBC dismisses Question Time Abbott abuse scandal

The BBC has been accused by several members of its Question Time audience – including one who works for an MP – of mockery and abuse toward guest Diane Abbott during the pre-show warm-up and of biased treatment during the programme itself:

The claim was corroborated by at least two other audience members:

The claims sparked widespread outrage among viewers and Labour supporters, who also pointed out angrily that false claims made during the show that Labour trails the Tories in the polls had been supported by presenter Fiona Bruce after Abbott had pointed out they were untrue.

Journalist Aaron Bastani summed up:

Labour have led or been level with the Tories in all but one of the last eight polls, with most recent polls suggesting a current Labour lead of around three points, yet Bruce supported hard-right Isobel Oakeshott’s claim Labour trails:

Of course, the BBC presenting such inaccuracies as fact is not limited to one show, as Labour MP Jon Trickett pointed out:

Multiply-corroborated testimony about the programme’s treatment of a guest needs to be treated seriously – especially when that guest is the most grotesquely abused politician in the UK.

However, in a statement to the SKWAWKBOX the BBC merely denied any wrongdoing:

We firmly reject claims that any of the Question Time team treated any of the panel unfairly before and during the recording last night.

A BBC spokesperson

SKWAWKBOX comment:

It seems hopes that a new presenter would mean a new environment on Question Time, which has been constantly lambasted for right-wing bias, were ill-founded.

As Trickett observed, this looks more likely to be a question of editorial policy to mislead than one of mere presenter preferences.

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  1. The hostility from Bruce towards anything not hard Right is unsurprising. She’s one of those Brits from a Colonial family and it’s all Empire and Rees Mogg’s for her. Thankfully that generation of ex-colonials are slowly dying out. They came back to the UK in the 50’s and 60’s with settled ideas of racial superiority which feeds into hard Right Tories perfectly. It’s why she got the job. The growling bunch of Brexiterrs on the show last night must be ‘arranged’ in the same way they arrange Tory activists to have a rant. It only goes to prove that the BBC fulfils it’s function as the defender of the State (when it’s in the hands of Tories, otherwise it’s full on undermining). The only real solution is not to watch the rubbish – which is happening at a rapid pace as people realise just how biased the Corporation is.

  2. I turned it off when Bruce slipped in her dig about “Corbyn talks to Hizbollah and the IRA so why not to Theresa May”. This had obviously been rehearsed.

    1. Undoubtedly, the way in which the BBC picked up that line from Tory Central Office is a current disgrace.

      I’m an unapologetic supporter of the concept of the BBC, and the quality of much of the programing outside the News/Current Affairs nexus.

      … which makes be doubly angry at the decline in reporting standards. The Beeb was always establishment focused … it’s in the nature of the position it’s in … but there was usually some balance to its reporting – and some very good journalists. This can still be glimpsed by turning over to the World Service.

      Clearly, one thing a Labour government would have to do is to remove the corporation from direct political patronage and its current Westminster bubble, conservative handicap.

      I think the marked decline has been fairly recent (with television news/current affairs now largely unwatchable). It can be seen in the descent of Radio 5 into an abyss of triviality. When the station started, it was a refreshing alternative to the stodgy conservatism (small ‘c’) of the ‘Today mentality. That mentality could cheerfully exclude non-God Botherers from having any thoughts for the day, and always gave the Tory propaganda press a second bite of the cherry in ‘What the Papers Say’ -The Morning Star got nary a mention whilst the babblings of the Murdoch Press and Dacre were greeted as ‘THE NEWS.

      But Radio 5 started out by giving time to issues, and skilfully guiding intelligent debate. A topic might have half an hour rather than th cursory 5 fake confrontational minutes courtesy of Saint John on Tadio 4.

      What now? – A descent into almost total trivia and the cheapness of phone-ins with garbage being recycled in a way that is not the envy of most who care for the environment, even given the odd thoughtful input.

      I didn’t watch ‘Question Time’ (or listen to ‘Any Questions’) – and never do, because these programmes regurgitate the same unenlightening crap. Their nature is simply to repeat the same pantomime interminably. I guess politicians can’t turn down the invitation – but it really is a waste of airtime.

      1. Your comments reflect perfectly my attitude and experience of the BBC today – and I suspect millions of other people. You just said it better than I could!

      2. The news and current affairs nexus (neat phrase) should be completely cleared out.

        Everybody fired, then having to re-apply for their jobs!

  3. What I find most depressing is the polls.

    Why do so many people in the UK still support the Tories after the untold suffering and death they’ve caused?

    500 homelessness deaths in 2018.

    81,000 deaths attributed to the Work Capability Assessment tests.

    120,000 deaths in total linked to Tory austerity…

    And yet people still want to vote for them!

      1. Whether we believe the polls or not, they do not say what Oakshott and Bruce claim they say. They’re both lying.

      2. Even looking at the most favourable polls, there are still a huge number of people who would vote Tory, most of them unknowingly against their own interests. One of the most important things we need to do when we gain power is get in with Leveson 2.

      3. “Whether we believe the polls or not, they do not say what Oakshott and Bruce claim they say. They’re both lying.”

        That is the real point. Just dismissing polls turns an argument into a slanging match.

    1. loftkarrison: Probably because they are unaware of these things, because the MSM conveniently omits to mention them.

  4. Many (like over 20) years ago I was proud of the BBC’s impartiality and reputation. Now I think we should get rid of it. Basically I’m being taxed to pay for government propaganda. I don;t want it but can’t watch ANY TV without a licence. Netflix is a lot cheaper.

    1. Careful what you wish for. The BBC is much more than the News and Current Affairs television output – and one of the few things that is actually in public ownership.

      1. In a rational world the Tories would have to declare the licence fee as part of their election spending.

      2. And Bruce would be wearing an overall and pushing a tea trolley.

  5. Well,there is one thing,it will very quickly cure the illusions of those people on the left who seemed to think that the smugly awful Bruce was going to bring about an improvement on Question Time.

  6. If (supposedly) calling Theresa May a “Stupid woman” is unacceptable, and if suggesting a Labour MP is working ‘hand-in-hand’ with the right-wing press is “anti-Semitism”, then this is racism and misogyny by the BBC.

    1. Could we not manage a list of Mentorn Media’s TV programmes and organise a boycott of ALL their programmes? Make it semi-permanent like Liverpool’s ban on the Sun.

  7. It’s the BBC what do you expect ! Complaining is futile under the present regime.
    Perhaps the best way fwd is just to dump the licence and stop paying , there are alternatives and it free’s up so much time for other more useful activities rather than being stuck to the “box” being fed crap that the Bastards Broadcasting Corp want you to see

  8. Its only two shows in with our ‘new’ presenter and it is clear that there is an editorial effort to mislead the viewers and audience through misrepresentation of certain facts. Last nights has been clearly evidenced and last week (the first of FB’s tenure) told Emily Thornbury and the viewers that the majority of Labour party members, 73% don’t support their leader JC as they want a ‘people’s vote’ instead of a general election. A lie via deliberate omission, as at no pint did she quote the statistic gleaned around the same time that 82% support a GE.

  9. Easy solution.


    I haven’t for about 2.5 years and I don’t miss it. Especially when they’re STILL inviting the likes of the proven LIAR and discredited SNITCH oakeshott on.

    Anyone or anything claiming to have journalistic integrity while providing a platform for the LIAR and GRASS are not even worthy of contempt.

    I noticed that last week there were gushing plaudits for bruce’s hosting of the show from all angles…All’s I can say to those who endorsed that opinion is: ‘You sad, gullible bastards’

    I knew it wouldn’t take long before she was briefed. It took one week. That’s all….One week. The very next show in fact…

    Don’t watch QT and better still, desist from paying to enable the pederast-infested, tory stooges fill your screens with their utter shabbite.

    Guidance about going licence-free (And the truth about how the bbc operate) can be found here:


  10. With not a hint of irony the BBC more or less programme has just now said it will answer questions on bogus statistics/fake news ?
    I think an avalanche of e mails re Bruce/Oakshote lies/ so called statistics might wake them up plus a twitter storm hashtag BBCQT statistics lies. Please help with a tweet to the state broadcaster.

  11. Question Time is depressing. The audiences are predominantly a bunch of hand-picked inbred Tory wankers who think their bigoted, out of touch, parochial viewpoint is the only one valid.

    As a licence payer, it really grips my shit, to think that I am helping to pay for it; so normally I do the only sensible thing and go to bed after the news.

    Last night however, as I had a Friday off, I sat up and watched the whole farcical excuse. I would have been better off spending an hour sticking pins in my eyes.

    Should Labour ever be elected, the clear out of staffers at the BBC should be broadcast live. I would like to see the lot of them trudging away from Broadcasting House with their pot plants and pictures of Maggie Thatcher clutched in their sweaty little palms.

  12. What do people expect from a Corporation that sheltered Jimmy Savile for decades knowing full well what he got up to?

    The BBC is a propaganda mouthpiece of the British Establishment, do not expect it to stick up for the likes of us Democratic Socialists. They are a Far Right Racist enabling organisation. How many times have they invited Farage on? They even give Yaxley Lennon a platform too.

    Stop watching their crap, and stop paying for it, deny them their oxygen.

  13. I don’t have children but if I did there’s NO bleedin’ way I’d endanger them by allowing them to attend lessons in ‘fake news’ from bbc employees.

    Not only is it brainwashing, the bbc employ pederasts and all sorts of sexual degenerates.

  14. It’s not just the one programme, the news commentaries are just as bad and recently, over the last couple of years have swung to the Right. Evan Davies on PM doesn’t hide his distaste for anything left of centre and invariably interviews rank right wingers. His big anti Labour’s stance on a 2nd vote even resurrected Roy Hatterlsesy to say why Corbyn MUST back a new vote despite (or because!?) 60% of Labour seats voted Leave. Fortunately it was impossible to make out what the old boy was saying, his speech problems have unsurprisingly deteriorated over the last 30 years when we were last treated to his wise words. You’d think somebody would have checked if he was intelligible? At least Eddie Muir usually managed to disguise his own right wing thoughts, now they don’t bother.

  15. On the subject of polls, I am currently conducting a poll. Questions are as follows:
    1. Do you agree that in all probability the following comments were posted by someone who is upper class or upper middle-class:
    “..prolier than thou pretension..”; “I am overawed with such omniscience”; “piss on your pansies”; “..really just quotidian propaganda”; “..reality denial of the contray argument, and the pathetic resorting to yah-boo stuff..”; “ad hominem fantasy..”?
    2. Do you think someone who constantly attacks Labour and Labour supporters is actually a Labour Party supporter?
    3. What do you think the probablity is that someone who refers to higher degree in “Discourse Analysis” on a comments page has studied it when they went to university and did a degree in Public Relations?
    4. Is someone who constantly parrots stock MSM PR phrases, and never offers any actual arguments to support their position, very likely to be a paid PR “professional”?
    5. Do you think someone who keeps repeating the phrases “centralist” and “Blairites” trying to normalise them, feels these are some how relevant to themselves or their employer/client?

    You can submit your answers on a postcard before mid-night to be included in the final result.

    1. “Do you think someone who constantly attacks Labour and Labour supporters is actually a Labour Party supporter?”

      Y’know. That’s one of the questions I’ve actually asked myself when reading Leftory posts about the majority of the Party being ‘Blairites’ or “Centrists” if they support Remain. And yes, those claims to be a tribune of ‘the working class” are suspiciously like ERG trolling.

  16. From what I can see, the BBC essentially swings between corporate liberal and corporate conservative. Right wing Tories are fine and dandy because they still subscribe to the notion of global finance capitalism. Rees-Mogg and friends hold views which sit acceptably within the Overton Window – even if the BBC does not much like Brexit.

    I agree with all above about the BBC. However not all “righties” are acceptable to the BBC. Just as the left are despised by them, Peter Hitchens, Trump and a lesser extent UKIP – despite being to the right, are routinely slated, precisely because none of them wholly subscribe to the “correct” economic narrative – i.e. within the Overton Window. I have noticed that Hitchens is often treated as a pariah on the channel – largely for daring to question the economic and foreign policy orthodoxy. The same can be said of right wing journalist Peter Oborne.

    Anyone who questions the establishment consensus from any angle is “fair game” for the BBC. I am fairly sure that Charles Kennedy was treated as a lunatic back in 2005 too. I also don’t recall much coverage by the BBC of those actually opposing the Royal Mail sell off. It was largely split between those who supported it 100% and those who supported it but that said the price was too low.

  17. Maybe it is time for Labour to officially withdraw from any appearance on the BBC.

  18. Every politics programme routinely has 3-4 tories v 1 labour (and that labour person is almost always a right wing mp with no influence in the party). Even when the central discussion point is about labour itself, there is often no labour representative. As we’ve identified many times here, the presenters are all deeply entrenched conservatives with a hatred of anything left of centre. This is not just inbred bias but it is wholly unprofessional. Your role as a presenter should not allow your personal political perception to show though.

  19. If you can stand a re-run of the programme note Bruce’s undisguised glee when the Brexiteer contingent cheered a No Deal as well as her smirking as the rumbles against Abbot rose.

  20. What’s the BBC message this weekend? Jeremy Corbyn is weak & a hypocrite; not fit to be PM. He will happily talk to his friends, the IRA & Hezbollah, but not to our PM………did you say IRA & Hezbollah? Yes he shared a platform with the IRA & Hezbollah.

    1. Yes the usual rubbish from them!

      As for Corbyn refusing to talk to Tories, surprisingly no one has picked up on a statement he made last year.

      “I have a civilised relationship with a number of Tories – I discuss issues with them. Listen, David Davis and I worked very closely to try to get Shaker Aamer back into this country,” he said, referring top- the effort to get a British resident freed from Guantánamo Bay,” he said.

      “Indeed we went to Washington together – Andrew Mitchell, David Davis, Andy Slaughter and me – and we succeeded.”

      I suspect Corbyn is pragmatic enough to work with anyone who is willing to be co-operative. However if all they do is shout “anti-semite”, “racist”, “Venezeula”, “IRA”, “trade union thugs” at him, then it’s not overly surprising that he doesn’t want to reciprocate.

      It’s also worth noting what campaigning directly with the Tories did to Labour in Scotland. And the Lib Dems should know what happens when you pile in with them. Tread carefull.

    2. You’re right on the disgraceful BBC knee-jerk habit of lazily picking up attack lines from Tory Central Office – particualrly when they are so plainly an irrelevant confection.

      However, I do wonder whether Corbyn has been tactically astute in allowing discussion of his ‘red line’ to drown out the obvious fact of May’s inflexibility. I reckon it might have been advisable to leave the announcement about a ‘No Deal’ until after a preliminary meeting.

      1. I don’t think it’s ‘laziness’ that sees the BBC taking up anti Labour attack lines; it is perfectly deliberate and knowing. Do they ever take up anti Tory attack lines which are as easily available as the Tory ones? No! Corbyn will be blamed for everything he does; if he’d gone into useless ‘talks’ the line would be he’s seeking a No Brexit solution.

  21. Fiona Bruce has little or no experience of political debate. The programme makers are naturally interested in raising publicity and have probably persuaded her this is the way to go; as unlikely as it might seem it’s a path old Dimblebore declined to go. Just watch Bruce’s face as one section of the audience demanded No Deal; it said “well done guys, just what we wanted”. Whether she’s been manipulated by Mentorn or is naturally very right wing doesn’t matter; she’s so unsuitable for the role I imagine she’ll still be doing it in 30 years time.

  22. Bruce obviously wants to be a pannelist and not a chair. She was totally incompetent…

    Jusrt another with snout in neo-lib trough.

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