BBC accused by sound expert of damping Abbot’s Question Time volume

Sound expert Martyn Ware’s CV on his Twitter profile

The BBC has been accused of turning down the volume of Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott’s microphone during a controversial episode of its Question Time programme.

The accusation comes in the wake of claims by members of the audience that the pre-show warm-up consisted of a series of slurs about Abbott, including an invitation to let loose at Abbott during the show – and of complaints about false presentation of polling during the broadcast to support a claim that Labour is behind the Tories.

The behaviour of the programme led to an explosive rebuke from Abbott herself and a complaint by the Labour leadership.

And now a sound expert has confirmed allegations that Abbott’s voice was played at a lower volume during the programme compared to other panellists.

Martyn Ware is a founder member of the famous bands The Human League and Heaven 17 – and also a producer, sound engineer and a visiting professor at Queen Mary University London. Ware’s verdict was unequivocal:

The BBC has denied any wrongdoing, but Ware’s verdict quickly went viral on social media and provoked hundreds of condemnations of the broadcaster, as well as being shared thousands of times on Twitter.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

39 responses to “BBC accused by sound expert of damping Abbot’s Question Time volume

  1. The BBC has denied any wrongdoing,

    No outright denial then, the guilty are fond of using of using this phrase.

  2. And regarding the assertion/falsehood that – as Oakeshot put it – Labour are “miles behind” in the polls, I have no doubt whatsoever that it was pre-planned, and that Fiona Bruce conspired with Oakeshot in the falsehood. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out on Iplayer, and the part in question happens at 43 mins 30 secs. And it is no coincidence of course that just TWO days earlier (on the Tuesday) in an interview on Channel 4 News, Andrea Leadsom – the Leader of the House – just happens to say during the interview that the Tories “are 6 points ahead of Labour in the polls”.

    They knew there was going to be a question (on QT) about having a second referendum AND that Dianne would of course be saying that what Labour would like is a GE, and that THAT would be Oakeshots cue to interject and disseminate the falsehood (Leadsom did it one way round – ie the Tory Party is 6 points ahead of Labour – and Oakeshot did it the OTHER way round – ie Labour are so far behind in the polls). Here’s what she initially said when she interjected:

    “I am bewildered why Labour are so keen for a general election when you are so far behind in the polls, and YOU think you’re gonna win.”

    Has anyone come across anyone ELSE disseminating this falsehood in recent weeks? Please leave a comment on SB if you HAVE, as to WHO said it, and WHERE and WHEN. And ditto if you happen to catch the falsehood being reiterated in the coming weeks and months. I posted some comments regarding this on another thread a bit earlier – ie an appraisal of what happened – which are near the top of the page here:

    https://skwawkbox.org/2019/01/18/abbott-comments-on-bbcqt-scandal-and-its-dynamite/#comments

    • I’m just checking out that bit again on QT, and Oakshot actually says “way behind”, and she DOESN’T actually interject, but ‘leads’ into it herself. And when Dianne is responding and saying that Labour and the Tories are “in the polls overall….currently we’re kinda level pegging”, Oakeshot cuts in with “you’re 6 points behind”, and almost immediately afterwards, Fiona Bruce says in a forthright tone “You’re behind Dianne”, as if to say ‘Accept it’, and then several seconds later she – FB – so as to reinforce in the minds of the audience AND viewers that THAT IS the case, says “Definitely!”.

      No wonder ‘they’ selected FB to take over from DD….. she’s one of THEM!

      We should ALL be contacting the BBC – and FB herself if that’s possible – to ask them to ascertain from FB which polls she was referring to (and have in mind) when she said – to Dianne – “You’re behind Dianne!” followed a few seconds later with “Definitely”.

      And I hope the LP itself is demanding an answer to this as well, and that they threaten legal action if they DON’T get one. This conniving with Tories/propagandists by FB needs to be nipped in the bud, and she should be sacked from the job for backing up Oakeshot’s falsehood/disinformation. I’m not sure what the average viewing figures are for QT, but I’m pretty sure I read somewhere at some point that it’s around 2 million. But whatever the case, FB conspired (along with Oakeshot) to deceive and mislead them, and she should be sent packing as such.

    • I was just sitting out in the back garden having a coffee and a roll-up and watching the (almost full) moon set, and wondering what lame excuse FB – AND the BBC – could come up with for, in effect, insisting that Oakeshott is/was correct, and that Labour ARE miles behind the Tories in the polls, and then it suddely occured to me. She could say that earlier on – prior to the audience arriving – she was having a chat with Isabel Oakeshott in the green room (or wherever) AND that during the course of their chat, Isabel just happened to mention to her that the Tories are ‘way ahead of Labour in the polls’, and THAT’S where she got it from. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she/they did!

      • Or I suppose she – and Oakeshott – could claim that the only newspaper she reads is The Times!

        NB And we should ALL contact the LP to ascertain if they are persuing this with the BBC – AND Channel 4 News re Leadsom saying the same thing, in effect, a couple of days earlier – and if they’re NOT, ‘insist’ that they do so AND demand an explanation AND insist that they both apologise, on air, for the falsehood that Leadsom, on the one hand, and Oakeshott and Bruce on the other, disseminated to their viewers.

        And it occurs to me that whatever Channel 4 New’s and QT’s average audience is, that precisely because of what was happening at the time re Brexit and May’s Deal and the massive defeat, the number of people watching the two programs would have been higher than normal, and quite possibly MUCH higher (and Leadsom and Tory Central Office KNEW that that would be the case, as did Oakeshott and Bruce and Tory HQ).

        And just ONE last point: I’m fairly certain that the interview with Leadsom was pre-recorded – but I COULD be wrong – and if it WAS, then there is no excuse whatsoever for the presenter NOT pointing out immediately after the interview was shown, that other polls have the LP and Tories at more-or-less level pegging.

    • The very same words were stated to Corbyn during the no confidence vote by Soubry. His reply was ‘let’s put it to the test’.

      • Just checked it out on Hansard (I missed that bit on the day, and just happened to switch on at the moment May began speaking), and just for the record, this is what Soubry says when she interjects:

        “The Leader of the Opposition is making some powerful arguments…… but could he help us with this? I saw an opinion poll at the weekend. If there is any merit in his arguments, can he explain why the Conservative party is six points ahead in the polls? Could it be because he is the most hopeless Leader of the Opposition we have ever had?”

        So in the space of three days first we have Andrea Leadsom saying that the Tories are “6 points ahead in the polls” in a Channel 4 News interview on the Tuesday (Jan 15th), the day of the vote on May’s Brexit deal, and then the next day we have Soubry saying the same thing – and obviously planned in advance – during the ‘No Confidence’ debate (first referring to ONE poll she supposedly saw at the weekend, and then going on to say “six points ahead in the polls”), and then the very next day on Question Time, Isabel Oakeshott saying the same thing.

        Purely coincidence of course!

        And it is of course quite likely that other Tory politicians and right-wing journalists and commentators disseminated the same falsehood/deception elsewhere in the media during this period, and it was no doubt all co-ordinated and planned in advance, knowing of course – as they DID – that precisely BECAUSE of what was happening, the number of viewers (and listeners) would be significantly higher than normal.

      • Afterthought: And when Soubry says that she saw a poll at the weekend (which was either the 12th or the 13th of January), she of course IMPLIES that the poll she saw was PUBLISHED at the weekend – ie she knew that just about everyone who was watching the debate would think that’s what she was saying.

        So anyway, I just this minute checked the wikipedia list of polling results, and the only one that was published at the weekend, was a Survation poll conducted for the Dail Mail on the 10th and 11th of January and published on Saturday the 12th. And guess what…. it just happened to have Labour THREE points ahead of the Tories!

        And here’s the link again to the wikipedia page:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election#2019

      • Just came across the following article on the Guardian’s website (whether or not they ran it in the hard-copy newspaper is another matter entirely):

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/21/diane-abbott-labour-question-time-fiona-bruce-repeated-tory-propaganda

        And there was no Comments section, as is so often the case these days! No doubt they were concerned that one or more commenters may have pointed out that it was a yougov poll that had Labour six points behind the Tories, and was completely at odds with other polls conducted in the preceding weeks – except for the weekly yougov polls done for The Times (and the one they did for People’s Vote), and that most of them had Labour ahead of the Tories.

      • I did a search on duckduckgo about an hour ago re >labour six points behind in polls< and one of the results that came up – albeit quite a long way down the list of results – was an article on the BBC News website posted on January 16th in which it said the following:

        'And Conservative ex-minister Anna Soubry, who wants Mr Corbyn to back another EU referendum, questioned why her party were six points ahead of Labour in a weekend opinion poll, adding: "Could it be because he's the most hopeless Leader of the Opposition that we've ever had?"'

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46887852

        What Soubry ACTUALLY said was that she *SAW* an opinion poll at the weekend. As I pointed out above, the only poll that was published that weekend had Labour three points ahead of the Tories. I have no doubt that the author of the piece knew how to access poll results within a matter of seconds to check/confirm – or NOT – whether her claim was true, and it seems most unlikely that they wouldn't have done.

      • Just came across this on the Daily Express website published on Monday, January 14th, and headlined:

        Boost for May as Labour SLIPS six points behind Tories despite Brexit CHAOS

        And in the ‘article’ it says the following (and during the past few hours I’ve come across a couple of articles repeating the same figure AND in the precise same manner, and there’s no doubt others who have done the same):

        The poll, conducted between January 6 and 7 and involving 3,961 candidates, ads further fuel to talks of a growing rebellion of Labour MPs…….

        Yes, they’ve added just over 2,300 to the size of the sample, which was in actual fact 1,656. The BIGGER the lie the better, eh!

        https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1072200/Brexit-news-labour-jeremy-corbyn-conservative-party-poll-yougov-theresa-may-vote

      • And there’s THIS, from Jan 16th, which finishes by saying the following:

        Westminster was rocked this week by a new YouGov poll for The Times that put the Conservatives on 41%, six points ahead of Labour on 35%.

        Why would they be “rocked” when practically every yougov poll for the Times during the past few months or so has had the Tories four, five or six points ahead of Labour, and practically always at odds with all the other polls. But NOW – just prior to the vote on May’s deal – “Westminster” is suddenly rocked. I wonder why!

        https://www.theweek.co.uk/94729/who-will-be-the-next-prime-minister-betting-odds-and-polls

      • And this was the headline of a DM article on the 14th:

        Corbyn accuses May of trying to ‘blackmail’ Labour MPs into backing her Brexit deal as his party falls SIX points behind the Tories despite EU chaos

        And in the article it says the following:

        However in a poll published today Mr Corbyn’s party plunged to 35 per cent, its lowest rating since mid December, while the Tories score 41 per cent.

        They were referring to the yougov poll conducted on the 6th and 7th of January, the same one as Soubry said she saw at the weekend, a day or two before it was published according to the Mail’s timeline! I’ve lost track, but I’m sure I determined somewhere along the line that it was published on Thursday, January 10th, and of course the DM is lying through its teeth, never mind being selective. As usual!

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6589561/Labour-Brexit-splits-deepen-MPs-come-Mays-Brexit-deal.html

      • And just ONE last one, and more befitting of the Sun.

        This is from the Sun on Monday, with the following headline and sub-headline:

        SICK OF JEZZA Jeremy Corbyn is ‘driving 100,000 Labour members away’ with his Brexit and anti-Semitism row stance

        The party leader was told last week that 60,000 members have already left — and that could eventually rise to 100,000

        Didn’t the Mail have it as 150,000 just recently? And further on in the article it says:

        Two MPs have told how about 250 members have left the party in the past twelve months.

        And as for the poll referred to in ‘The Sun on Sunday Says’ at the bottom of the page, it somehow reminds one of the survey of junior doctors a couple of years or so ago.

        https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8236680/jeremy-corbyn-labour-brexit-anti-semitism-row/

      • OK, I’m back again! Just a couple of quick points. Earlier on, I counted up the number of times yougov have had the Tories five or six points ahead of Labour, and since around the middle of April last year, it was thirteen times, and most of them done for The Times and, more often than not, at odds with the results of other polls (by other polling organisations) at the time.

        And something dawned on me when I was looking through them, that had been staring me in the face, but the penny didn’t drop until NOW. If you look at the wikipedia list of results starting from the beginning of December – ie the ComRes poll which has Labour 2 points ahead – and then look to the column on the far right of the page where it has ‘2%’ in a red box, THEN cast your eye up the numbers above it until you get to the end of 2018. And what do you see: Apart from the Populous poll and the yougov poll, Labour and the Tories are either tied, or there’s just one or two points between them. Then suddenly – after the Christmas holidays – kapow!, there’s TWO yougov polls giving the Tories a 6 point lead. Did something happen over Xmas that I missed! I mean it’s precisely because it IS Xmas that nothing is happening politically (and if you look at the results from after Xmas in 2017, they are just a continuation of the results in the polls done in the weeks BEFORE Xmas). And what a coincidence that despite the fact that nothing was happening over Xmas, the first two polls of the New Year just happen to be yougov polls, and they both just happen to have Labour suddenly trailing by six points.

        And ALL just prior to the Commons vote on May’s deal, which of course May and her ‘advisors’ KNEW they were going to lose Big Time. How very, very convenient! Along with the stories about the LP hemorrhaging members cuz they’re peed off with Jezza cuz he won’t back a second referenedum. But maybe that’s because he knows that the only person who could call a second referendum is Theresa May, and because he knows that she’s NEVER gonna do that, because it would be political suicide for the Tories, what with a majority of Tory voters having voted to Leave. And the people behind the PV know it to, and they have done from the outset.

        THEIR sole objective is to get shod of JC! The Few and their shareholders MUST prevail at ALL cost.

        And just one last point – well TWO in fact – and that’s in relation to the Guardian article I linked to above, which said something along the lines that due to social media MORE people will have heard about the Diane Abbot QT affair than those who actually watched it, but they forgot to mention that the millions of people who unwittingly read the Tory rags will have been fed a false version of events in which DIANE got it wrong about the polls.

        And on THAT point – and knowing of course that she was set up – I have no doubt whatsoever that SHE – Diane – was invited to appear on THAT particular program last week precisely for THAT reason – ie so that they could execute the plan they’d concocted and contrived. And bear in mind that millions of people had ALREADY been led to believe that Labour were seven points behind the Tories in the polls in the preceding days. And ALL of it was scripted and planned and co-ordinated weeks before!

      • Six points behind! And THAT is what I wrote! Go figure………

  3. Twisted and increasingly desperate, the party of spivs, chancers and outright liars will do and say anything to hold onto power. Having a pet mouthpiece in the BBC is its greatest asset.
    Quite frankly it’s sickening

    • Yes, and WE, the license-payers, pay the wages of THESE people – ie those who ‘collaborate’ with the Tories in misinforming and deceiving the public AND smearing Jeremy Corbyn. In a word, subverting democracy.

  4. I suspect that The BBC is fast becoming a major recruiting facility for the left-wing in this country. Its news/poloitics audience has declined by 25% since 2012 and every mistake it makes is amplified on Social Media, which develops exponentially. The end is nigh!

  5. Wow. That’s an incredibly sneaky and underhand tactic employed by the BBC.

    I suspect it was designed to make it look as if Diane Abbott was mumbling her answers.

  6. I understand that there is a ‘Top Secret’ Dept. in BBC that specialises in Cheap Shots & Dirty Tricks. Having been a lecturer in Media & Politics for many years, I can assure you that manipulating an audience is easy; there are so many tricks of the trade.

      • Better still infiltrate the production company to expose their M.O.

        Question is, which Tv station would broadcast such an expose and which national paper would print; given the pro-toerag, ant-Corbyn bias that’s rampant in the MSM?

    • The BBC, because it is manipulated by the right wing, including ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’, is permanently guilty of manipulating the audience i.e. the British public who pay for it.

      Almost all recent acts of aggression by Britain, including our attacks on Iraq and Syria, the attack on the EU when it constantly paraded Nigel Farage to push his programme of hate, plus the continuous vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, have been given support by the BBC either overtly or via suppression of information.

      • The BBC (or vital sections of it, that is) has become the enemy of the people, only they – the vast majority of them anyway – don’t know it of course.

        PS And watching that bit on Iplayer again – as I just this minute did – AND more importantly, the two or three minutes PRIOR to it happening, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Fiona Bruce was a party to it and, as such, steered proceedings in the several minutes beforehand to then give Oakeshott her chance to get her ‘shot’ in, if you’ll excuse the pun. If you go back to the bit beforehand where DA was talking (and then FB goes to members of the audience), you’ll be left in little doubt that it was all planned in advance.

        And I have little doubt that when those who colluded in planning it WERE planning it, they checked out what Diane had said in the recent past about a second referendum and, as such – and no doubt in the knowledge that two-thirds of the audience would be Brexiteers (cos THEY’D made sure THAT would be the case) – knew that Diane would say something along the lines of if there were another referendum she had little doubt that the Brexiteers would win the vote again, and THAT’S where FB goes to a member of the audience, and then three more. But INSTEAD of coming back to Diane to give her a chance to respond to them, FB then says to Diane – in relation to what the four members of the audience had just said, and the last one in particular – “I’m sure you want to follow that, but I just want to go to Isabel first, as she hasn’t had a say yet on the question”, and then Isabel Oakeshott says how for ONCE, she agrees with Diane (about Brexiteers winning in the event of a second referendum) – which of course gets the mainly Brexiteer audience cheering – and then SHE – and Fiona Bruce – do the pre-planned number on Diane/Jeremy Corbyn.

        And it was ALL scripted and rehearsed well in advance, as was the ridiculing and belittling in the ‘warm up’, concocted and designed to make her – Diane – feel uncomfortable and ill-at-ease. No doubt the protagonists have a word for it (or a phrase), and it’s something I’ve seen Ian Hislop and Paul Merton do a number of times over the years on Have I Got News For You, albeit mainly to politicians, who they know have only come on the program so as ingratiate themselves with their viewers.

        And needless to say, FB DOESN’T then go back to Diane to let her respond to what the four members of the audience had said just prior to going to Oakeshott, and the last one in particular, and moves straight on to the next Question. As PLANNED!

        Job done!

        (Oh, right, THAT’S probably the term they use to describe the process – ie a Hit Job!)

  7. Afterthought:

    But first allow me to relate an experience I just had. So about twenty minutes ago, I made myself a coffee and rolled a cigarette, and went out to the back garden, and the moon was a lot dimmer than it had been the last time I went out for a ciggy about three hours ago. I initially thought it must be very thin cloud passing in front of it, but then I realised that I couldn’t see it moving, and THEN it dawned on me that it must be an eclipse of the moon! And when I came back in, I looked it up on my PC, and it WAS of course (Yes, I know, I was probably the only person in the country who didn’t know it was happening!). What a lovely surprise though, and it’s due to go on for another couple of hours!

    Anyway, I just quickly wanted to say that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the fourth member of the audience that FB ‘selected’ was a plant, and SHE knew it, and knew exactly what he was gonna say. And as for the three prior to him, if DA had been saying that she – the Labour Party and Jeremy – were in favour of having a second referendum, then what they were saying to her would have made sense, but she WASN’T, and had, in effect, said that it would be a waste of everyone’s time – albeit, not undemocratic – as the Brexiteers would probably win again. And the three people in question KNEW that, but that didn’t stop them from getting their cheap shots in, and their buddies in the audience cheering. And if FB HAD gone back to Diane immediately afterwards, no doubt she would have said that she DIDN’T say there should be a second referendum, so the points they were making – their criticisms – didn’t make sense. But FB didn’t give her the chance/opportunity. Of course.

  8. Anyway, the eclipse has just finished, so I must have read the page that I went on to wrong, and the two hours and whatever on the ‘clock’ on the page, was probably the duration of the eclipse from start to finish, and I just happened to go out for a smoke earlier when it was more-or-less full – ie about half way through. So my apologies if I…. er, misled anyone.

  9. Why the obsession with opinion polls which are owned in the main by Tories and can be skewed and wrong, The Bookmakers who are also
    Conservative seldom get it wrong: Labour is at the moment odds on to win.

    • You obviously missed the point Lawrence. Although I really don’t know how! It’s about using an obviously fraudulent poll to do a hit-job on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, and the presenter of QT conspiring in it and, as such, deceiving the one or two million people who watched the program.

Leave a Reply