BBC pays to promote May-friendly opinion piece via social media

BBC Sounds‘ paid tweet raises concerns about use of public money to soften public opinion regarding May’s Brexit incompetence

The BBC has paid Twitter to promote a podcast softening public cynicism about the incompetence and disarray of the government’s Brexit negotiations.

The tweet, promoting the BBC’s ‘Brexitcast’ podcast, leads with a headline suggesting Theresa May could pull a last-minute Brexit deal with the EU out of the hat – and is tagged as a paid promotion:

May has taken over two years to come up with an absolutely disastrous deal – and suffered a record parliamentary defeat when she attempted to win MPs’ approval for it. She is widely expected to lose when – after yet more delays – she puts the same deal back to Parliament.

With only days left before the UK leaves the EU and EU negotiators refusing to provide any more than non-binding assurances about the Northern Irish backstop and other issues, an optimistic claim that she might escape a no-deal crash by the skin of her teeth might form a legitimate part of a balanced, impartial debate about likely outcomes.

But paying to promote that specific claim above any other analysis?

The BBC claims its decision to do so was run of the mill. A spokesperson told the SKWAWKBOX:

The BBC does some targeted promotion to tell audiences about BBC programmes – including our impartial coverage and analysis in podcast Brexitcast. This is nothing new. It simply reflects that we’ve been challenged to do more for audiences who aren’t consuming the BBC as much to help them discover content they might like.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Impartial and honest coverage of the government’s Brexit performance would, of necessity, focus on its defining features: chaos and incompetence. Paying to promote an opinion piece that postulates the most optimistic conclusion imaginable is not compatible with the BBC’s impartiality remit.

Spending public money to help the government win a respite from criticism is an insult.

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  1. The BBC backing the government to the hilt, pushing its agenda and spending our money to do so? Come on Skwawkbox that’s not news! That’s just another day at the office at the BBC.

  2. “a headline suggesting Theresa May could pull a last-minute Brexit deal with the EU out of the hat – and is tagged as a paid promotion:”

    Sorry – but this is just sqwawking.

    I’m not going to defend the BBC when it is being biased – or the general record of Laura Kuenssberg.

    But the headline of this piece lies within the bounds of reasonable comment, given the parliamentary odds, and even if the forecast is wrong. And the ‘promotion’ is the BBC promoting itself. Big deal.

    “May has taken over two years to come up with an absolutely disastrous deal”

    True, and the incompetence has been notable. But totally straight reporting would also note that *any* Brexit deal a dog’s dinner compares with the status quo.

  3. It’s probably more to do with their diabolical Sounds app which is rubbish more than anything else. If you’re going to replace iPlayer Radio app at least don’t release it when it’s half baked. I never listen Brexitcast anyway as it has Laura Kuenssberg on it so that’s not going to make me listen to it!

  4. MAY’S EU DEAL – Extension of public ownership stays banned whenever it precludes marketisation of any sector; state subsidies stay banned whenever they are “incompatible with the single market”.

    NO DEAL – No EU limits on the extension of public ownership, no EU limits on state subsidies to British industry.

    That is why BBC is plugging May’s deal for all it’s worth. It’s all from the same songsheet as inspires your usual moans about BBC bias, Skwarkie: the BBC is committed to capitalism and wants democratic socialism to remain unlawful.


    1. Not quite as simple as that. And Brexit is no solution to anything that needs remedy. Lexit is not a sustainable or realistic scenario, I’m afraid – it’s a Walt Disney production – Dumbo II.

      As to the BBC – “the BBC is committed to capitalism and wants democratic socialism to remain unlawful.”

      No – it just follows a generalised establishment narrative – you attribute too much political purpose.

  5. Accept a customs union.
    Democratic control of labour supply.
    Democtratic control of capital supply.
    Migration adjustment funds for councils.
    Trade unionise migrant workers.
    Tariff free trade UK companies but Govt pay fee?
    Just food for thought for a Brexit that promotes left wing democratic socialist cooperation and internationalism via independent nation states?

  6. Brexit secretary demands EU re-categorise Winalot as Best Unicorn Bacon.
    “EU’s not for turning” Barnier laughs.
    Brexit secretary whimpers “But… but… this isn’t any old dog’s breakfast… this is a Conservative & Unionist dog’s breakfast.”

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